One facet of owning a 3D printer that might not be considered as much as it should, is the cost of material. Arguably one of the most important puzzle pieces in additive manufacturing, additive materials will make or break a great 3D model. So how much does it cost to obtain quality printing materials?
GrabCAD has created an excellent blog post outlining the different types of material and their associated prices. Visit the link here to check out the article written by Daniel Dern.
Since R&D Technologies is a Stratasys reseller, we can provide some basic knowledge of the Stratasys materials (shop Stratasys materials here). Stratasys prides itself on cutting edge materials across FDM and PolyJet printing technologies. More recently, Stratasys has come out with a new machine, the H350; breaking into Selective Absorption Fusion technology (comparable to MJF technology). And Stratasys has acquired RPS and Origin (SLA printing companies) to expand their footprint in cutting edge additive technologies. Most Stratasys machines do not allow open-source for materials; meaning you can only use Stratasys specific materials to run their machines.
It is safe to assume, Stratasys is near or at top of the line for price and quality of printing materials. PolyJet resin can cost around $250-350 per 1kg of modeling resin (price varies between printers). FDM thermoplastic spools can cost between $250-500 per 90 cubic inches of modeling filament. Some material options come in 60 cubic inches of filament for a lower price. You will also have to purchase support material for any printer you may have. Luckily this material is significantly less money since the function is merely to support the modeling material. About $200-400 per 60 cubic inches (depending on printer and which modeling material you are using) of FDM filament and about $100-130 per 1kg of PolyJet support resin.
As you can probably tell, quality material is not cheap. Keep in mind that cheap material may yield cheap results. Makerbot machines may be a better option for those who have a lower budget or are invested in additive manufacturing as a hobby. One spool of makerbot filament will run you about $100 depending on your printer model. Some of the machines are open-source, so if you are feeling bold you could use some after-market filament you bought on eBay (but we don't recommend it).
Talk with one of our technical representatives today to learn more about which printing technology and printing materials would suit your needs.