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Advantages of 3D Printing

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3D printing has growing demand and is becoming very popular. It provides some revolutionary benefits that are making the industries embrace 3D printing technology.

If you are not aware of the significant benefits of 3D printing, this article is for you. In this guide, we will discuss the advantages that the 3D printing process offers over the other traditional methods.

Continue reading below to know everything about 3D printing technology and its several advantages and also disadvantages.

What Are The Advantages of 3D Printing?

Best 3D printersThe benefits of this new, revolutionary and innovative technology are numerous. However, we will be discussing only a few of them. It will help you get a better understanding of the 3D printing process.

Below is the list of significant advantages of 3D printing over traditional methods.

1. Speed

Speed is one of the best advantages of 3D printing technology. It enables Rapid Prototyping. You may ask what rapid prototyping is. It helps in creating the design, manufacturing, and testing a customized part in the shortest time. Moreover, you can even modify the design without hampering the speed of the manufacturing process.

In the earlier days, where the 3D printing industry was not in existence or not popular, manufacturing was a tedious task. If you want to manufacture a prototype, it will take many weeks. Let us assume you need a change. It would add a few more weeks to the process, making the entire manufacturing procedure a lengthy one. Let us include the shipping time, as well. Now, the total time taken for developing a product from starting to finish would almost take a year.

After the 3D printing technology started flourishing, it could curb the crisis in the manufacturing process. Designing a part, manufacturing it, and testing it – all can be achieved in a few days.

The best part of the 3D printing technique is that it allows businesses the creativity and freedom to create anything they want. What’s more? You can do it without the help of expensive machinery and warehouses. It further minimizes the lead time when it comes to outsourcing typical manufacturing projects. You can design, create, and customize products easily. This technology puts no restrictions on the minimum orders. This is a significant advantage small businesses can have with 3D printing technology.

2. Cost-Effective Technology

3D printing is the best option for small businesses and production units. This is because it contributes to the cost-effective manufacturing process. If we consider the traditional methods, they require expensive machinery in a large number. Hence, their labour costs are also high, as they need only professionals and experienced technicians to operate them.

Contrary to the above, 3D printing technology does not require any of this. All it needs is one or two machines and very few operators to run them. Moreover, you will have less waste material and do not need additional tooling, as well.

3. Flexibility

The other commendable advantage you get with the 3D printing technique is flexibility. You can create almost anything and everything with this, fitting the build volume.

This is the limitation of the traditional manufacturing processes. They do not give you the flexibility like the 3D printing process. You need to manufacture a new tool, mould, etc. if you want to create or change the design of every single part.

This is what you do in 3D printing – you feed the required design in the slicer software and add the supports needed. Finally, you print it without changing the equipment. Even if you have to change, it would be very little.

Using 3D printing, you can create and manufacture geometrics, including those with hollow cavities. You can even create parts that comprise within the parts. This is something you do not find in traditional thinking.

3D printing allows users the flexibility to insert multiple materials into a single object. It enables the mix and match of an array of colours, textures, and mechanical properties.

Don’t you have experience in CAD? Do not worry! You can still use the 3D printing technique to edit designs as per your interest. You can even create unique, and customized new parts in different materials using the same design.

4. Competitive Advantage

The other benefit of 3D printing is its competitive advantage. This technology allows businesses to produce, enhance and improvise a better product in the shortest time possible.

Using the 3D process businesses can demonstrate their products to their customers. This reduces the risk of misunderstandings and miscommunication between the investors and the industries.

Consequently, they can obtain feedback from their customers and further work on the enhancement of the product. This will eliminate the risk of incurring high upfront expenditures for the prototyping process.

5. Print on Demand

As mentioned earlier, the 3D printing technique does not require a large inventory and expensive machinery. As a result, it will save you a lot of space and also costs. You can manufacture as and when required.

Unlike the traditional manufacturing processes, you can store all your design files in a virtual library. You can access this library at the time of printing with the help of a CAD or STL file. And the best part, you can edit these designs by editing the files whenever you want without spending a lot of money. Moreover, you do not need to invest in the tool for the editing process and do not worry about the out-of-date inventory wastage.

6. Fast Design and Production

The other advantage of 3D printing is that it enables fast design and the production of the part. It takes just a few hours to print the objects. If the design is less complex, it may take even lesser time than that. Overall, the speed with which the printing is done is very quick when compared to the moulded parts. Both the manufacturing of the part and the design are less time-consuming. You can save a lot of time on the design by creating STL or CAD files that are ready for printing.

7. Quality

3D printing assures the quality of the design and the part. Unlike the traditional methods that do not guarantee great designs and good quality prototypes, 3D printing helps in improved quality. Moreover, the former does not facilitate the proper blending of the involved elements. As a result, the final output will be of low quality. This is more evident in the subtractive approach or the injection approach.

Contrary to the above, the 3D printing process assures enhanced design and improved quality of the parts or products.

8. Consistency

The most common problem that businesses are likely to face with the traditional manufacturing methods is inconsistency. You can have inconsistent and, sometimes, damaged products or parts with less quality in comparison to the other remaining parts.

3D printing counters this effectively by printing the parts in a sequence. You can supervise each sequential part to track the errors promptly. It further minimizes the total number of disregarded parts while facilitating consistent quality in all the generated parts.

9. Risk Reduction

3D printing helps businesses to mitigate through the quality and consistency it offers. It further enables product designers to verify the prototypes even before they get started with the manufacturing investments.

10. Accessibility

The 3D printing technology allows for greater accessibility. It is very accessible and involves less management and installation costs when compared to the traditional methods. Moreover, it requires human labour to operate, manage, supervise and handle the equipment. Hence, many people adopt it because of these factors.

