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Will 3D Printing Become Mainstream

You would need to have been living under a rock for the last few years not to have heard of 3D printing. Even if you’re not familiar with what it is or how it works, the term is used often enough to have become commonplace. With each passing year, the technology progresses further, and as the flexibility of 3D printing grows, so too does the likelihood that it’ll eventually become mainstream.

At present, 3D printing is mostly used for commercial and industrial applications. But eventually, you may find a 3D printer in every home. 3D printing reduces pollution, cheapens production, and gives consumers the power to create. Even if you don’t currently use the technology, 3D printing is already reasonably accessible.

Both the printers and software can be acquired with cheap 3D printers, even turning up infrequently in supermarkets and other stores. Of course, these printers aren’t on par with commercially available printers, but they are catching up.

As the price of printers and printing software drops and customer awareness and education about 3D printing processes increases, more people will adopt the technology. In short, 3D printing is very much here to stay and with good reason. Below, we’ll talk more about 3D printing and why it’s taking the world by storm.

Will 3D Printing Replace Traditional Manufacturing

At ETG, we’re moving with the times, and that includes expanding our engineering services to include 3D printing capabilities. There are a lot of benefits to using a 3D printer instead of traditional manufacturing processes. This is especially true when it comes to producing prototypes. Through a process known as rapid prototyping, products can be designed very quickly.

You no longer have to tool an existing machine, set up a new production line, and/ or create a new mould or process for a product that may end up getting scrapped. 3D printers let you tinker with a design without needing to create a thing. Just print out the digital model with a printer, and if it’s not what you want, tweak the design, replenish the materials, and go again.

3D printers also help prevent waste that is commonplace in traditional processes. That’s because traditional moulds require more material than what ends up filling the mould. Even sheet metal generates a certain amount of waste. Conversely, a 3D printer uses only what’s moved through the extruder in the printer, eliminating any wastage.

However, there are three reasons why 3D printing will never fully replace traditional manufacturing:

  • Quality of the Final Product
  • Costs Can Sometimes be Higher
  • Compromised Production Speed

In conclusion, 3D printing will likely continue to work in conjunction with traditional methods. And by supplementing these methods with 3D printing, efficiency can be greatly increased while enjoying the best of both worlds.

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Will 3D Printing Replace Injection Moulding

The short answer is no; 3D printing likely won’t ever replace injection moulding in its current condition. That’s not to say that 3D printing shouldn’t be considered; certainly, it can work in conjunction with injection moulding. But if your business relies heavily on injection moulding, you should not give up this practice.

Injection moulding is quicker than 3D printing and is far more efficient. In many cases, it offers more dimensional accuracy.

While there are pros to using 3D printing, there are plenty of cons, too. Pros include:

Flexible Designs

Faster Designs and Prototypes

Print on Demand

Reduced Cost


Medical Uses

The cons include:

Limited Material Options

Cannot Print on Every Scale

Post-Printing Processes

Higher Costs for Larger Volumes

Such cons are offset by using traditional injection moulding techniques.

Will 3D Printing Replace CNC Machining

Lastly, we’ll talk about CNC machining, and, as you might have expected, there’s no danger of 3D printing replacing this either. As with traditional manufacturing and injection moulding, 3D printing possesses enough pros to use in conjunction with CNC machining but enough cons to not replace it outright.

Despite advances in 3D printing, CNC machining remains the most cost-effective method of on-demand manufacturing, especially metal parts.

3D printing is more adaptable to plastics, including ABS, nylon, polycarbonate, and acrylic. However, the technology is advancing, so more materials will likely be supported in the future such as metals.

For now, CNC machining is the best option for metals, from aluminium to steel and titanium, as well as plastics that aren’t compatible with 3D printing but are widely used for CNC machining. 3D printing and CNC machining can work together – custom parts can be made through CNC machining, then use 3D printing to cover over with TPU or silicone.

In fact, more and more designs now require 3D printing and CNC machining working in consort to come to fruition.

Will 3D printing become mainstream

CTA | Check out our Engineering Services

So, if you’re interested in finding out about our engineering services, look no further than the experts at ETG. Since 1972, we’ve spent more than half a century serving the needs of our customers. As a result, we’re regarded as a highly respected engineering supplier, servicing industries that include:

  • Automotive
  • Powertrain
  • Composites & Light-Weighting
  • Aerospace
  • Medical
  • Energy
  • FMCG
  • OEMs

In our years of operation, we’ve leveraged our full range of engineering capabilities, including 3D printing, to manufacture a range of industrial automation systems, special-purpose machinery, assembly tooling, automated assembly, and single & multi-robotic cells.

We’re driven to supply our customers with the most advanced manufacturing technologies in the world. We’ve earned accreditations from organisations like CHAS, UKAS, and BSI, and we hold impressive certifications, including ISO 9001 and 14001. We’re continually striving to meet every client’s requirements, expanding our capabilities to keep abreast with current technologies.

By building strong and long-lasting partnerships, we’re positioned to anticipate your needs, ensuring you get the right solution every time. To learn more, simply call +44 (0247) 6428500 or email