Earlier last year, we discussed 3D printing. Though it has been around for quite a while, the new printing technique has only been a player in the public consciousness for about five years.
In that time, the public’s perception of what 3D printing can do has eclipsed the process’ actual capabilities. And with more recognition come more inquiries — everybody wants to explore 3D printing as an option for their next project, and are eager to want to move on from more traditional methods, such as injection molding.
3D Printing and Injection Molding
The two processes are similar — they both primarily produce parts and components from plastic, and they are both capable of high degrees of geometric complexity. However, there are important differences as well.
One of the more appealing aspects of 3D printing is the absence of steep initial costs. Because of its need for specially tooled dies, the creation of which is an expensive process, injection molding requires considerable initial costs. Though imposing at first, these startup costs are amortized over the lifespan of the die and the production run — in large volume injection molding projects, the startup costs are amortized over more individual parts, leading to a relatively low per-part cost.