The best materials to 3D print in a hurry | Sculpteo Blog

The best materials to 3D print in a hurry

Posted By Hannah Bensoussan on Oct 18, 2016 | 0 comments

Most of our customers at Sculpteo like things to be done fast. Thankfully our  online 3D printing service and laser cutting service are both intuitive and quick. As we like to say, it’s easy as 1, 2, 3: you upload it, we manufacture it, you receive it. Yet you may have to wait a little time to receive your product and some delays cannot be erased, even by our super fast and efficient engineers. These delays vary according to various factors, that this article will help you understand, so you can choose your material according to its lead time.


To help entrepreneurs in a hurry order from Sculpteo, we decided to create this short guide to indicate you which materials and finishes are faster to produce for us. And don’t worry, we know you’re in a hurry: this will take you maximum 5 minutes!


How can I get my 3D printed object as fast as possible?


First of all, there 3 important features that will impact your delivering time: the material, the finish and the layer thickness. 


1. The 3D printing materials


On Sculpteo you can find 48 different combinations of 3D printing materials and finishings. And when you’re in a hurry, even though we calculate your lead time automatically and instantaneously on the upload page, you don’t have the time to try all of the materials to choose the one that will be the fastest to print. So here is our guide.


We offer 6 different 3D printing materials:

  • Plastic (white, gray or black): you can choose between solid and flexible plastic. Its surface has a grainy texture which can be polished and it is available in many shades, dyed or painted by hand. Available in 4 to 10 days.
  • Polyjet resin: solid or rigid, opaque or translucent, this resin offers has a smooth surface. Available in 5 to 7 days.
  • Alumide: it is very close to the plastic material, but it contains small aluminum particles. The surface is also a bit porous with a light aluminum sheen. Available in 7 to 9 days.
  • Multicolour: this is the only material that is 3D printed in full color. Its surface is also grainy and it is very fragile, that’s why we recommend it only for ornamentally purposes. Available in 8 days.
  • Metal: brass or silver are available. Our brass material is composed of 82% copper and 18% zinc, while our silver is a 92.5% sterling silver. Both are great for jewelry and decorative objects. Available in 15 days.
  • CLIP resin: you can pick between a wide range of resins, from rigid to flexible, with key engineering characteristics, like a great temperature resistance of nylon composites. Available in 16 days.


For complete information about their properties, check our material pages.


Bolt and screw in black PA11

Bolt and screw in black PA11


2. The 3D printing finish


Now that you have a better idea of what we offer in terms of materials to 3D print, let’s see what we have in the finishings section. First of all, you must know that most of the finishes will require 1 to 3 additional days of work on your order. If you want to avoid this extra waiting time, note that in some cases you can do the finishes yourself! We have a DIY tutorial for 3D printing finishes right here.



For a smooth touch:

  • Polishing: this is available for plastic and alumide materials. Mechanical polishing makes the objects smoother to touch but adds 1 to 2 extra business days.
  • Smoothing beautifier: for a smoothed surface on plastic parts. Adds 3 days (minimum 7 business days).
  • Varnishing: this is only for multicolor material and white plastic when it has been painted. This will make your object more resistant to shocks and humidity, and will give it a shiny appearance. The varnishing process adds no additional day for the multicolor material, and one additional day for the painted white plastic.


For a touch of color:


  • Dyeing: contrary to painting, i.e. applying a surface coating to your object, dyeing colors the plastic deeply. It adds no extra days to the production times for your parts.
  • Painting: the colors are spread on the material using a spray gun. It is only available for plastic. It has a very uniform finishing and gives the object a smooth surface but this process adds 2 additional business days. For a “glossy”, add another additional day. This means minimum 6-7 business days, 7-8 business days with the “glossy” finish.


For complete information about our finishing processes, check our website!


3. The layer thickness of your 3D print


You can only choose the layer thickness of your 3D printed object for our white plastic material. You’ll get a choice between the standard thickness (100 – 150µm) or the fine one (60µm). Please note that if you prefer a resolution of 60μm, you have to wait another additional day.

To understand layer thickness in 3D Printing, you can read about it in our glossary. We also have this article about our 60µm layer thickness printing setting.


Now that you know more, here is a recap of our materials from the fastest to produce to the slowest:


Plastic: 4 to 10 days

Color Finishing


White Raw Standard (100-150μm) 4 days
Fine (60μm) 5 days
Polished Standard (100-150μm) 4 days
Fine (60μm) 5 days
Grey Raw Standard (100-150μm) 9 days
Fine (60μm) N/A
Polished Standard (100-150μm) 10 days
Fine (60μm) N/A
Black Raw Standard (100-150μm) 5 days
Fine (60μm) N/A
Polished Standard (100-150μm) 5 days
Fine (60μm) N/A
Dyed Raw Standard (100-150μm) 4 days
Fine (60μm) 5 days

Standard (100-150μm)

4 days
Fine (60μm) 5 days
Painted Matte Standard (100-150μm) 6 days
Fine (60μm) 7 days
Gloss Standard (100-150μm) 7 days
Fine (60μm) 8 days

Polyjet resin: 5 to 7 days

Color Days
White 5 days
Translucent 7 days
Dyed (black) 6 days
Painted (all colors) 6 days

Alumide: 7 to 9 days

Colour Finishing Days
Gray Raw 7 days
Polished 8 days
Colored Raw 7 days
Polished 9 days

Multicolour: 8 days

Finshing Days
Raw 8 days
Matte varnished 8 days

Metal: 15 days

Type of metal Finishing Days
Silver Rough 15 days
Mirror polished 15 days

Resin CLIP: 16 days

Type of resin Color Finishing Days
Prototyping acrylate Any Raw 16 days
Hand polished 16 days
Cyanate ester Amber translucent Raw 16 days
Hand polished 16 days
Rigid polyurethane Black Raw 16 days
Hand polished 16 days


Why is it taking so long? 3D printing processes


Some of the processes we use can take up to two weeks. For example, our metal production is slower than plastic since we use the casting technique. First, we need to create a wax model of the object that is going to be made with brass or silver. Then, a mould is made around the wax object before it is melted and filled with metal to obtain the final object. Technically, we create to objects to make one, therefore it takes more time than printing plastic for example.

Another external factor to take into account is the number of commands we have. Even though we do our best to send your orders in the shortest delays (and we succeed in the vast majority of cases), Sculpteo sometimes might have to add a little additional day when the machines are too full.


What about laser cutting in a hurry?


Just like on our 3D printing online service, the production time for your laser cut item is automatically calculated on our upload page, when you choose the material, based on supply available and orders to be processed. And, in the same way, the laser cutting time depends on the material, the complexity of the engraving, and the commands we have to take care of simultaneously.

We offer two average lead times: a short one, between 1 and 3 days, and an average one, from 3 to 6 days. In short:

  • Acrylic is available in the short lead time (1 to 3 days), except for diffuse and translucent acrylic, where you will have to wait longer. The biggest thickness we propose, 10mm, will also be available between 3 and 6 days.
  • Standard MDF is also produced between 1 and 3 days, but for another coloration, or a very thick MDF (10mm), you will have to add extra days of waiting, between 3 to 6 days.
  • Plywood is quick to produce, with the short lead time (1 to 3 days)

Please note that an additional period of 1 or 2 days is necessary for complex pieces or vast engraved surfaces. To see the complete lead time chart, check our price and delivery page for laser cutting.

Laser Cutting Materials



We hope this was helpful, and you’re ready to head to the upload page and start your 3D printing and/or laser cutting experience!

Upload a file
Upload a file
Content available in