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Plastic Injection Molding vs. 3D Printing – Which is Better?

injection molded plastic bowl

One of the most important things to choose while starting a project is the manufacturing technique. However, you might be confused about choosing the most suited manufacturing technique for your project? Here we will find out the differences between 3D printing and injection molding.

The Differences between 3D Printing and Injection Molding

Continue reading this guide and find all major differences between both these techniques and their key uses.

Injection Molding

Injection molding is one of the most famous manufacturing techniques used to produce parts and small objects. With this technique, manufacturers can produce parts by injecting liquefied materials inside a customized mold. The customized mold transforms the liquefied material into your desired object, and the material then cools down to take its solid form.

Injection molding takes a long turnaround time (5-7 weeks at least) to prepare for the manufacturing of your desired parts, making it non-suitable for frequent design changes. However, regardless of the long turnaround time it requires, this technique is ideal for manufacturing parts in high volumes (around 1200 parts per run). The molds used in this technique work just fine to produce small or large components of any complexity.

3D printing

3D printing is the most widely used additive manufacturing technique. This means that it involves the addition of material in layers to produce your desired part. The application of this technique doesn’t require a mold to manufacture your part. It just needs a 3D file that indicates the design and pathway for your product. Various 3D printing materials and technologies are currently available easily in the market.

an industrial 3D Printer

This technique is also known as additive manufacturing and provides a much faster turnaround time (1-2 weeks), making it the most suited technique for designs with frequent changes and rapid prototyping. 3D printing technology also allows the production of small plastic compounds and parts and intricated or complex designs. However, it is best suited to build parts in low production runs (less than 100 parts), as it can be expensive and time-consuming for larger runs.

Both these processes have their drawbacks and benefits and should be considered complementary methods rather than competing technologies. While 3D printing is a better option for complex parts in small batches that require frequent customizations or frequent design changes, Injection molding is a good option for producing a larger volume of less complex parts that have gone through their design stage.

If you still need assistance in figuring out which technique is more suited for you, don’t hesitate to contact a professional today.

Connekt LLC can support you with almost all manufacturing and design aspects related to injection molding and 3D printing. Be It technology acquisition, technical support, or product and process development, and our experts have been leading the industry for 35 years. We specialize in a variety of mechanical engineering and design services.

Get in touch with us to find out more.

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