How Long Do 3D Printers Last? (Essential Maintenance Tips !)


3D printers will not last forever, however, some last longer compared to others. Therefore, the first and most crucial factor you need to consider when purchasing a 3D printer is the overall quality. In case you have been wondering how your 3D printer will last, this is the right place to land.

Generally, it is very difficult to give specific timelines on how many printing hours your 3D printer will take printing.

However, from user experience, one could expect a 3d printer to last between 7,500 and 15, 000 printing hours (when the printer is used for  4 hours daily for 10 days). For instance, With good regular maintenance and proper use, the Ender 3D printer should last between 5 and 10 years of printing.

The lifespan of your 3D printer will largely depend on how often it is used and how well and regularly it is maintained. Regular replacements, cleaning, and careful use of your 3D printer are what will help maximize the lifespan and printing hours.

3D Printing Is Here To Stay

There are a vast number of factors that can negatively or positively affect how long a 3D printer last. For instance, some high-quality printers are capable of running for hundreds of hours without a break. These printers are capable of performing more complex tasks.

Note that in five years time span, we predict there will be new 3D printers developments capable of going way beyond the current technology. 

Do 3D Printers Break Easily?

3D printers are made of various parts, some are known as consumables, and other are long-lasting. 3D printers do not really break. The 3D printing technology is still in a hobbyist mode, meaning that if something breaks in it, you simply fix it yourself. Any 3D printer is made up of parts which will rust with time, hence, subject to failure or breakage if not properly maintained.

However, most 3D printer parts are strongly designed to last longer with solid maintenance. It is estimated that on good use, you are likely to spend between $20 and $50 yearly on consumables and parts. Due to bending and repeated movements, wires may break over time

How Often Should You Lubricate Your 3D Printer?

Lubrication helps in reducing friction and wear between the surfaces by interposing a lubricant between the surfaces. For the FDM 3D printer, it is critical that you apply correct lubrication to the moving parts, since it can affect your final printed pieces directly. If the bearings or rods are poorly lubricated, the print carriage generates an annoying noise, making you lose accuracy in positioning your print head.

In order to choose the right lubricant, you need to know the type of movement, temperature, operating environment, load, and speed. Fats and oils are commonly used lubricants; however, fats are most preferred against oils due to the following merits:

It is recommended to use Superlube lubricants (Amazon link) for 3D printers with a hot base, every 75 to 100 hours of use, ensuring that you lubricate every moving part that receives heat directly from the printer base. For 3D printers with no hot base or do not have parts exposed to heat radiation, it is recommended to apply lubricant after every 200 to 250 hours of operation.

For more on 3d printer lubricating, check out our post “What Is A Filament Oiler In 3D Printing? Should You Lubricate Your 3D Printer

Should a 3D Printer Rest?

One thing you need to know about 3D printers is that they can take longer than hours or days to complete one single print. The bigger and more complicated a design is, the longer you expect your 3D printer will take to complete it.

Now that we know that 3D printers may take longer to finish one printing job, does it mean that your 3D printer requires some time to reset between prints? Is it necessary for your 3D printer to rest between jobs? Or should you pause a print job to create recovery time for your 3D printer?

When you take care of your 3D printer properly, it is capable of operating for the longest period of time, even without rest time breaks. 3D printers are basically designed with the capacity of running for an extended period of time. Therefore, if you keep your printer in top shape with proper maintenance, it will not require rest.

One does not have to worry about turning off your 3D printer after a successful print job before moving to the next job. You can have it run continuously between prints, so long as you maintain it properly as recommended.

For more on this, check out our post How Long Can You Pause a 3-D Printer? the Downside of It !

&

How Long Can a 3D Printer Run? Fire Risk and What to Do About It!

How Often Should You Change Your Nozzle on A 3D Printer?

There is quite a range of additional costs that come along with 3D printers, and one of them is replacing worn-out nozzles to prevent cases of bad quality prints that may come as a result of worn-out nozzles.

3D printer nozzles have a huge impact on the quality of 3D prints that your 3D printer will produce. If you want quality print results, it is necessary that you conduct regular maintenance and replacement of nozzles whenever due necessary. This begs the question: “How often should you replace your 3D printer nozzle?’’ Well, this depends on a number of factors, since we all use our 3D printers differently.

If you print twice or once a week, a brass brand nozzle will last approximately 3 to 6 months. However, if your 3D printer is running 24 hours 7 days a week, you will need to replace the nozzle almost every month. Stainless and hardened steel nozzles may last for approximately one year, while ruby nozzles may last for a couple of years.

For instance, you could be printing once a week using PLA, while someone prints 12 hours a day using Polycarbonate filament material, which is much more abrasive that will deteriorate the printer nozzle much faster.

Find out more and check out our post Is Your 3D Printer Nozzle Worn Out? Sign, Impact, Causes & How To Clean It

Generally, the type of 3D printer nozzle you use (ruby-tipped, brass, or steel) and the duration your 3D printer is running will determine the lifespan of your 3D printer nozzle and how often you are required to replace it.

Final Thoughts

Generally, proper maintenance of your 3D printer is key if you want it to serve you well and for longer. You must lubricate your 3D printer frequently and clean parts that require cleaning. Remember, just like any other machine, 3D printers have moving parts that require lubrication and maintenance to prevent the production of more heat whenever they are on the move.

Because your 3D printer may require several hours to complete a single print job, they have been designed to run for more hours in a single stretch. If you maintain your 3D printer properly as recommended, it should be good enough to operate for hours within a single stretch

sherifjallad

I am a very well experienced techie civil engineer who's extensively interested in 3D printing technology and even more captivated by the potential of 3D printing livable structures

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