Can You Bring a 3D Printer on a Plane or Aircraft?


People who own a 3D printer may want to travel on a plane with it, so they wonder whether you can actually bring a 3D printer on a plane or aircraft. I decided to look into this question and provide you guys with an answer.

You can bring a 3D printer on a plane or aircraft easily by storing it in your luggage. There are no special rules or regulations that prohibit one from bringing a 3D printer to their flight, so you should have no trouble when traveling with a 3D printer. Just make sure it is securely packed in your luggage.

This is the basic answer but keep on reading through this article for more useful information about traveling with a 3D printer and more.

Can You Take a 3D Printer on a Plane?

Yes, you can take a 3D printer on a plane easily in your checked or cabin baggage, depending on the weight of the printer. It’s also worth contacting your airline before the flight to acknowledge any guidelines. Make sure that you use proper padding and protection for the printer to keep it safe during transit. 

Many people have had little issue in taking their 3D printers on an airplane or aircraft. You just have to make sure that all the wiring and cords of the 3D printer are properly packed and nothing is coming out of your baggage.

You can be stopped for inspection at a point during the traveling process, but that shouldn’t be an issue once you’ve let the authorities check the 3D printer.

A very useful tip, in this case, is to pack the 3D printer in such a way that it can be easily removed or inspected. That way, even if a security person asks to check, you can get your 3D printer inspected quickly and minimize the delays.

Other than that, there’s no restriction on taking a 3D printer on a plane. People have been doing it for quite some time now and there’s rarely ever a mention of something going wrong.

If you still have your doubts, another alternative is to have your 3D printer shipped ahead of time to wherever you’re going. This will remove the scenario of taking a 3D printer on an airplane altogether.

How Do You Transport a 3D Printer?

You can transport a 3D printer securely by fixing its moving parts so they’re not loose, putting the unit inside a bag to keep it dust-free, and packing it inside a box to prevent damage. It’s also worth removing any filament or accessories like spool holders prior to transportation for the best results.

You can fix the loose parts of your 3D printer in one place, such as the carriages and the print head to make sure they can’t move around. This will drastically reduce the chances of the printer receiving any damage.

In addition, many people recommend removing the glass bed and placing it inside a separate sheet or a box to ensure it doesn’t break. Glass is fragile and quite prone to breakage, so it’s worth making the extra effort here.

It’s also recommended to take out your printer’s cables from the back to protect them from being mishandled. Before doing that, however, you can take a photo of the whole area to know what goes where when you’re setting the printer up again.

That said, some people find it a hassle to remove the cables. If you’re transporting your 3D printer in a spacious, and well-built vehicle, you may not need to disconnect the wiring.

Doing so will make it easier for you to set up the machine once it has reached the intended destination.

The following video by Fargo 3D Printing talks about how to ship your 3D printer.

While the video specifically talks about preparing the Fargo 3D printer for transportation, you can implement the guidelines laid out in it for your own 3D printer too.

For example, you can take zip ties as shown in the video and use it to secure your printer from the rear and the front sides, but this mainly depends on what type of 3D printer and you have.

You can grab high-quality nylon zip ties online effortlessly if you don’t have some lying around. The 200 Cable Matters Self-Locking Zip Ties on Amazon are a fantastic choice to go with and definitely worth considering.

They have three different sizes (6, 8 & 12-inch zip ties) and come in both black and white colors for multiple uses.

Furthermore, you can also cut blocks of foam and fill the build platform of your 3D printer so they act as shock absorbers. Something like the DAT 100 Pack of Foam Wrap Sheets from Amazon should work well.

I would also put some bubble wrap like the OFFITECTURE Bubble Cushioning Wrap from Amazon under the print bed and push it down, so the print bed rests on the bubble wrap.

This would help prevent the bed from being damaged, especially when combined with the blocks of foam on top.

Other than that, you shouldn’t be too worried about transporting a 3D printer other than just taking the regular precautionary measures as you would for other items.

You may need to calibrate your 3D printer again once you unbox your 3D printer again. Take a look at my How to Calibrate Your 3D Printer guide to get a head start while you’re at it.

Can You Move a 3D Printer Once Assembled?

Yes, you can easily move a 3D printer once assembled since they are made of aluminum frames and fairly strong parts. A 3D printer like the Voxelab Aquila X2 has a handle at the top of the printer to help move it around while assembled. Be careful when moving it around because they are fairly heavy.

Some 3D printers are easier to move or carry than others. For instance, the Flashforge Creator Pro 2 features carrying handles on both sides for moving it around, even when it’s assembled.

In addition, the weight of the 3D printer may also factor in. The following is an overview of some 3D printers and their weight, so you can have a better understanding of the matter at hand.

  • Prusa MK3+ – 14lbs
  • Creality Ender 3 – 17.64lbs
  • Flashforge Creator Pro – 24.3lbs
  • Dremel Digilab 3D45 – 42.8lbs

Therefore, the Prusa MK3+ is going to be the easiest to move when it’s assembled. It’s definitely a lot more lightweight as compared to the Dremel DigiLab 3D45, which, in other news, is one of the Best 3D Printers for Classrooms, Schools, Colleges, and Education.

Best Foldable 3D Printer

Now that you know that you can travel with a 3D printer, it’s best that you know about the best foldable 3D printer around.

FOOKOS 3D Printer Odin-5

As far as affordable and high-quality 3D printers go, there are only a few that can be worth getting into. Thankfully, the FOOKOS 3D printer is all of the latter and is also the best foldable 3D printer for a variety of reasons.

For starters, it comes for about $360 (sometimes there may even be a coupon) and features a Direct Drive extrusion system. This means more flexibility in choosing filaments, less power consumption, and more successful prints.

It also features a unique foldable design and comes 99% pre-assembled, so even if you’re a newcomer to this field, you won’t have any issue in setting the printer up.

There’s also the dual Z-axis and Y-axis design with a sheet metal case and a sturdy frame. This makes the print operation more stable and error-free, so you’re mostly having the best results in your prints.

At the time of writing, the FOKOOS 3D Printer Odin-5 boasts a 4.6/5.0 overall rating on Amazon with 86% of its customers leaving a 5-star review for it. This is a product from a well-established brand with a decent reputation.

One user who’s been frequently traveling with this 3D printer says that they just need to remove the 4 screws to collapse the printer and make it portable. This can allow you to put the printer above your seat in the overhead bin of an airplane with ease.

It weighs about 25.9 pounds and isn’t the heaviest of 3D printers out there. Furthermore, one customer has pointed out that the dual-Z rods keep the overall unit square-shaped.

This makes it possible for the Odin-5 to fold up and be stored without taking up too much space. Many users have bought the machine for this trait, so it’s definitely the best foldable 3D printer that you can get right now.

You can buy the FOKOOS 3D Printer Odin-5 directly from Amazon today.

Do You Need a License to 3D Print?

You do not need a license or a permit to 3D print for personal use. You can freely download and 3D print any model that you can find digitally, though for 3D printed firearms, you have to abide by country laws. You may need a commercial license if you 3D print items to sell or trade from websites like Thingiverse.

It’s easy to see what license a model has on Thingiverse and whether the author permits sales of their work or not. You simply scroll down a little and find the “License” section on the left of the screen.

For instance, the Spiral Christmas Balls by dazus on Thingiverse is licensed under the Creative Commons – Attribution – Non-Commercial license, as you can see from the screenshot below.

From Thingiverse – this means “you must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made.” Also, “you may not use the material for commercial purposes.”

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