Whether you’re worried that your first 3D printer will be too heavy to lift or if you’re curious about how much your printer weighs, considering a 3D printer’s weight is essential before you buy it. Weight can tell you a lot about a printer, including how big your prints can be, what materials you might be able to use, and how heavy-duty the printer is.
A 3D printer can be as heavy as 9,000 lbs (4082 kg) or as light as 3 lbs (1.5 kg), depending on the 3D printer’s model. However, the average weight of a 3D printer made for at-home hobbyists is around 15 lbs (7 kg).
Do you want to know more about how heavy 3D printers are? I’ll walk you through the factors that affect a 3D printer’s weight and discuss what weight you should expect from an average hobbyist 3D printer. I’ll also answer some frequently asked questions along the way and tell you more about the most sizable and tiniest 3D printers on the market.
What’s the Average Size of a 3D Printer?
The average size of a 3D printer is 150x150x150 mm (5.9×5.9×5.9 in) to 300x300x300 mm (11.8×11.8×11.8 in), with the average printer weight being 15.8 lbs (7.12 kg). 3D printers of this size are the most common for general or at-home use for hobbyists.
Although 3D printers can be extravagantly large, most are pretty small. So, if you’re looking for a 3D printer that’s the right size, you won’t be short of any options.
The average build volume will allow you to print most objects you’d ever want to print – from spare parts for your dishwasher to vases to puzzle boxes. However, you may be able to find FFF printers that are much larger if you’re willing to pay a pretty penny for an industrial-grade printer.
Factors That Make Some 3D Printers Heavier Than Others
3D printers come in a vast range of sizes and weights depending on each model’s design and what it’s supposed to print.
So, let’s dive into the factors that might make one 3D printer heavier than another.
Construction materials, or the material that the 3D printer consists of, play a significant role in how heavy a printer will be. Some of the most common materials in 3D printers are the following:
- ABS and other thermoplastics.
Most 3D printers consist of a mixture of these materials, but some 3D printers may include more of one than the other, which will impact the machine’s weight.
Naturally, plastic isn’t as weighty as stainless steel. So, those printers made from lighter materials, such as 3D printed plastic parts (as seen in Prusa 3D printers) and aluminum, will be easier to lift than their mostly-metal counterparts.
Although hefty materials make it challenging to lift and move a 3D printer, they also offer some benefits. 3D printers that consist of heavy-duty metals, rubber, and glass will last longer than plastic or aluminum 3D printers, and they’ll withstand wear and heat much better.
So, for the most part, heavier printers aren’t as convenient to move, but they can last much longer than lighter-weight printers. For this reason, steel printers are usually more costly than those made with aluminum and plastic.
Build volume has the most directly noticeable relationship with a 3D printer’s size and weight. After all, you wouldn’t want to 3D print a concrete house using a lightweight 5-inch (12.7-centimeter) 3D printer.
3D printers with more extensive print beds and build volumes will always be heavier since the base, axis carriages, and build surface must be large enough to accommodate larger prints. Accordingly, that extra surface area increases the weight of your 3D printer.
So much to say—the bigger your 3D printed objects are, the bigger and heavier your 3D printer will need to be.
Housings and Enclosures
Housings and enclosures can add a bit of weight to a 3D printer, which explains why SLA 3D printers with enclosures are generally a bit heavier than FFF printers of the same size.
Still, some housings and enclosures are heavier than others. While a plastic enclosure might add a pound or two to your printer’s overall weight, others made from glass or wood can add quite a bit of heft to your printer. If you want to keep your 3D printer the lightest it can be, be sure to opt for a plastic case.
Your print material will also affect your 3D printer’s weight.
For example, FFF printers are usually the lightest of all 3D printers since they use lightweight thermoplastics and no solvents during the printing process.
However, SLA 3D printers are typically heavier than FFF/FDM 3D printers of the same size since they must contain a lens, vat, LCD screen, and liquid printing materials.
Although they’re not typical for general-purpose applications, 3D printers that use materials such as cement, metal, and carbon fiber also have to be heavier than hobbyist FFF models.
When printing a heavy material, the printer must be sturdy enough to withstand the weight of whatever it is printing, necessitating more substantial build materials and a larger surface area—which means it will be much heavier. These printers also often need to have all-metal parts since they may need to print at higher temperatures that would melt plastic components.
So, that’s why most industrial 3D printers are enormous, heavy, and expensive.
Common General-Purpose 3D Printers and Their Weights
If you are interested in purchasing a 3D printer and want to know how weighty it will be, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s take a look at some of the most common beginner 3D printer models and how much they weigh after assembly:
|3D Printer Model (all available on amazon.com)||Weight After Assembly|
|Creality Ender 3||15.2 lbs (6.9 kg)|
|Original Prusa Mini +||22 lbs (10 kg)|
|Voxelab Aquila||22 lbs (10 kg)|
|Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer v2||10 lbs (4.53 kg)|
|Flashforge Finder||24.25 lbs (11 kg)|
|Elegoo Mars (SLA)||15 lbs (6,9 kg)|
|Anycubic Photon (SLA)||14.6 lbs (6.6 kg)|
While this list is not all-inclusive, it does represent the very narrow range of 3D printer sizes that most people gravitate towards.
