Is 3D printing better than injection molding? This is a common question we get at Slant 3D. The answer is it really depends on what parts you are trying to make. Your project details including your deadlines, the product you are printing, and how the product is being used are all valuable pieces of information we can use to help decipher whether 3D printing is the right option for you. One of the key pieces of information that we need to determine this is whether or not your product is an enclosed body.
An enclosed body in 3D printing means that the design has a closed print chamber. This means there is no airflow that runs through the product and it is virtually solid. 3D printing is exceptionally good at making products with enclosed bodies like a solid cube. On the other hand, injection molding physically cannot make a solid cube that is about two inches small.
Creating solid objects with injection molding usually takes longer because of this multi-step process. However with 3D printing, you can print a solid cube directly off the printer and send it out as is.
Another option with 3D printing is to also fill your product with infill. The reason for this is because it has the durability of a solid object but it is more cost effective because it uses less plastic. Inside the product would look like a honeycomb pattern that is able to maintain excellent structural integrity but also be light weight and use less material. Injection molding cannot do this.
So if you have a solid part, we suggest that 3D printing is probably the right direction for you. With 3D printing your product can be ready to ship directly off the printer rather than having a multi-step manufacturing process. With 3D printing there is also no need to redesign your product in order to prevent deformation because that issue is no one that 3D printing has. We are going to continue the conversation about 3D Printing versus Injection Molding in future blogs to come so make sure you are following Slant 3D on social media to see when we post our next blog post on the topic.