Quality vs. Speed: The Undeniable Drawbacks of Fast 3D Printing You Need to Know

Speeding up 3D printing may save time, but it comes with a catch – diminished strength and dependability in your creations.

APRIL 4, 2023 6:28 PM MST

In the quest for accelerated production, the focus on faster 3D printing methods has become a priority. While speed is undoubtedly an attractive feature, it's important to consider the potential drawbacks of fast 3D printing. By understanding these limitations, you can make informed decisions for your projects and ensure the best possible results.


Compromised Print Quality

 One significant drawback of fast 3D printing is the potential for compromised print quality. The faster the print speed, the more likely you are to encounter issues such as:

A. Layer adhesion issues and weak structures

3D printing relies on layer-by-layer bonding to create objects. When printing at high speeds, the layers may not have enough time to bond properly, resulting in weak structures. This issue, known as "3D printing layer bonding," can lead to prints that break or fail under stress.

A fracture point in the layers due to fast 3D printing. (Image credit: CNC Kitchen)

B. Decreased print resolution and surface finish

 Fast 3D printing can also affect the overall resolution and surface finish of your printed objects. As the printing speed increases, there is less time for the printer to lay down each layer with precision. This decrease in "3D printing resolution" can result in rough or uneven surfaces, requiring additional post-processing work to achieve a smooth finish.

C. Inaccurate and imprecise prints

 Accuracy is critical for many 3D printed objects, especially in industries like aerospace and medical devices. Fast 3D printing can lead to inaccuracies in dimensions and details, causing issues with the final product's functionality and performance.


Material Limitations

Fast 3D printing can also limit the materials you can use for your projects. Some of the challenges related to materials include:

1. Restricted material options for fast printing. Most "3D printing materials" are NOT suitable for high-speed printing. Many materials require slower printing speeds to achieve proper layer adhesion and avoid other issues like warping, shrinking, and jamming.

2. Inadequate material cooling and warping. Materials like ABS and ASA are more prone to warping and deformation when printed at high speeds. These issues occur due to insufficient cooling time between layers, affecting the final print quality and structural integrity.


Increased Risk of Print Failures

Faster 3D printing can also increase the risk of print failures, such as:

Nozzle clogging and jams
High-speed printing can put more stress on the printer's nozzle, increasing the likelihood of clogs and jams. "3D printer nozzle issues" can lead to uneven extrusion, print failures, and additional maintenance requirements.
Print detachment from the build plate
As the printing speed increases, there's a higher chance of prints detaching from the build plate. "3D print adhesion problems" can result in warped or failed prints, wasting time and materials.


Sustainability Concerns

Fast 3D printing can have an impact on energy consumption, waste generation, and mechanical degradation, raising sustainability concerns:

A. Increased energy consumption

Higher print speeds often require more energy to maintain motion and the associated electronics. This increase in "3D printing energy efficiency" can lead to higher energy costs and a larger environmental footprint.

B. Higher waste generation due to print failures

As the risk of print failures increases with faster speeds, so does the amount of wasted materials. Minimizing "3D printing waste" is essential for both cost-effectiveness and environmental sustainability.

C. Mechanical Wear and Tear

The force exerted on a machine's components is directly proportional to the product of mass and acceleration. As the printing speed increases, so do the forces acting on the 3D printer's system. Consequently, this heightened stress can result in increased wear and tear on the printer's mechanical parts, leading to more frequent maintenance requirements and potentially reduced lifespan for the equipment.


Balancing Speed and Quality

To optimize your 3D printing projects, it's crucial to find a balance between speed and quality. Consider the following:

  • Recognize the value of slower, more precise printing for complex or detailed designs
  • Choosing the right 3D printing speed for your project. Evaluate your project's requirements and prioritize either speed or quality based on the intended application. Determine the "optimal 3D printing speed" that balances your needs while minimizing the risk of print failures and compromised quality.

As seen in the free WuxnSlicer software, printing profiles have been optimized for strong or fast printing.

  • Exploring advanced techniques and technologies to improve print quality at higher speeds. Investigate new advancements in 3D printing technology, such as adaptive layer height, improved slicing software, and advanced materials that may allow for higher print speeds without sacrificing quality.



Though fast 3D printing might appear appealing at first glance, it's crucial to recognize the potential pitfalls associated with it. Promotional claims of ultra-high speeds, such as 500 mm/s and 20 m/s² acceleration, often turn out to be mere marketing gimmicks. By understanding the limitations of rapid 3D printing and maintaining a balanced approach, you can make informed decisions to ensure the success and longevity of your 3D printed projects.

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