How Long Does a 3d Printer Take?

What is 3D Printing?

3D printing, 3D photocopying, or Additive Manufacturing is the process of making a three-dimensional solid object from a digital file. First, an item is designed using Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software, then it is broken down into very thin cross-sections called layers before being reproduced in real physical form by depositing material on top of each other, much like an inkjet printer. The process is repeated as necessary to produce all the layers required for a 3D object.

3D printing has come a long way since its introduction at the World Maker Faire in September 2012. However, it still takes time and patience for even the most basic products to be created.

The best 3d printer is one that offers high precision, a large build volume, and a variety of compatible materials for printing. When considering the best 3D printer for your needs, there are several factors to take into account. The printer’s resolution and accuracy will determine the level of detail that can be achieved in your prints.

The size of the build volume will determine the maximum size of objects that can be printed. The range of materials that the printer can work with will determine the types of objects that can be created, as well as their durability and finish.

How Long Does it Take to 3D Print?

Now that you know a little about 3d printing, you may be wondering how long it takes to print something. The answer depends on a few factors, such as the size and complexity of the part, as well as the printing technology used. Generally speaking, smaller and simpler parts can be printed much faster than larger and more complex ones.

However, the average 3d print time can range from as little as 30 minutes to several days. So, how long does it take to 3d print? It depends on what you’re trying to print.

How Does a 3D Printer Work?

A 3D printer is a machine that makes three-dimensional solid objects from a digital file. The object is created by laying down successive thin horizontal layers of material until the entire object is created.

The process of creating this object with the use of very thin layers has its origins in papermaking, where sheets of material are gradually built up to make the final item. The difference between this and additive manufacturing (3D printing) is that it starts with nothing and each layer added contains more material; whereas subtractive manufacturing (such as carving or milling) removes mass or changes form based on how much material needs to be removed until the final shape is achieved.

The Different Types of 3D Printing Technologies:

There are three main types of 3D printing technologies: Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), and Stereolithography (SLA).

FDM is the most commonly used technology, and it works by melting a plastic filament and then depositing it layer by layer. This technology is typically faster than the other two types, and it can be used to print smaller parts with less detail.

SLS uses a laser to fuse together powdered material, and it can be used to print bigger and more complex parts. However, this technology is slower than FDM.

SLA uses an ultraviolet laser to cure a liquid resin, which builds up the part layer by layer. This technology is the most accurate and can produce the most detailed parts, but it is also the slowest.

The Size of the Part:

The size of the part also affects the printing time. The bigger the part, the longer it takes to print. However, a simpler and smaller item can be printed much faster.

The Complexity of the Part:

The complexity of the part also affects the printing time. The more intricate and complex the part, the longer it takes to print. However, a simpler and less complex part can be printed much faster.

The Printing Technology Used:

Finally, the type of 3D printing technology used also affects the printing time. The slower technologies, such as SLA, will take longer to print an item than the faster technologies, such as FDM.

The printing time is usually between a few hours and a day, but it depends on the size and complexity of the part being printed.

What affects printing time?

The size of the part and the complexity of the design are both big factors in how long it will take to print. A bigger part means more material needs to be added, which takes longer. And a more complex design usually means there are more details that need to be printed, which also adds time. However, sometimes printers can be faster with smaller, simpler parts because there’s less work involved in moving the printer head around and adding materials.

Why do 3D printers take so long?

3D printers take time to print parts because there is a lot of work involved in moving the 3D printer head around and adding material to the part you’re printing. For example, let’s say your model was 10 inches high by 8 inches wide by 6 inches deep. After the printer starts to print it will create what’s called a “sliced” image that consists of thousands of horizontal layers stacked one on top of another:

This is just an example and not necessarily how every 3-D printer works, but for this article, we will use these numbers as figures to go along with our explanation. The first layer would be 1/100th of an inch thick so there would be 100 slices total before you could start seeing any of the colors of the material. For each slice that follows, the printer head will move up 100th of an inch to create another layer until all 6 inches are covered. So it would take 600 layers just for this one part before any printing could be seen at all.

The time it takes to complete these first few slices is often referred to as “build time” or “print time”. It’s what you measure when asking how long does a 3D printer takes to print? As soon as this build goes through the last slice and the printer heads move back down, there is usually some kind of finishing that needs to occur to prepare for printing. This can include removing supports that were created while printing (such as scaffolding used underneath overhanging features to prevent drooping), as well as applying a finish or coating to the part.


So we’ve answered the question, “How long does a 3D printer take?” by explaining some of the factors that go into printing time. Obviously, the size and complexity of the part being printed are two of the biggest contributors to how long it will take for your 3D print to be finished. But there are other things that come into play, such as the print technology being used and how much finishing needs to be done on the part when printing is complete. For more information about any of this, be sure to check out our other articles or leave us a comment below!


Nabeel is an SEO and Content Marketer at, specializing in technology topics. With a profound interest in all things tech-related, he channels his enthusiasm into creating engaging and informative content. Nabeel's writing is focused on delivering valuable insights to readers, ensuring they stay up-to-date with the latest advancements and trends in the tech industry.

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