Plastic Injection Molding VS 3D Printing – Which is Better?

Plastic Injection Molding VS 3D Printing – Which is Better

The world is changing, and soon, people can make things anywhere and at home. Individuals are making many things independently with the help of technology, like laser cutters and 3D printers.

Anyone with a basic understanding of hardware and software design can use these tools to create something new.

Injection molding, a different method of making things, has been around for a long time and will be around for a while. So, what implications does this have for our future?

What distinguishes these two things from one another? And when ought you to utilize them? Find out by reading on!

What is 3D Printing?

A new method for quickly and easily making things out of plastic is 3D printing. Another name for it is additive manufacturing. An ever-increasing number of individuals involve 3D-printed parts in their applications, and they truly like them.

 A 3D printer that puts meager layers of plastic on top of one another to make an item. The design for the object was created using a computer program known as 3D printing.

What is 3D Printing

In the past five years, 3D printing has made significant progress. Some businesses can assist with 3D printing; more people now own 3D printers. Because of this, 3D printing is very common.

From factories that manufacture machine parts to the production of prosthetic limbs, various industries use parts and components that are 3D printed. In the past, special designers were the only ones who could innovate; however, innovation is now becoming available in a wide range of industries, including automobiles, buildings, medicine, stores, and factories.

Benefits of 3D Printing

Using additive manufacturing has many advantages, making it a real choice instead of traditional manufacturing methods.

Firstly, 3D printing is perfect for making things stand out. Making things with extra materials was a way to make models for a while quickly. This is not true anymore, as it has become a reliable way to make things.

This manufacturing method still offers one of the best advantages: creating prototype designs quickly and easily. In additive manufacturing, you can print your project to check it, adjust it using your 3D modeling program, and then print it again to confirm your changes.

The handle can bend easily, which helps save time and money. It also helps improve your product design.

Benefits of 3D Printing

Using 3D printing can help you avoid wasting materials. Injection molding used to be a way to make things cheaply, but now 3D printing is the best way. With 3D printing, you only use the amount of material you need.

3D printing helps you avoid problems with running out of items and saves money by making it easier to manage what you have and how you get it. You can print your 3D plan whenever you want. You don’t need to worry about not being able to do it.

When you use 3D printing to make things, you only need a few places to store them before sending them to people. This means you don’t need as many distribution centers.

This could be a good time to review how your company makes things and reduce tool spending. What is a computerized stock system?

It helps to create the parts you need right away by using 3D printing. You don’t need to keep the part; you can just print it when needed.

What is Injection Moulding?

Plastic injection shaping is when softened plastic is put into molds to make a plastic thing that looks exactly how you want it to. First, the plastic or polymer materialis heated until it becomes liquid.

Then, it is poured into a special shape and kept at high pressure until it cools down quickly and turns solid.

The new part is taken out of the machine that made it and checked to ensure it’s good before it goes to the next step. It might be added to a bigger machine or sent to a customer. This plan can deliver many parts that are exact and consistent with each other.

What is Injection Moulding

The handle made using the injection process can help customers get their product quickly and at a low cost because the process is similar each time. Plastic medical items that are wrapped up look good and are strong and of high quality. They have great abilities and come in a range of colors.

There is a difficulty in the plan because the tools and equipment cost a lot at first, but if the production is consistent and the supply chain is strong, these costs can be balanced out.

Benefits of Injection Molding

injection molding is good for making many things that are the same and for making many of them at once. When you use plastic molding, you can choose from many different materials. Each type of material has many different versions that can give it unique qualities.

Many types of material vary in weight, how they are obtained, how easily they can be changed, and their properties compared to plastic. There are also many possibilities for using them.

Benefits of Injection Molding

If you want to make a lot of products, injection molding is a good option because it can also make very fine features. The parts are easy to embellish with minute details because injection molding is heavy.

Making really good parts is easy with injection molding. You can inject fillers into the injection molds using technology for plastic injection.

How & When to Use Each Process

Plastic molding and 3D printing are two useful methods for making things. Engineers can quickly and easily make things out of plastic right at their desks using 3D printing.

