Someone asked me last week, can I leave my 3d printer unattended? Then, is it safe to leave a 3d printing running overnight?
After the question, I have done some research, and here’s what we have got for you!
Yes if you have MakerBot CloudPrint 2.0
You can leave the 3d printer Unattended or running overnight only if your 3d printer is under any 3d printing workflow system such as CloudPrint 2.0. The only problem here is that you need to have a MakerBot 3d printer.
How 3d print workflow works?
3d printing workflow such as Cloud Print solutions put the 3d printer under the system’s surveillance. Through that many users can use a single printer. It puts all the printing jobs under a smart queue system and its intelligence continuously observes if there’s any problem with the 3d printing.
Is it safe to run 3d printing overnight?
It is surely safe to run a 3d printer overnight. But, not without supervision, if your 3d printer does not have these safety features.
Let us consider the risks if you leave 3d printer unattended overnight.
3d printer fire risk | Topmost risk of 3D printing overnight
3d printer has a significant risk of fire. Especially, if you do not know the temperature requirement for different printers and filament.
The ambient temperature for a 3d printer to run smoothly is follows.
Usually, the minimum temperature for the extrusion type 3d printer is 50°F (10 °C). But, the filament cannot produce high-quality 3d prints at such extremely cold temperatures.
PLA filament can give you quality 3d print at as low as 59 °F (15 °C).
However, HIPS, PETG, and ABS will require least likely 77°F (25 °C) or higher to produce a good quality print.
Lastly, no 3d printers can produce prints higher than 104°F (40 °C) temperature.
So, we strongly recommend not keeping the printer somewhere if there’s a significant chance of a sharp temperature increase. Read this if you are planning to keep a 3d printer in the Garage.
3d printer fire incident in San Francisco
A few months back in San Fransisco, the parents of Calvin Yu sued Alibaba after the fire incident from a 3d printer. (Source)
The investigation team has revealed that the cheap 3d printer had ignited the couch late at night. It’s true that the claimant has received compensation worth USD 1000. But such compensation shall not guarantee any bigger loss more than that.
Fire Protection authority (FPA) has also published a guideline for 3D printer safety precautions to avoid fire.
Here’s what they said –
As you can see this is clearly mentioned in the safety precaution booklet that you should not leave the 3d printer unattended overnight!
However, the technology has changed and you can easily leave the 3d printing process overnight with these good quality 3d printers with safety standards.
Filament Mess | Overnight 3D printing risk
Except for the risk of fire, filament mess could be another risk of 3d printing overnight.
We all know that filaments are expensive. And sometimes, extrusion may not follow the design.
So, there is a good chance that the extruder will work in the wrong place probably due to any misfunction in the system or design.
Risk for PET
I have seen no website mentioning this point!
So many people are having pets nowadays. What if they mess up with something if you leave your 3d printer overnight?
We strongly recommend you to either isolate the pet from where you have kept the 3d printer overnight or, do not let the printer work alone.
Risk of printing beyond the build plate
Sometimes, 3d printing overnight may accidentally result in printing out of the build plate. This is not so common but, there’s a chance that the extrusion system may not go accordingly to the design & its build plate.
You should always keep the 3d printer under close monitoring while printing overnight.
What makes it safe to leave a 3d printer on overnight
Enough with the risks of 3d printing overnight! Let’s have a look at what makes it safe to leave a 3d printer on overnight unattended. Here’s a short list that build a strong precaution for 3d printing overnight alone.
3d printer automatic fire suppression
Good 3d printers come with an in-built automatic fire suppression system. The incident that happened in San Fransisco was due to buying a cheap Chinese 3d printer. This is why we discourage you to buy any cheaper products.
Before owning any 3d printer, you need to check if it comes with an automatic fire suppression system.
The mechanism is fairly easy. In case of any fire, the operating system communicates with the fire extinguisher to stop the burning.
Or, check if there’s the auto shut-off function available.
Install a fireproof 3d printer enclosure
Installing a fireproof 3d printer enclosure can also save you from fire expansion resulting from 3d printing overnight.
Usually, a fireproof 3d printer enclosure helps adhesion the filament more appropriately at high temperatures. Simultaneously, prevent any fire.
Technically, it stops spreading the fire outside!
Such, a fireproof enclosure also acts as a noise reduction tool for a 3d printer.
Install smoke detector
A smoke detector will help you in leaving the 3d printer overnight. Sometimes a print may need a couple of hours or even a day. Then it becomes almost impossible to monitor actively.
A smoke detector at least can warn you if anything goes wrong.
Safety Certification & instructions
These are the safety instruction you need to look for before buying any 3d printer, especially if you are going to print overnight.
- Try to buy an enclosed 3d printer. It reduces the risk of spreading fire
- Purchase filaments recommended by the manufacturer
- Follow manufacturers’ instructions properly
- Do not disrupt the operation while the 3d printer is working smoothly
- Try to install 3d printers away from the return air vents
- Check if the 3d printer and the printing materials are certified by the RIT EHS Department
- If you are looking to get an industrial 3d printer check for UL 2904 GREENGUARD certification
This is true that running a 3d printer overnight unattended is risky. However, you can leave the 3d printer unattended overnight after meeting all the safety precautions as per this article.