What is the difference between normal printing and 3D printing? [2023]

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Are you wondering about the differences between traditional printing methods and 3D printing? Well, you’ve come to the right place! Our team at 3D Printed™ has extensive knowledge of 3D printing and we’re here to help you understand the differences.

What is traditional printing?

Traditional printing is a process of creating a two-dimensional image or document on paper or other flat surfaces. There are various methods of traditional printing such as:

  • Offset printing
  • Digital printing
  • Screen printing
  • Letterpress printing

These methods use ink or toner to create an image, text, or design on paper or other surfaces. The ink or toner is transferred onto the surface and then dries to create the document or image.

How does 3D printing differ from traditional printing?

3D printing is completely different from traditional printing methods. 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, creates physical objects from digital design files. It builds objects layer by layer using various materials. There are two main types of 3D printing methods:

  • Fused deposition modeling (FDM)
  • Stereolithography (SLA)

In FDM, the 3D printer melts a plastic filament and extrudes it layer-by-layer to form an object. In SLA, a laser or projector is used to cure a liquid resin into a solid object layer-by-layer.

Unlike traditional printing, which creates a 2D image or document, 3D printing can create complex 3D shapes and objects. These objects can be anything from toys and figurines to replacement parts and even organs!

Advantages of 3D Printing

There are several advantages of 3D printing over traditional printing. Some of these advantages include:

  • Customization: 3D printing allows for customized objects to be created quickly and easily. This makes it ideal for creating prototypes, replacement parts, and even medical implants.
  • Cost-effective: 3D printing can be more cost-effective than traditional manufacturing methods, especially for small production runs.
  • Time-saving: 3D printing eliminates the need for tooling and molds, reducing lead times.
  • Less waste: 3D printing uses only the necessary amount of material to create the object, making it a more environmentally friendly option.

Disadvantages of 3D Printing

While there are many advantages to 3D printing, there are also some disadvantages. These include:

  • Limited material selection: 3D printing is limited to the types of materials that can be used in the printing process. While there are many materials available, some traditional materials such as metals and glass can be difficult to 3D print.
  • Slow production time: 3D printing can be slower than traditional manufacturing methods, especially for larger objects.
  • Limited object size: 3D printers have a limited build volume, so objects must be printed within that volume.
  • Quality issues: 3D printed objects may have visible layer lines and other quality issues, depending on the print settings and the printer used.

Quick Tips and Facts

  • 3D printing was first introduced in the 1980s.
  • NASA is currently using 3D printing technology to print food for their astronauts.
  • 3D printing has the potential to revolutionize industries such as healthcare, aerospace, and automotive.


What makes 3D printing different?

3D printing is different from traditional printing methods because it creates physical objects from digital design files. It also allows for customization and can be more cost-effective for small production runs.

What are the disadvantages of 3D printing?

Some of the disadvantages of 3D printing include limited material selection, slow production time, limited object size, and quality issues.

What is the main advantage of 3D printing?

The main advantage of 3D printing is that it allows for customization and can be cost-effective for small production runs.

Is 3D printing difficult to learn?

While there is a learning curve when it comes to 3D printing, it is not difficult to learn. With practice and the right resources, anyone can learn how to 3D print.

What types of objects can be 3D printed?

Almost anything can be 3D printed, from toys and figurines to replacement parts and even organs!

How long does it take to 3D print an object?

The amount of time it takes to 3D print an object depends on factors such as the size of the object, the complexity of the design, and the printing technology used. Small objects may take only a few hours to print, while larger objects may take several days or even weeks.

What kind of materials can be used in 3D printing?

There are many materials that can be used in 3D printing, including plastics, metals, ceramics, and even food!


Now that you know the difference between normal printing and 3D printing, you can understand why 3D printing is such an exciting technology. While there are some disadvantages to 3D printing, it has the potential to revolutionize industries and change the way we manufacture objects. If you’re interested in learning more about 3D printing, check out our other articles on our site.


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