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Anyone have any idea how much power it takes to run a Creality Ender 3 3D printer every day for several hours at a time? Like what does it eat up per hour? A rough estimate of power use per hour would be nice, then I can figure out how much it costs me. Can anyone help me?

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  • $\begingroup$ That depends on how much heat is dissipated from the heat bed and nozzle (insulation used?), at which temperatures you print, how long, bed size, etc. Without that information it will be a guess and with the info it will still not be very accurate. $\endgroup$
    – 0scar
    Apr 5 '19 at 6:09
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    $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of What is the power consumption of the heatbed and hotend? $\endgroup$ Apr 5 '19 at 14:33
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    $\begingroup$ <200W is a quick estimate. This translates to <1$£ per 24 hours, $\endgroup$ Apr 5 '19 at 14:37
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I'm currently measuring the power usage of my Ender 3. It used about 0.5 kWh for 4 hours of printing. With 2 heat ups (about 280 W each). So approximately 120 W average. Or 0.12 kWh per hour.

Assumed your printing 12 h a day you're using 1.5 kWh a day. That translates into a cost of 0.43 € a day in electricity (0.3 €/kWh).

When you're using your printer every day for an average of 12 h. You'll be using about 525 kWh a year or 157 € in electricity at 0.3 €/kWh.

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  • $\begingroup$ Most of my prints are 2 or 3 hours long approximately, I am printing in pla filament and my heated bed is heated to 60 degrees Fahrenheit and the hotend is printing at 200 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit. I just was wondering what the cost would be because my mother is saying I can only print one thing per day now. I think it is kind of unreasonable but who am I to tell my mom how to make rules? Anyway I am printing at those temperatures, so how much is the power consumption, I live in new York. $\endgroup$ Apr 5 '19 at 20:19
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    $\begingroup$ @JamesHanvey Not Fahrenheit, but Celsius. $\endgroup$
    – 0scar
    Apr 5 '19 at 21:32
  • $\begingroup$ So how much would that be in watts per hour? $\endgroup$ Apr 5 '19 at 21:45
  • $\begingroup$ Review the answer, are you talking to me or one of the people who answered the question. I still am kind of lost as to what my ender 3 printer consumes in watts at an hourly rate, because my mom was mad at me for printing out a print that took six hours long and she is afraid it's gonna spike her electric bill. If anyone knows how much a ender 3 printer consumes by printing pla filament at 205 degrees Celsius with a 60 degrees Celsius print bed temperature I would be able to figure out what the electric bill will be when I run it for hours at a time. Thnx everyone for trying to help me. $\endgroup$ Apr 6 '19 at 2:22
  • $\begingroup$ Why are 0.12kWh odd when you're using an average power of 120 Watts. Energy is power multiplied by time. So 120W * 1h = 120Wh or 0.12kWh. $\endgroup$
    – Julian
    Apr 6 '19 at 13:38
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The Ender 3 has a 360 W power supply. This is the maximum power the printer can use. However, if engineered correctly, it should never actually reach this level of consumption to prevent premature failure of the power supply. It will use the most power during initial warm up, which is a relatively short amount of time. Then the average power consumption will drop considerably once at temperature. So, an average of 120 Wh per hour seems like a reasonable estimate.

It turns out that if you are paying 11.4 cents per kWh (which is a nominal price in the US) the price of running something 24 hours a day is \$1 per Watt per Year. So if you ran your printer all year long nonstop it would cost \$120 per year or \$10 per month.

Since you live in New York, you probably pay about 1.5 times as much for electricity or 17.1 cents per kWh. So you'd multiply the figures above by 1.5, so you would get \$15 per month. Also, you don't use your printer 24 hours a day. Let's say you want to print an average of 8 hours a day. That's 1/3 of the day, so you'd divide your figure by 3 and get \$5 per month. You'd hardly notice a difference in your electric bill.

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    $\begingroup$ "120W per hour" is a units error. I think you mean "120W" aka "120 Wh/h". $\endgroup$ Jun 11 '19 at 19:37
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If it is really important to you to know how much you are spending per any given print, your best bet is not to guess, but to know how much power you're using. To that end, you could purchase a power meter which monitors your power usage. Given the right one, it can even calculate the cost of the power usage all in one little package. This link, The 10 Best Electricity Usage Monitors, should provide you some ideas as to what you might find, but I'm sure there are plenty more out there (NOTE: I have no affiliation to the link provided ... it was just a random one I found through a Google search ... Go Go Google-Fu!).

As 0scar pointed out in his comment, there are just too many variables to try and guess what the power consumption might be. If you are looking for a real answer, I believe something along the lines as I've linked above is going to be your best solution to getting a real answer. Anything else is more or less just a guess.

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Other answers include good estimates, and show that for one printer the electricity costs are not very significant. If you are using many printers and want a concrete answer, then it would be wise to purchase a power monitor (for continuous monitoring) or multimeter with clamp.

With a clamp-on multimeter, you can clamp the meter on to the 3D printer's plug and read the Amps being drawn. Assuming a 120 VAC single phase supply (typical for North America), the power consumption is 120 VAC multiplied by the Amps drawn by the 3D printer (P=VI), which you can read from the multimeter.

The amps drawn by the 3D printer will vary throughout your print, but for a longer print, you should be able to get a good average amps read during a middle print layer. Total energy cost of printing per day would then be:

 C = (V*I/1000)*t*E*n

     C, Total printer energy costs per day ($/day) 
     V, AC Voltage (V)
     I, Average current draw during print (Amps)
     t, time printers are running per day (Hours/day)
     E, Energy cost from utility ($/kWh)
     n, number of printers
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  • $\begingroup$ That will give you an estimate of +/- 6 %, which is the variation in output voltage. $\endgroup$
    – 0scar
    Jun 23 '20 at 10:42
  • $\begingroup$ @0scar, good point. The multimeter may also have a measurement accuracy listed on the device that can be factored in. $\endgroup$
    – cambietech
    Jun 24 '20 at 16:05
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Just order a Watt Electricity Usage Monitor or a similar model and plug it into the wall, or better, a 3-prong extension cord, then plug your 3D printer into it, and you'll get all the power consumption detail you'll need. Show your Mom, and she'll see what to charge you, if she's so inclined. To impress her, offer to pay without her asking.

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