How Long Does It Take 3D To Print a Piece?

long does 3d printing take

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3D printing technology has come a long way in recent years, and the speed at which 3D printers can produce objects is constantly improving. 

But with this new technology comes the question: how long does it take to 3D print a piece? The answer to this question largely depends on several factors, including the print size, complexity of the object, and the type of material and print head you are using.

Generally speaking, it takes anywhere from several hours to days for more complex objects. Smaller objects, such as jewelry, can usually be printed in just a few hours, while larger sculptures can take several days.

Many other factors, like the resolution of the printer and the quality setting chosen, can also influence the time it takes for the 3D printing job to finish. For example, a 3D printer using FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) technology may take less time than one using SLA (Stereolithography Apparatus) or SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) technology.

Okay! Let’s take a look at some of these factors in more detail.

Factors That Can Affect the Printing Time

3D Printing Technology

When it comes to 3D printing, the kind of technology being used significantly affects its total time and the quality of the final print. Different technologies use various ways to form material layers and some might be more rapid or slower than others. The layer thickness, and infill patterns are some of the slicer settings that can impact the quality and speed of the 3D printing job.

For instance, when using fused deposition modeling (FDM), the print head extrudes the material layer by layer. This methodology can be swifter when creating large objects, but the print quality may not be as good as other procedures. In contrast, selective laser sintering (SLS) uses a laser to fuse small particles of material together. While this method can take longer, it produces high-quality effects with a broad selection of 3D printing materials.

Object Size and Complexity

Both size and intricacy have an influence on the time it takes to 3D print. Bigger items require more material, multiple passes over the build area, plus additional cooling down period before they solidify, thus making them take longer than smaller ones.

Also, complex objects with finer details, such as slim walls or projections, may necessitate adding extra precision when printing as well as using support materials, which adds to their duration of production even further. In contrast, simpler pieces are printed faster since there is less detail for a machine to process in this instance.

Resolution and Quality Settings

If you choose to print with a higher resolution, the printer will take longer because it needs more time and effort to create the detailed features of your object.

In the same way, if you pick a lower-quality setting, the 3D printer will take less time and make an object with fewer details overall.

Infill

The internal structure of the object can also play a role in how long it takes to print a piece. In general, objects with higher infill settings will take longer to print because they need more time and material to create the internal structure.

Materials Used

Some materials may take longer to print than others, depending on the type of printer you are using. Filaments like ABS and PLA generally require less time than materials like metal or ceramic.

Some materials may take longer to print on because they are more fragile. This is especially true when making jewelry.

Printer’s Speed

The range of speeds at which 3D printers can operate is quite wide, from slow to extremely fast. Depending on the model of your printer and the print mode selected, it may take anywhere from a few hours for small objects to days for large ones.

Post-processing

It does not end after the 3D printer is done. After the printing process, you need to make your piece look like a finished product through post-processing such as

  • Sanding,
  • Painting and
  • Dryings

Depending on the complexity of the model and your skill level, this process could take some time too, so as to bring out the best of the 3D-printed model. Some parts of the piece might take more than 20 minutes.

The post-processing time is largely dependent on the size and complexity of the object. A small object might take just a few minutes to finish, while a larger one could take several hours.

How to Speed Up Your 3D Printing Process

If you find that the 3D printing process is taking too long, there are things you can do to speed up the process. It might just be that you need to use the right settings or materials for your object.

Optimize the Setting of Your 3D Printer

By optimizing your speed settings, you may be able to reduce the time required to print a piece. Experimenting with different speed settings can help you find the one that works best for your 3D printer. 

However, it is important to note that adjusting the speed may also impact the quality of the print. Keep this in mind as you experiment with different settings.

Use the Right Materials

 The material used in 3D printing can have a significant impact on the printing time. Different materials have their own unique characteristics and choosing the right one for your object can help reduce the print time. For example, if your object requires a lot of detail, PLA or ABS may be the best choice as they can produce detailed prints quickly. 

On the other hand, if your object does not need a lot of detail, using a material like nylon or polycarbonate may help speed up the process. It is important to consider the specific requirements of your object and choose a material that will allow for efficient printing.

Post-processing

To speed up post-processing for your 3D printing job, you can use power tools such as sanders or polishers on the print head. These tools can help you finish objects quickly and efficiently with minimal effort. It may be helpful to do some research on other tools that can also be useful in post-processing for different print sizes and materials.

By utilizing the right tools and techniques, you can streamline the post-processing process and save turnaround time. It is also worth noting that slower printing speeds can improve the quality of the finished product.

Reduce the Size of Your 3D Model

If you have a 3D model that is too large and complicated, you can reduce the size of the object to speed up your printing process. This will help reduce both the amount of time it takes to print and the amount of material used.

FAQ

Why Do 3D Printers Take So Long to Print?

Depending on your 3D printer’s speed, the kind of material you use, and if post-processing is required, printing an object can take some time. 3D printers typically take longer to print because they need more time and material to create the internal structure.

How Fast Can You Print on a 3D Printer?

The speed at which you can print on a 3D printer will depend on several factors, including the type and size of the printer, the type and size of the nozzle being used, the complexity of the model being printed, and the type of plastic being used. 

In general, most 3D printers are capable of printing at speeds of around 50-300 millimeters per second (mm/s). Some high-end printers can print even faster, but these speeds may not always be necessary or appropriate for the model being printed.

What Is the Fastest Thing to 3D Print?

The speed of a 3D printer largely depends on the model and how complex your design is. That being said, some of the quickest prints are usually either small parts or prototypes that don’t need much post-production.

For example, if you have access to a high-speed 3D printer with a straightforward design, it can print smaller objects in 30 minutes or less typically.

What Happens if You 3D Print Too Fast?

When you print too fast, it can cause a number of issues, such as excessive layer shifting, and the extruded plastic may not have enough time to cool and solidify properly. This can cause the printed layers to be weaker and less precise, and may also result in visible defects such as stringing or drooping.

Does Pausing a 3D Print Ruin It?

Pausing a 3D print generally shouldn’t ruin it, but it can cause some issues depending on the length of the pause and the type of plastic being used. If you pause a 3D print for a short period of time (a few minutes or less), the extruded plastic should remain hot enough to prevent it from solidifying.
However, if you pause the print for an extended period of time (several hours or more), the extruded plastic may cool and solidify, which could cause problems when you resume printing.

Final Thoughts

3D printing can take a varying amount of time depending on the size and complexity of the project, but it is always worth the wait. To reduce print time and improve the quality of your prints, consider factors such as settings, materials, and post-processing. 

By taking these factors into account, you can get the most out of your 3D printer and produce high-quality prints in a shorter amount of time. While it may take some time to optimize your 3D printing process, the effort will ultimately pay off in the form of better, faster prints.

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