How Long Do 3D Printers Last?

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Longevity is always important

When you are spending hard earned money for something you want that object to last. Plus, some people may even want it to last a long time before they start doing any repair work. No one wants to waste money on poor quality merchandise.

But that is a problem in today’s plastic world. In the old days everything was made of metal and many of those items have lasted for over 100 years but today’s objects, including 3D printers are usually made out of plastic and you are lucky to have something that lasts 5 or 10 years, if that.

To find out how long a 3D printer should last you, just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about. It only takes a couple minutes to see how long these devices last.

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Our quick comparison chart

If you do not have a lot of time right now, glance through our quick comparison chart to see how 3D related materials and devices last.

 1.3D printerUp to 10 years if maintained properly and you did not get a lemon
 2.PLA filament (Unused)1 month to 2 years depending on how it is stored
 3.3D printed object last (PLA)6 months to 15 years depending on environment
 4.A 3D nozzleDepending on filament, if heavily used or not, you can expect up to 6 months for a brass nozzle
 5.3D printer extruder150 hours to 24 months approx and depending on quality and use

How long do 3D printers last?

There are several factors involved that help determine the longevity of a 3D printer. Some of those factors are:

  1. Quality of raw materials.
  2. Manufacturing standards.
  3. Corporation ethics.
  4. Shipping and handling.
  5. Quality of parts used.
  6. Use and materials used.
  7. Environment and treatment.
  8. And more.

Each company has its own manufacturing standards and depending on their priorities make their products last as long as possible. With regular maintenance and using no service contract some 3D printers have been known to last 8 years before being replaced.

Other 3D printers have not been so lucky as some manufacturers place 150 hours on their extruders only. That is not a long time and buying replacements may not be that cheap. But if you treat the device like your prized car, then you should get some years of service out of your 3D printer.

It is not just the fault of the manufacturer as the user may not follow instructions very well, mis-treat their device, run the wrong filament through the machine or have it at too high a temperature. Those elements and more all play a role in how long your 3D printer will last.

Then if you get a lemon, well just replace it with a better machine as quickly as possible.

How long does a 3D nozzle last?

This is probably the most important part on your 3D printer. Its condition will affect the quality of your print so you do need to keep an eye on it. Brass nozzles are known to last 6 months or longer depending on how often you use your 3D printer and what type of filament you run through it.

Cleaning your nozzle helps it last a lot longer and here are some cleaning tips:

  1. Use a wire or needle the size of your nozzle hole. Heat up the nozzle to working temperature and push the needle through to clean out any left over filament.
  2. Heat up the nozzle and then push the material through far enough where you can grab it after it is cooled and pull the rest out.
  3. Use acetone and soak the nozzle for a few hours, use a pin to help you clean up the inside.
  4. Remove the nozzle, heat it up and use a pin to clean it out.

What materials are used to make a nozzle?

When you are looking for a replacement nozzle you should match the nozzle construction material with the type of filament you use. Here are the different types of nozzles and what filaments should be used with them:

BrassThe softest of all and needs non abrasive filament. It works with PLA, ABS, PETG, Nylon, TPE, TPU, PC,Stainless steelUsed for food printing and food filament as well as chemically abrasive filamentsHardened steelShould last 1 year and used with abrasive filamentsCopperUsed for those filaments that require a high heat level to meltRubyMade of brass and a ruby tip that does not wear out. Best for really tough filament

Standard nozzle sizes

If you take care of your nozzle, it will take care of you. By that we mean that your nozzle should last a long time saving you replacement costs. No matter the size, you should clean and maintain your nozzle to prevent wear and tear or damage.

  1. 0.4 mm is the most common size of 3D nozzles.
  2. 0.25 mm is used for printing jewelry but prone to clogging.
  3. 0.6 mm is used for when you want to print faster and it helps produce better durability in prints.
  4. 1.0 mm for home printers is one of the larger sizes that are used when you have a short deadline. This nozzle size prints faster and still produces very durable objects but at the expense of quality. Hard to clog this nozzle.

Some final words

A 3D printer is only as good as the sum of its parts. If you get a device with inferior parts, do not expect it to last you a long time. While certain parts can help a 3D printer last for up to a decade, that is not always the case.

To make your 3D printer last you for years, you have to do your part and do regular maintenance and not run the wrong materials through the device. Also, you should watch your heat levels as well.

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