What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of 3D Printing?

3D printing has gained popularity over the last several years. It is now used in many industries, and some people even own their own printers for personal use. Many manufacturers have released their own 3D printers in this competitive industry. If you’re interested in a new way of manufacturing, this could be it. 

There are many advantages and disadvantages of 3D printing. We are going to discuss how this tool can be beneficial. Yet, we will also explore some cons of 3D printing. This article will provide new knowledge into this product. 

Pros and Cons of 3D Printing

To better understand the advantages and disadvantages of 3D printing, you have to understand 3D printing. 3D printing is the process of making three-dimensional solid objects. To achieve this, a digital file is used. 3D printing is also referred to as additive manufacturing. 

Advantages of 3D Printing

We’ll discuss five of the top advantages of 3D printing. There is a place for 3D printing in many industries. This includes healthcare, automotive, and aerospace. Its uses have become more vast over time. In many industries, they are clear. This has made this technology a no-brainer to invest in. 

This new technology provides new opportunities for these industries in the following ways: 


  • Design Opportunity

3D printing smarter with machine learning - Today's Medical Developments


Generally speaking, traditional manufacturing is limited in what designs it can make. To achieve a design, you may need different processes, tools, and materials. With 3D printing, you can make complex designs. This means that you have the flexibility and freedom to complete the product you’d like.


  • On-Demand Printing

3D printing with AutoCad and MakerBot | GrabCAD Tutorials


You no longer have to wait to organize different trades or materials. 3D printing makes instant gratification almost a reality. To print, all you need is to set up your printer and upload the design files. These files are stored in a CAD or STL. To edit these designs, it’s simple. You avoid wasting products and the complicated organization required by traditional manufacturing. 


  • Minimized Waste

Is 3D printing a sustainable manufacturing method? - 3Dnatives


More people are becoming cognisant of waste. To help support the Earth, it’s important to commit to more sustainable processes. Luckily, 3D printing falls into that initiative. The only products used in these processes are the materials needed. This eliminates waste and helps cut our ecological footprint. 


  • Economical 

13 Products You Can 3D Print to Make Money in 2018 – MrKen


Businesses are looking for ways to be more cost-effective. Traditional manufacturing could get pricey. In fact, several different machines were needed for the final product. 3D printing doesn’t need the same tools, operators, or time to complete a project. Because of this, this will ensure that you will keep more profit. This is in comparison to using traditional manufacturing techniques. 


  • Durable Products

With This 3-D Printer, Objects Emerge From a Plastic Soup | WIRED


Durable and lightweight materials can be used during the 3D printing processes. Mostly plastic is used to complete different products. But, some printers allow metals to be used as well. Regardless, the most durable and lightweight products are used in 3D printing. For certain industries, lightweight products are the key to maintaining speed and efficiency. 

Disadvantages of 3D Printing

Despite the many advantages of 3D printing, there are some setbacks and limitations. It’s important to acknowledge these before investing in a 3D printer. We’ll outline some of the primary disadvantages of this technology: 


  • Limited Material Options

3D Printing materials: Properties and Material Simulation


As aforementioned, plastic is the most commonly used material in 3D printing. Though metal is sometimes incorporated, it’s not as common. The limited materials mean that only certain products can be made. 

3D printing requires a specific temperature to be successful. Because of this, not all materials are compatible. The materials that are used are often non-recyclable. 


  • Cannot Produce in Volume

Mass production and 3D printing: where do we stand? - 3Dnatives


Traditional manufacturing often produces products in volume. This means that several of the same items can be made for efficiency. 3D printing, on the other hand, cannot achieve this. Unfortunately, 3D printing isn’t well-equipped for mass production. 

This can be difficult for industries that need to produce high volumes. 3D printing is a more cost-affordable option for lower volumes. However, cost-per-unit should be taken into consideration before applying this technology. 


  • Less Manufacturing Jobs

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of 3D Printing? - TWI


The economy is something that all business owners should take into consideration. Having jobs available to citizens keep the economy booming. Unfortunately, modern technology has had a negative impact on that. With AI becoming more advanced, manufacturing jobs are no longer required in excess. 3D printing adds to the predicament.

This is a large concern for many workers and government officials. 3D printing limits the need for human labor. Instead of having to hire people to manufacture, it is done by a printer. Though this technology is impressive, greater consequences should be considered. 


  • Small Build Size

The Tiny PocketMaker 3D Printer « Fabbaloo


3D printers have a limited build size. After all, you are limited to what can actually be produced inside of the printer. If your printer is the size of a microwave, then your product can’t be larger than that. Of course, you can print many parts and join them together. However, this is more expensive and requires more labor. 

It’s imperative to analyze what products need to be manufactured. This is due to the restriction in build size. If you need smaller items, then a 3D printer will likely be worth the investment. 


  • Design Errors

How to avoid 3D printing problems - 3Dnatives


Unfortunately, technology can’t understand and comprehend instruction like humans can. A 3D printer relies on the file to provide insight and direction. This can sometimes lead to design inaccuracies. Furthermore, some printers may have a low tolerance for design intricacies. This can lead to small issues in your final product. 

These design errors can be annoying. But, they can also be rectified. It’s important to note that fixing these errors may result in more time, material, and labor. 


You can also check our article on the List of 10 Top Softwares for 3D Printing in 2021.


If you are considering investing in a 3D printer, it’s important to do your research on the technology. We have covered the advantages and disadvantages of 3D printing. This knowledge will help provide insight. Especially if you're considering adding this new manufacturing tool to your business. Though there are some setbacks with 3D printing, the technology as a whole has great opportunities and can help enhance your processes.