Common power issues can cause 3D printer extruders, heated plates, circuit boards, and moving parts to malfunction during builds. A new use for a proven technology widely used in the IT industry helps solve this problem.
In mid-March, 2015, Dan F. received his Battery Backup Power, Inc. 600 VA / 360 Watt line interactive pure sine wave uninterruptible power supply (www.backupbatterypower.com/products/BBP-600A-PSW-LI) for his FlashForge Creator.
His post to the Battery Backup Power, Inc. Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/batterybackuppower) reads as follows, “Thanks to the guys over at Battery Backup Power, Inc. for the new UPS – it’ll keep my printer up and running strong even if my power fails for any reason. Anyone with a 3D printer knows how long these prints can take, and it’s a shame for anyone to be 11 hours into a 12 hour print just for the power to flicker and your printer to reset… Definitely check them out!”
Dan’s post outlines a critical issue facing anyone with a 3D printer; dirty or unreliable power. Everyone who has worked in an older building has seen the lights flicker when a laser printer or other power hungry device fires up. That flicker usually indicates there is not enough power on the circuit to adequately power everything during that moment. A flickering light may simply be annoying to the building occupants, but in the middle of a 3D print job when the printer is starved of its required power, the extruders and build plate may drop below the required temperature resulting in a poor or wasted build.
Losing the hours and dollars invested in build time and materials is one thing, but that’s only the short term damage. Almost every 3D printer has a sensitive circuit board that is just as vulnerable to power surges, voltage drops, and outages as any piece of critical IT equipment. If that board gets fried, the only option may be to pony up the money for a new 3D printer.
Adam G. worked on an insurance consultation for a company that had their industrial size 3D printer destroyed by a lightning strike. A “UPS might have taken the hit instead and saved a ton of money” stated Adam in a Facebook message to Battery Backup Power, Inc. earlier this year (https://www.facebook.com/batterybackuppower). Adam was referring to the high capacity UPS systems carried by Battery Backup Power, Inc. for use with 3D printers made by 3D Systems, Airwolf 3D, EnvisionTEC, FlashForge, Formlabs, Hyrel 3D, M3D, MakerBot Industries, MBot, Mink, MonoPrice, Printrbot, Robo 3D, Solidoodle, Solidscape, Stratasys, TripodMaker, Ultimaker, and many others.
Although uninterruptible power supplies are widely available online at Amazon and in brick and mortar stores like Staples, they are typically not sufficient for use with even a small hobby 3D printer. They lack the capacity, batteries, and durability needed for larger loads. Companies that specialize in 3D printer power protection like Battery Backup Power, Inc. (www.batterybackuppower.com) carry UPS systems that pack more batteries for longer run times, have higher load capacities, pure sine wave output (not usually found in less expensive UPS systems), direct USB communication with certain professional 3D printers, metal enclosures, and other attributes meant to keep a 3D printer or other high end electronic device running smoothly. Battery Backup Power, Inc. has an online store dedicated to selling 3D printer compatible uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems (www.backupbatterypower.com).