Since each 3D printing technology uses different filaments, these 3D printing filaments come in many categories and price ranges.
The most popular 3D printing technologies are Fused Deposition (FDM), Light Curing (SLA), and Laser Sintering (SLS). Each 3D printing technology uses different 3D printing materials.
Many types of filaments, such as PLA, ABS, PETG, carbon fiber, wood, and even PLA-based flexible filaments. They all have different price tags. Pricing largely depends on the quality of the materials. Generally speaking, PLA filament is the cheapest, followed by ABS filament.
When using filament for home or office 3D printers, the estimated price is around $20 to $70 per kilogram. This seems to be a considerable gap, but the price is highly dependent on the type of material, quality, and manufacturer. If you want to save some, you can buy PLA plastic pellets for $7 per kilogram. This is the raw material for PLA filaments. It is translucent and can be colored with paint. The disadvantage is to use a special 3D printing system to print the particles. Professionals of FDM 3D printers also use some high-performance filaments. The price of these filaments is very high, at about $400 or more!
SLS uses a polymer in powder form. The most common type of polymer powder used in SLS is called polyamide, also known as PA. Nylon is the most common type of polyamide. The standard PA powder used in SLS is PA 12 nylon, which costs between $45 and $75 per kilogram. This is the approximate price range. Of course, there are more expensive powders for professionals who need excellent material appearance and performance. The cost of SLS filament is higher than that of PLA filament. This is one of the main reasons why FDM 3D printers are the most popular.
Resin materials, in terms of resin prices, are about the same as standard SLS powder. Also, like the price of other types of 3D printing materials, it largely depends on the quality of the material, the type of material, and the manufacturer. The standard SLA resin material cost is about $50 per liter. This means that cheap resin may be less than $50.
The 3D printing material is metal powder. The two most popular printing technologies are direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) and selective laser melting (SLM). Both technologies work by heating the material until the particles fuse together, resulting in a single solid object. The biggest disadvantage of using metal is the cost of 3D printing materials, which is quite expensive, ranging from $350 to $550 per kilogram.
The cheapest material for 3D printing is of course plastic filaments. Then there are resins and powders, which are very similar in terms of price. Finally, there is a metal powder, which is usually more expensive.