3D Printing Prices - Where Will They Go?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by PeregrineStudios, Feb 6, 2013.

  1. PeregrineStudios
    PeregrineStudios Well-Known Member
    Hey all,

    I recently started uploading some models to i.competitive service (nothing personal, Shapeways - just trying to reach a larger market!) but was shocked at their prices. They're almost double the cost here on Shapeways! Granted, they have a wider variety of materials, but for that much? I'll stick around here, thanks.

    I asked about it on their forums. "Why is i.competitive service so much more expensive?" I inquired. Here's the response I got back:

    After wading through the P.R., I think he's saying that those are the lowest prices they can realistically set - and, rather ominously, implies that other places are realizing this too. I'd always assumed that the price of 3D printing, new as it is, has only one place to go: down. But this has me wondering - will we be seeing prices increase at any point? And if not, I'm still curious, will they ever be going down?

  2. stonysmith
    stonysmith Well-Known Member Moderator
    You're lucky at only 2x the cost. Every other place I've asked for quotes of my modes has come back at TEN times the cost!

    You've asked a tricky question: You have to balance the "worth" of an item versus it's (total) cost, plus consider that over time, "everything gets cheaper".
    a) If you needed one and could print a new kidney, would that be worth more than $0.01 per cm3 to you?
    b) You can go to Hallmark and buy a greeting card that plays music for $5. The processor inside that card has more processing power than the computer that took us to the MOON.

    Consider this model: http://shpws.me/lONM
    Is it "worth" $25? That's a subjective decision. I could go pickup a raw gypsum rock for free, so $25 is "expensive". But, it'd cost me hundreds of hours of labor to turn it into what comes out of the Shapeways printer, so it's "cheap". That model if mass-produced would probably cost $2, but no one IS mass-producing them, and they're not available elsewhere. The items that are available in this specific size are poorer quality and more expensive. So, from an overall "worth" proposition, the items I can produce here at Shapeways have value to me.

    I am not privy to Shapeways internal pricing decisions. My sense is that over time (3-4 years), as their total volume goes up, they MAY be able to reduce the price of items.
  3. mkroeker
    mkroeker Well-Known Member
    Different businesses targeting different parts of the perceived market. Did you expect the representative from
    i.materialize to say that their price policy and business model is all wrong, or do you expect someone from shapeways
    to do so ? There are lots of smaller companies around that offer "rapid prototyping" at even more "outrageous" prices,
    and a few years back, those were the only players in the field.
  4. victorrings
    victorrings Well-Known Member
    i too have priced these guys... mainly because i have a customer that was interested in solid gold or titanium.

    honestly, i haven't been able to get a straight answer out of them. it seems that for all material there is no set price point or volume set point. this makes it harder to compare apples to apples.

    this sours me on their whole business structure, which is sad because i want to give my customer the widest variety of materials they could ever want. in the end of this particular customer, he decided that silver would be the best option.

  5. BillBedford
    BillBedford New Member
    If you were to a little more research you would find that bigger pieces i.materialize has better prices than Shapeways.
  6. PeregrineStudios
    PeregrineStudios Well-Known Member
    See, that's the thing. That's what the i.competitive service fellow said as well, but I uploaded a larger model and it was still ~x2 the price. I don't know how big a model they're talking, but it must be pretty huge to get those 'good prices'.
  7. BillBedford
    BillBedford New Member
    > $500
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2013
  8. wiwa
    wiwa New Member
    It is a well known fact that Shapeways offers the rock-bottom prices for all their materials. You can't find cheaper Sandstone, Nylon, Acrylic, Stainless or Silver parts from any other bureau. I think this is largely to do with the large community and resulting large throughput of parts (high volume = lower prices). SW is the Amazon or Walmart of 3D printing. other bureaus may rather get 10 orders of $500 parts than 2500 orders of $2 parts, both of which Shapeways will gladly accept indiscriminately - and that's reflected in their respective pricing structures.
  9. natalia
    natalia New Member
    As WIlliam (above) points out, we have some of the cheapest prices because we want to make 3D printing accessible to anyone.