How Long Does 3D Printing Take? BEGINNER Time Guide

How long does 3D printing take? 3D printing is a process that can take a few hours to complete, depending on the size and complexity of the object being printed.

Many factors contribute to how long 3D printing takes, so it’s important to be familiar with all of them before you start your project.

Larger objects can take longer than smaller ones, and more complicated designs will also take longer to print.

In this post, we’ll discuss the different factors that affect printing time, along with how you can optimize your print settings to get the best results.

the difference between additive and subtractive manufacturing

3D printing
Additive manufacturing builds 3D objects layer by layer. Subtractive manufacturing removes existing material to get the desired shape or design.

One of the factors that affect 3D printing time is whether you are completing additive or subtractive manufacturing.

Additive manufacturing is the process of building 3D objects by adding material layer by layer.

Subtractive manufacturing involves starting with a block of material and removing unwanted material to create the desired shape.

Both approaches have advantages and disadvantages:

  • Additive manufacturing is typically more expensive and slower than subtractive manufacturing, but it’s more versatile and can be used to create complex shapes that would be difficult or impossible to produce using traditional methods.
  • Subtractive manufacturing, on the other hand, is faster and less expensive, but it’s limited to objects with relatively simple geometries.

As a result, Additive Manufacturing is often used for prototyping and small-scale production, while subtractive manufacturing is more commonly used for mass production.

factors that affect printing time

There are many factors that can influence the printing time of a 3D object.

Some of the most important factors include the printer, the amount of material that’s used, and the complexity of the print itself.

printer quality

One key factor to consider when determining how long 3D printing takes is printer quality.

Poor-quality printers may take longer to print, either because they have to work harder to produce clear, high-resolution 3D models or because they get clogged more easily with dust and gunk.

In contrast, using a better printer is likely to speed up printing time.

Read our related article on the Best 3D Printers Under $500 for quality and affordable options!

Use of Materials

Another important factor is the amount of materials that you use in your 3D printing process.

Using lots of printing material will cause your prints to take longer because it’s having to create a larger or more complex 3D print.

In contrast, making smaller or less complicated 3D prints can lead to quicker printing times.

the complexity of the 3D Model

Finally, another major factor that affects 3D printing time is the complexity of the model itself.

For example, 3D prints with a lot of detail or a larger size will take much longer to print than 3D models that are more plain or smaller in size.

This is because each individual character or image in 3D printing must be printed one at a time, and the printer has to move back and forth across the page to do so.

Read More: How Big Can You 3D Print Something? We discuss the limitations of 3D printing in this complete guide!

How to optimize print settings for best results

There are a number of important considerations to keep in mind when optimizing print settings for high-quality results.

First and foremost, you should always use high-resolution images, as these will provide the best print quality and durability over time.

For 3D printing, 100 microns, which is equal to 0.1 mm layer height, is considered a solid resolution for quality objects.

Additionally, it’s important to choose the material type for your intended application.

For instance, matte surfaced images will typically look duller on glossy surfaces than they do on their uncoated counterparts.

Although many 3D printing jobs will require chemically-infused paper or expensive plastic, the typical office paper can also be used for smaller 3D jobs.

The most durable paper is Polyamide, which is used for larger projects that may take longer to print.

Finally, you should carefully choose the proper color profile for optimal color consistency across different hardware configurations and viewing conditions.

There are an infinite amount of colors for 3D printing paper, and colors can be changed between layers.

By considering all of these factors when setting up your print job, you can ensure that you get the most out of your 3D printing experience.

Read More: What Does Resolution Mean in 3D Printing? If you’re new to 3D printing, it can be helpful to define terms. Here’s what you need to understand about resolution!

Tips for reducing 3D printing time overall

There are many easy ways to reduce the amount of time your 3D printer takes to produce documents.

  • The first step is to set your printer’s default settings for high-quality 3D printing, as this will ensure that you don’t need to fiddle around with the settings every time you print something out.
  • Additionally, always make sure that you are using the right type of material for your project, depending on your budget. PLA is the cheapest while ABS is more reliable for 3D projects. VeroBlack/White is expensive but produces the highest quality.
  • Another simple tip is to optimize the print jobs that you send to your printer. This involves choosing the correct size and format for each object, along with the appropriate materials and color schemes.

Overall, by following these basic tips for reducing printing times, you should be able to save valuable time and cut down on excess costs in no time!

Read More: How Long Does it Take to 3D Print a Phone Case? Here’s how long you can expect for it to take to create your own 3D-printed phone case!

How Long Does 3D Printing Take?

The time it takes for 3D printing will depend on the complexity of the object.

For example, a simple object like a keychain can be printed in as little as 10 minutes. However, a more complex object like a vase can take several hours to print.

The time it takes to print an object also depends on the type of printer being used.

A standard home printer typically takes longer to print an object than a professional 3D printer.

In general, smaller objects take less time to print than larger objects.

This is because it takes longer for the printer to lay down the necessary layers of material for a larger object.

Ultimately, the time it takes to print an object can vary depending on a number of factors. However, most 3D printers are able to print an object within a few hours.

Read More: Does 3D Printing Use a Lot of Electricity? How much energy does a 3D printer really use, and is there anything you can do to reduce your footprint? Learn more!

Is there a downside to speeding up your printing process?

While there are many potential benefits to speeding up your printing process, there may also be some downsides that you should be aware of.

  • For one thing, faster printing can often lack the fine detailing and precision of slower printing methods. This can lead to issues with alignment, structure stability problems, and others.
  • Additionally, as a general rule, fast printers tend to use more material and cost more upfront than slower printers. Therefore, if the print volume is not particularly high, it may make more sense to invest in slower but more economical options.

However, if speed is a top priority for your organization or business, then investing in the latest technology can certainly help streamline your printing process and get the job done more quickly than ever before.

Read More: Can You Pause a 3D Print? You can pause your prints, but if you pause for too long, it could affect quality. Here’s how to pause prints!


When it comes to printing, speed is of the essence.

In today’s fast-paced business world, quicker printing times mean a more efficient production process, allowing companies to get their work done faster and cut costs in the long run.

There are many factors that can impact 3D print speeds, from the type of printer being used, to the type of object being printed, and the quality and resolution settings of the files being printed.

For optimal results, it’s important to take some time to learn how your settings can affect print speeds, such as by optimizing your ink levels or weighting your text for faster output.

With a little practice and experimentation, you can find the perfect combination of settings for a quicker and more efficient printing experience that allows you to focus on hitting those deadlines instead of waiting around for your documents.

So start optimizing today and see what faster 3D printing times can do for your productivity!

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