Imbuement shaping is the best technique for making top-notch items that are esteemed. It is used by a lot of people to quickly and reliably create numerous intricate plastic designs.

When to Use Injection Molding?

You need special equipment to use this technology properly. You need special machines to use injection molding. These machines have a bag made of fabric, a tool to squeeze and press, and a heater.

Creating molds for your injection molding handle can be expensive and limit your options for testing: it can be expensive to make new molds for each cycle you want to create. Making mold changes can be difficult if they are made of steel, and they might not fit your new model well.

When to Use Injection Molding

However, it could be a good idea if you plan to make a lot. It is evident that employing this technique to create items incurs high costs and requires a substantial duration for completion.

When to Use 3D Printing?

There are several ways to use 3D printing. If you want to print with 3D fiber, you can buy a 3D printer like the FDM. Your company can also help by using better 3D printers, like SLS 3D printers. It might be too expensive for your company and not worth doing.

If you use a 3D printing service like Sculpteo, you can choose from over 75 different types of materials and finishes. Using metal, plastic, and tar resources, you can use printing techniques to produce your creative ventures.

There are many different types of new technology for making things, such as Multi Fly Combination, CLIP (DLS), DMLS, and 3D printing.

When to Use 3D Printing

You need to be fair. Upload your 3D design, and choose your style, materials, and finishing touches on our website for 3D printing. You can quickly order and receive your parts in just a few days.

The Injection Molding Process

The main goal of injection molding is to make new ideas, designs, concepts, or products in less time. To reach that end, you need to plan ahead before starting the project.

After starting, the method consists of four different parts. Every setup occurs under specific environmental conditions such as temperature, pressure, humidity, etc.

They use machines to carefully check every step of the process to make sure it is done correctly. These are the important parts included in every group:

First Step: Clamping

After using injection molding, some more steps are usually necessary. When the object becomes cooler, the stuff inside its grooves will stick to it really well. Regularly use scissors to cut off any extra material or accidentally make marks on the material’s sides.

Some materials, such as thermoplastics, can be recycled by putting the leftover pieces into a machine that makes them into small balls called pellets. This tool has different names, such as a plastic processor, regrind machine, or granulator.

When the clamping no longer works well, you should combine it with new clamping in the correct measure to reuse it for creating the handle using a unique shaping technique.

Step Two: Injection

The basic plastic material, usually in small pieces, goes into a machine that shapes it into the desired form. The material turns soft and heavy when it is held this way. The soft plastic is put into the mold quickly, and pressure helps it stick together.

Step Two- Injection

When a material is added to something, you call it the shot. It is hard to figure out exactly how long it takes for the liquid plastic to go into the right shape because it’s complicated and keeps changing.

However, you can calculate how long it takes to inject by looking at how much is being injected at a time, how heavy it is, and how much control you have over the injection.

Step Three: Cooling

Due to the cooling process, the liquid plastic solidifies upon contact with the mold’s inner surface. As the plastic gets cold, it will harden into the exact shape of the requested part. Sometimes, when things get cooler, they become smaller.

Pressing the material during injection helps it fit better and reduces how much it shrinks later. You can only open the form once enough time has passed for it to cool down.

You can figure out how long it takes for the plastic to cool by looking at some of its properties and the thickest part of the object.

Final Step: Ejection

Once it’s cool enough, the shaped thing can be pushed out by a launch machine attached to the shape’s top part. When you open the form, a part is pushed out of it using a component. The piece should be attached to the mold to prevent it from shrinking and deforming while it cools down.

To help the material come out easily, a liquid can be put on the mold’s surface before putting the material in. Using the machine’s dry cycle time, you can figure out how long it takes to open the shape and remove the item.

This time should include how long it takes for the item to fall out of shape. After the part is taken out, you can close the shape to put it in the next shot.

After making something with injection molding, a few extra steps are usually needed. As it cools down, the material inside the grooves of the object will become solidly attached to it. Use scissors to cut off any extra material or any accidental marks on the side of the material regularly.

