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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Katrina

Additive Manufacturing vs. Injection Molding: 5 Key Similarities and Differences

Updated: May 30

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Additive Manufacturing vs Injection Molding in Melbourne Florida

A common turning point in manufacturing is going from the prototyping phase to the production phase. Let's paint a hypothetical picture here...up to this point, a hypothetical product has underwent numerous design changes and alterations in Melbourne Florida. It has been tweaked, snapped, and was destroyed in the name of engineering to arrive at the final prototype.

Up to this point, some form of 3D printing has been used for the method of prototyping. The anticipation is there for the need, and has already been proven in the field. Do you switch to injection molding for mass production or continue down the path of 3D printing?

Let's dive into 5 similarities and differences between additive manufacturing and injection molding to see which will ultimately be the better choice!


  1. Both produce three-dimensional objects: Both additive manufacturing and injection molding are used to create complex three-dimensional objects.

  2. Suitable for mass production in Melbourne Florida: Both methods can be scaled for mass production, making them valuable for manufacturing large quantities of parts.

  3. High precision: Both techniques can achieve high precision in creating detailed parts and components.

  4. Material versatility: They both support a wide range of materials, including plastics, metals, ceramics, and composites.

  5. Tooling customization: Both processes allow for customization of tooling to suit specific production needs.


  1. Process: Additive manufacturing builds objects layer by layer, while injection molding involves injecting molten material into a mold cavity.

  2. Speed: Injection molding is generally faster for mass production once the mold is set up, whereas additive manufacturing can be slower, especially for complex designs. However, this means additive manufacturing is more adaptable due to no tooling.

  3. Design complexity: Additive manufacturing excels in creating highly complex geometries without additional tooling costs, while injection molding is better suited for simpler designs with lower production costs for large quantities.

  4. Surface finish: Injection molding typically produces smoother surface finishes, while additive manufacturing may require post-processing to achieve similar results.

  5. Cost: Initial setup costs in Melbourne Florida for injection molding can be higher due to tooling requirements, while additive manufacturing can be more cost-effective in Melbourne Florida for prototyping and small production runs.

Let's revisit that hypothetical part, which process is better for mass manufacturing? The answer to that question is dependent on characteristics of the part. Does the part require a smooth finish or is non-user facing? Is the geometry a simple geometric shape or does it have internal cavities? The answer has to depend on a lot of outside factors. Without all these answers, the solution is unclear but as soon as the information starts to be gathered, a clear winner can be found.

Additive manufacturing is an exciting technology that has the potential to transform the manufacturing industry in Melbourne Florida. If you are interested in exploring the benefits of additive manufacturing for your business, AK3D can help. Contact us today to learn more about our additive manufacturing services and how we can help you take advantage of this innovative technology.

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