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Does Size Matter? The Question of Speed in 3D Printing

Understanding 3D Printing Speeds

3D printing speeds

3D printing speed is one of the key factors that determine the efficiency and print quality of any 3D printer. Essentially, 3D printing speed refers to how fast the printer can produce an object. Do bigger 3D printers print faster? While it’s true that larger 3D printers can print bigger objects and mass-produce them, they don’t necessarily print faster than smaller ones.

Print speed depends largely on the print quality, the object size, the type of material used, and the printing technology. Most 3D printers come with a speed specification that indicates the maximum printing speed. However, it should be noted that this speed isn’t always accurate since it depends largely on the factors mentioned above.

The time it takes to print a 3D object can range from a few minutes to even days. The speed at which a printer prints can also affect the durability of the object after printing. A slower printer typically produces stronger and more durable objects, while faster printers produce weaker and more fragile ones.

However, it’s important to note that print speed is not everything when it comes to 3D printing. The quality of your 3D print is just as important, if not more important than speed. In addition, if you’re printing large, complex objects, speed is not always the biggest challenge. It’s more important that the object comes out right, even if it takes a little longer.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding 3D printing speed, there are a few ways you can optimize the speed of your printer. One way is by adjusting the layer height of your printer. Typically, decreasing the layer height will create a smoother finish, but if you lower it too much, your printer will be slower since it will have more layers to print. Similarly, some printers have adjustable print speeds that you can tweak to get the optimal printing speed. However, you should be careful not to adjust the speed too much if you want good print quality.

In conclusion, do bigger 3D printers print faster? The answer is no. The speed at which your 3D printer produces is determined by several factors, including print quality, object size, printing technology, and material used. It’s important to strike a balance between print speed and print quality to get the best results. Ultimately, the best way to get the most out of your 3D printer is to experiment with different settings and find the best combination of speed, quality, and durability for your specific needs.

Do Bigger 3D Printers Print Faster?

Advantages of Bigger 3D Printers:

3D Printer Large Scale

Aside from the possibility of faster printing speeds, larger 3D printers offer a host of advantages compared to their smaller counterparts.

Ability to Print Larger Objects:

One of the most obvious advantages of a bigger 3D printer is the ability to print larger objects in a single piece. This allows designers and engineers to create larger prototypes or finished products without having to divide them into smaller parts and then assemble them later.

Larger prints can also be made with finer detail and smoother surfaces, as the printing process is less likely to be interrupted by layer seams and other imperfections that can arise from splitting an object into smaller parts.

Increased Production Speed:

While it may not always be the case, larger 3D printers can often be faster than smaller ones, especially when printing large objects. This is because larger printers have larger build plates and can print more material at once, reducing the number of print runs needed to complete a project.

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Additionally, larger 3D printers often have more advanced technology built-in, increasing the speed of the printing process by reducing the time it takes to heat the build plate or melting the printing material. This can help to significantly reduce the overall printing time of a project.

Greater Customizability:

With a larger build envelope comes greater potential for customizability. Larger 3D printers can often be customized more extensively than smaller ones, with the ability to add features such as dual-extruders or additional sensors and motors, offering greater flexibility in the printing process.

Customizability also extends to the range of materials that can be used in a larger 3D printer. Printing larger objects requires more advanced materials than smaller printers, and the larger build envelope of a bigger printer can accommodate these materials with ease. This allows for printing objects that are capable of withstanding greater stress, environmental resistance, or having particular aesthetic qualities.

Lower Cost Per Print:

Although larger 3D printers come with a considerable upfront cost, they can often help save money in the long run. By printing larger objects in a single run, there are fewer costs associated with materials, preparation, and assembly, reducing the overall cost per print.

In addition, larger 3D printers can often print objects in a shorter time, reducing the risk of errors and wasted material. With more efficient use of resources and less time spent on assembling smaller components, the overall cost of printing will often be lower with a bigger 3D printer.


Overall, bigger 3D printers offer a wide range of advantages compared to smaller printers. They can print larger objects in a single piece, reduce the time required to complete projects, offer greater customizability, and ultimately lower the cost per print.

While these advantages can make larger 3D printers a better choice for some projects, it’s important to remember that larger printers aren’t always faster, and that there are often tradeoffs between print speed, print quality, and customizability.

Ultimately, the choice of which 3D printer to use will depend on the specific project requirements, budget, and other factors, and careful consideration should be given to each factor before making a final decision.

The Science Behind Printing Speeds

3D Printer Speed

3D printing is known to be a time-consuming process, but it doesn’t mean that people want it to take longer than it should. The speed of 3D printing depends on several factors, including the 3D printer’s hardware, object design, and printing technology. It has been a debate in the 3D printing industry whether bigger 3D printers print faster than smaller ones. In this article, we will be discussing whether the size of a 3D printer affects its print speed.


3D Printing Hardware

3D printer hardware is a significant factor in determining print speed. Larger 3D printers often have high-end motors and can print at higher speeds. A high-capacity extruder in larger printers helps melt more materials at once, allowing larger prints to be produced in less time. Besides, larger printers have a larger build area, which can accommodate bigger prints, and the printer can work at a higher speed allowing it to complete the task faster.

Object Design

3D Printing Design

The design of the object being printed also significantly affects 3D printing speed. A more complex design with intricate details would require more printing time, while more straightforward designs would print much faster. Essentially, the 3D printer would take longer to print an object with more layers, therefore, the speed of the printer would not differ based on its size in this aspect. Most of the time, however, the increasing size of 3D printers correlates with larger object builds, producing more complex designs that may take longer to print.