Some fabrics, like thermoplastics, can be reused by putting the scraps into a machine that turns them into pellets. This machine is called a plastic processor, regrind machine, or granulator.

When the material becomes less effective, you need to mix it with new material in the right amount so you can use it again to make the handle using a special molding process.

The 3D Printing Process

The goal of 3D printing is to create a physical representation of digital data on a computer. In contrast to injection molding, materials other than plastics can be used in 3D printing.

When placing an order, customers can select any kind of material they require for a particular purpose. You frequently use paper, cardboard, glass, pottery, elastic, steel, wood, calfskin, concrete, dirt, froth, aluminum, and different materials in day-to-day existence.

A few different materials are precious stone, nylon, PETG, ABS, PLA, HIPS, PCL, Look, TPU, Kevlar, fiberglass, and sap.

The creators must first select the wrapping materials for the product. After that, they display distinct sections of the entire plan sequentially.

After some time, they arrange to make bigger parts of the show based on what the client likes. Customers can currently make whatever they want by inserting hot thermoplastic powder into the printer nozzle. They change the substances close to the opening to oversee how quickly the hot combination of plastics streams.

Every time you cut, you start from the previous cut. Over the long haul, the new region becomes one with adjacent regions until it turns out to be totally consistent.

The 3D Printing Process

In the wake of completing a series of printing, the printer stops to get ready for the following round. The wrapped object is then left outside overnight to heal completely. The finished product is now ready for testing and possible incorporation into a working model.

3D printing enjoys numerous upper hands over injection shaping, yet here and there, it isn’t exact or exact. Also, how quickly things are made depends on how many things need to be made at once.

Simply stated: In general, the process of 3D printing is simple and affordable. Thanks to this, customers can use files like STL, OBJ, or STEP to create their own versions of existing designs.

Customers will find it helpful to review their claims before purchasing them. Simply stated: It’s an incredible elective choice for organizations rather than customary assembling techniques.

While smaller businesses can benefit from using 3D printing because it is more practical for them, the majority of large businesses prefer injection molding to this method.

Injection Molding VS 3D Printing Process Differences

Although they share similar materials, the process of 3D printing and injection molding differ significantly. The most important differences are shown below.

  • 3D printing can make things without tools, but injection molding needs tools to make the final product.
  • 3D printing creates a piece by adding one layer at a time, while injection molding makes the whole piece at once and very quickly.
  • The part that prints in the 3D printer moves in three directions according to computer instructions, while the part that injects in the molding machine stays still. 3D printing can easily make mistakes.
  • 3D printing is good for making things in different shapes, but sometimes you need to add extra support for parts that stick out. injection molding has limitations.
  • 3D printing creates things bit by bit, like building a house. injection molding is more like pouring water into an ice tray.

Application of Injection Molding VS 3D Printing

Most plastic stuff is made using injection shaping because it makes lots of items, and they all turn out the same. These things include, but are not limited to:

  • Car pieces – front board, entryway guards, front covers.
  • Electronic parts like plugs, cases, and protective covers.
  • Tools used for healing – small needles, small doors, plates.
  • Customer plastics are used to make many things like phone cases, bottle caps, and toys because they can be changed into different shapes and colors easily.
  • Furniture pieces – pads, chairs, and covers for seats.
  • Food industries

Pros & Cons of Injection Molding VS 3D Printing

Pros of Injection Moulding

Pros of Injection Moulding

  • Ability to use many materials together, including different types of plastic and colors.
  • Due to the very heavy weights used during the process, you are able to create and design complicated shapes.
  • Fast production, aiming for a high amount of output and efficiency.
  • Many companies spend less on workers because they use lots of machines.
  • Preparing things in the same way repeatedly so they are always of good quality.
  • You make our product naturally and with as little waste as possible. Any leftover plastic is ground up and used again in the handle.
  • When things are created, they don’t need much work after they’re made because they look pretty finished already.

Cons of Injection Moulding

  • Setting up the equipment took a long time to do it right.
  • Making things is not as costly when you only produce a small amount.
  • It is important to make molds really well, and this needs people who are very good at it.

