The cautionary point of view: 3D printing not yet ready to disrupt plastic injection molding

3D printing needs to mature before it is considered an alternative to injection molding for large-volume production jobs

Product developers and engineers who design and manufacture plastic parts now have a powerful new weapon in their arsenal: 3D printing. This disruptive technology has great promise for rapid prototyping and low-volume manufacturing, but is it ready to replace high-volume plastic injection molding using dedicated metal tools and dies?

The short answer: 3D printing is better used as a complement to plastic injection molding rather than as competition, though that may change. Here’s where we currently stand and what the future may hold.

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  1. I agree with this. I think 3D printing is still too young as both a process and an industry to disrupt injection molding as molding companies have been long established. When it comes to material and quality of design, plastic molding is still a heavy winner.

    • There are several firms which are using 3D printing for making the molds for injection molding as it is a far quicker and cheaper process overall. While in mass production injection molding’s costs will beat 3D printing for a long while, there are many uses for what is a fast maturing set of technologies.

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