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TOP CHARACTERISTICS THAT AFFECT 3D PRINTING QUOTE PRICE
At Paradigm 3D, our project engineers often receive the question: How can I reduce the price of my quote? There are many ways you can adjust your CAD design file to reduce the price. However, if the price is lower, it can still cost you—in the form of mechanical properties or aesthetics.
Our goal is to help you select the best options for your objectives and the part application. Part size and geometry obviously dictate price, but there are other design details that can affect price. The following STL file characteristics also impact the price of a Paradigm 3D additive manufacturing quote:
Material pricing is based on mechanical properties, ease of use and post processing requirements. If you’re looking for the most cost effective material, ABS would probably be the best option; if your application requires a high FST rating and strength-to-weight ratio, ULTEM, which is more expensive, would be the best option. The amount of support material on your design can also affect the price. Optimizing your build orientation can reduce the amount of support material needed.
FDM build orientation is the direction the part is built on the X, Y, or Z axis and has the biggest impact on part functionality and feature strength. It also has an impact on price because it determines the number of material layers are in the part. The amount of layers dictates run-time and the amount of support material needed. You now have the option of choosing your FDM build orientation in the Paradigm 3D quoting engine.The image below shows the same part, built in different orientations and how it has a direct correlation with the number of layers and the surface finish.
Layer height is the measure of each layer of extruded molten plastic in an FDM part. A thinner layer height can reduce stair stepping and improve the surface quality of an FDM part, but has a higher price because of the increased build time. Some materials, such as ABS-ESD7, have limited layer height options due to extrusion compatibility.
Wall thickness should dictate the best layer height for your part, which dictates the price. There is no way for the quoting engine to detect and measure wall thicknesses so you must make the best choice. In general, the wider the wall thickness, the better to avoid flimsy features, holes, gaps or missing pieces. Wall thickness is dependent on the geometry and application dependent. See our Quoting Engine Design Guidelines to see recommended wall thicknesses based on material and layer height for FDM.
Sparse fill is a build option that can potentially reduce price. If you have a solid enclosed part, like a cube for example, it can be filled completely solid or the interior can be designed with a custom density using air gaps between extrusion paths. The process uses less material and is faster, resulting in a lower price compared to solid fill. However, it can slightly affect overall part strength. Sparse fill is available through a manual quote since it involves additional file analysis.