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HelpHow 3D prints are priced at Shapeways

How 3D prints are priced at Shapeways

Our ultimate goal at Shapeways is to make 3D printing as accessible and affordable as possible. In order to have the lower price on every single product, we closely align the price per material with the costs of manufacturing. Different materials have different price structures to reflect the way they are manufactured. Designers who are selling their products in the Shapeways marketplace can then set their product's retail price on top of the base price.

Get price for your designs

By uploading your 3D model through the Create page, you'll get instant price for your 3D printed product in various materials. Our system will quickly analyze your model and show you the price in all materials we can use to make it. For materials that have more complex pricing structures, like Strong & Flexible plastic, you can hover over the price to see the different components.


How we price Strong & Flexible plastic

3D printing in strong and flexible plastic (nylon) is a relatively efficient process that relies most heavily on the amount of space your product takes up in a machine. Products that are dyed or polished are more labor-intensive. In order to align these costs with the price we offer, we price strong and flexible plastic based on Machine Space, Material and Labor per Part.

Labor - The number of parts that need to be handled individually during production.

Each individual part needs to be oriented and planned with other parts before printing. We call this step "tray planning." Then it must be cleaned, sorted and packaged. Dyed and polished parts need to go through a few more steps, increasing the cost per part.

For most products, labor is a relatively small component of the price, but for high part count products it can be very significant. See out Best Practices for High Part Count Models for more information on reducing the cost of multi-part models

Material - The amount of material needed to 3D print your product.

The volume of your part itself determines the amount of raw material that is used to produce it.

Making your model smaller or thinner reduces material cost. However, for most models material cost isn't the primary driver, so making your model a bit thinner usually isn't worth sacrificing strength or design integrity.

Machine Space - The amount of space your product takes inside our 3D printers.

We use the best industrial 3D printers on the market, some of which cost up to a million dollars. In order to keep prices as low as possible for our community, we do our best to pack every single build with as many parts as possible. Having printed millions of parts, we’re now able to estimate the amount of space your part takes up in a tightly packed printer, and to charge you for exactly that much space (and nothing more!).

Generally speaking, bigger parts cost more. However, for certain models, we can reduce the cost by packing other parts inside of it. These models must be hollow, have cavity openings of at least 40mm, and be strong enough that they don’t break when the inner models are removed.

For most models, Machine Space is the primary driver of production cost. Making your model smaller, or redesigning hollow models to allow other models to be packed inside of them, can reduce this cost significantly.


How we price 3D printed Steel

3D printing steel is a complex and labor-intensive process which requires extensive post-process and finishing. In order to align these costs with the price we offer, we price steel based on Material and Labor per Part.

Labor - The number of parts that need to be handled individually during production.

Each individual part needs to be oriented and planned with other parts before printing. We call this step "tray planning." Then it must be cleaned, sorted and packaged. Dyed and polished parts need to go through a few more steps, increasing the cost per part.

For most products, labor is a relatively small component of the price, but for high part count products it can be very significant. See out Best Practices for High Part Count Models for more information on reducing the cost of multi-part models.

Material - The amount of material needed to 3D print your product.

The volume of your part itself determines the amount of raw material that is used to 3D print it.

Making your model smaller or thinner reduces material cost. However, for most models material cost isn't the primary driver, so making your model a bit thinner usually isn't worth sacrificing strength or design integrity.

About pricing for large sparse models

Large, extremely low density models printed in Steel are priced based on bounding box volume as well as material volume. For models with a bounding box over 1,000cm3 and a density less than 5%, the price is $.30 per bounding box cm3, $.80 per material cm3, and $7.00 per part.


How we price rest of our 3D printing materials

All the other materials are priced based on the following two components:

Startup cost - Flat rate for every 3D file.

Most other materials have a single startup cost per file uploaded that encompasses the machine and labor costs of making that product. However, many have limits on maximum part count per file to manage cost and complexity.

For our cast metals (Brass, Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum), we allow 2 parts per file (as long as they are identical) to support earrings and cufflinks.

Material - The amount of material needed to 3D print your product.

The volume of your part itself determines the amount of raw material that is used to 3D print it.

Individual material and price information can be found on our Materials hub.

Designer Markup

Most products you can find on Shapeways have been designed and put for sale by individual designers. Sometimes they choose to add a markup for products that they put for sale in order to support their craft. Each time you buy an item that is for sale, you are supporting that individual designer. Not only that, but you have a direct line of communication with the person who made the object of desire, should you have any feedback or questions.

Shipping cost

We ship products world wide, always from the Shapeways factory closest to you. You can read more about shipping options and prices on our Shipping Information page.

Depending on your country, customs may charge taxes/import fees when importing and delivering your product.

Value-Added Tax

Our European customers will see VAT automatically calculated into the prices they see. When placing an order, there is a detailed breakdown of VAT/taxes that have been applied.

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