Print cost calculation

Hello Everyone,

Since I use my Form1+ for professional work, I need to accurately find out an accurate way to calculate the costs.

I did a search and I think I read most (if not all) of the posts, but all calculations seem to be incomplete.

I have created a spreadsheet on Google Docs that you can see (and comment) here:

Now… before you rush into the link and get scared of the real cost I’m getting, let me mention:

  1. I’m based in Vienna, Austria.

  2. I still need to find a source for cheaper IPA.

  3. I still need to figure out the electricity costs

  4. I couldn’t find official information on the estimated lifetime in working hours. This is very important. At the moment I’m depreciating the cost of the printer into 2 working years.

  5. I need to add some margin for failed prints but don’t have any statistics to figure this out.

  6. I’m trying to create this template for everyone to use and edit the costs based on their locations, but in the end, you’ll only have to input the print volume and time (both you get from Preform)

  7. I need to double check how often the IPA on the cleaning tanks is changed.

  8. I need to figure out the disposal cost of used IPA (I hope you’re not pouring it on the toilet!)

Any help to create a better/more accurate estimation is very welcome. I really don’t understand electricity and need to figure out how to properly calculate the standby cost and the printing cost. Please let me know if you can help.

This is my first draft. Questions and comments are very welcome.



Thanks for sharing this detailed breakdown for how much it actually cost to print a part.

I’ve found that it’s good to show your customers a true breakdown of costs on their invoice… i.e I’m not ripping them off :smile: -)

That’s really cool thanks for sharing.

Maybe one day, i won’t make print only for myself and will use this spreadsheet :wink:

I looked a bit into it and i found two errors : you forget to put the " ( ) " in the printer acquisition cost and for the cost of labour per print. That dramatically increase the final cost :wink:
I found that putting 20% for acquisition cost is quite a lot, but well i do the search in my spare time

Here’s mine I did September 5th. It should have your missing formulas.

It is designed in columns. The big box with the border is the stuff I wanted to answer.

So using this as my reality…

I would charge $2 per ml and make only $340 per year!

And worst of all the printer would be required to run 12.5 years to pay for itself. I believe too it will depreciate to $0 in only 2 years. If for no other reason than a better printer comes out next year (maybe Form2) and my customers leave me for someone that can print better.

Thanks for spotting out the errors on the formulas, they are fixed now.

I think it is necessary to count for the acquisition cost as it takes quite a lot of hours to search information, compare alternatives and finally go trough the ordering process. Could be lowered or you can decide to take it out.


I’m not sure what’s going on there, but my printer is already paid for just by printing non-jewelry items for others.

I charge $50 - $150 per print depending on size and have printed around 35 prints already.

I have also printed lots of small jewelry items for around $35 - $50 a pop for some of my clients (who make custom rings for people). What they do is they send a printed resin sample ring of the design to their clients to try on, see the size of the stone, etc and then to give the go ahead to the final build of the ring. This is all the rage now. Pictures are not enough for people nowadays ;).

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This is interesting…

Using my calculation sheet (and now computing electricity cost), I calculated the print cost for a part I created:

On Shapeways it would cost € 31.84 (and takes around 18 days for delivery)

On my Form 1+ it would cost me € 73.72 (keeping labor to an absolute minimum and would take ~6 hours to get it printed)

I really thought my own printer would be cheaper than Shapeways. Of course having my own printer gives me more confidentiality and a speed advantage.

Trade offs…

The sheet figures in print failures, supplies, labor, all that. If you have more customers it does get better fast. I didn’t buy my printer as a profit center thankfully! How is it you have only done 35 prints? You have had your printer longer than me and said you do prints for clients nearly every day?


You should compare the material with the Frosted detail or Frosted ultra detail from shapeways. I think the form1+ is more close to those materials than the strong&flexible . I’m curious to see the result.

I agree, it wouldn’t be the same to compare it to Shapeways Strong & Flexible. That stuff is junk.

Only about 35 non-jewelry prints.

Here we go…

Frosted ultra detail: € 86.42 (and takes 13 days)

Form 1+ printing at 0.025 mm: € 125 (and takes ~19.5 hours keeping labor to a minimum)

Form 1+ printing at 0.05 mm: € 85.19 (and takes ~10 hours keeping labor to a minimum)

As you see, printing in 0.05 mm looks kind of comparable (in terms of cost) between Shapeways and the F1+, but on my calculation there is still no acquisition costs for supplies (time you spend ordering, receiving, unpacking and processing the invoices) and still no cost contemplated for maintenance, downtime and failed prints. it would be great to have this statistical info from FL.

