When using a high-energy device like a 3D printer, you need to ensure that the outlet you’re plugging it into has sufficient electrical capacity, so you don’t end up blowing a circuit. With one 3D printer, this shouldn’t be a problem, but what if you have 3, 4, or even 5 printers?
You can have up to six 3D printers on an average wall outlet. The maximum wattage of a wall outlet is 1,500 watts, and an average 3D printer draws about 240 watts. However, it’s better to have only two or three 3D printers per outlet to allow room for wattage fluctuations.
In the rest of this article, I’ll go over the minimum wattage for a 3D printer to help you figure out how many 3D printers your outlet can accommodate. I’ll also explain how to check the wattage of your 3D printer and wall outlet and what happens if you have too many printers on one outlet.
What’s the Minimum Wattage for a 3D Printer?
The standard minimum wattage for a 3D printer is 240 watts. This can be slightly higher or lower depending on the printer and the type of heated bed it uses. The average maximum load per wall outlet is 1,500 watts. So, it’s possible to have more than one 3D printer on one outlet.
If you look at the average wattage of a 3D printer and the average maximum wattage of a wall outlet, it’s estimated that you can theoretically plug around six 3D printers into the same outlet.
However, it’s not recommended.
While your 3D printer is printing, it goes through different stages that draw different amounts of electricity. So, your printer may not use all that much energy at certain stages.
However, when it’s going through its most energy-consuming phase, which is when the heated bed is heating up, it’ll use a lot more energy. This could cause the amount of power being used to spike, overloading your outlet.
So, while you may be able to plug six 3D printers into the wall, it’s wise only to plug in two or three for safety reasons. That way, if you’re using them all simultaneously, you never have an issue with the circuit breaker tripping because too much electricity is being used.
How To Check the Wattage of Your 3D Printer?
You can check the wattage of your 3D printer by checking the label. Most 3D printers have a label on the back or bottom stating the power requirements. However, if the label has come off, you can calculate the total wattage by adding 100 watts to the wattage of your heated bed.
Another way to check is to go to the 3D manufacturer’s website and look for the specifications. If you can’t find the number anywhere on their website, contact their support directly. They’ll give you the most accurate information.
How To Check the Wattage of Your Wall Outlet?
You’ll need to use a device like a multimeter to measure the maximum wattage of your wall outlet. After you determine how many volts are coming out of the outlet, you can calculate the wattage by multiplying it by the number of amps.
To figure out the maximum wattage your wall outlet can handle, you’ll need to get a device called a multimeter. A multimeter is an electrical measurement device that can be used to measure electricity in three ways:
The device has two probes, typically one red and one black, that you insert into the wall outlet to measure the voltage.
How To Use a Multimeter
These steps are what you’ll want to do with your multimeter:
- Put it on the correct setting to measure your home’s voltage. Most of the time, this is going to be the AC setting.
- Slide the probes into the appropriate slots of the outlet. Usually, the black probe will go into the slot on the left, the neutral slot, and the red probe will go into the slot on the right, the hot slot. Once you do this, the multimeter should read the voltage on the device’s screen.
- Calculate the maximum wattage of your outlet by taking the voltage and multiplying it by the amps of your system. If you’re not sure what this is, it’s best to multiply the voltage by 15. Generally speaking, the amps of your household system will be either 15 or 20, so to play it safe, you can multiply it by 15.
The number you get by multiplying the voltage and the amps is the maximum wattage that the outlet can handle.
What Happens if You Put Too Many 3D Printers on One Outlet?
Reading this, you may be thinking, “Okay, but why is it so important to know the wattage of my 3D printer?” Indeed, most people will never even try to put so many devices on one outlet. However, if it does occur, the consequences can be disastrous.
If you overload your wall outlet, your circuit breaker can trip and cut the electric flow to the circuit or, if your home doesn’t have a circuit breaker, the wiring will overheat and melt, which can be a major fire hazard.
Most modern houses have a circuit breaker. The purpose of the circuit breaker is to monitor the amount of electricity flowing to each outlet. That way, if too much electricity is flowing or there’s another issue in the system, the circuit breaker can trip. It’ll cut the electricity off before the situation gets any worse.
Unfortunately, not all homes (especially older ones) have circuit breakers built into their electric systems. If you start putting too many devices on one outlet and there’s no circuit breaker, you won’t know if the system is overheating.
If the electricity isn’t cut off, the wires will eventually overheat, which leads to a fire. That’s why circuit breakers were invented in the first place. Too many homes burned down from electrical fires because there was no way to monitor the flow of electricity.
Although most people only own one 3D printer, some people own a lot more than that. Chances are, if you have a bunch of 3D printers, you’re keeping them in the same room, in which case you’ll likely need to plug them all into one outlet.
Working with averages for the maximum wattage a wall socket can handle and the average wattage of a 3D printer, it’s estimated that a single wall socket can handle up to six 3D printers. However, you should probably keep that number down to two to three to prevent accidents.
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I started 3D printing since 2013 and have learned a lot since then. Because of this I want to share my knowledge of what I have learned in the past years with the community. Currently I own 2 Bambulab X1 Carbon, Prusa SL1S and a Prusa MK3S+. Hope you learn something from my blog after my years of experience in 3D printing.