Filament for a 3-D printer reel costs around $45 per kilogram as of 2015, so printing an object the size of a nut cracker costs around $1.80, and an object the size of a thimble costs around $0.15. Most 3-D printers use standard filament cartridges.
3-D printing is also called additive manufacturing, and it is the process of creating three-dimensional objects from digital files by laying down thin horizontal cross-sections of plastic filament. People create designs for 3-D printing using computer aided design software to create new objects or with a 3-D scanner to recreate existing objects. Different 3-D printing processes include selective laser melting, direct metal laser sintering and fused deposition modeling.