Design Case StudyWe often get asked how much our design and 3D print services cost. This is always a difficult question to answer because cost is very much dependant upon the amount of time we have to put into a project. Client confidentiality means there are not many projects we can share, so we are planning a series of Design Case Studies.

Our first design case study demonstrates how our design process works and  how much we would charge to design and 3D print one of our promotional items, shown on the left.


Design Case StudyThe first thing we needed to do was decide what we wanted designed and what the purpose of the product was going to be. Had we been working for a client we would have arranged a meeting with them to discuss their requirements.

All projects have to start somewhere. We always have a “free of charge” meeting of up to one hour long to discuss requirements with our potential clients. This allows us to work out how long we will need to quote for the job.

The requirements for this project are as follows….

  • The client needs at least one off promotional desk ornament that demonstrates their design process at trade shows.
  • The final item is to be around 125mm tall.
  • A smaller version is required for posting to prospective clients, this will be 3D printed in batches of 10.
  • The desk ornament is to be 3D printed in our basic white resin.
  • The client has a graphic they would like to use as the base feature.

We now have enough information to provide a quotation for the design and 3D print of the items. As with all of our quotations, we explain to the client that as long as the scope of the project does not change, the quotation will be the maximum amount we will charge. If we can make time savings or can 3D print them more cost effectively we will pass these saving onto them.

We advise the client that due to the material used to make the 3D printed parts they will not be suitable for children under 14 years old and that as we will no be conducting any strength testing the parts will be purely ornamental.

Design Time: Create a 3D Cad model from clients graphic
2 hours @ £40 per hour = £80 (+VAT)

3D Print Large Ornament: SLA printing: Part size Approx size of 125mm X 25mm X 100mm
1 off @ £41 (+ VAT)
2 off @ £26 each (+VAT) (£52 + VAT)

3D Print 10 Smaller Ornaments: SLA printing: part size of approx 60mm X 12mm X 50mm
10 off @ £3.50 each = £35 (+VAT)

Total: Assuming the client would like 2 large ornaments
£167 (+VAT)


Design Case StudyThe client decides to continue with the project based on the quotation.

In accordance with our terms and conditions we send them a Pro-Forma invoice for £50% of the total quotation (£83.50 +VAT). Once the funds have cleared into our bank we make a start on the project.

We remind the client that as long as the scope of the project does not change our final invoice will be for no more than £83.50 (VAT). We also remind them that if the project comes in under budget we will pass the savings on to them.

Once we have received the Pro-Forma payment we make a start on the project. We create a number of design options and share them with the client. This gives them the opportunity to make suggestions on the final design.

Because very few people can visualise things in 3D from a 2D image we send our client a “Free of Charge” miniature 3D printed version of their desk ornament. Once they receive the 3D printed prototype they give us the go ahead to 3D print the final products.


Design Case StudyThe design and 3D printing is now completed. As this is a design and 3D print contract our commitment to the client is very nearly completed. We prepare our final invoice for the client and collect all of the documentation we can together to send to the client with their final invoice,

We saved some time on the design. It only took us 1 1/2 hours, not the 2 hours we quoted. This saving is passed onto the client and we deduct £20 (+VAT) from the final invoice.

There were a few problems with the 3D printing. The first full size ornament failed to print fully due to a power cut. However this was not the fault of he client, nor had they changed the project scope. Therefore we do not pass this additional cost onto the client.

The client asks if we could post the items to them. This is a change to original project scope so this cost is added to the clients invoice.

The client is reminded that because of the nature of the material used for the 3D printed parts they are not suitable for children under the age of 14 and that are for ornamental and evaluation use only. When we pack the products for posting we include a copy of the Material Technical Data Sheet and Material Safety Data Sheet for their records. We also remind the client that if they wish to use the parts outside of the agreed project scope they would need to invest in further toxicological and physical testing.


There we have it… Two full sized custom desk ornaments plus ten miniature desk ornaments for £153 (+VAT). If the client would like to order further copies of the ornaments we are happy to supply them at the original 3D print cost.

Want more information?

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