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Compact fans in 3D printers

Did you know that compact fans can be used in a wide variety of applications? 3D printers are just one of the many. Read on to discover just how compact fans are essential in ensuring maximum operation in 3D printers.

Compact fans in 3d printing

3D printing is a process of making 3 dimensional solid objects from a digital file. There are many advantages of 3D printing technology. One of them is rapid prototyping which requires the accuracy of every single detail of the printed objects.

However, during the printing of the 3D objects, often the layer of plastic just laid down does not have time to cool. This is where a fan plays a part. As such, cooling fan in smaller size (compact fan) is considered one of the most important components in a 3D printer.

compact fans in 3d printing applications

Fig 1. Areas/parts that use compact fans in 3D printer

As indicated, hot end cooling is a “must” among the 3 areas that need cooling. As the hot end is the part responsible for heating and depositing the plastic onto the printing end, it must be able to generate sufficient heat to melt the filament and cool down the top where the drive gears push filament through [1].

In addition, the process of printing a piece with areas of small segments, where the nozzle is constantly moving in the same area, causes an excess of temperature that softens the piece. Deformation could happen if no cooling fan is involved in the process (as picture shown below [2]).

Compact fans in 3d printing

Fig 2. Printed object without (left) and with cooling fan (right).

When you look at the head of a 3D printer, many times you will find more than 2 compact fans. One fan is responsible for cooling the plastic layer once it has been deposited whereas the other is to cool the cold part of the hot end.

In summary, compact fans in 3D printers can sufficiently cool the printing objects as well as the printer parts so that the printing objects get solidified quickly and the molten plastic does not become deformed. Despite its small size, a well-fitted and long-lasting compact fan is one of the keys contributing to the quality 3D printing process.

Compact fans in 3d printing

Fig 3. Compact fans in a 3D printer

by Dina Bai
Marketing Department of ebm‑papst SEA Pte. ebm‑papst Mulfingen GmbH & Co KG

[1] “3D Printer Fan – Do I Really Need One?” by Emmett Grames, 13th September 2019. Access from All3DP
[2] “The importance of the layer fan”, 29th January 2020. Access from filament2print blog

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