3D printers are more common for both commercial and home use; crafting different pop-ups and other prints. It’s important to consider other consumables like filaments and the electricity needs of a specific printer. The running costs of a printer are more important since you’ll need them every time you use the printer. There are several factors that determine the amount of electricity you’ll use.
To get the amount of power usage by your 3D printer consider 3D printer specifications, printer individual components, or monitoring electricity usage. In this article we will answer the question; how much electricity does a 3D printer use? It’s also important to consider tricks that can help cut down electricity usage.
How Much Electricity Does a 3D Printer Use
1. 3D Printer Based on Specifications
This is one of the best ways to calculate the power usage range of your printer. Every printer has a minimum and maximum power usage range within which it operates. The range varies from printer to printer, size, and printer model.
If a printer has 30A and 12V, power the maximum power rating is 30A x 12V= 360Watts. The formula used is power = current x voltage
This method helps you calculate a rough estimate of power usage since the printers are made with a safety allowance and the components don’t have to operate at 100% capacity. There are better complex methods that can help get the actual amounts.
2. 3D Printer Individual Components
Calculating the printer’s individual characteristics is a better method to calculate the amount of electricity used. Considering the heat bed, hot end power, stepper motors, and nozzle size. These components don’t work at optimal always. The heat bed, for instance, heaters alternate depending on the required temperatures. But it’s important to consider them for a rough idea of your printer’s average electricity usage.
A. 3D Printer Bed Heating
The size of the printing bed is proportional to the amount of electricity required to heat the bed to maximum levels. The bigger the surface area, the more required power for heating. The print bed heat prevents your print from wrapping and increases adhesion. Working with high temperature demanding filaments requires higher temperatures for printing.
The heat bed requires a lot of power to get to the maximum temperature, and maintenance power, to help it remain at the optimal temperature levels. Common wattage ranges from 120W for a 20*20cm direct current (DC) powered print bed to 1000W or more for larger alternating current (AC) powered beds. Creality CR-10 and Ender 3 Pro have heated beds drawing around 200W.
B. Hot End Heating
These are the most power-consuming components of a 3D printer. It is responsible for filament melting. Its electricity consumption depends on the maximum temperature needed. Depending on the type of filament used for printing. PLA filaments require lesser heat compared to nylon, PETG, and PEEK filaments.
Inserting large amounts of plastic through the hot end means more electricity usage. Since more heat is transferred to the filaments and needs to be compensated. Print end fitted with fans for cooling require more energy to replace the heat blown away by the fans. Most common print end heaters consume 30-50Watts.
C. Stepper Motors
These are responsible for extruding filaments and moving the cartilages. They can also change the bed position. Normal stepper motors consume about 5-10 Watts.
D. Control Board
This part is responsible for regulating other printer components like stepper motors, heaters, and fans. Their main role is directing energy in the required direction. On its own, it only consumes around 5-15 Watts. The power is highest when the printer is working and lowest when the printer is not working.
E. Printing Speed
The longer the time taken for printing, the more the power consumption. If you are working on saving the amount of electricity used for printing, you need to set up the printer to get your printing done within a shorter time. Be sure not to compromise the quality of your prints.
F. Overall Print Quality
This goes without saying that, the more efficient your printer is, the more electricity you require for printing.
G. Setting up Your Printers Parameters
It’s always very important to understand the different processes of setting your 3D printer for use. This ensures you set the right parameters to get the required quality with less power. Master the tricks and save on electricity usage.
3. Monitoring Electricity on a Specific Printer
The above-discussed methods are power usage estimates, not the exact power. The most efficient method to measure power usage is using an electricity usage monitor. To track the exact power consumption of the device plugged into it.
How to Minimize 3D Printer Power Usage?
Many ordinary 3D printers do not consume excessive power, but getting to operate at minimal cost is a great deal. Less electricity used means faster heating. To minimize power consumption, you should focus on maintaining heat inside the printer, with less heat escaping. Well, insulated printers reach maximum temperatures faster. Making your printer more efficient. You can achieve this by:
1. Enclosing Your Printer
Enclosed 3D printing chambers save energy by trapping heat inside. Enclosed printers can also prevent filaments warping, enclose smell and fumes inside the printer, and reduce operating sound. You can make your own printer enclosure or purchase a ready-made enclosure for your printer.
2. Print Heated Bed Enclosure
Print bed heat is responsible for a measurable energy usage level. Its large surface area allows heat to escape to the surrounding, causing high power consumption. Cooling fans do not help in any way but hike the power consumption.
The best way to reduce power consumption is to cover the underside with an insulating material. E.g. cork sheet or self-adhesive aluminum insulation sheet. With high-temperature capacity, the heat bed gets to maximum temperatures fast with less energy loss. This trick is best for the DC-powered beds since they seem to be underpowered.
3. Minimizing Print Time
The longer the printer runs, the more power consumption. You can reduce printing time by reducing infills, printing with thick layers, using a faster infill pattern, or speeding up the printing process. Be careful when deciding which trick to use since it comes with a sacrifice, less print quality, or weak 3D prints.
4. Hot End Insulating
Hot ends are responsible for pumping filaments. Fans blowing over them draw away heat, creating a need for a continuous flow of energy. Insulating these ends is another option for dealing with energy loss. You can buy insulators and fix them to reduce heat loss.
With 3D printers being very common, it’s important to consider the cost that the printer adds to your bill, and work towards the minimal side. Know the factors that contribute to excessive power usage, and work to minimize them. Make sure not to compromise quality while at it.
On average, a 3D printer consumes around 70Watts. With a hot end of 205 degrees Celsius and a heated bed of 60 degrees. You can get the exact power usage by considering all the variables or using an inbuilt monitor to get the exact amount of power consumption.