Last Updated on June 11, 2022 by ronnie
Before buying a 3D printer it is important to take all the recurring costs into account because you buy a printer once but to keep it functional, you always need operating costs.
Power consumption is one of the crucial elements in the 3D printing business as this is the first parameter you need to move the motor and heat the filament to conduct printing.
So you must know how much electricity a 3D printer uses, how you can calculate the power consumption and how can you keep the electricity consumption at a minimum.
In this article we will discuss the power consumption of a 3D printer and the effe active ways to reduce it.
What is the power consumption of a 3D printer?
The 3D printer creates three-dimensional components using CAD models and helps you produce shapes. 3D printers are indeed expensive as it’s not just the cost of the printer you need to consider; you also need to know how much power will it consume while you work. Furthermore, 3D printers can draw a different level of electricity depending upon the model.
It is exciting to print your own objects, but everybody wants to keep it as cost-effective as possible. Electricity is a recurring cost as every time you use your 3d printer; it will cost you in form of electricity. If you don’t know how much electricity does A 3D printer use? You won’t be able to calculate the total cost of your printing.
The amount of electricity that gets consumed depends upon the model of your 3d printer. For instance, printers that print at high temperatures and are larger in size consume more power than smaller ones.
3D Printer Cost
The cost of 3d printer depends upon its model as the printer’s price is based on performance, size, features, durability, and each manufacturer produces a different product. So, depending upon your needs and skills, you need to choose the just printer that won’t be a burden to you.
Other than buying costs, there are recurring costs of paper, material, ink, and electricity, and some people like to upgrade the printer. For instance, you may need to change the nozzle or other part of the printer that needs upgrading.
Power Rating Of 3D Printer
There is a maximum power rating that every printer can consume is specified, and they don’t use more than that, and if they do, it can damage them. You can calculate by reading the printer’s specs found in the printer’s user manual. The limit of power that the printer can consume is defined in that manual.
To illustrate, consider a printer specified to operate at 12V, and 30A will consume a maximum of 360W. To calculate how much your printer will consume, follow these steps:
- The formula to calculate total power is to multiply current with voltage, i.e., Current * Voltage = Power. So, for total power will be 12*30=360W.
- Now, to convert it into Kilowatt, divide it by 1000, and you will get 0.36kW which shows the power your printer will normally consume.
- However, there are heat losses while you use your printer, and that heat loss is due to the hotbed and heated bed of the printer, which makes the total consumption of power to 0.7kW for an hour.
- Now, if your printer runs for 10 hours, it will consume 7kW of energy.
That is the consumption of high-end printers, but if your printer has low-temp heat beds, then it will consume 50 watts at an hour most. And you can calculate the cost of electricity by electric tariff issued by your electricity provider. We have calculated the maximum power it uses to show the maximum cost, and the actual cost can be low depending upon your usage.
Most of the 3d printers that are used for regular use consume 50 watts per hour. Furthermore, you can easily check how much electricity your printer is consuming by buying a simple gadget if you have a budget. You can use an electricity usage monitor that allows you to keep track of real-time electricity usage.
The device is placed between the 3d printer and electric source, and it shows how much electricity your printer is using, and you can see the total power consumption every time you use your printer.
Factors That Affect Electricity Cost Of 3D Printer
The actual cost of electricity can differ from printer to printer; however, it isn’t always the same. Sometimes your printer will consume less power and other times more, and it depends upon factors that play a vital role in determining the electricity consumption of the 3d printer. Here are six factors that determine the power usage of a 3d printer.
1. Nozzle Temperature
The nozzle of the 3d printer is also known as hot ends and is considered the most power-draining part of the printer. The purpose of the nozzle is to melt the filament and maintain an efficient flow and print the object. How much hot it gets depends on the temperature you set to print and the type of filament you are melting.
The higher the hot end temperature will be, the printer will consume more electricity, and if you are using filament that has a high melting point, it will use more power to melt it, and the nozzle will produce more heat. So be sure not to use filaments made of Nylon, ABS, as they use more power and generate more heat.
2. Printer Bed Temperature
The temperature of the printing bed goes hand in hand with the temperature of the hot ends of the nozzle as it has to prevent object warping while ensuring good adhesion. Printing bed may not become as heated as hot ends, but it still contributes to determining power consumed by a 3d printer.
Moreover, the printing bed has to maintain a just temperature corresponding to hot ends to ensure the working of 3d printer. If you are using nylon or ABS filament, you need to set the heating bed’s temperature high to ensure the safe working of 3d printer and consume the power accordingly.
Printing bed size is also the factor that affects electricity consumption as larger size results in more power consumption. A large printer bed needs more power to increase the temperature than smaller ones.
3. Control Board
The control board may not consume that much power, like nozzles or printer beds. Still, it regulates every part of the machine, either be it nozzle or buttons, so when you work for an extended amount of time on the printer, you need to consider power consumed by the control board.