Pros of 3D Printing

Pros of 3D Printing

  • In the early days of 3D printing, only plastics could be used. However, 3D printing is now possible with a wide range of materials. Polycarbonate, metals, resins, epoxy, nylon, and photopolymers are just a few of the many materials that can now be used in 3D printing thanks to advancements.
  • Small and medium-sized businesses can easily make the parts they need with 3D printing. If you don’t have a 3D printer, you can utilize 3D printing administrations to get your parts printed for you.
  • Using a printer to start a business is less expensive than using a machine to make things out of plastic.
  • Making a model quickly is what is meant by quick prototyping. The process of using a 3D printer is quicker than that of injection molding. Only a three-dimensional design and a material selection are required.
  • To make parts and components, all you need is a modern 3D design, a 3D printer, and the right material. You don’t need a mold.
  • After printing the first part, you can immediately see any errors or flaws in the design, making it simple to correct them. If you make a mistake while printing, you can fix it by stopping the process, fixing the error, and then starting the process over from the beginning. You don’t need to start from the very beginning once more.
  • Fabric-based 3D printing facilitates the creation of intricate components. This makes it easier to create intricate designs with small details and tight angles.

Cons of 3D Printing

Using 3D printing to make custom parts and components has some disadvantages, such as:

  • Secondary or finishing forms may be needed for 3D parts and components because they are not as smooth as injection-molded parts and components. You need to use extra steps and finishing techniques to get this much output.
  • The printer can only print smaller parts and components. The printer component’s extruder arm can only reach the maximum height of the printed object. Additionally, the extruder arm will move evenly back and forth. This indicates that there is a limit to the width and depth of objects.
  • The 3D printer can make however many completed items as it can make in a given measure of time. This is because it lays material layer by layer. One part can only be printed at a time with some printers.
  • You will need to purchase two different printers if you need to print with various materials, such as titanium and plastic. For 3D printing, you need two different printers: one compatible with metal and plastic.

Injection Molding VS 3D Printing Key Differences

To decide whether to use injection forming or 3D printing to create something, you need to consider these important things.

Injection Molding VS 3D Printing Key Differences

Batch Size

Choosing how to do something depends on how many pieces you need. injection forming is good for making many things (more than 1000 items at once).

If you only need a few things (less than 10), 3D printing is better and costs less. 3D printing is a good choice for making simple things using materials like ABS, PC, or Nylon. This works well for making single parts or small amounts that may look the same or different.

It is a good option for medium amounts (10-1000) and is very popular. If you need to make a lot of things, injection forming is a good choice. In circumstances where you require only a limited quantity of items, utilizing 3D printing proves to be more advantageous.

Design Complexity

To make a handle for an injection, you need to create a mold that matches the design of the handle. Organizing an exhibition about using CAD for injection molding is not easy because there are many things to consider.

Design Complexity

For example, if certain areas on the body are difficult to remove from the shape, they should be handled very carefully. 3D printing is good at doing complicated things. 3D printing can make even complicated plans possible without much effort.

First, make sure your plan can be made using injection molding. If not, it needs to be changed, or else use 3D printing.

Turnaround Time of Injection Molding VS 3D Printing

injection shaping takes a while because it requires looking at the plan and making the perfect shape according to the plan. This can take 10-20 days. 3D printing is faster than injection shaping. You can get your 3D printing order from Xometry delivered in just 3 days. If you want the part quickly, choose 3D printing.

Customization of Injection Molding VS 3D Printing

Changing the shape used for injection forming takes a lot of money and time. injection shaping is not recommended if you want to change the parts or plan. Whatever you fill in the form is very difficult to change, and it is the most important part.

However, 3D printing allows for a lot of customization, and all you need is a different or personalized computer file. This means that it’s good to use for making models or practice pieces. 3D printing is used for making models and unique designs.

Cost, Speed, and Scale

3D printing is fast and cheap when making unique parts or small amounts of them. The method can make the main part quickly without using tools. It only takes a few hours to complete.

The costs include things like the money spent on materials, energy, and workers. However, when it comes to 3D printing, there is no financial benefit to making more. The cost per piece stays the same regardless of how many you make.

