3D printing has revolutionised the manufacturing industry, allowing individuals and businesses to bring their ideas to life with unparalleled ease and precision. A variety of factors influence the price of 3D printing and there are many online tools available to help calculate the cost of 3D printing. 

In this article, we delve into the realm of 3D printer filament, the essential material in 3D printing. We aim to uncover the truth behind its price and emphasise the significance of considering factors beyond cost. Furthermore, we highlight the importance of considering the added value that sustainable 3D printing filament offers to 3D printer users.


3D Printing Cost Considerations

While filament is an ongoing consumable, the cost of it should be seen in the context of the overall expenses associated with 3D printing. These include the initial investment in a 3D printer, maintenance costs, electricity, design software, and any post-processing or finishing requirements. These factors collectively contribute to the overall cost of 3D printing, making it crucial to assess filament expenses in relation to the bigger picture.


3D Printing Filament Cost Perception

A common misconception is that the cost of filament dominates the total expenditure of 3D printing. However, recent surveys and user feedback indicate otherwise. According to a recent survey, more than 70% of 3D printing users found that the cost of 3D printing filament constituted no more than 20% of the overall cost. This data highlights that while filament does have a cost, it is relatively minor compared to other aspects of the process.

The Sustainable Advantage

Sustainability has become a significant concern for individuals and businesses alike. This shift towards eco-friendly practices has led to the emergence of sustainable filament options, such as those offered by Filamentive. These materials are manufactured using recycled or bio-based sources, reducing virgin plastic reliance and minimising environmental impact.

Although sustainable filaments may carry a slight price premium compared to traditional options, the long-term benefits far outweigh the marginal increase. By choosing Filamentive sustainable materials, users contribute to the reduction of plastic waste and promote a circular economy. This added value aligns with the growing demand for environmentally conscious solutions, making sustainable filaments an attractive choice for conscious consumers.

“taking steps to reduce plastic waste is not only environmentally friendly, but a savvy business practice, too, as more consumers seek out companies making a commitment to sustainability.

Why Your Business Should 3D Print With Eco-Friendly & Recycled Filament, All3DP (2021)


3D Printing Filament: Price Difference vs. Price Premium 

When considering the cost of filament, it is essential to distinguish between price difference and price premium. Price difference refers to the variation in cost between different filament types, while price premium refers to the extra amount paid for choosing sustainable materials. While sustainable filaments may have a higher price difference compared to conventional filaments, the price premium is not as significant when considering the overall cost of 3D printing.

By prioritising sustainable filament options, users benefit from the improved quality, reduced environmental impact, and the satisfaction of supporting a circular economy. The slight premium paid for sustainable filaments is a worthwhile investment when evaluating the holistic value they bring to the 3D printing process.


Uncovering the True Material Cost: A Customer Success Story

A recent customer story highlights the importance of evaluating the true cost and value of 3D printing materials. During a recent sales conversation, an Etsy business owner selling 3D printed products said they were paying £2 less per kilo versus the proposed Filamentive price.

Curious about the impact of this price difference, they were asked how much filament they typically used for each product. Interestingly, they revealed that their products only required a maximum of 100 grams of filament. In other words, the ‘£2 per kilo’ difference in filament buying price equated to a mere twenty pence, per product.

Recognising an opportunity, the client was encouraged to conduct a price increase experiment for a few weeks. With a modest 5% price increase, they were delighted to find that they generated higher profits per product, easily covering the 20p filament cost increase.


The Benefit of Evaluating True Material Cost in 3D Printing

Evaluating the true cost goes beyond the initial price tag. By considering the value added to your products / services, the ability to charge a price premium, greater profitability can be unlocked. While every product and market is unique, there is merit in looking beyond the surface and understanding the true material cost of your 3D printing.

The emergence of sustainable filament options like those provided by Filamentive highlights the importance of considering long-term benefits in terms of boosting marketing impact, maximising sales opportunity and reducing the environmental impact of 3D printing.