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Printing Technology

3D Printing Technology

The printing technology used in 3D printing plays a significant role in the speed of printing. Many industrial 3D printers use a process called “continuous printing,” which allows the printer to operate at high speeds continuously. Other printers use a process called “layer-by-layer” printing in which the printer creates each layer separately, resulting in slower completion time. Ultimately, the printing technology used in a 3D printer affects the speed at which it operates rather than its size.

In conclusion, while bigger 3D printers have larger build areas to accommodate larger prints that require a longer print time, they do not necessarily print faster overall than the smaller printers. The speed of a 3D printer is determined by several factors, including the hardware, object design, and printing technology used, but not entirely its size.

Common Misconceptions About Print Speeds

Common Misconceptions About Print Speeds

When it comes to 3D printing, everyone wants their prints done as fast as possible. While it is true that larger 3D printers have larger print beds and therefore can produce larger objects, it is a common misconception that bigger 3D printers print faster. Here are some more misconceptions about print speeds and the truth behind them.

1. Print Speed is Only Dependent on the Size of the Printer

Print Speed is Only Dependent on the Size of the Printer

The size of a 3D printer is not the only factor that affects print speed. Many other factors such as layer height, printing materials, and the complexity of the design can impact the printing speed. The printing speed will become slower when the model has intricate details or involves a lot of supports because the printer has to move its print head and retract it repeatedly. Even if it is a smaller print, a more complex design will slow the print speed down.

2. The Higher the Print Speed, the Better the Quality of the Print

The Higher the Print Speed, the Better the Quality of the Print

While it is true that higher print speeds can reduce the time it takes to print, it could come at the expense of print quality. Increasing the print speed without optimizing other settings like heater, fan, or nozzle can lead to poor quality prints due to under extrusion or layer shifting. Also, some printers may have a maximum speed limit and if users run it above this limit, it may lead to unwanted issues. Sometimes, users may choose to lower the print resolution to make prints faster, but again, it is necessary to consider the trade-off between speed and quality.

3. The Speed of Printers is Always Consistent

The Speed of Printers is Always Consistent

A 3D printer’s speed is subject to certain fluctuations based on the material used, its temperature, spool quality, nozzle clogging, or even ambient temperature. An environment that is too cold or too hot can affect print quality and speed due to the improper flow of the material or thermal stress. It is important to keep printers in a stable environment to maintain consistent print speeds and quality.

4. All Printers Print Equally Fast on All Materials

All Printers Print Equally Fast on All Materials

Materials are another essential factor that can influence print speed. To achieve faster printing speeds, many users may choose a lower-quality material or a material with less density, which could lead to weaker prints or even cause damages to the printer’s hardware. Also, some materials require higher printing temperatures that could slow down printing speed, and the parts made with such materials need more cooling time before being taken out to avoid warping or cracking.

In conclusion, the speed of a 3D printer depends on many factors, and it is not just a matter of printer size. Users should consider the type of materials, the printing resolution, and the complexity of the model when deciding on the printing speed. To get the best quality and speed, it is crucial to follow the recommended settings of the printer you are using, experiment with different settings, and always be aware of the limitations of your printer.

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Factors Affecting Print Speeds on Large Format Printers

Factors Affecting Print Speeds on Large Format Printers

Printing large scale objects via 3D printing requires long hours and patience, as prints can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days to complete. However, printing large objects is a lot faster with a big printing bed and a larger nozzle. So, the question arises, do bigger 3D printers print faster than their smaller counterparts? There are various factors that play a role in determining the print speed on large format printers, which we will discuss below.

1. Layer Height

Layer Height on Large Format Printers

The layer height on a 3D printer is the distance between each layer of material during printing. A smaller layer height produces a smoother and finer print, but it takes longer, whereas a higher layer height results in faster print times, but a rougher print. Large format printers can handle a higher layer height without compromising the print quality, which increases the print speed significantly. Therefore, wider printer nozzles used in larger printers can increase layer height, leading to quicker 3D prints.

2. Printing Speed

Printing Speed on Large Format Printers

Printing speed is another critical factor that influences print time. The larger the printer’s build volume, the faster it can print a model. However, the speed at which it can print is limited by the movement and acceleration capacity of the printer’s moving parts. With larger 3D printers, the print speed can typically be increased without compromising the quality of the print. Moreover, a larger printer provides the flexibility to adjust the printing speed according to the size of the print.

3. Filament Density

Filament Density on Large Format Printers

The density of the filament used in large format printers plays an essential role in determining the print speed. A lower density filament will have less mass, allowing the printer to extrude more of the material, thus increasing the print speed. However, lower density filaments result in weaker parts and can compromise the quality of the print. This is why it is crucial to choose the right density filament based on the print speed and quality desired.

4. Printer Material and Components

Printer Material and Components on Large Format Printers

The printer’s material and components are vital in determining its efficiency and print speed. In a larger printer, the materials and components used should be sturdy and robust enough to withstand the printer’s weight and vibrations. Structurally sound 3D printers utilize better components such as motors, belts, and bearings that can handle faster printing speeds, resulting in quicker print times.

5. Cooling System

Cooling System on Large Format Printers

The cooling system not only affects the quality of the print but also the print speed. On larger printers, overheating can occur, leading to a drop in print quality and system failure. In such scenarios, the cooling system plays a vital role in the printer’s proper function by helping parts stay cool during the printing process. A good cooling system can help increase the print speed by allowing for faster extrusion speeds and preventing the printer from overheating, thus resulting in faster printing times.

In conclusion, larger 3D printers do print faster, but multiple factors determine the print speed. These factors range from layer height, printing speed, filament density, printer material and components, and cooling systems, among others.