The control board is a CPU that controls the part of the 3d printer and is used to set the temperature of the printing bed and nozzle and ensure that every action is done without a fault. In short, it takes care of every action that is performed by the printer and its component.
4. Stepper Motors
Stepper motors are small in size and are used to control the movement of multiple components while printing, as printing 3d models require precision and perfect movement control. There are two stepper motors present in 3d printer; one controls the nozzle movement while the other controls the movement of the extruder.
These motors may consume low power, but when used continuously as printing, even a small 3d object takes hours; it plays an important role in determining the amount of power that a 3d printer use.
5. Heat losses
As you know, 3d printers have components that produce heat and operate at a relatively higher temperature than home temperature. Due to nature, the heat transfer from high to low and the difference between printer’s temperature and surrounding is high, so heat loss occurs.
Since nozzle and printer beds work at high temperatures and generate heat, there is heat loss to balance it out; more power is used. 3D printers are made to balance out temperature, minimizing heat loss.
Calculation of electricity cost of a 3D printer
Once you know the power consumption of 3D printer, the next step is to calculate the cost of electricity.
This involves a simple unit method and all you need to know is the electricity consumption of your printer in watts per hour.
For example your printer uses 100 watts per hour and the running time is 2 hours while the price of electricity per KWH is 0.13$.
The cost of the electricity will be:
Cost per hour= Consumption per hour(KW)xcost of KW per hour
Cost per 2 hours= 0.1x2x0.13=0.026 $ or 26 cents.
These simple calculations are useful for keeping the cost in account so that you can control the expenses of whole process.
Reducing The Power Consumption
You already know the factors that sum up the total power consumption of a 3d printer. The 3d printer may not cost that much in terms of power consumption, but it is best to keep track of it as it can affect the budget and cost more when used for long hours. And there are some things that you can do to help reduce the cost of electricity consumed by your 3d printer:
● Shorten The Printing Time
It is a simple way to reduce the cost of electricity of your 3d printer by lessening the time you use to print the objects. This will result in the printer running for fewer hours, reducing the power cost, and there are some things you can do to shorten the printing time and improve the printing speed.
- You can lower the printing time by increasing the printing time in the software of your 3d printer.
- Try to print with thick layers; it will shorten the printing time as it is easy for machines to print objects with thick layers and quicker.
Overall, time is an essential factor when we talk about electricity cost as the longer you use the machine more it will cost, so the quicker you finish less the cost.
● Use Printer With An Enclosure
An enclosure is guaranteed to reduce the electric cost of your 3d printer as it minimizes heat loss. It is part of most of the high-quality 3d printers, but low-budget printers may not have it. Having an enclosure around the printing bed reduces the heat loss by keeping the homogenous temperature on and saves your bed from dust.
If your printer doesn’t have a built-in enclosure, no need to worry; you can create one by using plastic or wooden sheets. It will help significantly in saving electricity and providing a clean printing environment.
● Use Filaments Of Low-Melting Point
As described earlier, filaments with high melting points require more power and produce more heat, resulting in heat loss and overall power consumption increase as you use the printer. Filaments like nylon or ABS have a high melting point, so the hot end consumes more energy to melt, which means the printer bed will need more heat to balance it.
Using filament with a low melting point can save alot of electricity costs and keep your surroundings eco-friendly. PLA is one such example of filament with a low melting point and is used in 3D printing.
In the end, you know that cost of electricity majorly depends upon the size of your printer and the temperature settings of the nozzle and printing bed. 3D printing is a fun activity, but you should keep the cost in check before it exceeds the limit. Hope we were able to help you lower the electric cost of your 3d printer and understand the reasons behind the electricity cost.
Does a 3D printer use alot of electricity?
An average 3D printer considering the hot ends and heated beds can consume 60 watts of power per hour, and you can calculate it by multiplying current by a voltage that you can find in the user manual. After finding out power, check your electricity tariff provided by your electricity provider.
Can you 3D print without the printer bed?
Yes, there are some printers that 3d print without a heated bed, but they are not that precise, and there is more heat loss as the nozzle heat doesn’t get balance out.
Are 3D printing fumes dangerous?
Yes, 3D printing fumes can be dangerous for your health, but there is no need to worry about working with care and wearing safety equipment.
How much does it cost to run a 3D printer for an hour?
The amount of electricity a 3D printer depends upon its components that use power, and you can check the user manual for a maximum power rating of your 3D printer. A standard 3D printer can use 60W of power per hour.
How much electricity does a 3D printer use per hour?
A 3D printer uses an amount of 1.25 watts per hour which may cost you 1.58 cents. If you want to calculate the bill’s total cost, just multiply this per hour cost by the number of hours you use a 3D printer.
Do printers use a lot of electricity?
Small printers we use at home or for domestic work use a low amount of electricity. They use 50 watts per hour while running and 3 to 4 on standby. Whereas commercial printers draw a high amount of electricity. Their usage is 200, 300 watts while printing and they use 50 to 60 watts of electricity on stand by position.