A typical american 15A circuit at 120V supplies 1800 watts of power. If you want to reliably power your print farm, and avoid tripping the breaker, your circuit should never require more than 80% of it's capacity. This means that you should plan to allocate around 1500 watts for your printers a single circuit.
Calculating Power Draw
3D printers consume the most power when heating both the nozzle and the bed. This occurs at the beginning of a print. We want to make sure that we have enough power for every printer on a circuit, even in the worst-case scenario where all of them start heating at the same time. This means that you'll need to calculate the maximum power draw of your 3D printers.
The easiest way to measure the power draw is by purchasing a power meter, plugging your printer into the power meter, and then heating up the nozzle and bed at the same time. You can find power meters on Amazon for around $20. Power meters are also helpful for estimating the cost of energy when running your farm, so it's a worthwhile investment.
The Ender 3s we use in our office draw around 300 watts when heating up. We need to stay below 1500 watts, so we can safely power 5 Ender 3s on a single circuit. Your max power draw per printer may vary, so make sure to measure it before you start planning your farm.
Shelving for Multiple 3D Printers
If you are a 3D printing enthusiast with multiple printers, you may need to invest in some heavy duty shelving units to keep them organized and easily accessible. Choosing the right shelving unit can make all the difference in terms of the ease of maintenance, organization, and cleanliness of your printing setup. Here are some key things to consider when choosing heavy duty shelving units for multiple 3D printers.
Suggested number of shelves: The number of shelves you need will depend on the size and quantity of your 3D printers. As a general rule, if you have taller printers like the Sidewinder X1 or CR10, you should aim for two levels. With shorter printers like the Prusa Mini or Ender 3, you might be able to get away wth 3 levels, but the printers close to the ground will not be easy to work with, so you may want to use the lowest shelf as a storage area for filament and other supplies.
Wood vs. Wire: When it comes to choosing the material for your shelves, it's important to consider the material of the shelves themselves. Solid wood shelves are often preferred over wire racks, as they offer more stability and durability. They also reduce rattling and noise that can occur when printing on wire racks.
Printer placement: Where you place your printers on the shelving unit can have a significant impact on their maintenance and ease of use. Make sure to avoid placing your printers too low to the ground or too close together, as this can make it difficult to access and maintain them.
Spool Holding: Make sure the shelving unit you choose has enough room to hold larger spools of filament, for example 3kg or 5 kg spools. These larger spools need more space but they will also reduce the number of times you need to change out your filament, which is a huge time saver.
Waste management: Adding small trash bins to your shelving unit can make it easy to keep your workspace clean and organized. It's too easy to let small pieces of filament and other debris accumulate, so having a trash bin nearby can help you keep your workspace tidy.