Injection Molding vs. 3D Printing

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There is a lot of hype surrounding 3D printing today. 3D printing is a layer by layer joining process. The printer can print almost any part that can be modeled using a CAD software. 3D printing is a very cool process especially for prototyping and small quantity parts. It is very easy to make revisions and modify designs. Once a mold is made, it is much more difficult to make revisions to the part. Injection molding is fast and precise. The parts come out smooth and finished taking only seconds to make.  3D printing just can’t compare to injection molding in that respect. The time it takes to print a part varies significantly depending on the size a shape. However, even very simple parts will take hours to print and often the parts require sanding or some finish coating. Complexity of parts does not really change the cost of 3D printing while complex parts with tight tolerances can greatly affect the cost of an injection mold. 3D printing is a great way to prototype and do small tasks. Currently, injection molding is the best process for mass production. 3D printing will not be able to surpass the abilities of injection molding both economically and timely. It is very difficult to compare 3D printing and injection molding since they both have many advantages. Overall, if you are making low quantity, complex or prototype parts that will be modified and changed 3D printing is on of the best options. However, if finished parts that will be mass produced are desired, injection molding is far superior.

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