Good morning, my name is Aidan.

I’m currently attending Red River College, and me and my group are doing an faux-analytic report on 3-D printing for our Business Communication class.

We have some questions we would like to ask the community.

1) We want to know what kinds of materials are commonly used in 3-D printing. We also want to know how durable the material it is, how likely is it to degrade and how much the material costs.

2) How much does a 3-D printer cost? And how much does it cost to make something with 3-D printing.

3) How quickly does it take to make something with 3-D printing? Is it possible to make several things with 3-D printing within a 24-hour period?

4) What is the step-by-step process from the blueprint to the finished product. If this is a trade secret, disregard this question.

Thank you in advance


Hey Aidan, here’s a few nice sources that can help you kick-start your research:

1. Feel free to check our Materials page. On this note, @SD3D have also put together an handy Materials guide, which I strongly recommend
2. Next week we’re releasing a 3D Printer Guide put together based on the collective experience of our community. Until then, feel free to check out last year’s edition.

3. This varies depending on a slew of factors: the size of the print, complexity, 3D printing technology and so on. But if you take for example these little fellows - Marvin, the mascot of the 3D printing movement - the yes, it’s possible: Talk Manufacturing | Hubs
4. There are many 3D modelling softwares out there, which vary in complexity, but here’s on example based on Rhino 3D software put together by the awesome @Craftee: Talk Manufacturing | Hubs

Hope this helps!


Hi there! 1) most printers are based on the FFF or FDM method meaning only thermoplastics can be used (or materials with similar properties). Also plastic composites (plastic A + plastic B) or plastic + fibre/powder of any kind) can be used. Other methods use metal powder, liquid resins, plastic powder and ink-glue. The materials’ durability depends on the use case. If you’re talking about materials to build an engine or aircraft with then maybe the metals might be considered. Other stuff like decorative projects will last forever, depending on the specific material that you’re using. Some plastics can degrade under certain circumstances, others are longer lasting. Material cost varies depending on the materials and quality: Most common plastics: 20-60€/kg Advanced plastics, resins and composites: 50-120€/kg Metal powder, full color materials: unknown, probably 100+€/kg 2) machine prices are everywhere between 500€ - 50000€. Hobby and private machines are


Well, you’ve heard this from the pros, @RRCInfoTech :wink:

Thanks for this awesome input, Marius!

1 Like

1) The number one used material is PLA; a bio-degradable non-toxic plastic that is a lot easier and dimensional correct (when printing an object). The second widely used material is ABS. The PSI rating of PLA is around 4000, but it is brittle compared to ABS (about 6000 PSI). They can cost anywhere from $20-60/Kg. It varies between brands.

2) My printer setup is a little over $2K now. Factor in the optional second extruder, spare parts needed, RaspberryPi to run it remotely, networking equipment, backup battery in case the power goes out, etc. I put a lot in, because I know the better quality is worth it in the end. Oh, and this was a kit that still needed 40+ hours to build it!

Cost varies to make things, based on your equipment life analysis and materials per hour. Like every piece of equipment, you have to “expect” a time where it will have to be replaced. Usually $0.30+/CCM (cubic centimeter of material) is a healthy profit for me. The printer has a defined role for my company, and using it to print on 3DHubs is just a bonus. Like using your car in your spare time to Uber. I won’t tell you the specifics on what my company is doing, at least not on here. Just because it is not patented yet.

3) It depends on your equipment. My printer has the ability to print at 100+mm/s, accurately. Which it isn’t very common, since the average speeds are 50-70mm/s. That also means faster print times. Lowering your layer resolution from 100 Microns to 300 will also theoretically slice your print time drastically. A larger build volume can also allow for multiple objects. For instance, I am printing multiple parts on my printer as we speak.


Step 1: Verify CAD files from the client. If no files are provided, offer CAD services at a great rate.

Step 2: Setup the settings; toolpath alterations (if needed), supports, rafts, density, temperatures, retraction, resolution, part placements, etc. in Simplify3D. It’s not a free program, but it is worth every penny

Step 3: Over the network, start setting up the printer’s temps, and load up the G-Code file.

Step 4: Set up the print bed, hone the printer’s axis’, and verify the performance/ability of the machine.

Step 5: Start the print

Waiting, and checking up in person or over the network…

Step 6: Remove part, and remove the supports and/or rafts.

Step 7: Notify the customer that the part(s) is being shipped or ready for pickup. I will include photos, and typically a timelapse video of the print.

Step 8: Pat yourself on the back for helping out a fellow artist, tinkerer, entrepreneur, or the like! :slight_smile:

This may be a little too detailed, but I figured what the hay! Haha

I’m very transparent about my operations, and my customers like that. If you have any more questions, and would like some samples of the materials (and even videos of them being printed), let me know!


This is awesome, Joseph! Thanks for taking the time for this :wink:


Sorry for the late reply, a mid-term had gotten our attention.

I just wanted to say thanks to each and everyone of you, the information you have given us is wonderful! Its amazing to see such a supportive community helping us out.

Again, thank you!


Hey Joseph

A video would be amazing for us to understand the process. As for the samples, that is a generous offer! Any small amount you can spare will be more than enough.


Do you have an email address?

It’s the least I can do. I am a student myself (as well as an engineer), and I understand that sometimes getting help from industries can be tough. Especially new ones like additive manufacturing.

Sure do, my email address is