11. Less Waste, More Sustainable

3D printing facilitates less wastage. In methods like CNC milling, you will have a large volume of discarded materials. Furthermore, these methods remove a significant amount of materials from the first initial block. Unlike these, the 3D printing process uses only the necessary materials required for creating a part. Additionally, you can reuse and recycle these materials for further processing. Comparatively, additive manufacturing methods allow less wastage than the subtractive manufacturing process. Also, it helps in saving lots of money.

12. Improved Healthcare Facilities

It is not exaggerating to say that 3D printing has revolutionized the medical sector. It has even made it possible to print various human body organs such as hearts, lungs, kidneys, etc. There is more research going on how 3D printing technology can be a boon to the healthcare sector.

What Are The Disadvantages of 3D Printing?

The benefits of 3D printing are aplenty. However, it does have a set limitation too. Below is a list of the disadvantages of 3D printing.

1. Limited Materials 

The major drawback of 3D printing technology is the limited materials. Since it is the latest technology, the materials required for the manufacturing process are scarce. Some of them are still in the developing stage.

Plastic is the most preferred material for 3D printing. You can melt it down easily and quickly into layers for getting the final item. However, one should always remember that this material is not suitable for all products or parts. Some components need more robust materials of great strength.

Using metal for 3D printing is now slowly emerging as the newest and reliable technology. However, it is very expensive. You can even use other specialized materials like gold and glass for 3D printing. They are far from commercialization currently and may take some time.

2. Restricted Build Size 

Another limitation with 3D printing is the smaller chamber size. Being very small, it restricts or limits the sizes of the parts you want to print. Consequently, if you want to print any large item, you need to print the parts separately. And then you can assemble all of them together after production.

This becomes a very time-consuming process. Your 3D printer needs to print all the various parts of the large product separately, and then you can join all of them together manually.

3. Post Processing

In the earlier segment, we have discussed about the post-processing work you may have to deal with. Apart from that, you will require cleaning of all the parts thoroughly to ensure there is no support material over them. Also, you need to see that the surface is smooth if you want to get the required finish. The post-processing methods may include some like water jetting, chemical soak and rinse, assembly, etc.

You may ask how much would be the post-processing work. Well, here is the answer. It is dependent on several factors like the size of the part, type of 3D printing technology used, etc. There is no doubt that 3D printing assures fast production of parts. But the post-processing can ultimately slow down the manufacturing process.

4. Part Structure

We all know about Additive Manufacturing and what happens during that. The 3D technology produces the parts in layers that cling to each other. However, under conditions of stress, these layers can get separated or split into thin layers.

When you are using FDM, you are more likely to face this problem. Hence it is a good option to use injection moulding. The significant benefit of using it is that it creates homogenous parts that cannot be separated and broken.

5. Reducing the Chances of Manufacturing Jobs

This is another limitation of 3D technology. We are aware that the production using the 3D technique is mostly automated, and you will require less human labour. As a result, it is cutting down the chances of manufacturing jobs.

6. 3D Printing Machines are Expensive 

3D printing technology is the most flourishing and emerging one. However, we should note the fact that the machines and the materials used in these machines are very costly. If you want to enjoy the benefits from the most innovative technology, you need to be ready to invest more capital initially.

Additionally, if you compare the materials needed for production in the 3D printing process, they are very expensive than the ones used in the traditional methods.

To save themselves from the higher costs, many businesses are opting for a lease of the 3D printing equipment. Going a step ahead, they are even using a third party to access the 3D printing equipment.

7. Copyright Issues

Copyright issues are yet another major drawback of using 3D printing technology. Because of its easy accessibility and popularity, there are chances to replicate or fake the products, which will be almost impossible to differentiate. This not only calls for issues with copyright but quality control, as well.

8. 3D Printing Technology Is Not Very User-Friendly  

While many presume 3D printing technology is pretty straightforward to operate or access, it is the opposite. This technique is not very user-friendly, and one needs to go for the trial-and-error method first before he creates parts on the 3D printer.

If you have previous experience in this technology, it would always be a smooth run for you. However, you still need to consider the 3D technology as the one with a potential learning curve until it becomes more widespread.

9. Lesser strength in comparison to conventional manufacture

The parts produced from the 3D parts seem to be very fragile when compared to those manufactured from the traditional methods. The metal parts of the 3D technology, are, however, strong, and viable. Except for these, the rest of all the parts created contain plastic as the material. Since they come constructed in layers, they tend to lack strength.

10. Elevated cost at high volume

If you are planning to carry out production in larger quantities for 3D printing, the operation costs would be higher than the traditional manufacturing methods. However, if you compare the individual parts of both the manufacturing approaches, 3D printing is very cost-effective than the latter.

11. Limitations in the accuracy

This is yet another disadvantage of 3D printing – limitations in the accuracy. If you are looking for precision in a printed part, it largely depends on the type of machine you are using and the procedure you are adopting. Not all desktop printers have a higher tolerance to the designs. As a result, you may face accuracy issues in the design of the final products. You can mend the part in the post-processing work, though.


Here are a few words to conclude. This 3D printing technique is an emerging and flourishing procedure that will help you reap the benefits. If you want to know why you should opt for this innovative technology, here are the reasons. Speed, flexibility, customization of the parts, and cost-effectiveness are the significant merits. This technology is surely going to impact the manufacturing industries at large. Needless to say, you may even expect the benefits of 3D printing technology to expand over time. I hope this article gave you ample information on the advantages and disadvantages of 3D printing technology. This should help you learn why it is the most reliable and sought-after technology.

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