How Long Does it Take to 3D Print an Object at Home? Small, Big and Compex


Everyone that is hopping on to the trend of 3D printing, and simply wants to experience innovative manufacturing, wants to make things fast.It is human nature, of course, to prefer to complete tasks quickly – the faster you produce a 3D print, not only can you make more items in less time, but you also gain immediate satisfaction from seeing something that you created.

Also, the internet has made it seem as if 3D printing is an instant process, which is not the case. Then, how long does it actually take to 3D print an object at home? And what might be the factors that affect the speed of 3D printing?

So how long doe it take to 3d print an item at home? It takes around 35 minutes for miniature objects to more than 10 hours for significantly bigger objects. 3d Printing speed depends on the size of the object, the infill, quality, how complex it is, and the printer itself. The more commonly used filament printer in homes is usually slower than the resin printers.

Without regarding other specifications like the size, infill, layer height, printer speed, etc., it is difficult to give a concrete answer about how long it might take for your object to be 3D printed.

3D Printing Is Here To Stay

Hence, I made the effort to find out time estimates in Cura, of a few 3D designs to make a general range of the time it takes for objects that can be 3D printed at home.

One more thing to consider is the amount of noise caused by the 3d printer. Check out our post for more on this : How To Reduce 3D Printers Noise Hacks! Best Sound Absorbing Filament

For Smaller 3D Printed Objects

The la FabShop Mobile in Cura

For starters, let’s take the example of a miniature toy car – la FabShop Mobile. Having 10% infill, 0.15mm layer height, and no support, the estimated time amounts to be 2 hours and 59 minutes.

Now imagine, if your object’s layer height is smaller than the above toy car, it would take you less than ~3 hours. Such as this Keychain/Smartphone Stand that takes 35 minutes, using up only 5g of filament.

The cat keychain/smartphone stand in Cura

So, 3D printing miniature objects can last from anywhere around 35 minutes to 10+ hours as estimated by Cura with the MakerBot Replicator, at a print speed of 60mm/s.

This can, of course, be adjusted and changed according to your needs if you tinker with the print speed, layer height, infill percentage, etc.

For Larger 3D Printed Objects

A picture of the HIVE Modular Hex Drawers

What about larger objects that you would want around your house? Well, as you would have already guessed it would take longer, but how long? Let’s find out.

The HIVE – Modular Hex Drawers with 10% infill amounts to a 26 hour and 51-minute print if each STL file is printed only once. This is excluding the queue time for multiple objects since the entire design is not printable at once in the MakerBot Replicator.

Such a project takes a little over a day but this time is flexible depending on your printer’s nozzle diameter and the infill. You can decrease the infill to save time, but it can affect the strength of your object and make it easier to bend.

On the other hand, if you print an Egg Roll Basket for your kitchen with 0.15mm as the layer height, the estimated time comes out as 15 hours and 58 minutes.This is with an infill of 15% in the Prusa i3 3D printer of which the nozzle is 0.4m.

However, when the same design is printed with 0.2mm as the layer height, the estimated time changes to 11 hours and 47 minutes, while everything remains the same. An entire 4-hour change!

So, for 3D printing larger objects, it can take anywhere around 10+ hours to a day or more. It depends on the previously mentioned layer height, infill, and a waiting time for the queue when printing multiple objects.

What are the Features that Determine the Speed of 3D Printing?

  • 3D printer – Needless to say, the 3D printer’s capacity to work at a certain build speed and its printing technique are some of the main factors. Generally, home-based FDM printers tend to be slower than SLA printers.
  • 3D printing material – During the build stage, the 3D printer will deposit material to build the object. Some materials are easier to deposit than others. Resin is easier than filament and hence, does not slow down the process as much.
  • Size of the object – It is obvious, but the size of your object plays a big part in determining the speed. The bigger the object, having more volume and layers to print will take longer than something that is smaller.
  • Infill – The density of the internal structure of a 3D printed object is its infill percentage. The higher the infill, the greater the print time.
  • Complexity – The more geometrically complex the object is, the more time it will take for it to be printed. For instance, the go-to 3D printing test object: 3DBenchy is a much complex design and will take longer than simple 5-minute keychains.

