Affordable printing


I spent days using Tinkercad a great tool and that its free makes it even better, building something. After designing what amounts to being equivalent to an oversized D size flashlight, i saved the file and uploaded it to Shapeways and iMaterialize. Both came back with price quotes that left my jaw on the floor. Talk about sticker shock. I was under the expectation that 3d printing was affordable to the average consumer, only to have them ask for around $500 on the low end and upwards of $1000+ on the high material end for my printed design! What am I missing here? Everyone is hyping up 3d printing as the new great thing, only for me to discover that if i want to print what i've made, it's like ransomware. Who pays a mortgage sized payment for a metal flashlight? Something's not right.

As you can see, i'm still reeling from sticker shock, and would appreciate feedback regarding this. I don't know how else to make my design materialize. I imagined paying a few dollars for a prototype in plastic PLA filament, and then adding a smooth surface and weight to it using the metal filaments. 




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