How Much Electricity Does a 3D Printer Use?

Other than the 3D printer cost and the printing materials for your object, there is one thing that can surely bother you. How much electricity does a 3D printer use? You can find several 3D printer models nowadays and each of these models draws a distinct level of electricity consumption.

Wanting to learn the electricity power consumption of your 3D printer is actually a realistic thought. Although there is so much fun and creativity when 3D printing your objects, it is normal for anyone longing for cost-effective strategies.

In this article, you will learn how much electricity your 3D printer is consuming and effective ways to reduce the consumption.

3D Printer Specifications and Power Rating

You need to know the specifications and power rating of your 3D printer so you will know the extremities of your power consumption.

For instance, if you are using a 3D printer that runs in 30A and 12V, then it can consume up to 360W of power. You might think that this is an extreme figure, however, it is only because the 360W is the maximum power that can be drawn by the specific 3D printer. You can compute power by simply multiplying the current and voltage.

Nevertheless, you should know that there can be a remarkable distinction in the amount of power drawn by a 3D printer if you are working at high-speed settings, heated beds, or high temperatures. With various models, you can say that printers with bigger build platforms use more power. This also goes with 3D printer models that work at increased temperatures.

You may want to understand How Long 3D Printing Takes

How Much Does Electricity Cost to Run a 3D Printer per Hour?

If you are trying to find out how much will it cost to run a 3D printer per hour, then you should know that several aspects could contribute to your printing cost. Materials and temperatures are the common ones.

Operating a 3D printer can surely cost you money. But how much? Most of the anticipated costs are the printing materials and voltage consumption. Other things such as paper towels, alcohol, and gloves should also be included in the expenses. Hence, there is no default answer to your question. You need to work out the cost of printing by yourself.

You can find a way to get the predicted cost of running a 3D printer. Let’s say, for example, a 3D printer that uses 30A and 12V draws 360W of power. If you are using a 3D printer with a heated bed with a temperature of 60 degrees Celsius and a hotbed with a temperature of 205 degrees Celsius, its hourly power usage is 70W which transcribes to 0.7KWh for a printing duration of 10 hours.

The majority of the 3D printers are operated extensively, like eight hours a day. Some are even used beyond eight hours. FDM filament printers, specifically, run for two to three days and this means that the 3D printer runs for three days without getting a break. 3D printers in standard type typically use up to 50W per hour.

Factors Contributing to the Level of Electricity Power 3D Printing Consumes

Printer Bed

The temperature of the printed head is closely associated with the hotend nozzle. This is an important feature as it improves the adhesiveness of the bed and prevents the distortion of the object during the process of 3D printing.

There are two concerns about power consumption associated with the heating that is applied to the heating bed. The first one is the temperature while the other one is the heating bed’s size.

The larger the printer bed and the hotter the temperature, the higher the level of power consumption.

Hotend

One of the most power-exhausting parts of a 3D printer is the hotend. Particularly, the power consumption level of the nozzle is significantly high. The level of power it consumes is directly associated with the temperature setting. High-temperature filaments like ABS and nylon use more power.

Fans

Most 3D printers have at least three fans. One of these fans is assigned to keep cool the heat sink found in the hotend to regulate the temperature of the nozzle. Another fan is assigned to cool down the filament while it is laid. The last one is assigned to regulate the temperature of the mainboard.

Some 3D printers utilize two or more fans of each of the tasks mentioned. Although the fans are only small and they only consume little power, they can contribute to the power consumption of the 3D printer through time.

Stepper Motors

3D printing involves two sets of stepper motors. One manages the extruder gear. The other one manages the movement of the nozzle during the manufacturing of 3D print. Although these stepper motors are relatively small and only consume low power, they operate during the entire time of 3D printing, thus, increasing the electricity cost.

Heat Losses

Certain parts of the 3D printers like the Z-axis and stepper motors can reach a maximum temperature of 200 degrees Celsius and remain at that temperature for a better section of the printing process.

Heat losses are unavoidable and the payoff to it can only be uninterrupted heating. In moderation, you can potentially reduce the consumption of power if you figure out a way to keep cool the heating components.

Control Board

The control board is composed of many electrical parts that regulate the process of printing. Being the brain of the 3D printer, the control board regulates the entire movable components so that the printer can work as designed. It does not consume too much power, however, the overall consumption of power can reach a high level over time.

How to Reduce your 3D Printer’s Electricity Power Consumption?

Now that you know the common factors that contribute to the increased power consumption of 3D printers, you should now consider finding ways on how to reduce your 3D printer’s power consumption.

You may want to use smaller 3D printers rather than using the bigger ones since the latter likely use up more electricity while printing. Smaller 3D printers can downsize power consumption since they do not require a lot of plastic materials. Smaller printers also have smaller beds which also implies less power consumption.

It is also important that you become mindful in choosing your 3D print material. You should not choose a 3D filament that requires a high-temperature nozzle or a heated bed to function. Choose PLA filaments as they can essentially alleviate your problem in power consumption as it only requires a lower temperature to soften.

Consider shortening your printing time, too. If you can reduce the printing time of a certain project, you will consequently reduce the power cost. You can do it by increasing the speed of your printing and working on thicker layers. Nevertheless, you need to put into consideration other factors like the filament, printing temperature, and the quality of the product when doing such modifications.

Also, choosing a warm environment where you can do 3D printing can lessen the heat required to create the prints. If you can find that ideal environment, you may not have to set the requirement to the utmost standard. Setting the requirement to the minimum can be enough since you are already in a hot environment.

Are 3D Printers Energy-Efficient?

3D printers have demonstrated energy-efficiency capability. Many companies have benefited from the reduced energy consumption during manufacture. Although there is still an ongoing evolution to this technology, the production of objects through 3D printing, employing the use of computer models, and laying materials per layer into a defined format can transform manufacturing.

These companies are smart enough to use 3D printers as they know that these printers are energy efficient.

Related: https://makemendel.com/3d-printer-for-miniatures/

FAQs

  • Is there a way that I can compute the electricity power consumption of my 3D printer?
    Yes, there is. The most reliable thing that you can perform is to check the consumption of electricity in kWh for each hour of the day. Doing so will give you an idea of how it increments when you run the printer.
  • How much is the average cost per kWh for 3D printers?
    Choose Energy says that the average cost per kWh is 13.30 cents. However, you should know that the amount can significantly differ based on your location.

Last Words

You now know the common factors that contribute to the high power consumption of your printer. Although it is inevitable for your printer to consume power, you can opt to utilize the effective ways on how to reduce the power consumption of your 3D printer.

3D printers are energy-efficient. Nevertheless, that should not be an excuse for you to take for granted the tips on how to manage the power usage of your 3D printer. There is no question that 3D printers are fun and beneficial to use. However, you simply cannot ignore the printing cost. How much electricity does a 3D printer use? Giving some attention to this question only shows you as a responsible user.

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