How much does an industrial 3D printer cost?

How much does an industrial 3D printer cost?

A guide to 3D printer costs - from desktop to industrial 3D printers - and factors to consider when deciding how much to invest.

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How much does a 3D printing machine cost?

As we’re sure you can imagine, this question is a little like asking, ‘how long is a piece of string?’ The answer, realistically, depends. 3D printers are available from small, low-cost home machines to large-scale industrial printers. Some require a limited setup, others are extremely technical and demanding. Some are good for single items, others are good for industrial quantities—some good for plastics, others good for metals. 

Working out how much a 3D printing machine will cost

The best way for you to work out how much you can expect to pay is to come to as full an understanding of your needs as you can, then try to base your quote specifically on those needs. To help you understand the things you need to consider, continue reading, and we’ll guide you through the rough costs of 3D printing machines and what you can expect to pay.

What is the price of the different 3D printing technologies and manufacturing processes?

To help you get a better understanding of 3D printing machine prices, here is a guide to what you might expect to pay, depending on your requirements. Remember though, these 3D printer costs and price ranges are only rough outlines, and the final costs will depend on your specific applications and operations needs.

A guide to 3D printing machine price ranges

Entry level 3D printers

Approximate price range: $100-$500

3D printing may not seem like something that can be done at home, but it most certainly is. In fact, all over the world, people are 3D printing in their homes, garages, and even workshops to make new products, decorative items, and more.

This is possible because of a generation of low-cost, entry-level 3D printers that sell for under $500. These printers are small and often simple, so they can only print small and elementary designs, often from easily obtainable materials. With that in mind, they’re not suitable for most industrial operations but can be a useful asset for individual or low-end prototyping needs on a tight budget.

Be aware, though these printers can be slow, noisy, error-prone, and can typically only print in a single material. Unless you’re on a budget, it’s usually wiser to spend a little more and open a higher level of performance.

Intermediate 3D printers

Approximate price range: $400-$1500

Spending a little more money will often have great returns. The next category of printer will allow you to print bigger objects, often in a range of materials and at better quality. There might be some more time spent assembling, calibrating, and testing before you start printing and the print speeds are often slower than more expensive machines, but typically these machines are useful for testing out designs or for use as teaching tools. Another limitation here is likely the length of run, as printers in this range are only suitable for single items, and not for lengthy print runs.

On the software front, you’ll find plenty of open-source software available to experiment with designs, but you should expect limited support, so you’ll have to spend a lot of your own time tuning, troubleshooting, and maintaining your machines. Material choices are typically low-temperature plastics like PLA, PETG, and ABS.

Enthusiast 3D printers

Approximate price range: $1,000-$4,000

If you’ve tried 3D printing and have seen the difference that it can make, then you might want to consider upgrading to a more capable and robust machine. 3D printers in this category can often print items as large as 12 inches in each dimension and do so at a reasonable speed and print quality. In this category, you’ll also get a wider selection of printable materials.

However, many printers in this price range are still not very durable and might even need significant maintenance and repairs if they’re used constantly. These printers should be considered at the highest end of the home or non-professional category. Some businesses might find them suitable, but if 3D printing is going to form a significant part of your workflow, it is usually advisable to make an investment in the professional category, which typically starts just above this bracket.

Low-end Professional 3D printers

Approximate price range: $4,000-$20,000

If you’re a professional organization approaching 3D printing, this is where you will want to start. Printers in this price range can deliver significant benefits, mainly for prototyping.

The build areas are bigger, the overall quality is better, and the range of materials expands to include 3D print materials like nylon, carbon fiber, and polycarbonate.

Here you will also experience faster print speeds compared with lower priced 3D printing machines, with better quality output. 3D printer manufacturers in this price bracket typically offer more support and better warranties. While it may seem like a significant investment upfront, if you’re planning on using 3D printing to its full potential, it is often more cost-effective to spend upfront on your machine rather than buying a smaller machine that you might quickly outgrow.

High-end Professional 3D printers

Approximate price range: $20,000-$100,000

As you move further along in your 3D printing adoption curve and define how important a role 3D printing plays in your overall business model and if you are looking to increase the number of parts in your 3D print—you may want to look into higher price brackets, as these types of 3D printers can offer greater build volume and throughput translating into higher productivity and therefore lower cost per part versus the lower-end 3D printer price categories. 3D printing equipment in this price range also tends to be designed for more specific applications and materials.

Enterprise/Industrial 3D printers

Approximate price range: +$100,000

If you’re now familiar with 3D printing or have decided to make it a permanent part of your manufacturing workflow, then industrial-level 3D printers are where you should be looking. These 3D printers can print quality parts at high speeds, and so will return investment faster, even if the initial outlay is more significant. Higher-end 3D printing equipment, like for example the HP Jet Fusion 5200 Industrial 3D Printer have user-friendly interfaces and reliable, durable construction, important for repeated use. They are typically designed for rapid, volume part production combined with manufacturing predictability, reliability, and productivity. The yield combined with throughput, productivity, and cost per part that you would get from one of these manufacturing-ready industrial 3D printers is of course a world away from entry-level 3D printers.

Printers at this size are versatile, durable, and reliable, but they do typically require an operator, so the investment makes them more appropriate for businesses who are certain about the role 3D printing plays in their supply chain.

