Calculator: Finding the ‘reel’ cost of volumetric filament pricing

Feb 18th, 2022

2 min read

The cost of materials are an important factor when calculating a 3D printer’s total cost of ownership. Closed material systems, especially for industrial 3D printers, often mark up the cost of their materials, sometimes as much as 500% for simple commodity polymers. To help disguise the costs, these proprietary materials are often sold in volumetric (cubic centimeter / inch) increments instead of the industry standard weight-based pricing. So how do you convert this into a cost you can compare?

How to Convert Cubic Centimeter Filaments to Kilograms for Cost Comparison

First, you will need to find the filament’s Material Data Sheet (MDS) or Technical Data Sheet (TDS). Here you will find the material’s density or specific gravity, often stated in grams per cubic centimeter. To help, we have provided a list of common materials and densities below for reference. Now that you have the density use the following equation or use the calculator below.

    \[ {Cost\: [\$/kg]} = \frac{Price\: [\$] *1000}{Specific\: Gravity\: [g/cm^3]*\:Volume\:[cm^3]} \]

Calculate Cost

Convert cubic cm filament to cost per kg.


Reel size:  0kg

Cost:  $0/kg

Common Material Densities & Open Market Pricing

MaterialDensity (g/cm³)Cost per kg (USD)
Carbon Fiber (10%) Nylon 1.17122
PEEK 1.29707
PEKK-A (Amorphous)1.26832
PEI (ULTEM™ 9085)1.34285

The Value of Open Material Systems in Industrial 3D Printing

Open material systems like the AON M2+ High Temperature 3D Printer provide more material options compared to closed systems while providing significantly higher return on investment. Assuming 15kg of ABS used per month, a business can save upwards of $34,000 on annual basis by using an open material system. Materials are not the only factor when calculating the total cost of ownership of a 3D printer, find the equations and which expenses should be considered here.