cost of pla per gram


cost of pla per gram: Exploring the Economics of 3D Printing


In recent years, 3D printing has gained popularity due to its versatility in various industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, and even personal use. One of the most commonly used materials in 3D printing is PLA (Polylactic Acid), which is a biodegradable plastic made from renewable resources like cornstarch or sugarcane. While 3D printing offers numerous advantages, it is essential to understand the cost of pla per gram to make informed decisions regarding its usage.

What is PLA?

PLA is a type of thermoplastic that is widely used in 3D printing. It is popular due to its low melting point, ease of use, availability, and eco-friendly nature. PLA is derived from renewable resources and is biodegradable, making it an attractive choice for those concerned about the environmental impact of their manufacturing processes.

How is the Cost of PLA Calculated?

The cost of pla per gram can vary depending on various factors such as brand, quality, quantity, and location. Typically, the cost is calculated based on the weight of the filament spool, which comes in different sizes, ranging from 250 grams to 5 kilograms. The price is usually stated per kilogram and can range from $15 to $50, with an average cost of around $20 to $30 per kilogram.

Calculating the cost per gram is relatively simple. Firstly, you need to determine the cost per kilogram of PLA by dividing the total cost by the weight of the spool in kilograms. Once you have the cost per kilogram, you can convert it to cost per gram by dividing the cost per kilogram by 1000.

For example, if a 1-kilogram spool of PLA costs $20, the cost per gram would be $0.02 (20/1000 = 0.02). Similarly, if a 250-gram spool costs $10, the cost per gram would be $0.04 (10/250 = 0.04). Therefore, the cost of pla per gram may vary depending on the size of the spool you purchase.

Factors Affecting the Cost

1. Brand and Quality: As with any product, different brands offer PLA of varying quality and prices. Established and reliable brands may have higher prices due to better quality control and consistency. Cheaper brands or generic PLA may have lower prices but can also result in a compromised printing experience.

2. Quantity: Buying PLA in larger quantities often provides cost savings. The price per kilogram may be significantly lower when purchasing a larger spool or multiple spools together. This can be beneficial for frequent users or businesses that require a consistent supply of PLA.

3. Location: Location can also impact the cost of pla per gram. Prices may vary depending on the availability and proximity of suppliers or shipping costs if purchasing online. Local market conditions and competition can also influence the price.

Advantages of Using PLA

When considering the cost of pla per gram, it is essential to evaluate its advantages and potential cost savings in the long run. PLA offers several benefits worth considering:

1. Eco-Friendly: PLA is made from renewable resources and is biodegradable, making it an environmentally friendly choice compared to other plastics derived from fossil fuels, such as ABS.

2. Easy to Use: PLA is relatively easy to print with and does not require a heated print bed, simplifying the printing process for beginners.

3. Less Warping: PLA has less warping and shrinkage compared to other materials, minimizing the need for additional support structures and reducing material wastage.

4. Wide Color Range: PLA is available in a wide variety of vibrant colors, allowing for the creation of visually appealing and colorful prints.


Understanding the cost of pla per gram is crucial for both individuals and businesses utilizing 3D printing technology. PLA offers a cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution for 3D printing needs. While the cost of PLA can vary based on factors such as brand, quality, quantity, and location, its benefits, such as being eco-friendly, easy to use, and having less warping, make it an attractive choice for many. By considering the cost of PLA in relation to the quality and quantity needed, one can make informed decisions that balance both budget constraints and desired outcomes in 3D printing projects.