Usually, it takes a few weeks and a lot of money for producers to make the mold for metal tools. Without the mold, they can’t make any parts. However, after preparing the equipment, individual parts can be made quickly and at a low cost.

Cost, Speed, and Scale

To decide whether a part should be made using 3D printing or injection molding, you need to figure out when using one over the other is most cost-effective. Basically, 3D printing is less expensive while making under 10,000 units.

However, if you want to make over 100,000 units, injection forming is the better choice. Additionally, it generally provides better overall value for larger production runs.

Models can be made in small quantities using 3D printing. However, if you need to do a lot of things at once, injection is preferable.

However, CNC machining can be used to use cheap aluminum for the tooling instead of steel, making injection molding less expensive and faster. Production-ready 3D printers with large printing areas make printing numerous parts easier. These printers can simultaneously produce multiple parts.

Material Choices of Injection Molding VS 3D Printing

FDM and injection molding use many of the same types of plastic material. These two types are mainly used for a certain kind of heated plastic that can be reshaped. Sometimes, one of the types can also be used for different kinds of plastic.

Material Choices of Injection Molding VS 3D Printing

The main difference between the materials used in the two technologies is their structure. 3D printing uses fibers. Long pieces of plastic are rolled up onto a big wheel.

But when people use injection molding, they use small pieces called pellets. Small lumps made of rough material. Sometimes 3D printer material companies make their stuff by melting and squeezing little pieces.

Overall, using injection molding is better than 3D printing when making parts out of materials that need high temperatures. Most machines that melt plastics can melt ones that need high temperatures, but a regular 3D printer’s melting tool can’t handle that.

3D printers can make good things using low-temperature materials like PLA. But these things are not very strong. Expensive 3D printers can handle very hot temperatures and keep the area where they print closed. This makes it easier for them to print materials that need high heat.

So, common materials are used in 3D printing, including ABS, PLA, PETG, and TPU. Further, more advanced materials, such as Look and PEKK, can only be printed using special high-grade printers.

Some popular materials used in injection molding are ABS, PC, PE, PP, and nylon. You can mix different types of pellets, including non-plastic ones, to create materials that combine different properties.

How Good the Material is/Material strength

injection-formed parts are strong and well-shaped, made in a single layer with no gaps or weak spots. 3D printing makes things by adding each layer in turn, which influences how great it will end up.

Unlike plastic injection molding, which typically does not make mistakes or produce clear lines during manufacturing, 3D printing has the potential to do so. Choose injection forming if you want good fabric.

Finish the Surface

Despite how close together the 3D printing layers are, they can still be seen. This creates wrinkles on objects even if they are wrapped thinly. This is a problem if you want to make things that will touch and move against other things, like machine parts.

When things are not smooth, you need to do more work to make them smooth. This extra work is called post-processing.

Finish the Surface

Injection forming has no complaints about uneven edges or layers compared to other methods. This is because the material is poured in one layer, resulting in a smooth surface. Additionally, parts made with the injection can be easily finished.

Material wastage of Injection Molding VS 3D Printing

Injection shaping puts the material into the shape bit by bit, using just enough material needed for each design. This makes it a great way to make a lot of things quickly without wasting materials. Some advances in 3D printing use fewer materials to create support structures.

However, even though the material powder can be used again, it can only be reused a few times before it changes its properties.

3D printing makes some extra things like support structures and prints that don’t turn out well. These have to be removed later. But if you use 3D printing to make just one thing or a small group of things, you won’t have as much extra stuff left over.

However, if you use 3D printing to make a lot of things at once, you will have a lot of extra stuff left over. If you want to make a lot of things, it’s better to use injection molding because you won’t waste any material.

Injection Molding VS 3D Printing Cost?

Whilst applying 3D printing technology to production offers various benefits, the expenses compared to injection molding remain indefinite and fluctuate. There are numerous considerations to ponder when deciding between injection molding and 3D printing.

Setup Cost

Because you only need the design and the materials to set up 3D printing, it costs less to do so than injection molding. It takes more time and money to get started when making things with injection molding because someone needs to plan and make the molds.

