Is 3d printing an expensive hobby?

3d printing an expensive hobby

Is 3d printing an expensive hobby?

Many people want to go into 3d printing. Some want it as a business while others just want to learn for fun. Those that want it as a business know they can make a profit from it so they go in with any huge budget they make. The latter contemplates a lot and the first question they ask is, ‘Is 3d printing an expensive hobby?’

With advancements in technology, 3d printing is not as expensive as it used to be. Modern 3d printers are now manufactured in both big and small sizes. This means that one can go in for a small-sized printer and still learn the basics of 3d printing and have fun with it. Since you want it as a hobby, learning will be at a faster rate.

There will be no time limit to complete each procedure of learning which will make the whole process less tedious. Again, learning 3d printing as a hobby can make you a perfect 3d print professional because you can correct your mistakes at your will without anybody embarrassing or looking down on you.

Is 3d printing an expensive hobby? – Factors affecting the cost of 3d printing

Though I said 3d printing is not an expensive hobby, it may not be wholly true because it depends on a variety of factors. These will determine if 3d printing is an expensive hobby. These factors include; the cost of a 3dprinter, the cost of filaments, the size of 3d prints, and others.

The next paragraph will explain each factor in detail.

Cost of 3d printer

When drawing a budget for 3d printing, the first thing you have to think of is the cost of a 3d printer. This will influence how 3d printing will be an expensive hobby. Since it is not for a business, I will suggest you buy a low-cost printer which serves the same purpose as the high-cost printers used in large industries.

Moreover, there are 3d printers that are kid-friendly that can be used by the whole family and even used by kids with little or no supervision. This will equip will your child with a skill that will be with him forever and can earn money from later in the future.

An example of a low-cost printer is Elegoo Neptune 2 which costs as low as $200.00. This will go a long way to make 3d printing inexpensive because you bought a good printer at a low cost.

Cost of filaments

Filaments are the materials used in printing. This is equivalent to the ink used in traditional printers. Generally, 3d printing filaments are not expensive but there are exceptions. Since you want quality work, you may think buying an expensive filament will do that for you but that is a big No.

Buying quality but affordable filaments is what will do the trick for you. You must always remember that; you are doing this just as a hobby and you will like to bring your cost down by any means.

The best filament used in 3d printing is polylactic acid and costs not more than 25$ per kilogram. This is one of the best to use because it is environmentally friendly and poses less threat to individuals.

The complexity of 3d prints

This is also another major factor that people forget. This includes the size and texture of the prints. Though you may be learning for fun, you will like to print complex objects like articulated trucks, houses, and airplanes. This will incur additional costs to your budget. The best thing for you to do is print simple objects like cups, keys, door handles, and plates.

The cost of 1000 meter square apartment can cost between $10,000 to $100,00. With this information, you know the right thing to do.


Electricity consumed by the 3d printer will also affect the cost of 3d printing. This will mainly depend on the type of printer you bought. Every 3d printer comes with the energy they use per hour. Buying an industrial 3d printer will just be a great loss to you.

Elegoo Neptune 3 uses about 250 Watts. This is a good choice for the home.

Leaving the 3d printer on after using will also increase your electricity bill. It is always advisable to shut it off when it is not in use to decrease the amount you pay for electricity bill.

Type of 3d printing technology

Once you decide to go into 3d printing, you must select the right 3d printing technology for your artifact. Although some technologies produce excellent print done others, you must make sure that you do not exceed your budget.

With various 3d printing technology like Selective Laser Sintering (SLS). Stereolithography (SLA) and Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM), the cheapest one to use is SLS.

It is not only cheap but can also print in large quantities with a variety of designs.

3d print bed

This mostly comes with the printer but can be replaced when it gets faulty. To increase the lifespan of your 3d print bed you can use adhesive tapes over it. This can be cleaned easily and most people like replacing them because it comes at a very low cost.

Post-processing procedure

When you remove the print from the bed, you may not get your desired product. You will need a few steps to make your product a final one. This will also determine how expensive 3d printing is as a hobby.

Although curing is an important aspect of the post-processing procedure, you can skip that step since the products are not going to be sold. Curing involves placing the 3d print in an oven which will increase the electricity bill.

Maintenance of the printer

One of the best ways of maintenance is cleaning the 3d printer bed. Maintaining the 3d printer will prevent it from developing a fault. As such you will not spend money buying new spare parts for the printer like the printer bed.

Maintenance of the 3d printer will sustain its efficiency and will not consume more energy than it is supposed to.


We have established that 3d printing is not an expensive hobby but it depends on other factors as well. Once you can observe these factors you will enjoy learning a new hobby which can even be a business for you later in life. I hope this blog has answered your question- Is 3d printing an expensive hobby?

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