Which is more productive: machining or 3D printing?

3D printing is a cost-effective and easy way to manufacture parts. However, you should figure out which manufacturing method is the most reasonable and economical considering the big picture.

When is 3D printing the best option?

It is important to recognise the applications where 3D printing can replace traditional manufacturing methods in a profitable manner. It is not a good solution to manufacture everything with 3D printing, but in many cases, it is the most reasonable alternative.
The table here gives indications on the recommended 3D printing tasks. The table compares 3D printing with machining and injection moulding.

Comparison of different part manufacturing methods

3D printing Machining Injection
Manufacturing small series      
Complex geometries      
Price of complex workpieces      
Rabid commencement of production      
Flexible changes to design      
Manufacturing large series