3D printing is an exciting new technology that has evolved dramatically in the last few years. There have been a lot of exciting new technologies in the previous two years alone that allowed for printing models at higher speeds than ever. But how long does 3D printing take?
3D printing can take anywhere from just 1 minute to 100 hours or more depending on the size of the model, the amount of infill, the layer height, the print speed of the printer, the type of 3D printer used, and more.
If we look at one of the most popular 3D printers sold, the Ender 3, and print one of the most popular 3D models for testing, the 3D Benchy, then we can see that at normal slicer settings with 15% infill, the whole print will take about 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Many things can influence the amount of time it takes to 3D print a model such as the size of the model, slicer settings, the type of printer used, the speed of the printer, and many more.
Factors that Affect How Long a 3D Print Takes
There are several factors that can influence the time it takes to print a model. In the following, I will talk about the most important factors.
One of the biggest factors that can cut down on printing time is the layer height.
The layer height is a setting that can be set in the slicer software (software that prepares 3D models for printing).
The standard setting for layer height is usually around 0.16 mm for a fine print and 0.2 mm for a rough print.
Changing this setting can cut down the printing time by a few percent.
0.16 mm layer height is often used for prints that need to look good like decorations, cosplay, or similar while 0.2 mm layer height is often used for more functional prints.
Size of the Model
The size of the model is an obvious factor.
Generally, the bigger your model the longer it will take to print.
This is because a 3D printer builds the model from the bottom up layer by layer.
Amount of Infill
The infill amount is another slicer setting that can impact the printing time significantly.
3D prints need some sort of infill so that they don´t collapse and are stable enough. This is especially important for functional parts.
The infill amount is set in percentages. 15% is usually the default slicer settings but you can use as low as 5% infill without much issues for most 3D prints.
Functional parts often require higher density infills of around 30% or higher. Which is why functional parts can often take longer to print.
Another obvious factor that influences the time it takes to 3D print a model is the print speed.
Most regular 3D printers have a print speed of around 60 mm/s. But recently more and more printers have come out that have print speeds of 600 mm/s such as the P1P from Bambu Labs.
The higher the speeds the faster the print time.
Acceleration is something that a lot of newcomers often overlook. A printer with 600 mm/s is great but if it only has an acceleration of 2000mm/s² then it will never be able to reach its top speed.
The higher the acceleration the faster the printer will get to its top speed. And thus the printer will print faster.
For years the acceleration of most printers was around 2000 mm/s² but in recent years more and more consumer printers have managed to reach accelerations of 20 000mm/2² or more.
Type of Printer Used
The type of 3D printer is also a very important factor. And by that, I mean if you are printing with a resin printer or with a regular FDM printer.
FDM printers are generally a little bit slower than resin printers because resin printers can cure whole layers at once where FDM printers have to print every layer line by line.
But resin printers are much messier to use and resin is more expensive which is why resin printers are often used primarily for miniatures, very small prints, or 3D prints with very high amounts of details.
Firmware of the Printer
The firmware is the software that your printer runs on.
Marlin is used on most 3D printers at the moment and requires very little processing power. It will only execute the instructions given by the slicer without optimizing it in any way.
Klipper, on the other hand, requires higher processing power because Klipper takes the instructions from the slicer and optimizes them on the fly. Allowing for faster printing than usual.
And finally, the nozzle size.
The nozzle is the part on the 3D printer where the filament is extruded.
A normal nozzle is 0.4 mm big. But with some well-tuned slicer settings, you will be able to print 3D models with the same quality with a 0.6 mm nozzle.
Cura, one of the most popular slicers for 3D printing, has a new feature called Arachne that allows you to print with a 0.6 mm nozzle with almost no change in quality.
And printing with a 0.6 mm nozzle will also make the whole print process quite a bit faster because more filament can be extruded in a shorter amount of time.
How You Can Calculate the Print Time of an Object at Home
If you have a 3D model that you would like to print and you want to know how long it takes to print that model then read on as I will show you how you can easily find out even if you don´t have a printer.
1. Download Cura
We will start by downloading Cura right here.
Cura is a slicer software that prepares the model for 3D printing.
2. Add a Printer
Next, you have to click on the printer selection in the top left corner and click on “Add Printer”.
A pop up will appear asking you if you want to add an UltiMaker printer. Click on “Non UltiMaker printer”.
Next, choose the tab “non-networked printer” to choose a printer from their library of third-party printers.
Now you can search for the printer of your choice. If you don´t know anything about 3D printers and you don´t have an idea what kind of 3D printer you want to print your model on then simply search for the Creality Ender-3 S1.
This printer is a very popular choice for beginners.
Click “Add” and then “Next” until you are in the slicer overview again.
Now you should see the printer of your choice selected in the top left corner.
3. Import the Model
Now all you have to do is drag and drop the model that you want to print in the slicers window. Make sure that the model is a “.stl” or a “.obj” file.
Cura should load the model in the slicer and you should see a 3D representation of the whole model.
4. Slice the Model
Finally, click on the “Slice” -button in the lower right corner. Cura will now slice the model and give you an estimate on how much time it will take to print that particular model.
In my instance, the 3D Benchy will take around 1 hour and 46 minutes to print.