One of the major gripes with 3D printing is many consider it to be slow. So when Carbon 3D printed a whole part during a speech in 2015, announcing they had the fastest, best 3D printer around, the community went crazy for it. Finally, resin 3D printers seemed to be catching up to other manufacturing methods, and in the next five years since the speech it has advanced significantly.
But what are the other fastest 3D printers in the world? We have listed the five fastest 3D printers at every price range below, but first we explain the factors that affect how fast a 3D printer can print.
How fast is a 3D printer?
As for the technologies and 3D printers we have now, simply stating the fastest possible 3D printing speeds is difficult. That’s because – and I know it’s frustrating to read this – it depends.
Several factors which affect a 3D printer’s speed to print a whole part include:
Resolution of the 3D printed part: before you start printing, you need to slice your model into layers on a 3D slicer such as Cura or Repetier-Host. The more layers, and the thinner each layer, the longer the part will take to print at the same speed. A part printed with 50-micron layers will have twice as many layers as the same part printed with 100-micron layers, and take twice as long at the same speed.
- We also have a guide to high resolution 3D printers.
Quality of print: theoretically you could run a budget 3D printer at an extremely high speed, and it would still print. But what it printed wouldn’t be anything like how it looked on your slicer. It would be a mess of filament hairs and blobs, because the speed settings were set too fast. Some 3D printers can handle high speed 3D printing, some cannot.
3D printing technology: how fast a 3D printer prints depends on the technology. Resin 3D printers are significantly faster than FDM 3D printers. Even expensive FDM printers are slower than low cost LCD 3D printers. The fastest 3D printing technologies include Multi Jet Fusion and resin 3D printing technologies like SLA and DLP.
Material: some materials are easier to print than others, putting less demand on the printer and leading to a slightly faster print.
Complexity of the model: You will be able to print a cube block far quicker than an intricate 3D printed jewelry piece. This is because you can print larger layers and at a faster print speed without a notable loss of quality, since the cube is a very simple shape with no details.
Size of print: fairly obvious, but a larger print will take far longer than a small one. A full-size vase will take around 12 hours to print in normal detail on most FDM 3D printers, but a small statue may take under an hour.
Nozzle size: for FDM 3D printing, smaller nozzles mean more intricate details can be printed more accurately, but larger nozzles can potentially print faster.
Will 3D printers get faster?
Almost certainly. We’ve already seen a number of major innovations that make 3D printers faster in the last decade. In 2012, the first delta 3D printers started to appear, which print significantly faster than previous Cartesian 3D printers.
Then, new resin 3D printer innovations such as Carbon 3D’s CLIP, and Uniz’s UDP technologies made SLA and DLP faster. Other significant speed innovations include HP’s Multi Jet Fusion technology, and also the huge advances being made in many metal 3D printers such as those by Desktop Metal and Markforged.
|Name and brand||Build volume (mm)||Max speed||Price||Where to buy|
|Flsun QQ-S||255 x 255 x 360||300mm/s||$369||Amazon here|
|Anycubic Photon Mono X||192 x 120 x 245||60mm/h||$899||Amazon here|
|Uniz Slash UDP||293 x 122 x 200||600mm/h||$1,999||Matterhackers here|
|WASP 2040 Pro Turbo||200 x 200 x 400||500mm/s||$3,400||Amazon here|
|HP Jet Fusion 5200||380 x 284 x 380||4115cm3/h||Quote|
The Fastest 3D printers 2021 in Every Price Range
FLSUN QQ-S — Fastest 3D printer under $500
- Fastest 3D printer price: $369 — Available on Amazon here
- Max print volume: 255 x 255 x 360 mm
- Fastest 3D printer speed: up to 300 mm/s
A delta 3D printer like the WASP 2040 Turbo also featured on our list, the FLSUN QQ-S, though not as fast as the WASP, is the fastest 3D printer under $500 for FDM printing. You’ll be relieved to hear that it also comes almost fully assembled – they say it comes 90% assembled, with 20 minutes work to complete – unlike most delta 3D printer kits that you need to build yourself.
- We tested the FLSUN QQ-S and wrote about it, so make sure to also check out our FLSUN QQ-S review.
Despite being quite a low-price printer, the FLSUN QQ-S can level itself effectively and comes with a simple to operate 3.2-inch touchscreen that makes printing fun and easy. It can also print up to 255 x 255 x 360 mm parts – far larger than most low cost 3D printers.
Boasting 50-micron accuracy, it packs both speed and precision in a fast 3D printer under $1,000. And it combines these with surprisingly quiet noise levels, remaining under 50dB during printing.
Able to print PLA and ABS as well as other filaments such as HIPS, PVA and wood-filled filaments, the FLSUN QQ-S is also a fairly versatile 3D printer. The heated platform is designed to make removing prints easy and doesn’t damage prints, as well as maintaining a consistent temperature to minimize the warping that can occur with FDM. Overall, it’s a rapid 3D printer that also prints accurately, consistently and does it without much noise.
Anycubic Photon Mono X
- Price: $899 — Available on Amazon here / Available on 3DJake UK & Europe here
- Build volume: 192 x 120 x 245 mm
The original Anycubic Photon and its upgrades were a smash hit, proving that affordable $200 3D printers could create stunningly accurate resin models to be used as precious jewelry molds. Anycubic have since released the Mono X, able to print 3x as fast as standard resin 3D printers at a very respectable 60mm/h.
