Plastic Injection Molding vs 3D Printing in Wisconsin

Which is Better for Manufacturing Plastic Parts?

3D Printing vs. Plastic Injection MoldingFor bulk applications, injection molds are generally favored over 3D printing. Plastic injection molding and 3D plastic printing sound very similar – both processes use CNC machines to mold, shape, and design plastic components into a particular shape for a specific purpose. 

So what are the main differences between plastic injection molding and 3D printing, and which one would you want for your business?

 Get Plastic Injection Molding Help


Injection Molding3D Printing
Injection Molding Process
  • Melted plastic is injected into a pre-designed mold cavity inside a steel box which forms the part
  • Melted plastic, once in the mold, hardens and cools rapidly so it can be removed quickly
  • Process can begin again for the next part
  • Because of this, plastic injection molding is good for the mass production of plastic parts since the lead time is short
3D Printing Process
  • Allows melted thermoplastic material to be ejected through a spout and fabricated layer by layer inside the printer
  • Uses special technology to cure resin material into a solid shape or melt layers of powder into a particular part
  • Process can take several hours per component
  • Not as useful for mass production; however, oftentimes it is better for creating a more precise part than can be achieved with plastic injection molding
Injection Molding Production Time
  • Production run only takes several seconds to a minute
  • Manufacturing process is much easier for wholesale
  • Many businesses like Retlaw Industries can help businesses all over the country by fabricating large amounts of plastic components with their specialized machinery
3D Printing Production Time
  • Can take up to several hours to make only one complex component
  • More precisely made than a plastic injection molded part
  • Time it takes to make it can be a major factor as to whether or not you want to use a 3D printer to make your plastic parts
Cost of Injection Molding
  • Significantly more expensive than 3D printing
  • Costs of plastic materials, molds, machinery, automation, and the operation facility all need to be factored in
 Cost of 3D Printing
  • Unit cost is lower and the method is much more affordable
  • Only requires a 3D printer and enough melted plastic material for the part being produced

Is 3D Printing or Injection Molding Better?Composite plastic Pulley Wheels

If you need to mass-produce plastic parts or components in bulk for industrial applications, plastic injection molding services from manufacturers like Retlaw Industries are what you need. However, if you want to save money and only need a limited amount of plastic parts, 3D plastic printing may be the solution best fit for your case.

Plastic molding methods continue to advance day by day, and better technology for both plastic injection molding and 3D printing continues to develop from industry professionals. Plastic injection molding is becoming more and more affordable for businesses in need of thermoplastic part production, and 3D printing continues to innovate with better, more versatile machines for faster turnover times.

If you want information about plastic components for your industry, call the experts at Retlaw today to learn more

Types of Plastics

Conclusion: Plastic injection molding is often more costly dollar for dollar when it comes to bulk orders, while 3D printing only requires the printer and melted plastic, making it more affordable for smaller orders.

Contact the plastic injection molding professionals at Retlaw Industries today to get a quote for your plastic parts
We provide services in Wisconsin, New York, Washington, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Colorado, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and more.
Retlaw sells in all 50 states. Let's get together and build a solution.
For over 40 years, Retlaw has produced quality injection molding tools which has led us into thermoplastic injection molding for a wide variety of industries. With over 19 injection molding machines, decades of collective experience, and over 50,000 square feet under roof and room to expand, we are always ready for your new projects.
Learn More