Very interesting, I’ve been doing some similar costings, though mine are somewhat vaguer as I’ve not got a machine yet and am still at trying to decide if it is all worth it .

In my calculations I reckon I could produce stuff round about the cost of making it in WSF at Shapeways , but in a better material and hopefully with a better result.

My assumptions are somewhat different to yours though. I’d allowed 20% machine downtime , 20% failed prints and 20% of capital cost as yearly maintenance. I was planning on running it 5 days a week , but doing two print runs per day. One shorter one during the day, then leaving another longer one running overnight .

I was also costing resin at Makerjuce prices +shipping and taxes from US. My labour costs where much less because I’m planning on running it in Thailand where we have suitable property already, though I need to add in my ( expensive ) labour cost in setting things up.

Research costs are a valid expense too I think and one other thing neither of us have allowed for is the cost space to use the machine and store all its chemicals.

Of course there is a lot of guestimates in these figures and if for instance the failure rate was significantly more, the cost could increase to beyond what Shapeways changes.

You also lose flexibility , if you don’t have enough orders to keep the machine going at near capacity the cost per print will increase as the capital costs have to be amortized over fewer prints and if you have too many orders you can’t produce them all.

But you do gain independence, you are isolated from unforeseen changes in supplier policy and charges or , indeed a supplier going bust.

I still have far too much to think about !


Hello Tom,

I believe the printer cost has to be depreciated on the working hours it can stand, not on calendar time. To do this accurately we need to know what is the real expected lifetime in working hours, and as you say, at the moment is a guess. I’ll contact FL to ask for this.

I see that many people say they will do x amount of prints per day to do their calculations. This doesn’t really matter because the printer doesn’t have a fixed expiry date, it’s all about working hours, not calendar time.

I wouldn’t know how to account for downtime, except for the money it would cost you not to have the printer available. For this, if you have a stable business, and you know you are for sure doing N prints per day, then you can account for it… as long as we have an accurate downtime statistic from FL. Anyway… I see this as something not related to the printer depreciation… I would do a separate category for downtime and maintenance.

I’m trying to keep the calculation as simple and straight forward as possible. I highlighted the info everyone should fill in, depending on their location and costs of different supplies.

I’m currently not accounting for space since I have it on my desk. If you’re planning to open a shop or rent an additional room to be used as a modelshop, then it should be very important to count that as well.

Looking forward for more inputs.


The 3 main factors I had sending models out where:
Price per part
Quality control
Turn around.

I use the parts to make molds from so If I were to send out and get multiple prints I’m dead in the water and worse when they set the orientation wrong so they can gang bang the parts out. I had problems where shops would send files back at the wrong resolution causing big delays. I’m not going to get into name calling for bad service/prints but I have no regrets here.
The quality alone that I am getting is far better than any shop I have sent out to so far. My waste seems to be more or less my fault as I am still learning the machine with respect to orientation and general resin handling.

My average part sent out was $35 ea
Cost of consumables on the Form1+ based on including 1 bottle of resin and 1 tank is $0.21 per ml. 1 ml=CM³.
Add your shipping, machine time and labor to process and finish the part and you should still be way ahead.
Below is a file that most shops won’t even print. I did this for kicks to see what the machine can handle.

I am quite happy with my Form1+ quality too, and I hate to post this, but I know sometimes things just need to be perfect (like before I spend $20000 on an injection mold). The company I was using just before buying my Form1 was called and they can blow the Form1 out of the water with their “Prime Grey” material. The support touch points are surprisingly tiny too. The parts don’t warp and the dimensions were perfection. They are spendy, but they deliver.

For part testing there are better types of systems, In particular the Objet machines are pretty accurate. For the price and type of parts I make the Form1 is more than adequate. I make parts for cold casting and pewter casting. Neither require extreme dimensional accuracy.

I haven’t had the warping that others experience. I don’t leave the parts in IPA as long as others do but rather gently brush them in the bath with a chip brush then flush them with fresh IPA and dry with an air compressor. I think the IPA makes the parts too brittle after and the absorption makes them warp.

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I do the same. It’s the thin stuff that warps, I printed a thin LCD display holder for a customer once and it was like a spagetti noodle during post processing. As soon as it was in the shade outside it started to cure and curl. I didn’t even let it finish. I managed to re-train it with some cereal boxes and lots of time, but it had no hope of being perfect. Luckily it was still soft enough he didn’t have any cracking issues installing it.