How Much Electricity Does A 3D Printer Use?

3D printers are some seriously cool feats of technology. The idea of being able to ‘print’ out 3d objects like figurines or tools from a computer still sounds like wizardry! With just a few materials and a good 3D construction plan, you can print out just about anything.

However, as immense as this technology is, it does come at quite a considerable cost. Buying your own 3D printer will set you back quite significantly, thanks to the hefty cost of the machines. As well as this, the actual materials used to print the objects can also be expensive to acquire.

Getting your own 3D printer is a truly serious investment, and there are many things that users should weigh up before they grab one of their own. These are things such as the price of the machine and the materials.

However, there is one other thing that many people neglect to consider when buying their own 3D printer: Just how much electricity does one of these machines actually use?

In order to calm your concerns, we’ve put together this helpful guide to find out once-and-for-all how much electricity a 3D printer uses. Read on to discover!

How Much Electricity Does A 3D Printer Use?

3D printers need to generate a decent amount of heat to be able to create the shapes you tell them to. The average 3D printer will have what is called an extruder. The Extruder acts to push out the filament, which is the material that is used to create 3D shapes. The extruder has two ends: the cold end and the hot end.

The cold end is where the filament is pumped from, and the hot end is where it is melted down to become flexible. This is how your 3D printer is able to create such varying shapes.

As well as the Extruder, there is also usually a hotbed, on an average 3D printer. The hotbed acts to control the cooling process of your new 3D object. The hotbed provides a stable temperature which allows your 3D object to be built more efficiently, by keeping the materials malleable.

These two elements of the average 3D printer use up the most significant amount of energy. Altogether, you can expect your average 3D printer to use around 50 to 70 watts of electricity with each use.

Printing jobs can vary in size and complexity, which can affect the overall amount of electricity that is being used. If you were to do a more complicated print job that takes around 10 hours to complete, then you should expect to use around 0.7kWh. This is actually a remarkably low cost that often surprises people to hear.

How Can You Use Less Energy While 3D Printing?

If you want to go even further towards reducing your energy bills, there are a few things you can seek to do to lower the energy consumption of your 3D printer.

One way you can reduce energy consumption with your 3D printing is to use a smaller 3D printer. If you only have to occasionally print out 3D objects, or you plan to just print out something small, then use a smaller printer. Smaller printers feature fewer moving parts, which reduces the amount of energy used when printing.

You can also reduce the energy usage of your 3D printers by adjusting the materials you are using. Try using filaments or other materials that do not require a hotbed or a hot end from the extruder.

This will significantly reduce the energy usage, as the heating of these elements is what uses up most of the energy that is needed to 3D print. In order to aid with this, you might also choose to print in slightly warmer areas, so that your printer can easily manipulate the filament without the need for any additional help.

Is It Possible To Receive an Electric Shock From Your 3D Printer?

One big concern of many 3D printer users is that they might encounter electric shocks at some point during use, especially when it is using significant energy. Luckily, the likelihood of actually receiving an electric shock from the machine itself is incredibly low. The 3D printer itself has a few spots that could be hazardous to touch with bare hands.

The only real way to run the risk of being electrocuted by your 3D printer is by misusing it in some way. If you don’t take care of the machine, or follow all of the operating guidelines, you significantly increase your risk of being shocked or harmed by the machine. This includes such things as plugging the machine in incorrectly, or accidentally spilling water upon it.

The most you will receive from a 3D printer is a slightly painful tingle, which would be enough to cause you to pull away and withdraw from the source of harm. The chance of harm, again, increases if you don’t operate the machine properly. The best piece of advice to avoid electric shocks is to only operate the machine in the way that you are instructed and to follow all guidelines.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Illegal To 3D Print A 3D Printer?

Technically, yes, it is. If you were to use your 3D printer to entirely recreate your existing 3D printer, you would be breaching copyright laws. This is because you are creating counterfeit versions of existing and patented items.

However, we can definitely understand why this is a common question, as it is rather akin to asking a genie for ‘More wishes’! Why not bend the rules to your own benefit? (Unless, in this case, it is illegal)!

Is 3D Printing A Profitable Business?

Selling a range of your own 3D printed objects could be a profitable business with the right work. In order for your business to turn a profit, you would need to ensure that you are not spending more on acquiring materials than you are actually earning from selling your finished products.

As well as this, you would also need to ensure that you are selling something that is truly unique. If you discovered a gap in a market, or you created your own invention that could change the world, then you could reasonably build a business from this. However, you must ensure that you are never infringing on copyrights, as recreating existing objects for profit is strictly illegal.

Is It Difficult To Learn 3D Printing?

Much of the difficulty with 3D printing comes from learning to use tools such as CAD, to develop the plans for 3D objects to be printed. Without a good sense of construction and structure, it is likely that your 3D objects will be flimsy, and won’t stand up once printed.

The actual use of the printer itself can be more complex when using industrial 3D printers, but many consumer 3D printers seek to make the process simple, and many printers handle the more complicated elements of the process automatically.


You probably found yourself quite surprised by some of the answers discussed above. Despite the impressive results they can achieve, 3D printers actually use a remarkably low amount of electricity which makes them incredibly energy efficient, and also means that you won’t be spending too much on your electricity bill.

This is definitely a considerable benefit because buying a 3D printer and its various necessary materials does cost a fair amount of money.

If you already own a 3D printer, there are many things you can do to significantly reduce the overall operating costs of the machine, such as using smaller printers, or even speeding up the printing time, to achieve quicker results while using less power. 3D printers are great for offering lots of flexibility to achieve different results or to accommodate very different needs from user to user.

Michael Moore