@michael101 Someone has done the calculations. Loughborough University in the UK did a study that compared 3D printing to injection molding and discovered that 3D printers that use heat or laser to melt plastic consumed 50 to 100 times more electrical energy than injection molding. That may sound like a lot (it is!) but there are benefits that might balance out your energy use, depending on the quantity of object your produce. For example, 3D printing is a much more efficient user of raw materials, only using materials when they are needed, which might lower your overall cost by eliminating material waste.
We found a few other numbers you might be interested in. A recent maker tested his own 3D printer for energy usage and this is what he came up with:
Cooling fans: 15.7 watts
Stepper Motor Power: A combined total of nearly 3 watts
Heatbed Power: 129.5 watts
Hotend power: 28.3 watts
Overall the 3D printer was calculated to use the following energy:
Average 105 watts
Minimum 37.7 watts
Maximum 169.6 watts
These numbers will be different depending on the 3D printer you are using and what components you have installed, but hopefully it gives you a rough idea. Check out Clint Freeman’s post about his personal energy usage if you want some more details. How Much Power Does a 3D Printer Use.