A friend wanted some hard drive brackets

He looked online, and the cheapest he could find them where about $4.75 a set, shipped.

So we looked at the ever-useful ThingiVerse and found http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:13472 which are the brackets he needed. So I printed him up a few sets.

This is my first 'print for hire'. He's pretty excited that the printer can be used for making actual, useful things. Things that solve problems. Like hard drives not fitting into a computer.

My cost per set is about $0.85. So I saved my friend $15-20 between the 5 sets I printed him.

I gave him these. But I am tying to figure out a fair price to charge for prints. I obviously need to cover my costs, both in plastic and electricity. There is also some setup time for me. There is some wear and tear on the machine. There is also an opportunity cost, as it could be printing out things for me!

I don't expect to get rich on the machine, but I would like to make enough to keep me covered for spare parts and consumables.

Thoughts?

In album

The computer went to sleep near the end of the print and the printer cooled off with the nozzle touching the print. Trying to lift the Z axis, it picked the part right off the bed.

Don’t let the host computer sleep on the job or a potential for bad things happening exist. Luckily, this had a happy ending.

Printing 2 at a time. I have a torque to my frame that I can’t figure out how to get rid of, so my edges are unusable for me at the moment or I could have printed them all at the same time.

.4 infill with 3 layers seems to have put too much material down and gave me a rough finish on the flat part.

only 2 solid layers seems to have given me enough ‘room’ to get a good flat surface.

These adapt a laptop hard drive to a desktop drive bay.

Left and middle is .2mm layer height, .4 infill 3 solid shells layers with a cold bed. Right is the best with only 2 solid shells and a heated bed. The plastic just lays down better on a heated bed.

You can see the curling on the edges on the center piece really well, while the right piece is pretty flat. Heated build platform for the win!

A pile of pieces! This pile cost me less than $5 to make. It would have cost nearly $25, shipped, if I had ordered something similar online.

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2 Replies to “A friend wanted some hard drive brackets”

  1. As I see it, there are basically two types of prints you can do: one-offs, and duplicates.

    Printing a one-off item, especially if you have to design it yourself, you need to charge more than just your machine's time and cost to produce the part.

    Duplicates, on the other hand, where you are producing something that they could get elsewhere, the primary thing you need to look at is making it a win/win – you need to find out what price they can get it for elsewhere, then make sure that you can set a lower price while still covering your costs +/- whatever value you associate to the evangelization of 3d printing.

    I don't know that you need to be concerned about the opportunity cost of what you could otherwise be printing unless you manage to keep your printer running pretty much continuously, or at least continuously during the time you have available to devote to it. If you do keep it running, then yes, consider your opportunity cost, but I would still put a discount on that – after all, you are not losing the opportunity to obtain X, merely delaying it.

  2. As I see it, there are basically two types of prints you can do: one-offs, and duplicates.

    Printing a one-off item, especially if you have to design it yourself, you need to charge more than just your machine's time and cost to produce the part.

    Duplicates, on the other hand, where you are producing something that they could get elsewhere, the primary thing you need to look at is making it a win/win – you need to find out what price they can get it for elsewhere, then make sure that you can set a lower price while still covering your costs +/- whatever value you associate to the evangelization of 3d printing.

    I don't know that you need to be concerned about the opportunity cost of what you could otherwise be printing unless you manage to keep your printer running pretty much continuously, or at least continuously during the time you have available to devote to it. If you do keep it running, then yes, consider your opportunity cost, but I would still put a discount on that – after all, you are not losing the opportunity to obtain X, merely delaying it.

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