3D Printing on Plastic: The Ultimate FAQ Guide

3D Printing on Plastic: The Ultimate FAQ Guide

If you need to learn anything about 3D printing on plastic, then you need to check this FAQ guide, this is a complete FAQ guide for 3D printing on the different plastic sheet.

3D printing can help you a lot when custom your plastic product, so check it out.

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What is 3D Printing on Plastic?

It refers to the process of creating three-dimensional plastic solid objects from a digital file which is attained using additive processes.

In other words, it is a prototyping process which involves the creation of a real object from a 3D design.

The formation of plastic objects in 3D printing happens by laying down successive layers of the material until the moment the object is created.

 3D Printing

 3D Printing

What Plastics Are Used in 3D Printing?

You can use a wide range of plastic types for 3D printing and some of the most common include:

  • Polyvinyl Alcohol Plastic (PVA)
  • Polylactic Acid (PLA)
  • Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)
  • Nylon among others

Polylactic Acid Polylactic Acid

What are the Advantages of 3D Printing on Plastic?

3D Plastic printing

 3D Plastic Printing

· You can Choose Different Plastics with Varying Properties

It implies that you have unlimited choices as far as using plastic materials with different properties is concerned.

· Plastics offer Varied Finishes Possibilities

It allows you to have a wide range of finishes which makes it possible for you to get the most appropriate one for your particular project or application.

· It is an Ideal Material for any Sector

You’ll find that quite a number of 3D printed plastic objects are utilized in different industries for various purposes including the medical sector in creating 3D models and in the automotive industry to form car parts.

It is also available in architecture as well as aerospace industries.

· Enables you to Achieve Larger Parts

Plastic material is what allows you to print the maximum dimensions in 3D printing.

This is essential because several projects are becoming common in various applications hence making it easy for you to attain precise and custom-made parts.

· It is Comparatively Affordable

3D printing on plastics is arguably one of the cheapest hence giving it an edge over the use of other types of materials.

This is vital because it also makes it possible for you to print several parts which you can then assemble.

Also, the affordability allows you to prototype in an efficient manner but at a comparatively lower cost.

· Quality Production

You can use plastics materials in 3D printing to produce high-quality complex and custom-made products.

Moreover, you can as well use plastic material for your finished products.

· It is Comparatively Efficient

The truth is the 3D printing on plastic is a relatively efficient manufacturing process making it a better option compared to a wide range of techniques including injection molding.

In other words, when printing plastics on 3D files, you will not necessarily need to produce all the molds for your prototype.

Instead, you’ll only need to require a 3D file to upload.

· It is Perfect for Prototyping

For any of your prototyping solutions, plastic material is the ultimate choice.

Of course, 3D printing is the most preferred technique for rapid prototyping given that you can make several iterations at a comparatively low cost using software.

· It is Faster and more Flexible

3D printing on plastic is one of the fastest in the prototyping process.

It thus implies that you can design, manufacture, and also test a custom-made part within the shortest time possible.

Moreover, you print plastic material in 3D to create any form of a part which fits within its build volume hence the flexibility.

Can you 3D Print on with Recycled Plastic?

Yes. It is much possible and apparently one of the efficient ways of maintaining a green environment.

All you need to do is ensure that you have the right printer with the ability to print a wide range of recycled types of plastic materials.

How much Does Plastic 3D Printing Cost?

The cost is dependent on a wide range of elements which include, printing techniques, the object size, brand and type of the filament, type of 3D printer you’re using, time as well as the thickness of the layer.

In all these, it is necessary to ensure that you factor in all aspects that shall guarantee you the best quality finish you require for your application.

What are the Disadvantages of 3D Printing on Plastic?

 Polymer 3D printing

 Polymer 3D printing – Photo credits: Polymer Solutions

· Excessive Plastic Byproduct

In as much as it is helpful to make models from synthetic raw materials given that it reduces waste generation, you will still get excess plastic wastes off the machines.

Additionally, the use of plastic restricts the specific type of part that you can make by 3D printing.

· Limited Endurance

In most instances, plastic products made of 3d printing tend to have inconsistent strength because due to the layer by layer formulation process.

For that reason, such parts might end up weaker compared to conventionally formed parts.

· It Leads to Harmful Emissions

When printing 3D on plastics in enclosed spaces, the printers tend to reduce the air quality since they produce a high amount of potentially toxic emissions.

Carcinogenic particles are also let out into the air which might end up settling in one’s bloodstream or in some instances congest their breathing system leading to a wide range of illnesses and health complications.

· Energy Inefficiency

3D printing on plastic consumes a lot of energy which in most instances tends to inflate the general cost of production given that the price of electricity is continuously soaring.

So this can have a negative impact, especially in mass production.

