How Long Does it Take to 3D Print?

It is normal, and perfectly understandable, to want to get things done as quickly as possible, especially when working on a creative project. We want to see the results sooner rather than later, and excitement can often get the better of us.

If you are here, reading this article, you may be working on a 3D project. In order to do this, you will require high-resolution printers, all the correct materials to create the print, and a whole lot of patience to aid you through the overall process..

The time it takes to 3D print a part is determined by a number of elements: the size, materials, complexity, and printing technology chosen are all aspects to consider when creating your own 3D printed product. This process could take anywhere from 30 minutes to many days, depending on the previously mentioned factors.

3D printing follows the same logic as most creative projects: the larger the part and the more complicated it is to print, the longer amount of time it will take, whereas a smaller, more basic item will print far more quickly.

So, how long will your project take to complete? Continue reading this article to navigate through every detail you will need in order to learn the rough amount of time you will need to complete your own 3D prints.

Let’s jump straight into it.

Factors That Affect The Time Taken To Print 3D Objects

As previously mentioned, there are several different factors that will affect how quickly, or how slowly, your 3D project will take to print.

Below, we have listed a number of reasons that may affect the time needed to complete your project, whatever it may be.

The Size Of The 3D Object

When 3D printing, size is a significant component to think about. The more layers an item requires, the longer it will take to print due to the print head needing to move through as many more layers.

Regarding the part’s dimensions, the footprint (X, Y axis) is very important to remember. Given the distance the print head must move from its initial position, bigger prints take a little longer to manufacture.

Height, in addition to the part’s volume, is something that should be considered. As printed components are built up in layers, longer sections need more passes than shorter sections, lengthening the printing duration. Despite the comparable volume of the following parts, a section that is 4x4x4 will take less time to print than one that is 3x3x7.

The Type Of 3D Printing Being Used (And How It Is Used)

The type of 3D printing utilized has an overall effect on how long it takes, as some procedures take longer than others.

3D printing techniques can generally be divided into two types: paint brush, and paint roller printing. As it advances across the build tray, the paint brush approach extrudes the material from a single point, whereas the paint roller method extrudes material from a number of places on the print head by winding back and forth across the entire tray. As you can imagine, printing using a paintbrush takes far longer than printing with a roller.

In terms of overall speed, it would be presumed that increasing the printer’s speed to the maximum setting will provide you with the fastest prints possible.

It seems reasonable, but in this case, it is important to consider quality over quantity: the overall volume and quality settings of the print have a much greater impact on the length of time rather than the printer’s speed setting.

With a smaller printed object, the speed setting will have minimal effect, but with larger things, there is a 20 percent difference in print duration.

So, generally speaking, it would be a better decision to use a slower setting for better results. You can use a faster setting if you wish, but the overall quality of the product may lack.

Note: the speed of printing is measured in millimeters per second, ranging from 40mm per second to 150mm per second, based on the brand and model of the printer.

The Materials Used To Create The 3D Object

Thermoplastics, such as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), resins, metals, and ceramics are just a handful of materials used for printing 3D models.

Certain 3D printing components are more straightforward to work with compared to others. When compared to substances that are simple to operate, the more challenging materials are more likely to lower the print pace.

Each of the previously mentioned materials require different extrusion and bed temperatures, as well as different adhesion and setting times. All of these variables have an effect on printing rates.

Do your research into whichever materials you decide to work with, and consider not only the speed of the printing process, but the overall quality of your finished product.

The Complexity Of The 3D Object (Geometry)

The geometry complexity of a 3D printed component will influence the amount of time taken to print an item: the more complicated the geometry of the overall part being made, the greater the time will be required to manufacture.

If a part contains a lot of complex layers, the 3D printer will have to establish the constraints for each one before having to fill it in. The type of printing technology used could also influence the construction time, as some can install complicated structures at a faster rate than others.

The Infill Of The 3D Product

For those who do not know, the infill is the 3D part’s internal structure. The speed of the overall print will be greatly affected by the infill density, with more complicated patterns taking much longer to print.

Nevertheless, the most significant impact of infill on print speed is related to volume, with a greater density filling increasing the print time while improving the finished part’s robustness.

General Printing Times For Certain Sized 3D Objects

If you would like to see a quick, simple overview of the amount of time needed to print certain 3D objects, here is a list of estimated times for some items that can be created using a 3D printer:

  • A 2×4 Lego piece will take around 4 minutes to print.
  • A cell phone case (an iPhone 12 being 2.82 x 5.78’’) will take roughly 20 minutes to print.
  • A baseball, with an infill of 15%, will take around 2 hours to print.
  • A small toy will take between 1-5 hours to print, depending on the complexity of the product.

Final Thoughts

To summarize, the time it takes for your 3D printer to print is determined by the several elements listed above. As a result, check that you have selected the appropriate speed option for your 3D printer before starting the process.

You should also carefully choose the materials and designs you use for printing 3D things, as these will have a significant impact on the final outcome and, hopefully, will result in higher-quality prints.

Good luck!

Michael Moore
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