Materials Cost

The use of materials has caused an impact: Injection molding is a method that has been used for more than one hundred years. This indicates that, in comparison to 3D printing, a wide variety of materials can be utilized for less money.

Most of the time, materials for 3D printing cost more than those for injection molding. Consider how much it will cost to get started and decide if the advantages of 3D printing outweigh the expense of materials. Due to the increased adaptability of 3D printing, this may not be a significant issue.

For example, you can make a similar part using a lattice structure, which uses less material than a molded part.

Time Cost

Getting time is difficult to calculate compared to the cost of setting up and materials. How much do you think your time is worth per hour? And for a whole day, week, or month?

When using injection molding, it takes a while before you can start making your parts. The advent of 3D printing enables the swift conception and fabrication of a prototype, usually accomplished within a matter of days. You get to decide how you measure the time it takes.

Tooling Cost

Tooling Cost

The tool has two main parts – the shape and the cut holes. The size of the cover determines how much the base form is affected. You have to spend more to get a larger base if you want more.

Almost every shape of the object affects the cost of making hollow spaces. The important cost factor is how much needs to be cut, determined by the area’s expected size and depth. If parts need more work, you will add them to the list.

These could be things like extra parts, special surfaces, and complicated shapes. You will make sure to plan for these ahead of time.

Once you have planned and gathered materials for either injection molding or 3D printing, you will have some parts to consider for actual manufacturing. It’s hard to explain everything about this topic in one blog post because it varies for each person.

In essence, using injection molding can speed up the production of many parts. Although it is more difficult to produce large quantities of items using 3D printing, more diverse designs are possible.

Kemal: Injection Molding VS 3D Printing Services

Kemal- Injection Molding VS 3D Printing Services

Our mechanical 3D printing services can help you improve your ideas, get approval, and create prototypes quickly and easily.

By using components made with 3D printing, you can quickly test how well they work in a group, check if they fit, and identify any design changes that are needed before starting large-scale production using injection molding.

  • Material like nylon, plastic that can change when heat is applied, and tangled strings of fabric.
  • Make plans for complicated things like uneven surfaces, curves, and different ways of weaving.
  • How many things are there?
  • Need to finish up.
  • Making things efficient and using specific mechanical methods.
  • Your budget or the amount of money you can spend.

Talking about the things you’ve added to your product with the Kemal group can make you feel better. We have a lot of experience in making 3D things and molding them. We can help you turn your idea into a real thing and make a lot of them.


3D printing and injection molding have different benefits.3D printing is a decent decision for making modest quantities of things rapidly and without any problem. You can make any shape you want with it.

Also, some 3D printers can be used outside of factories, and it’s not too hard to learn how to use them. However, 3D printing is inefficient for making many copies of the same product and can only make parts that are not very strong and don’t look smooth or shiny.

Injection molding is a versatile manufacturing process that enables precision in producing a wide range of materials. After putting in the tools, making things is quick.

If you make a lot at once, it costs less for each one. This works well for making things in big amounts. Molded parts need less work after they are made than 3D-printing parts. Injection molding has some problems, like thin walls and expensive tooling.


3D printing is highly effective in producing intricate parts of small size which require frequent customization or alteration. Making things with injection is good for making a lot of big parts that are not too complicated and have already been designed.

No, 3D printing will not replace injection molding. Producing objects through injection molding machines is typically swifter, more productive, and frequently more precise in comparison to 3D printing.

Using injection molding is a more economical choice than 3D printing if your production exceeds 100 parts. Producing numerous identical shapes through injection molding proves to be a more cost-effective option than relying on 3D printing.

The two categories encompass the process of producing items by amalgamating various materials in a manner that enhances their strength, reduces their weight, or increases their hardness beyond their previous state. Injection molding and 3D printing are different.

Injection molding uses liquid material that goes through channels. 3D printing uses ink-like material to build up layers.

The way of making things using injection is better for making a lot of things quickly and smoothly than 3D printing. This is especially important for making things like machine parts or medical implants.

Put your parts into production today

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