Bear in mind that in this high-end range, the price may be calculated as a solution made up of different elements that the 3D printer vendor recommends as the best fit for your needs—e.g., 3D printer hardware, post-processing equipment, services, and other elements that support your manufacturing workflow. 

Is a 3D printing machine worth the price?

This is really the key business question. Unfortunately, like most important business questions, it's also quite a complicated one to answer. A lot of it boils down to part cost, i.e., will the return on investment be worth the outlay once you go into significant production of parts? Does 3D printing bring additional value to your parts or products that you cannot achieve via other manufacturing methods? Do you want to keep control of your IP and have full control and flexibility in-house over the design and manufacturing process - or do you prefer to outsource your design and/or manufacturing operations to a 3rd party?

Understanding the benefits and detractions of both options versus your business model and priorities will help you come to the right decision for your organization.

Should I consider 3D printing in-house?

Manufacturing parts in-house will give you more control and agility in the design and overall production process and over time can lead to considerable cost savings. If keeping your Intellectual Property safe is a concern, then this is another important consideration. However, this will also come with running costs, material costs and maintenance costs, on your chosen machine. Most of these costs can be factored into the purchase price of the object, part, or product you eventually create, but as you will have seen the initial outlay to buy an industrial 3D printing machine can be significant and should be factored in into your overall decision.

That said – financial and consulting services can help ease any budget or operational concerns about 3D printing that you may have:

Provide you with the flexibility to meet both your technology and financial plans, and allow you to allocate your cash budget for other priorities:

  • No large up-front payment
  • Align payments with revenue by leveraging step payments or deferred payments
  • Simplify your administration: bundle hardware and services into a single agreement
  • Agility to change as your requirements evolve, refresh every 3–5 years

In this business climate, there are many advantages to a “pay-as-you-go” business model when the focus is on outcomes. Paying on a usage basis puts the focus on your business results rather than equipment or transactions.

  • Avoid up-front investment—and help align your costs directly with your revenue by paying monthly.1
  • Usage-based price per successful 3D printing build2 gives you certainty around your variable costs.
  • Gain new operational efficiencies by simplifying supplies ordering and inventory management.3

HP’s team of Additive Manufacturing consultants can offer expert guidance at every step of your additive manufacturing adoption journey, from concept to product development to production—helping you identify viable strategic opportunities, optimize design for breakthrough applications, and streamline manufacturing processes, and setting up a factory to enable you to scale production.

Should I outsource to a 3D parts supplier?

Depending on a variety of considerations—for example, how many parts you plan to produce in a year and your level of 3D printing expertise - it may make more sense to have your 3D printing needs met by a third-party supplier, though there can be disadvantages to this too. While it may reduce the cost per part if your volumes are still too low to justify investing in a 3D printing machine, it also gives you less control over of the design and development phase, and can come with extended lead or production times, not to mention shipping, which could slow down your process. It's important to consider whether the cost-saving outweighs the loss of control and longer lead times. 

That said, if you know you are early on in your 3D printing adoption curve and aren’t quite ready to step into full ownership of a 3D printing machine – maybe your expertise is not there yet, or you don’t yet want to manage operations, maintenance and manufacturing processes – then partnering with a 3D printing service provider can be the ideal solution. 3D printing service providers and parts suppliers can add a lot of value, as they typically have solid experience with different types of 3D printing technologies and expertise in applications development across different industries.

Take a look at the HP Digital Manufacturing Network—a global network and directory of 3D parts suppliers that can help accelerate your business’ digital transformation with 3D printed parts—enabling rapid innovation, fast time-to-market, distributed manufacturing, and a lean supply chain.

HP Digital Manufacturing Network partners have been evaluated and qualified based on their end-to-end 3D printing service capabilities for production at scale, as well as their manufacturing and quality processes. HP Digital Manufacturing partners offer:


  • Advanced Additive Manufacturing processes
  • Industry standard certifications
  • Robust quality management
  • Volume job production

Search the HP Digital Manufacturing Network directory  to connect with a wide network of HP certified 3D parts suppliers around the world.

Overall business impact

It’s important to remember that costs aren’t everything. 3D printers can provide your company with value-add part production capabilities, that translate into significant business benefits that may not show up on your short-term bottom line, but will provide your business with key long-term advantages over competitors in the rest of your industry. Many industries – you can see some examples in our “What can you make with a 3D printer?” article - are witnessing a complete transformation in traditional business models thanks to the new possibilities that 3D printing helps to unlock.

3D printing is enabling design teams around the world to get functioning prototypes and final parts faster than ever, these parts can often be printed same day, iterated, and developed within weeks, instead of months. If it helps you to think in terms of metaphors, imagine the typewriter and the inkjet printer. There was a time when the cost of an inkjet printer might have seemed prohibitively expensive, but today does anyone still use a typewriter?

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Footnotes and disclaimers

  1. HP 3DaaS: defined usage-based price applies for a one-year term.
  2. A successful build is a printed job that ends with the exit code  “job_completed_successfully.”
  3. HP Supplies and Automatic Replenishment is currently available in the US, Canada, Austria, Belgium, Check Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, UK and South Korea. HP 3DaaS Service Only (HP Supplies not included) is available in Mexico, Brazil, Israel, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Greece and South Africa (China, Singapore and Taiwan availability in May 2022).