How Long Does 3D Printing Take?

on January 15, 2024

When using a 3D printer, the length of time it takes to complete the print depends on the complexity of the finished product, as well as the type of printer being used, the printing materials and the slicer settings.

(It's important to note that the length of time it takes will, in turn, also affect the cost of 3D printing.)

In some cases, a 3D model can be printed in minutes, while more complex projects can take hours or days to print.

Due to this, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the question. Instead, each project needs to be assessed to determine how long printing is likely to take.

In this article, we’ll explore the various factors that impact 3D printing time and explain how they impact the total project completion time. 

Who better to teach you how to use your printer than those at Pro3DShop?

3D Printing Time: 5 Important Factors

To determine how long a finished model is likely to take to print, it’s important to consider the following:


As you might expect, the size of the finished model has a major impact on the print time. After all, a large model is likely to take longer to print than a miniature piece. The height of a 3D model has a particularly significant impact on printing time. This is because 3D models are printed in layers and, the taller the item is, the more layers need to be printed. 


3D printers are capable of generating highly complex models. In fact, the advances in 3D printing now mean that highly complex geometries can be 3D printed and transformed into medical-grade components or military-grade concrete structures. 

Inevitably, the more complex a model is, the longer it will take to be printed. A simple, hollow shape may be printed in minutes, for example, whereas highly intricate and complex medical components are more likely to take hours. When it comes to large, complex models, it’s not unusual for the 3D printing process to take days to complete. 

Despite this, 3D printing often proves to be the quickest way to produce models that may take days, weeks or months using traditional production methods.

Type of 3D Printer

As 3D printing has evolved, a wider range of 3D printers has become available, and the type of 3D printer you choose to use can have an impact on printing times. An SLA or resin 3D printer can typically print complex models more quickly than an FDM 3D printer, for example. For simple models, an FDM 3D printer may have a slight edge over resin 3D printers when it comes to print times. 

However, it isn’t just the type of printer that has an impact on project completion times. Every model of 3D printer has its own maximum printing speed, and this obviously affects how long it will take to fully print a piece of work.

For example, the B9 Core 500 Med, designed for the medical industry, offers build speeds of 15 – 120+ mm/hr, whereas the ProtoSpeed Rapid DLP 3D Printer delivers speeds of 50-65mm per hour at a 50µm layer thickness. Although both of these examples are resin printers, their varying applications and designs means they deliver different build speeds, resulting in varying printing times. 

So, you’ll need to ensure you have access to a 3D printer that is designed for the type of application you’re working on and, if possible, evaluate the build speeds of comparable machines to find the fastest 3D printer for your needs.

Printing Materials

The type of 3D printer you use will affect print times, partly due to the type of materials that are used. FDM printers work by heating filaments that are then pushed through the nozzle of the printer in accordance with the design. In contrast, resin 3D printers use UV-sensitive liquid polymers that harden into a solid state when ‘activated’ by the computer-controlled UV laser. 

In most instances, printing with filaments is faster than using resins. However, resin printed is most suited to complex geometries, whereas FDM printing is ideal for less complex models, which can also account for the variation in printing times.


Once a model has been printed, you’ll need to factor in the time required for post-processing too. For example, removing the supports and polishing the model to enhance the finish can take a substantial amount of time. 

Generally, FDM models require more post-processing than models produced via a resin 3D printer. This is because resin 3D printers are more capable of producing complex and intricate models with a better finish. 

If you print a moderately complex piece with an FDM printer, for example, it may require 8 – 24 hours of post-processing until it’s ready for use. Conversely, models printed via a resin printer often require far less post-processing, sometimes as little as 2 – 8 hours. 

How To Speed Up 3D Printing Times

Using the best printing method, printer type and materials for your specific project can naturally shorten printing times. If you’re printing a highly complex model, for example, the capability of a resin printer and the reduced post-processing time in comparison to an FDM print means the project completion time can be minimised. 

Similarly, using a 3D printer model with high build speeds is another way of improving printing times. As you may be aware, it is usually industrial and professional-grade machines that deliver the fastest build speeds, whereas printers designed for at-home or hobbyist use will often have slower build speeds. 

Accelerate Printing Times with Our 3D Printing Service

If you want to benefit from the fastest printing times and the best results, our bespoke 3D printing service may be just what you’re looking for. With access to a range of machines, materials and expertise, we can select the best printers and printing methods for your project and accelerate printing times. 

Whether you’re printing a one-off model or looking for a large run of 3D printing, our in-house experts will be happy to provide the service you need. 

To find out more or to discuss your printing requirements with our team, contact Pro3D Shop now +44 (0) 800 689 0719 or send us a message here.