How Long Does it Take to Order a High-Quality 3D Print Online?
by Fabian | September 6, 2017
We frequently receive questions about how long 3D printing takes. That’s why we want to explain to you how fast different materials are shipped, what you can do if you need a 3D print urgently, and how our production times are calculated.
Standard production times range from six to 20 business days. On average, most orders are shipped within 10 business days. The main driver affecting the time needed for your 3D print is simply a chain of different steps in the overall process. 3D printing on industrial machines is more than ‘just’ the printing process. The printing time often only takes one or two days.
The reason why getting a high-quality 3D print takes more time than that is simple: it’s not only about the printing. It’s about a process of file checking, planning, printing, cleaning, finishing, quality checking and packing your object. And these steps can add up. We try to speed up this process as much as possible. But since every material and finish is different, this overview that sums up the lead times for every material might come in handy.
- The fastest material we offer is “Polyamide Priority” which ships in only 48 hours. Since many of our clients work with tight deadlines, we introduced this rush 3D printing option for Polyamide
- Next in line is ‘regular’ Polyamide, our popular nylon plastic option. Polyamide orders that were not ordered as ‘Priority’ typically ship as of six business days
- Silver and Multicolor 3D prints are shipped from our 3D printing factory from seven business days onwards after you have placed your order. Bear in mind that this is an extremely fast production time, considering that silver printing (and casting) still includes manual working steps
- Prints that require a production time as of eight business days include many different plastics: Mammoth Resin, Transparent Resin, Gray Resin, Standard Resin, ABS, High-Detail Resin, Alumide, Rubber-Like, and Polyamide (MJF) are mostly produced within eight business days. We are also proud to say that Gold ships as of eight business days! This makes gold and silver our fastest metal options to ship
- Next in line are more metals: Steel, Brass, Bronze, and Copper 3D prints are shipped as of 10 business days
- Prints that need more than 10 business days for production are also mostly metals or more ‘exotic’ materials: Titanium ships from 11 business days, High-Detail Stainless Steel from 12 business days, Aluminum from 15 business days, and Ceramics from 20 business days
So why is there a difference in production times for 3D printing materials? This is mainly due to the fact that every material is produced using its own particular production technology. Polyamide prints, for example, are produced with Laser Sintering printers and thus do not need support structure during their printing process. Most resins, on the other hand, need support structure during their printing process on Stereolithography machines. This means that for some materials, support structure needs to be cut away manually, while for others, this manual finishing step is not necessary.
Another good example for explaining production times is 3D-printed ceramics. After the actual printing process, the ceramic object is put in a drying oven, then undergoes a cleaning process, is put in a firing oven, is then pre-glazed, put in a firing oven for the second part, glazed, and then fired for the third time. Add to this the file preparation and planning process before the 3D printing starts, as well as the quality check and shipping preparation afterward, and you will understand the challenges of reducing the production times even further.
But one thing’s for sure: we know that speed is often of the essence for your designs and that’s why we are constantly searching ways to improve our production flow. Our goal is to get your 3D prints as quickly as possible from a virtual 3D file on your screen to an actual 3D print on your doorstep.
If you want to learn more about this subject, check out our production time overview page, our individual material pages, or our Polyamide Priority 3D printing rush service. If your 3D model is ready for 3D printing, simply upload it here and choose from 100+ high-quality materials and finishes.