· It is time-consuming for Mass Customization

It can be somewhat slow when it comes to making and designing parts that match consumer specifications.

The more complex the design the more time it consumes to print the plastic part hence can take several weeks to print products especially if you receive many orders.

· Color and Finishes Limitations

It is quite difficult for users to put up with different colors finishes when it comes to 3D printing on plastic materials.

This can restrict your creativity as well as the quality of the end product for a particular application.

· Violation of Copyrights

3D printing on plastic encourages counterfeiting since all you need is to get a blueprint.

The net effect of this is that it can become so common hence making it somewhat difficult to trace the source of counterfeited items.

Does WeProFab offer Plastic 3D Printing?


At WeProFab, we offer all types of plastic 3D printing services, both complex and customized.

We have different hi-tech machines and printers as well as knowledgeable experts that carry out all the necessary plastic 3D printing which matches your requirements.

Are 3D Printed Plastic Durable?

This is dependent on the type of plastic material that you use to create a particular 3D print.

Some plastic materials produce relatively durable parts than others.

In general, though, 3D printed plastic parts are not as durable compared to conventionally manufactured parts.

3D printing on ABS

 3D Printing on ABS – Photo credits: 3D natives

How does 3D Printing on Plastic Work?


This process starts with a 3D model.

It is easy to create this model using a 3D scanner, modeling software, app, code or haptic device.

Better still you can download it from a 3D repository.

Once the 3D object creates the digital design in a modelling program, the 3D scanner creates a copy of the object and then places it into a 3D modelling program.

This then leads to the conversion of the design into a digital file which in turn slices the model in numerous layers.

A hi-tech 3D printer reads each layer of the design then prints it one at a time.

All these happen seamlessly while blending it together as it continues to print.

This then leads to a smooth, flawless 3D object which is identical to the original digital model.

What is the Strongest Plastic for 3D Printing?

Polycarbonate is arguably the strongest plastic material for 3D printing.

It has a tensile strength of 9800 psi which makes it the most appropriate choice for high strength functional components and applications.

How do you Choose Plastic 3D Printing Machine?

3D printing machines are quite a number in the market designed to print different elements of plastic materials.

When choosing this type of machine, you need to look into numerous factors including the following;

· Printing Technology

Ideally, it is one of the most fundamental aspects to have in mind when selecting a plastic 3D printer.

You ought to understand that 3D printing is a mere term for describing numerous technologies.

And on this basis, you’ll have two major categories; Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) and Resin-based 3D printing machines.

· Features

It is also an essential element to consider when choosing a 3D printing machine.

While at it you need to determine if the particular machine has all the necessary features suitable for your needs as far as 3D plastic printing is concerned.

· Reliability

The truth is that different 3D printing machines present varied levels of reliability depending on numerous factors irrespective of the manufacturer’s claims.

· Build Volume

It is basically the size of the largest part which the 3D printer can build.

Ideally, the build volume of the machine should be relatively large than the size of the largest part.

·  User-friendliness

It is vital since different machines are designed with specific features.

You need to know whether or not a particular machine has the necessary features which you can easily use since it helps in enhancing efficiency and productivity.

· Heated Build Plate or Chamber

When choosing this machine, it would be ideal to which of these two features could be suitable for you particularly if you’re an advanced user.

Such features are essential since they make it possible for you to work on different types of plastic materials.

· Location of the Machine

It would also be ideal to choose this machine on the basis of whether you’ll place it in an office surrounding or workshop.

What are the Principles of 3D Printing on Plastic?

· Modelling

You can create 3D printable models with a computer-aided design (CAD) package by a plain digital camera, 3D scanner or photogrammetry software.

Models printed with CAD help in reducing errors and its possible to correct them with before actual printing on plastic.

· Printing

You have to, first of all, examine a 3D model before printing it from an STL file.

Some of the most common errors you’re likely to experience with 3D printing include noise shells, faces normal, holes, manifold errors and self-intersections.

· Finishing

Ordinarily, the 3D printing resolution is always sufficient for a wide range of applications.

However, you need to ensure that you print a relatively oversized version of the desired part in standard resolution if at all you need to attain greater accuracy.

· Multi-material Printing

It enables the composition of objects of the complex as well as the heterogeneous arrangement of the material.

What are the Common Problems in 3D Printing on Plastic? How do you solve the Problems?

Plastic 3D printing is one of the exciting endeavors.

However, in some instances, you might realize that a number or problems tend to arise before, during as well as after printing.

Some of these challenges and possible solutions include the following;

· Under-extrusion of Filament

It is as a result of using a filament with a wrong diameter or inappropriate extrusion multiplier.

So an ideal way of solving this problem is ensuring that the correct filament diameter is set as well as altering the extrusion multiplier accordingly.

