3D Printing vs Injection Molding: A Comparsion - Fowmould

3D Printing Vs Injection Molding

In the manufacturing industry, the need to provide the best products is steadily growing. For this to happen, they need to use the right tools and processes. These processes allow the manufacturers to provide quality to their clients at every turn. Some of the processes that are particularly common especially in the plastic manufacturing industry are 3D printing and injection molding. Learning more about these processes will help you see which processes work best and help you decide what you’ll implement.

Table of Contents

What is 3D Printing

What is 3D Printing

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3D printing is an amazing manufacturing process that employs the need to create products layer after layer. This allows people to observe and see what the final product would look like before being manufactured. It offers a great opportunity to test out new designs and see if they get the job done. After this, you can then move on to manufacturing and mass-producing.

3D Printing Equipment

3D Printing Equipment

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Given the importance of such a process, you need to ensure that you invest in the right kind of equipment. This will help you get your desired results and avoid any unwanted disappointments. The best 3D printing equipment includes:

3D Printer

This is one of the most important pieces of equipment to consider if you’ll go with 3D printing. 3D printers facilitate the design process and ensure that you get the product as specified. These printers can be quite costly which is why you should consider outsourcing this service. This is especially a good idea if you are thinking of developing a new product with a different design. Outsourcing will give you a better idea of whether investing in the printers and doing everything indoors is the right choice.

3D Printer

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Filament or Material

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Filament or Material

The most used material when creating designs using a 3D printer is the filament. The filaments are fed to the printer, melted, and deposited on the printer bed to form the desired design. The filament comes in different types that exhibit a variety of properties. This allows for flexibility when creating designs and ensures that they are created to the best quality.

Advantages of 3D Printing

3D printing is a great way to get into the manufacturing industry. This is why most businesses are geared towards this option. Some of the advantages you can expect include:

Low Startup Cost

When getting into 3D printing, the amount of money you’ll spend is very little compared to injection molding. As you get started, you can easily get a desktop 3D printer and filaments for you to start your projects. Additionally, the software required for using your 3D printing service is easily available. You however also have the option of investing as much money as you want into 3D printing.

Low Startup Cost

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Supports intricate and Complicated Designs

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Supports intricate and Complicated Designs

Given that 3D printing works by layering to create amazing designs, this makes it easier to achieve intricate designs. If you have a certain design in mind that you have no idea how you’ll go about it, 3D printing will take care of that for you.

Easy to Make Changes to the Design

3D printing is a process that you can observe as your design is being made layer after layer. With this in mind, you find that you can easily spot and correct mistakes. 3D printers will allow you to pause the process and spot correct any issues you have with your designs. This will save you the unfortunate process of starting all over and wasting material while at it.

Easy to Make Changes to the Design

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Disadvantages of 3D Printing

Like any other process, there’ll always be a few cons experienced. Some of the disadvantages of using 3D printing include:

Limited Volume

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Limited Volume

When it comes to the number of products you can manufacture with 3D printing, you are limited compared to using injection molding. Even the large scale 3D printers have a threshold that they cannot exceed. Exceeding this leaves you vulnerable to faulty designs and wasted filaments and material.

Rough Object Surface

Given that the 3D printing process involves the layering of material, you find that the end product has some rough edges. These rough edges are inevitable no matter how fine you make the settings. With this, you’ll have to apply another step for smoothening your products.

Rough Object Surface

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What is Injection Molding

What is Injection Molding

Injection molding involves the use of molten material that is inserted into a mold and allowed to cool for a while. Once this molten material is cooled, the mold opens and lets the final product out. It is a quick and easy process that manufacturers love to use when creating products.

Injection Molding Equipment

Injection molding equipment is the most important aspect in this whole process. You need to ensure that you invest in the right gear. Here are a few equipment options.

Injection Molding Machine

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Injection Molding Machine

The injection molding machine features a few aspects that play a big role in creating the best end product. With this machine, you’ll find a clamp that is used to hold the mold together as the molten material cools. There’s also the mold that features one that moves and another that is stagnant. This is where the final product is created. Lastly, you’ll find a cylindrical injection that is used to insert the molten material into the mold. This machine is a great investment seeing as it is easy to use and also fast.

Material

When it comes to the material used when creating your mold, you can either use plastic polymer or metal alloy. These materials are heated to ensure that they meltdown and can easily be introduced into the mold.

Material

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Design

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Design

When working with injection molding, you need to ensure that you have your designs in mind. Doing this will ensure that you are well prepared and avoid any mistakes. You need to understand that this process is not the same as 3D printing. Correcting your mistakes will be harder.

Advantages of Injection Molding

Advantages of Injection Molding

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Increased Output

The injection molding process is the best way to go when it comes to mass-producing your designs. The molds are designed to keep working and produce as many end products as possible. This increases the output significantly compared to using 3D printers.

Minimal Waste Produced

The cylindrical injection is designed to dispense the right amount of molten material that can fit into the mold. This helps reduce the number of waste products significantly. This in turn helps reduce costs incurred.

Increased Object Strength

Given that the molten material is deposited once in the mold, the end product is expected to have more strength. Compared to using the layering method used in the 3D printing method, this ensures that your product is more sturdy.

Disadvantages of Injection Molding

Disadvantages of Injection Molding

Source: www.3erp.com

High Startup Investment

Given how intense the machine used in injection molding is, the price of getting it is significantly higher compared to using a 3D printer. This is also because, with the output, you get to get more done compared to 3D printing. Additionally, the material used may also prove to be quite costly in some cases.

Mistakes are Costly

Mistakes made when using the injection molding process are not easily reversible or corrected. Remember, this is a process that is done on a large scale. This means if there is a problem with one product in a cycle, then the whole injection molding cycle goes to waste. This is a very costly mistake which is why you need to ensure that you pay close attention to your designs.

Limited Designs

Using the injection molding process seriously limits the designs you can pull off. It is not as flexible as the 3D printer. This becomes a huge disadvantage for people looking for creative designs.

Conclusion

When it comes to manufacturing processes, you find that every item will be better suited using a certain process. The same applies to using 3D printing and injection molding. They all get the job done but in different ways. Depending on what you want to achieve with your mold, you can find a process that works for you.