How Long Does It Take to Make a 3D Phone Case?
Printing a 3D phone case can take two to three hours. This assumes that you plan to use a thin material with no additional designs besides one color. This is a good way to get some practice with 3D printing if you have never done it–but it won’t be a customized option.
If you wish to make a 3D phone case with special features including additional colors, a thicker material that will last, and even texture, then the printing process will take a lot longer. The exact amount of time for printing will depend on how many features you choose and the complexity of your design.
What Will Affect Printing Time?
While it is possible to get a 3D phone case printed quickly, different factors determine how much time the printing process will take. The more you add to the design, from texture to design additions, the more time it will take. Some things that will determine the exact printing time include:
- What type of design you choose to work with
- If you choose more than one color
- The materials you use
- Whether you add texture to the design
- How many cases you want to print at once
The Design You Choose
The more complexity in the design, the longer it takes to print. A simple design doesn’t need a lot of extra stuff added to it and can print out right away. Since most people choose to do 3D printing for all the customization potential, the design you create will likely make the printing process take longer.
How Many Colors You Use
One solid color will take the least amount of printing time. The more colors you add in though, the longer the printing time takes. The printer will need to add one color and allow it time to dry before adding in another. The more times you do this, the longer it takes.
The Material Used
There are several types of materials you can use in your 3D phone case. Some of the best options include:
- PLA: This is one of the top options for 3D printing on your desktop. It is an easy choice to use and is friendly for the environment, though it may not be as thick and sturdy as you want for a phone case.
- ABS: If you want a sturdy phone case, then ABS is a good choice. It is more durable and tougher while making it through some of the higher temperatures. This material will take longer to print, but the phone case will last longer too.
- PETG: This is the type of material you will find in water bottles and is often a mixture of the two options we saw above. It brings out the best in both, giving a filament that is easy to print on while still bringing in all the durability you want.
- Nylon: Even nylon can be used, though you will need to get upgrades to make this work. It isn’t the best for phone cases because it does hold onto and get ruined with moisture, but it is something to consider.
- TPU: This material is similar to rubber, providing some of the flexibility and durability that you would expect from this material.
The texture will also matter when picking the material. If you plan to add some texture to your phone case, you need a material that can handle it. This texture will also add to the printing time.
How Many Cases You Print
The more cases you print at once, the longer the printing time takes. You can get through each case faster as the 3D machine can work on the process in batches. However, it takes longer to print ten cases compared to one, even if the average time per case is lower.
Does the Printer Type Make a Difference in Printing Time?
The type of 3D printer you use will make a difference in how fast the process will go. Some high-powered printers can print faster, even with all the extra details you want to add to your phone case. There are a few factors that determine the printing time including:
The Thickness of the Material You Use
The material you choose to have in your phone case will determine how quickly it will print. The thicker materials will protect your phone better. But they do prevent the printer from getting going as well as you would like, slowing the process down. Thinner materials can make the printing process faster, but keep in mind they may break faster.
There are many factors concerning the printer that will determine how quickly you can print your phone case. Some of these include:
- The supports you have to use for the FDM technology on the printer
- The layer thickness is set up for the laser
- The filament thickness
- The material that you choose to use for your case
- The temperature of the print nozzle
There are several filament thickness options you can choose based on how you want your case to look. As with anything, the thicker filament will help provide a stronger case that won’t break. But the thickness can slow down the printing time.
When picking out the temperature of the print nozzle, you want a higher temperature because this helps melt and mold the materials better. However, if it is too hot, it can melt right through the filament and cause a mess. Most printers will give you some choices in the temperature you choose to use.
3D Printing a Phone Case: Time, Time, Time!
Printing a simple 3D phone case does not take too long with the right printer and minimal design changes. A simple case can take a few hours or so to complete. Most designers who use 3D printing want to add in extra details and use thicker materials to make the case last longer and this can make the printing time take longer.
Some of the elements that can affect how long the printing process will take include:
- The materials you use
- How thick the materials are
- The specifications of the printer
- The design you choose to go with
- Whether you choose to add texture to the case
A simple plastic phone case, made out of thin material and in one color with no texture, can be done in a few hours. As soon as you start adding more colors, features, thicker material, and texture to the mix, the printing time can start adding up.