Some observers within the plastics manufacturing industry, especially individuals with a person desire, want you think 3D printing will likely function as demise of injection molding. While you will find certainly occasions when 3D printing is sensible, the reports within the dying of injection molding are really greatly exaggerated.

Plastic injection molding could be a attempted-and-true approach to production that’s in no danger of disappearing soon. It’s a fundamental, dependable approach to producing top quality plastic parts. Despite recent enhancements within the technology of 3D printing and individuals susceptible to emerge later on, the reality is greater than 80% of plastic parts present in products today need to be injection molded.

Damaged whipped cream the issue, “Which manufacturing method suits my part?” is, “The treatment depends.” The treatment depends on variables like quantity, cost and quality.


David Kazmer, Professor of Plastics Engineering inside the College of Massachusetts Lowell, pointed out within the printed paper that 3D printing presently is sensible for rapid “procurement time for you to quantity” for almost any little bit of 50 or less units.

So for production runs, injection molding remains the very best manufacturing method, especially with the extended production time involved for 3D printing in comparison to injection molding.

There’s an increasing “hybrid” practice of 3D printing the mold tooling inserts only, then producing the different with injection molding. For a lot of limited applications, 3D printed inserts can be utilized as being a test mold for product and very limited quantities. A 3D printed mold takes typically just 60 to 180 pieces.

Kazmer’s study examined where 3D printed tooling inserts may match the large picture, and determined that there’s been still significant issues with both metal inserts (surface finish and machine cost) and polymer inserts (surface finish furthermore to poor strength as well as heat transfer).


Among the key limitations of 3D printing may be the inabiility to create parts sticking with the same physical characteristics as conventional injection molded parts. Although the amount of various materials created for 3D printing appears to obtain constantly growing, it’s still limited in comparison to the various materials which can be molded. While a 3D printed prototype may be appropriate for evaluating its shape, there’s no chance to look for the fabric characteristics in situation your prototype isn’t the identical material because the production part will most likely be.

Something reported in Kazmer’s study was surface finish. Since the surface finish within the part may differ based on exactly how (pricey) the 3D printer is, it’s still no match for the smooth surfaces attainable with polished steel injection molds.

Last, but including within the set of quality variations, may be the issue of tolerances. Although ale 3D printing to carry tighter part tolerances is anticipated to improve with advanced process designs (like parallel printing) and optimization, today the part quality achieved in 3D printing is inferior in comparison to molded parts.


The all-inclusive costs in the 3D printed part in comparison to a try molded part is connected while using amount being created, presuming these quality issues don’t preclude 3D printing just as one option within the gate. Within the attend Lowell, the price of 3D printing 300 in the certain size part was $20 each. The piece cost of injection molding numerous such units obtaining a steel mold was just $1.13 each.

Another cost answer to consider is the fact connected obtaining a design difference in the prototyping stage. In 3D printing, there’s cost-free of modifying a mold for almost any prototype iteration. Design changes are simply designed to the CAD mode