How is 3D Printing Speed Measured?

Firstly, 3D printing speed is a measurement of the amount of product built from raw material over a given period (amount/time). The faster the printing speed, the shorter the time taken to print an item.

3D printing speed only refers to the building stage of the entire 3D printing process. The build stage is the actual printing of an object after you have fed its required data and design to the printer.

The amount calculated in the build speed is measured either in kg, mm, or cm3, depending on the 3D printing method. While the time of the build speed is usually measured in hours.

To understand the varying building speeds of different additive manufacturing techniques, a comparison table is drawn below:

3D Printing Technique3D Printer ModelMaximum Speed3D Printer Type
Stereolithography (SLA)Uniz Slash Plus UDP720 mm/hrDesktop
Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)DeltaWASP 2040 Turbo2500 mm/sDesktop
Material JettingHP MultiJet Fusion4000 cm³/hrIndustrial
Gel Dispensing Printing (GDP)Massivit 1800Up to 13.7in/hrIndustrial

3D printing speed is modifiable. You can fully adjust how fast the printer’s nozzle travels, how fast the motors move for printing, and how fast the printer retracts filament when traveling.

There is also a slicing software called Cura which can calculate estimates of how long a print will take you based on certain data you input, such as the nozzle diameter, infill percentage, layer height, etc.

If you are interested to know more about the 3d printing software and courses, you would be interested to go through the article we wrote about How Much Does a 3D Printing Course Cost?

Some of the Faster FDM 3D Printers for Home Use

For hobbyists that want to 3D print at home, FDM desktop 3D printers are the best choice because they are versatile, reliable, relatively easier to use, and smaller in size.

Though filaments such as PLA and ABS are slower to print than resin and other materials, FDM is still the most adopted 3D printing technology. Especially by enthusiasts.

With that said, here are some 3D FDM printers that I think would be good for faster prints at home:

  1. Anycubic I3 Mega S – Maximum printer speed is 60 mm/s in a build area of 210 x 210 x 210 mm.
  2. Monoprice Maker Ultimate – Its claimed build speed is up to 150mm/s in a build area of 200 x 150 x 150 mm.
  3. Dremel DigiLab 3D45 – Its build area is 254 × 152 × 170 mm, while the print speed can go up to 150mm/s.
  4. LulzBot Mini 2 – Its build area is 160 x 160 x 180mm, while its speed can go up to 300mm/s.
  5. FLSUN QQ-S Delta – Ultrafast with a speed of up to 300 mm/s and a 255 x 255 x 360 mm build area.

Here is a table to see how long it would take the Anycubic, Monoprice, and FLSUN printers to print 3DBenchy at their max speed. This can help us develop a better understanding of the time taken to print.

PrinterPrinter SpeedEstimated Time
Anycubic I3 Mega S60mm/s1 hour and 54 minutes
Monoprice Maker Ultimate150mm/s2 hours and 18 minutes
FLSUN QQ-S Delta300mm/s38 minutes

It is interesting to see that the Monoprice 3DBenchy takes longer to print than the Anycubic one, despite it having a higher printer speed.

This goes to show that the printer speed is not the only determinant of the time it takes to 3D print something.

If the 3d printer is intended to be also used by kids, then you would want to go through the article we wrote about the Minimum child age to use 3D Printer: Risks, what not to do, and suggestions.

Final Words

The time it takes to 3D print anything is heavily dependent on various factors such as the nozzle diameter of your printer, the 3D printing technology (FDM in this case since it is for home use), the layer height of the object, etc.

The general range discovered here lies from anywhere between 35 minutes to over a day for some decorative or functional items that could be printed at home.

Moreover, the built-in printer speed is an important factor in influencing the time it takes to print but it is not the only factor. Since it can be adjusted, a higher printer speed does not mean faster print. It can affect the quality of the print as well.

Preh

A writer and student who is excited to see the 3D printing world evolve and bring the information you crave for it.

Recent Posts