What’s the cost of printing with a MakerBot?

I’ve wondered for a while about the cost of operating a MakerBot.  Let’s break it down and see what happens:

  • Plastic. According to some calculations on the MakerBot Operators group, the cost of MakerBot ABS is around $0.03 – $0.04 per cubic centimeter based upon a price of $70 for 5 pounds (or 2268 grams) of ABS, a density of 1.2 grams per cubic centimeter. 1  Using the current prices of $81.36 for a 5 pound coil after shipping, I calculate the price of ABS at $0.035 per cubic centimeter.  Since we’re talking about such large numbers, let’s just round on up to $0.04/cc.
  • Time. Skeinforge has been estimating about 85 minutes to print 19 cc of plastic.  This comes to about 4.5 minutes/cc.
  • Electricity. At at $0.20/kWh, a MakerBot probably draws around $0.03 per hour.

Thus,we may estimate the cost of operating a MakerBot in terms of consumption of goods and resources (excluding computer, human, and MakerBot time and wear and tear) as follows, where V is the volume of the extruded object in cubic centimeters or “cc”:

Supposing I wanted to recoup the entire cost of my MakerBot to date and spread it across the entire life of a single 5 pound roll of ABS. 2  Let’s round the cost of the MakerBot, all repairs, and all extra MakerBot related materials up to $1,500.00.  One 5 pound coil would have 1890 cc’s of plastic.  This would come to $0.794 per cc of plastic.  So, I would suggest the cost of buying a MakerBot and printing off an entire coil of plastic would probably end up costing you about $0.85 per cubic centimeter of plastic.

Resource cost of printing a 19cc totally MakerBottable 3x2x1 Rubik’s Cube is $0.80.

Actual pro rated cost of printing a 19cc totally MakerBottable 3x2x1 Rubik’s Cube is $16.15.

Absolute cheapest MakerBot usage I’ve seen anywhere at Metrix:Create for members printing from Thingiverse is $0.30/minute, which would print the totally MakerBottable 3x2x1 Rubik’s Cube for $25.65.

  1. No one has yet quoted me a price on a pint of tears. []
  2. Printing an entire coil would take about 142 hours. []

3 Responses to “What’s the cost of printing with a MakerBot?”

  1. […] required for a single bearing.  The design probably requires about 0.5 cc of plastic per bearing, at a cost of $0.04/cc of plastic.  We’re looking at a materials cost of $3.18 for a full set of 53 bearings. 1  I believe […]

  2. […] how they charge for providing these services.  Obviously, there’s a cost associated with the plastic, electricity, wear and tear, failed prints, etc. 1 Setting aside the intrinsic value of what you have produced 2 , […]

  3. […] US$0.13 per cubic centimeter [ref]. While ABS costs US$0.03 – US$0.04 per cubic centimeter [ref]. So from a pure material point of view, your print is about 4 times as […]