5 Helpful Ways to Reduce 3D Printing Costs in Singapore

From eliminating time-consuming model-making methods to simplifying assembly processes, online 3D printing services can offer quality parts at a fraction of the cost of traditional manufacturing. It is no wonder why businesses might want to use 3D printing.

However, where budget is the main concern, the overall costs can still be considered prohibitively high to some when it is not thought through carefully. Depending on a number of factors from the print material used to its finishing requirements, a small 3D-printed piece can vary from $5 to $500 in Singapore. Here at Additive3D Asia, we’re here to help navigate through the spiderweb of different technologies and many materials.

The following blog will list some helpful tips on cutting back on your spending on 3D printing services while maintaining quality in your final product.

1. Spend on the right material

After choosing the 3D printing process for your project, you will have to decide on the right 3D printing material next. From the range of filament and resin-based plastics for FDM and SLA, most commonly use are ABS, PLA, PETG and TPU plastics. However as a best practice, you should select the material based on the usage and application of your part accordingly to match against the mechanical, chemical or physical properties requirement. For powder based Nylon PA12 for SLS and MJF, for instance, this material can form functional prototypes and end-use functional parts that need to be strong, resistant to chemicals and high heat. For higher requirements on resistance against chemicals, strength and heat, there are other stronger powder based materials such as Glass Filled (GF), Polypropylene (PP), Carbon Fibre (CF) and Fire Retardant (FR) Nylon.   

If you are considering 3D printing on materials like metal with Stainless Steel (SS), Titanium (Ti), Aluminium (Ai) just to name a few popular materials, the fabrication can be many times more in price compared to other 3D printing process because of the high equipment, related auxiliary set up and material cost involved in the process.

It is also important to be aware of the special dedicated post-processing tools that will further enhance the printed parts. As this will contribute to the overall costs, you’ll want to be informed upfront of the process from start to finish.

Taking into account the function of the part you are printing; your 3D printing service provider can advise you on the suitable materials that can deliver what you need best. 

2. Hollow out the inside of your product

The general consensus is, the less print material used, the lower the final cost. For certain materials, hollowing your product is also ideal to prevent deformation or discolouration of your 3D-printed parts.

However, do note that by default, there is a minimum wall thickness to be met. Depending on your printing material of choice, there are wall thickness recommendations and design guidelines to follow to maintain the structural integrity of your product.   

3. Choose a print size wisely

Larger prints will understandably be more expensive than smaller prints. However, if you are printing a prototype for sample purposes, it would make sense to fit your design into a smaller-sized or scale print file. Depending on the additive manufacturing process, your project may cost less to print when you are simply testing your design.

Remember that even if your design is scaled down or rotated before sending it to an online 3D printing service, you may still need the original file size should you decide to go with it as the final product. Be sure to save it in your computer’s hard drive.

4. Remove support structures if not needed

In some cases, support structures can also be done without and can still achieve the desired results.

Where suitable, powder-based additive manufacturing methods like Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) and Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) do not require dedicated support structures. This process can create equally strong parts comparable to those produced by injection-moulding.

However, take note that support structures are required if your product has overhanging parts. This will be added to the overall cost as well.

5. Consult an expert

Ultimately, your project can be in the capable hands of trained 3D printing professionals like Additive3D Asia in Singapore who are pioneer in this industry since 2014. Well-versed in the technical requirements of entire additive manufacturing technologies, rest assured you are investing in the right solutions for your project.

To get started, make a more informed decision through our Digital Part Analysis Complimentary Consultation  to understand which 3D printing technology, material is suitable and can achieve the best ROI for you and your prints. Feel free to get in touch with us today to get more information.