How Big Can A 3D Printer Print?

Cheryl Owens02 Mar 2022

3D printers are not just for prototypes anymore. You can use them to print your toys and gadgets or even a replacement part for your broken laptop! 3D printing is becoming more prevalent these days, with experts predicting that by 2025, 10% of all manufactured goods will be made using additive manufacturing techniques. Because of this, the question many people are asking is, "Just how big can a 3D printer print?".

How big can a 3D printer print?

The answer is that the size of a 3D printer is dependent on the design, not the printer itself. The maximum length of a 3D printer varies widely from company to company. Some printers can print up to 4 feet in height, but others cannot print more than 0.5 inches high. This will depend largely on what kind of object you would like to print and how big it will be when published. Most printers also have several different printing materials available depending on what type of object you are printing, which may affect which printer works best for your needs. If you want to use a 3D printer for personal use, a smaller one that can only print small objects might work best for you. But if you’re going to expand your business or use your 3D printer for production purposes, a larger one with more features might be worth considering.

Factors That Influence 3D Printing sizes

Now let’s discuss factors that influence 3D printing sizes. Some of them are explained below:

Material type

The way a material behaves while it is being printed heavily influences the overall size and shape of the completed object in most cases. For example, suppose you have a very complex structure to print and have selected to do so using multiple materials. In that case, the size may shift depending on how each of those materials fulfils its role in providing layers in the finished object. This factor is also significant because many parts behave differently once printing has finished, so make sure to test things before moving forward with your 3D printing design. For example, high temperatures may cause some materials to stretch and warp, so designing for flexibility will help you accommodate any differences. In addition to needing more precision and strategies when designing for different types of objects, this factor will also increase your overall costs since each material will require (and occupy) its feeder.

Packaging type

How you package your 3D print will determine your finished object's printing size and shape. For example, you need to ensure that the underside isn’t too ‘free-standing,’ so using packaging materials such as foams may be necessary. Overfilled packaging (like in our porcine example) is another factor to be aware of.  Factors like these must be considered because unless a solid structure supports the model, some parts may become wavy or disjointed when seeing large amounts of movement during printing. Printing objects with supports can bring an altogether different challenge; they must be removed with careful thought so they do not disrupt your 3D printed product or create more support issues later on once cleaning has been completed leaving space for imperfections and unintended shifts in size. Some have even noted larger than expected sizes due to how 3D printers build up printed models layer by layer. Each horizontal line is extruded and raised vertically until it meets the first line beside the previous one. The height of each layer will affect the overall size of your model in most cases. If you want to minimize this complication, some designers recommend placing your model as centrally as possible in each layer and using supports throughout that should meet 90-degree angles. It might be best to contact a professional printer designer since it seems like an overwhelming process.

3D Printer Build Size

The varying sizes of 3D printers aren't just for convenience because some larger objects and designs would not fit standard desktop machines. Things like strong suspended objects are almost always too unstable unless mounted to an iron frame, which means you often can't use these types of materials at all due to their destructible nature. Large projects and 3D printings usually take more time to execute, taking longer than your usual printing hours. A challenge arises when multiple models or items are needed at the same time or expected on the same date, so be considerate towards this factor when choosing a 3D printer that is large enough for your needs.

Large Format 3D Printers Size

If you need bigger things, choose wide format FDM 3D systems, also known as hard resin printers, for greater accuracy. The makers of this 3d printer say it can build the world's largest ABS plastic object. This machine is 2.12 meters tall and printed one life-sized replica in under 72 hours. A large-format object costs from $5,000 to $10,000 per cubic meter of resin, which amounts to $50 to $100 per cubic inch in raw material at current pricing for construction quality resins. However, a recent development has surfaced that prints larger objects at a much more affordable price. Desktop METAL (additive manufacturing) metal printers can print objects up to 6 feet tall with deposition rates of 270mm3/hr. At $300/year, metal printing could be seen as the winning factor over large-scale 3d glass printing labs that can cost upwards of $1,500/week.


So you have learned about 3d Printing Size, it is not a major factor in deciding what printing technology is best for you. Select a printer according to your needs; size should not matter here because we all use 3d printers to create objects per our requirements allowing us to enjoy this fascinating hobby.

Cheryl Owens

Cheryl Owens

Welcome to Printlitic! 3D printing became a hobby of mine 5 years ago with an earlier model of Anycubic printer. Since then, I have grown to love seeing what people can build & create, and how these printers can change the world.

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