3D Printing Speed: How It Affects Build Time

3D printers typically build objects at different rates of speed, depending primarily on the speed for which they are configured. Some 3D printers are able to build objects more quickly than others, which can prove invaluable for manufacturing companies. The good news is that most 3D printers allow users to control the printing speed. For a closer look at 3D printing speed and how it affects build time, keep reading.

What Is 3D Printing Speed?

As the name suggests, 3D printing speed is a metric that reflects how fast a 3D printer can build a model using raw material. It typically consists of the amount of material deposited onto or into the object in a given amount of time. 3D printers with a fast 3D printing speed are capable of depositing more material in less time than slower 3D printers.

How 3D Printing Speed Is Measured

Although there are exceptions, most 3D printers use millimeters per hour (mm/hr) as the metric by which their printing speed is measured. A fused deposition modeling (FDM) printer, for instance, has an average 3D printing speed of about 100 mm/hr. In other words, it’s able to deposit 100 mm of material per each hour of operation. With that said, FDM printers can be adjusted to increase their 3D printing speed. Some FDM printers are able to achieve a 3D printing speed of up to 500 mm/hr, making them five times faster than the average.

DLP/SLA 3D printers support even faster 3D printing speeds than FDM printers. While FDM printers often max out at around 500 mm/hr, DLP/SLA printers can achieve speeds of up to 700 mm/hr. There are several other types of 3D printers, some of which are slower while others are faster. Regardless, 3D printing speed is an adjustable metric that dictates how much material a 3D printer can deposit in a given period, such as an hour.

3D Printing Speed Only Affects the Build Stage

It’s important to note that 3D printing speed only affects the build stage. 3D printing processes can typically be broken down into three separate stages: the pre-processing stage, the build stage and the post-processing stage. When you adjust the 3D printing speed of a printer, only the build stage will be affected. During the build stage, the 3D printer will transfer or deposit material to build the object. The pre-processing stage, of course, involves preparation of both the material and the printer, whereas the post-processing stage involves removing any supports (if applicable) and finishing the surface of the printed object.

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