The most popular hobbyist 3D printers weigh between 10 and 22 lbs (4.5 and 10 kg). So, you probably won’t need a forklift or heavy-duty steel shelf to hold your 3D printer. Most models made for enthusiasts are desktop-friendly and easy to move.
Likewise, if you’re a beginner looking for a 3D printer that is average-sized and easy to use, any of the above models would be ideal for you. They are from reputable brands with plenty of online support forums and user guides.
What’s the Heaviest 3D Printer?
The heaviest 3D printer is the largest 3D printer in the world, which is at the University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center. Although the developers have never weighed it, it’s at least 9,000 lbs (4082.3 kg) based on the construction materials and size of the printer.
The heaviest 3D printer measures 22x100x10 feet (6.7×30.48×3.5 m) and can print objects heavier than 5,000 lbs (2267.9 kg). It’s truly a sight to behold, as it takes up an entire warehouse floor to store.
Other notable mentions of the largest 3D printers include the WinSun Decoration Design 3D Printers. These Chinese 3D printers are 20 by 33 by 132 feet (6.1 by 10.1 by 40.2 m), and they can 3D print concrete buildings using a gantry-style FDM system.
These printers are enormous and usually consist of an arm that moves incrementally to deposit concrete in layers, constructing walls, doorways, and foundations with astonishing precision.
In addition, as Winsun has shown us, 3D printers will likely only continue to get bigger and better for manufacturing and architecture. So, get ready to see more massive 3D printers in the headlines soon!
What’s the Lightest 3D Printer?
The lightest 3D printer is the Lite 3DP, a tiny SLA printer. This 3D printer only weighs 0,77 lbs (350 g), and it can fit in the palm of your hand.
The Lite 3DP is a very small 0,77-pound (350-g) SLA 3D printer that looks like a tiny version of a standard-sized SLA printer. It also comes at a significantly smaller price than most SLA printers.
To see how small the Lite3DP is, check out this assembly and testing video on YouTube:
Is It Easy To Lift and Carry a 3D Printer?
It is easy to lift and carry a 3D printer if you have a hobbyist or desktop model. Most popular hobbyist 3D printers don’t weigh more than 50 lbs (22.67 kg), so it’s relatively easy to move them without help from others. However, they may be too heavy to carry or transport casually.
It’s easy enough to hold a 3D printer independently, but you probably won’t want to travel with your 3D printer or move it often.
Generally, it’s best to set up your printer where it can stay. Moving your printer can cause the bed and other parts to shift and become un-leveled, and it can also be risky to move your printer—lest you drop it or accidentally bang it against a door frame.
So, although most printers are pretty light and easy to lift, you should avoid moving one, especially if you are not confident lifting 20 to 30 lbs (9.07 to 13.6 kg) for an extended period.
Are Heavier 3D Printers Better Than Lighter 3D Printers?
Heavier 3D printers are not better than lighter 3D printers, although heavier models may last longer and have more capabilities than those made from delicate materials like plastic and aluminum. Still, the weight won’t affect your printer’s performance.
Regarding standard hobbyist FFF and SLA printers, the weight will increase depending on the construction materials and build volume.
Although a heavier 3D printer will generally last longer since it consists of sturdier materials like steel, the reality is that 3D printers don’t necessarily need to be strong.
3D printers are stationary objects, and you probably won’t need to push or pull on any parts at any point in the printing process. So, steel can be a bit of an overkill for most 3D printing hobbyists, and plastic will do the job just as well as metal as long as you don’t abuse your printer.
However, some heavier 3D printers might be weighty due to a larger build volume or bed size. These 3D printers aren’t necessarily better than smaller 3D printers, but they have more capabilities, allowing you to print larger objects.
Lastly, the most significant advantage to having a heavier 3D printer is that the weightier models don’t shake or vibrate as much. They’re also more challenging to move, so you won’t have to worry about the printer wobbling during a print job.
Still, this advantage isn’t a deal-breaker for many people since most 3D printers of any size and weight stay relatively secure and stable on any flat surface.
General-use hobbyist 3D Printers aren’t heavy and usually weigh around 15 lbs (6.8 kg). However, 3D printers for industrial and architectural applications are enormous and can weigh thousands of pounds.
Since most 3D printers on the market for everyday people like you and me are pretty light, they are easy to carry. These more lightweight printers are usually just fine for enthusiast applications, and having a heavier printer doesn’t usually offer many substantial benefits for amateurs.