Table of Contents_
When selecting the best 3D printer, there are many different things to consider. However, sometimes, before picking out the best printer, you need to compare it to similar types of technology. There are a lot of adjacent devices to 3D printing, and below we’ll compare injection molding vs 3D printing.
Check out more of our articles! We have plenty of helpful resources explaining the various 3D printers types, like MSLA vs SLA or FFF vs FDM.
3D printing is an additive manufacturing process where a device uses either a polymer filament or liquid resin to create an object layer by layer. On the other hand, injection molding is a machine that inserts melted plastic into a mold, then goes through a process of cooling.
There are finishing products that can be incorporated into injection mold material to change the texture of the finish.
Both 3D printing and injection molding are techniques used to create objects via programmable designs. However, there are stark differences between the two in terms of protection volume, print time, print quality, and cost.
Anyone considering a 3D printer should understand the varying types of filaments. Only then can you select the right printer to suit your needs adequately. For more information on that, check out our articles comparing PLA vs PLA+ filament or our guide on SLA vs FDM.
Anyone planning to create bulk parts would be better off going with injection molding. While 3D printers are becoming more capable of printing at high speed, they are primarily used for prototyping.
On the other hand, injection molding is one of the fastest processes out there when it comes to making many parts quickly.
While injection molding is excellent for producing parts on a large scale, the technology is very rigid regarding the ability to create complex designs. Additional tools and applications can be added to increase the versatility, but these are often costly options.
3D printing is outstanding for tweaking designs and creating complex objects. However, compared to other similar technologies, additive manufacturing makes it easy to alter plans and form complicated print models with intricate designs.
Changing the design of a print in injection molding, even slightly, costs a significant amount of money.
Injection molding is one of the speediest manufacturing methods out there. 3D printers vary in print times depending on the type of printer and material, but they will be much slower because they are limited in production capabilities.
Evaluating cost all depends on the production volume. 3D printing technology presents a cheaper overhead cost if you’re making parts in small batches. However, plastic injection molding will be much cheaper if you manufacture it for mass production.
STAT: The first injection molding machine was invented in 1872. (source)