This upgraded fast resin 3D printer features a 4K screen for astonishingly precise details, with the upgraded double linear Z-axis also improving stability. The results are parts with crisp and smooth surface finishes, making layer lines barely visible.
The 3.5” touchscreen is easy to use, the printer can be operated remotely and via WiFi, and prints fast enough to make many jewelry molds or miniature characters for tabletop projects simultaneously. Overall, it’s a fantastic fast 3D printer under $1,000.
Uniz Slash Plus UDP — Fastest desktop 3D printer
- Max print volume: 293 x 122 x 200 mm
- Price: $1,999 — Available on Matterhackers here
- Fastest 3D printer speed: 600mm/hour in UDP mode
Uniz have made a big impact since their original Kickstarter campaign that raised over $500,000 to produce super-fast resin 3D printers at consumer prices. This quick 3D printer uses Uniz’s Uni-Directional Peel (UDP) technology to print far faster than its competitors, at up to 600mm/hour when in UDP mode.
When not in UDP mode the maximum 3D printer speed is 200mm/hour. This is because not all parts are compatible, for example any parts with cross sections, or fully enclosed parts cannot be printed in UDP mode; and no parts with solid infill can be printed either. You are also restricted as very tall prints cannot be printed in UDP mode, but if your part qualifies then you can print is extremely quickly!
Not only is it an extremely fast 3D printer, but it’s also accurate. This SLA 3D printer has an XY resolution of 75 microns, and a minimum layer of thickness of just 10 microns. As a result, parts have very good surface finish and look almost like they have no layers at all. The printer can also calibrate itself, can be operated via your phone or table on the mobile app, and weighs just 12kg. It’s certainly one of the best speedy 3D printers for the price.
WASP 2040 PRO Turbo — Fastest 3D printer in the world
- Price: $3,400 — Available on Amazon here
- Max print volume: 200 x 200 x 400 mm
- Fastest 3D printer speed: 500mm/s recommend (some say it can print even faster!)
Delta 3D printers are known for their speed, and are the fastest FDM 3D printers in the world. The WASP 2040 PRO Turbo is a delta printer that is not only incredibly fast – at up to a recommend 500mm/s – but is also extremely accurate for an FDM printer. The resolution of up to 50 microns means very accurate and low cost prototypes and parts can be produced, and in record time. WASP claim they make the fastest 3D printers in the world for FDM.
WASP 3D printers are known for their reliability, with the Italian company ensuring the printers operate with workhorse-like consistency. It can print 3D printer filaments including ABS, PLA, PETG and Nylon, so if you want to print stronger parts from one of the tougher plastics you still can, and you can use third party filaments if you prefer – the WASP allows for these. and you can choose to buy the WASP 2040 as either a single or dual extruder 3D printer.
Unlike most RepRap 3D printer deltas, the WASP 2040 Turbo comes fully assembled, so those who aren’t masters of DIY do not need to worry. You can also choose to order it either as a single or dual extruder 3D printer based on your printing needs. It’s the fastest 3D printer in the world for FDM and also accurate and reliable – what more could you want from a fast 3D printer under $5,000!
- It also has a variation designed specifically as a clay 3D printer.
HP 3D Jet Fusion 5200 — Fastest Industrial 3D printer
- Price: Requires a quote
- Max print volume: 380 x 284 x 380 mm
- Fastest 3D printer speed: 4115cm3/hour
HP have only been actively involved in the 3D printing industry for the last few years, but have brought such technological advantages in that short space of time. The Jet Fusion 5200 epitomizes this, marking uncharted territory for 3D printing where it is now considered viable for mid-range production.
Multi Jet Fusion has always been known for its fast 3D printing speed, but the Jet Fusion is even faster than its predecessors. With speeds up to 4115cm3/hour, it’s faster than the Jet Fusion 4200 (4000cm3) and the 3200 (2800cm3) – and these were already some of the fastest 3D printers in the world. The high-quality 1200dpi print head resolution allows for extremely accurate parts with smooth surface finishes and crisp, sharp edges.
The Jet Fusion 5200 combines this astonishing speed with low part cost and scalability. Whole layers can be printed at once, rather than tracing each layer as with Selective Laser Sintering, meaning multiple parts can be printed at once without a drop off in productivity. Multi Jet Fusion isn’t known for its versatility of materials, but PA12, PA11 Nylons and TPU are strong materials with good properties for a variety of industries. It’s extremely fast, extraordinarily accurate, and a rare example of 3D printers being competitive in mid-volume part production – very exciting.
Do you really need a fast 3D printer?
Speed is always useful; nobody chooses to wait in a queue longer than they need to. However, with the quickest 3D printers, there are some cases where you can’t take advantage of this speed.
For FDM 3D printers, some materials become volatile and print with imperfections if you don’t slow right down, like PEEK, PC, and others. Printing at 150mm/s+ would just ruin your prints, so the speed is useless here.
Also, if you are printing a very simple object like a cube, speed becomes less useful as you can just use very large layer heights and print quickly anyway.
However, if your business depends on quick production, then absolutely go for a printer that can either print objects very quickly, or multiple objects simultaneously. The ability to rapidly prototype new designs and innovate quicker is invaluable, and other industries like 3D printed jewelry production or hearing aids need to be able to print custom designs at the highest speeds possible.
So, it depends. For hobbyists, speed is great for quality of life and printing all the cool things and useful 3D prints you can. For industry it can be more necessary, and businesses often opt for an industrial 3D printer than can meet their production speed requirements.