· Stingy Print Jobs

An ideal way to deal with this issue is by moderating the operating temperature to prevent runny plastics from dripping out easily.

· Failure or Filament to Stick to the Print Bed

The most likely cause for this problem could be that the platform is not level.

A suitable approach for solving this error could be by checking the temperature settings of the machine given that temperature also influences the adhesion of filament.

· Thermal Runway

It often happens when the temperature read out of the hot end tends to dip by about 15° C in about 45 seconds or so.

To troubleshoot this problem, you need to first check the ambient temperature.

You also need to ensure that you keep your 3D plastic printing machine away from cooling sources like air conditioners.

· Over-extrusion of Filament

It is a problem that emanates from using wrong filament diameter or in some instances inappropriate extrusion multiplier.

It results in too much plastic coming out which ultimately manifests to unnecessary bits of plastic.

To solve this issue, you need to set your filament diameter appropriately.

Also, you need to try to select various 3D printing flow rates.

How has 3D Printing Advanced Plastic Manufacturing and Fabrication?

3D printing is enhancing the manufacturing of plastic and fabrication in a wide range of ways including the following;

· Proving New Options for Short-term Molds

It gives short-lead-time options that help in making a few parts directly.

All you need here is making sure that you go for the right choice of polymer if you want to attain the best results.

· Consumer Products Customization

Most of the parts used in a wide range of applications are nowadays tailored to the individual through 3D printing.

This is essential since it provides a perfect way of ensuring that the end-user gets the specific part that suits their individual needs.

· Helps in Prototyping without Imminent Production

It becomes easier for you or any engineer to come up with plastic prototypes without necessarily soliciting the attention of the manufacturing staff.

· Plastic has become an Alternative Material to Metal

Metal is the most commonly used material that many people prefer using since it provides the easiest way to get craggy well-designed parts in low quantity.

However, 3D printing of plastics has now made it possible for you to deliver components in low quantity hence becoming a better alternative for using metals.

· Production of Bigger Parts

3D printing of plastic materials now makes it possible for you to produce larger components which is vital especially for applications that require the same.

· Enhanced Speed of Throughput

3D printing has become the ideal option for production hence leading to an increase in scales.

It makes it possible for you to generate parts at an order of magnitude relatively fast than what has been acceptable.

What Parts can you make using 3D Printing on Plastic Technology?

They include the following;

  • Jet’s fuel nozzle
  • Jet’s engine turbines
  • Jewelry
  • Automotive fuel pump
  • Soccer shoe soles

Can you Drill the 3D Printing on Plastic?

Yes, it is possible to drill 3D printing on plastic.

However, while at it, you need to ensure that you drill perpendicular to the layers because printing parallel to the layers can split the layers due to the force of drilling.

How does 3D Printing and Screen Printing Plastic Compare?

Plastic screen printing is merely a wet process whereby cylindrical plastic materials can be decorated and involves the transfer of images directly onto the part by pressing the ink through the image.

On the other hand, 3D printing involves the processing of artwork using computer-guided software to form solid objects from plastic files.

The other key difference is that 3D printing takes a relatively short time to complete compared to screen printing which can take several hours depending on the nature of required prints.

It is also easier to create complex shapes, designs, and profiles when printing 3D plastics.

This is, however, somewhat difficult to attain when screen printing of plastic material.

What is the difference between 3D Printing and Digital Printing on Plastic?

3D printing refers to a technique for creating three-dimensional parts by aggregating or adding plastic material and other appropriate raw materials.

On the other hand, digital printing is a reproduction technique that allows the printing of plastic materials identically from computer data.

Digital printing targets the general audience, both professionals and individuals.

3D printing, however, targets the specific audience or individuals who have a passion for new technologies such as medical and construction industries.

How does 2D Printing on Plastic Compare to 3D Printing on Plastic?

2D printing is relatively slow compared to the 3D printing of plastic material.

So in other words, 3D is an improvement of 2D particularly when it comes to the printing of plastic materials.

2D printing on plastic in most instances tends to use toner or ink which in turn needed to convey the image to the plastic material.

In 3D you do not essentially require any form of ink to print 3D plastic objects.

You need to use the specific type of plastic material to obtain the actual part.

2D printing is comparatively affordable since it does not integrate a wide range of technology.

3D printing on plastic, on the other hand, requires huge investment especially when it comes to buying the printer and other relevant elements.

You can use 3D to create any form of design whether simple or complex since it allows you to explore a wide range of aspects revolving around the same.

2D printing, on the other hand, limits you to specific types of designs that are not necessarily complicated.

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Our product manager will give you a quick demand portrait according to your design, drawing, standard, testing methods and other requirements. And we have a strong supporting team to fulfill your demand with our deep technology and know-how base. We can offer you a solution or a few options. And you will decide which one you prefer.

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