Can You Leave a 3D Printer Unattended?

You might think it’s okay to leave just about any device unattended because that’s what we do, right? When we are washing a load in our washing machine, we don’t worry too much if we go to the shops because we know the machine will do its job and simply shut off eventually.

However, the same comparison cannot be made with a 3D printer because these are not your everyday household machines. Their wiring and electrical systems are much more complex when compared to normal electronics. That’s why you need to follow the safety precautions that the manufacturer lists.

It is true that 3D printers indeed offer a lot of excellent uses to people nowadays. However, they are not exactly cheap to maintain and look after. The safety implications are increased even more if you have invested in a DIY kit printer since the manufacturer is not responsible for its safety standards.

Today, we will be answering the important question; can you leave a 3D printer unattended? Apart from this, we are also adding some important precautions that you can take to rectify the situation in case you have to leave it unattended for a while.

Can you leave a 3D printer unattended?

As a rule, no, you cannot and should not leave your 3D printer unattended. The reason behind this is simple; it can be quite dangerous to do so. Since 3D printers have quite a few heated elements such as heated beds, hot ends, and filaments, it means they are prone to catching on fire or even failing.

There have also been reports of entire prints falling off and away from the 3D printer when it is unattended due to an issue in the computer programming or loose screws. This means that your entire project becomes at risk of not being completed and of course, you may lose quite a bit of material.

Why can you not leave a 3D printer unattended?

1. It might be a fire hazard

This is the major reason why you cannot leave a 3D printer unattended. A lot of components apart from the electrical configurations are prone to fires! Your components, terminals, or wiring could malfunction or even heat up too much. In case the overheated part is not on fire, it can heat the parts next to it and they might be flammable.

It doesn’t matter how premium your purchase was, when left unattended, you cannot monitor how long the printer has been working and so, it can catch on fire or overheat. Many 3D printer manufacturers are tackling this issue by adding auto-shutoff and safety features. So, make sure you purchase a product that has the basic safety taken care of.

In case your device is cheaper or you made it yourself using a DIY kit, then you need to pay even closer attention to its safety since you are responsible for the safety standards in that case. You need to not leave the device unattended until you know about its wiring and settings better.

2. It might come apart

For anyone who has a 3D printer, no matter how expensive your model is, from time to time, you might have experienced your prints coming apart from the base. This happens during the printing process and cannot be avoided, it can only be halted or stopped. However, if your printer is left unattended, that might not work.

When this happens in normal circumstances, you as a user will most likely be there to stop this from happening. So, if you are not there, then no one will stop the printer from printing the wrong and detached thing. Of course, this is quite problematic.

If this occurs, not only will you lose a large portion of your filament and materials, your cost of electricity, your time, and your energy will be wasted. Not to mention, that the haywire filament might cause serious damage to your printer.

What are the safety precautions for leaving your 3D printer unattended?

However, let’s say you need to finish a project by tonight but also have to leave the house for some unavoidable commitment. What do you do then? Well, if you have to leave your 3D printer unattended for a couple of hours and there is no way to avoid it, then here are the main precautions we recommend.

  • Buy a machine that has safety features in place. For example, purchasing a printer that has an auto-shut-off option means that in case it should heat up too much, it will turn off by itself.
  • Make sure you have an ample amount of good knowledge of the wiring and settings of your device. Leave it in settings that are safe and efficient.
  • Attach your 3D printer to switches that turn off in case they detect fire or smoke. This will be a great investment.
  • Make sure your work area doesn’t have any objects that are flammable because a lot of your printer’s elements are.
  • Maintenance is key. If there are parts that need to be repaired or changed, don’t hesitate to do this first thing. You also need to be aware of any issues.
  • Try printing at lower temperatures so that the heated bed is not needed.
  • Invest in some CCTV cameras or a mobile app alert so you are aware of the printer’s progress.

See also: The Best 3D Printer Under 2000 for This Year

Conclusion

In conclusion, the verdict is simple; no, you cannot leave a 3D printer unattended. However, if you do step away for a bit, it can help if you try adhering to the precautions we have listed. So, to end this article that asks; can you leave a 3D printer unattended, it depends on the situation but the recommendation is not to.

Hopefully, our article has cleared out all the confusion you might have had before this.

About David Shelton

Besides many test devices, David now has his eighth own 3D printer running and loves to print as a hobby for family, friends, and himself. He has over a decade of experience in 3D printing. He is happy to share his experience with each new article to help all of you regarding your printing queries! In his spare time, he loves to travel and watch obscure cinema. Happy printing!!

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