Some prints take a very long time, like days. I often wondered whether running a 3D printer constantly is bad for it. So, I asked a bunch of people that tried it, and tried it out myself, and here’s what I found.
It’s perfectly fine to constantly run a 3D printer. Every 3D printer will need to be repaired or replaced within 5 to 10 years of average use. Constantly running your 3D printer will mean it will need to be repaired or replaced sooner.
The owner’s manual of popular 3D printers does not list a maximum operating time. Therefore, it’s safe to conclude that it is not an issue. And you can print for as long as you like.
There can be some safety concerns when running a 3D printer for long periods of time, so below I will explain how safe it is to constantly run your 3D printer, as well as, info about whether it’s safe to leave your 3D printer unattended, and how long you should print for.
Is It Safe To Run a 3D Printer for Days?
Although it is safe to run a 3D printer for days, it often means you’ll need to leave your 3D printer unattended which is not recommended by the manufactures.
Generally, it’s not safe to run a 3D printer for days. It is definitely possible provided you take some safety measures. The main risk factor is fire. The other concern is that it will run out of filament mid-print, or the filament can jam. Both of which will stop the print.
Many people choose to run a 3D printer unattended. The user manual of popular 3D printers such as the Creality Ender states that you should never leave the 3D printer while it is printing.
Risks involved with constantly running a 3D printer
It’s possible, though, not likely that the filament can catch fire. And can as a result cause your desk or carpet to catch fire. People have said that they house their 3D printer in a metal box.
The metal box contains a fire, and therefore, the risk is greatly reduced. They also say they keep a fire extinguisher handy. Here’s a video that shows how the filament can get jammed or run out.
The footage is from a 3D printing farm where a person left 50 individual 3D printers running for a week.
As you can see when the filament jams it completely stops a 3D print. So, it can happen that you’ll set up a 3D print overnight. But, 1 hour in or so the filament jams.
Whereas, if you were watching it or checking on it periodically you would have noticed sooner. But, some prints take an extremely long time, either because they are large or very intricate.
Most 3D printers have a pause feature which you can use either on your 3D slicing software – for example Cura. Or, on the control pad, there’ll be an option to pause the print.
The best time to do a long 3D print
Many people have reported that they reserve long prints for the weekend or on days when they’ll be around the house more. That way they can check on it regularly. Others, do print overnight, but this is a more risky option and isn’t recommended.
Although people say that they do it all the time.
Another key consideration for a 3D printer is where to keep it. I covered this topic in-depth and explained what temperature and humidity conditions should be in a room where you use your 3D printer. Read it here.
How Long Should a 3D Printer Run For?
I prefer to leave my 3D printer running for long periods of time, often for days on end. But, I was curious if doing so will negatively impact my 3D printer, and whether it’s a good idea to give it breaks every now and then. Here’s what I found.
Overall, there is no time limit for how long a 3D printer can run for according to the user manual of well-known 3D printers. It’s perfectly fine to run a 3D printer for 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
The life of a 3D printer is based on its operating time. For example, let’s say the life of a 3D printer is 10,000 hours. If you use it constantly you will reach 10,000 hours sooner.
Compared to the average usage of a hobbyist who may print for 2-3 hours a day at the most. Or, on both weekend days.
Overall, though 3D printers are inexpensive and the amount of use that you get from one is very good for the price. Whether you use it all day every day or only occasionally.
Is It Okay To Leave a 3D Printer?
Oftentimes, I would start a long print, and rather than pausing it, I thought about leaving it unattended. I researched whether it’s OK to leave a 3D printer unattended, here’s the answer.
It is not OK to leave a 3D printer unattended. The user manual of well-known 3D printer brands says that you should never operate a 3D printer without supervising it. Many people report that they do leave their 3D printer unattended but there is a risk of the filament jamming.
It’s also possible that the filament can catch fire. Although rare, people have stated that since they are aware that filament can catch fire they keep a fire extinguisher. Others have said that they house their 3D printer in a metal box, to contain a potential fire.
It can also protect it from pets like cats and dogs that can bump it as they play. Neither of these steps are recommended officially by 3D printer manufacturers, so do so at your own risk. One thing that can happen quite
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