The cost effectiveness of 3D printing manufacturing will depend on the part complexity and volume required for a project. For many manufacturing jobs, including prototypes, iterative designs, and replacement parts, 3D printing is the cheaper option. Once high volumes are required, other processes may be more competitive, but 3D printing manufacturing is always a great option to consider for a project.

Is 3d printing cheaper than molding?

Injection mold manufacturing is more expensive at lower quantities due to the cost of mold tooling.  Thus molding is not cost effective at low volumes, for short production runs or prototypes. Where injection molding starts to pay off is in the higher volumes. 3D printing is essentially a per-piece pricing model. Yes, there are setup and waste costs, but overall 3D printing costs the same for a few parts as it does for 10,000 parts.  So, there is a point at which injection molding will be cheaper than 3D manufacturing. The thing to know is that injection molding will not get that much cheaper than 3D printing, and 3D printing continues to come down in price. So, for many, if not most, manufacturing jobs, 3D printing is a cost effective solution that also allows for iterative design and prototyping. 

Is 3d printing cost effective?

3D printing manufacturing can be extremely cost effective with certain types of projects. It can also be cost effective, or at least competitive, with just about any other manufacturing method. 

3D printing manufacturing is cost competitive with the following types of projects:

  • Prototypes: Nothing beats a 3D printer for creating prototypes. From modeling straight to production, you can have a prototype made quickly.
  • New Designs: When we say ‘new’ we mean a brand new product and a brand new version of an existing part or product. You have the flexibility to create designs based on artificial intelligence and iteration. You are no longer stuck with original designs. That is too expensive to do with most other manufacturing processes.
  • Complex Designs: When parts are “feature rich”, 3D printing is very effective and economical.   Where other manufacturing methods can be cost prohibitive for a complex part, 3D printing can be the right solution.
  • Assemblies: With 3D printing manufacturing, you can print fully assembled parts. That saves costs on time and materials.

Will 3d printing replace traditional manufacturing?

3D printing manufacturing is more likely to change how companies approach manufacturing projects than it is to replace it. CNC, injection molding, machining and other processes will continue to have their specific advantages. However, 3D printing manufacturing is becoming another viable manufacturing option for design engineers to supplement conventional methods.  

Find Out If 3D Printing Is Right for Your Manufacturing Job

We can help you determine the costs to manufacture your job. Either use our online quote tool or give us a call to review your requirements. We’ll get you a competitive price and let you know all the details of getting your project manufactured with 3D printing technology.

Call now at 480-206-4128 or email