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Endesa - Electricity, Gas, People

How much power does a 3D printer use?

Published on September 6, 2017

3D printers can bring to life practically everything imaginable. In terms of costs, the discussion is always about the price of the printer and the printing material. But what about electricity? How much do they use?

You have a 3D printer. You have just bought it and you can’t wait to use it because you know it enables you to make practically anything.

Prototypes, toys, that piece that broke on the old banger and which you were unable to find anywhere. From the most functional items – a coat hanger, a support for your mobile device – to pure leisure – a stormtrooper helmet… Another 3D printer! -.

It doesn’t matter if you are going to use it for work or as an instrument for your hobbies. Whatever you do, you will have to pay for it. We don’t mean paying for the printer itself or the printing material. You had already taken that into account. We are talking about your electricity bill.

They use the same power as a small television

We could shock you by telling you how much power is required to melt plastics – through heat or laser-. You could expect a consumption peak on your next bill. But the good thing about new technologies is that they tend to be more efficient than the older ones.

The power used by a 3D printer can be compared to that of a small television and just slightly more than a desktop computer (not including the screen).

In fact, your home is full of electrical appliances that will cost you more money on your electricity bill. For example: your blender or your iron. Although it may seem hard to believe, you will use less power “printing” some plastic underpants than ironing out the creases in conventional ones.

Blenders or irons use more electricity than a 3D printer

If you don’t believe it, calculate it yourself

To calculate the amount of power used by your 3D printer, the best thing to do is to check your electricity consumption in kWh for every hour of the day. You will get an idea of how it goes up when you use your printer.

If an approximate idea is not enough, there are two much more precise ways of knowing how much power your 3D printer uses. A hard way and an easy way.

You are going to struggle with the hard way if you are more a person of letters. You must look at the leaflet to see the technical specifications for your printer model. You need to find the current value and multiply this by your household’s voltage (normally 220 volts) The result of this multiplication is the power in watts. To find out how much power you use, you have to multiply these watts by the hours in which the printer is working and, lastly, divide this by 1,000. This will give you the kWh that end up on your bill.

The easy option to find out exactly how many kWh your 3D printer uses, is to to install a power consumption meter, which will give you its consumption. You will also be able to switch it on and off remotely from your mobile phone.

Use your imagination

Now you know how much electricity your 3D printer uses each hour. However, remember that, obviously, the cost generated will be more or less, depending on the printing time.

There’s a big difference between making a shower curtain ring and making a 15-kg dumbbell. The more you make it work, the more power it will use.

The most precise and simple way of knowing how much power a 3D printer uses is to use a consumption meter