Prusa i3 MK2 3D printer fire – Gary Firth’s Story

prusa i3 mk2 electrical fire Friday 7th August 2020, Gary Firth of Leeds, West Yorkshire in the United Kingdom smelt smoke in his house and devastatingly his Prusa i3 MK2 3D printer was on fire.

Prusa i3 MK2 3D printer electrical fire

It smelt like there was an electrical fire in his home, so Gary rushed around his house to find the source. He found his Prusa i3 MK2 3D printer on fire in his conservatory. A scary situation. Thankfully, he got the fire out before it became an unmanageable inferno that would have done greater damage to his house. He and his loved ones are fortunately all unharmed.

I noted to him that is must have been super scary to deal with, and heroically Gary said, “Not really, but I am good in a crisis. It’s when it’s over I shake and fall to pieces”.

From his pictures we can see it that the electrical fire did a lot of damage in what must have been an insufficient space of time. His printer is clearly destroyed, and his entire house now smells of smoke.

Josef Prusa, Joel Telling, and others offer support

Within 23 minutes of Gary Firth posting about his Prusa i3 MK2 electrical fire, Josef Prusa reached out on Facebook. The founder and CEO of Prusa Research asked Gary to contact their support so they can help, and also to learn what went wrong. Before coronavirus, Prusa would have flown a technician over to physically examine the machine. It’s great to know that a leading 3D printing company like Prusa Research takes situations like this seriously and wants to learn from it. Gary noted that their support has been “very efficient”.

Many others responded to Gary’s situation, including Joel Telling, of 3D Printing Nerd fame (414k YouTube subscribers), who said “Wow, that is terrible, I am so sorry.”

Being a true 3D printing champion, when asked if this the end to his 3D printing hobby? Gary remarked to me, “Don’t know what I’m going to do without one. It will be weird.” So hopefully he will get a new printer. Maybe Prusa can help him out with this.

3D Printer electrical fire safety

We asked Gary is we could share his story, and he said, “Be my guest. If it helps keep people safe.”

It is something for all of us to be aware of. 3D printers are electromechanical devices dealing with high temperatures. They need to be looked after. I myself do print with my printers unattended. I don’t have a fire alarm near the printer either. So this has been a wake up call to me. And it should be to all of us. So what can we do to avoid a 3D printer electrical fire? Get a fire alarm! Even a basic one that emits the shrill alarm is a big step forwards. But you can also get one’s like the Nest smoke alarm which will also notify you if you are away from the house.

Gary also had his printer enclosed and had installed toughened glass which “Saved the day”. A very good tip from him. It’s also worth noting that the electronics can be removed from an enclosure. That is the main board, PSU and the display. Heat inside an enclosure can shorten their life. And not that it was necessarily the case for Gary, it could also increase risk of an electrical fire if there are any issues with the electronics.

Products To Help Prevent 3D Printer Fires

Now mind you none of these products will help stop a 3D printer fire completely on your Prusa i3 MK2 or any other 3D printer we can use these as an aid.

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  1. AFO is the cheaper knockoff of Elide Fire Balls. AFO have been demonstrated not to work. You should probably replace those with links to Elide.

  2. Why nobody say they change motherboard and ignored a “thermal runway” error? He wrote about it earlier on the group

  3. Thanks Ed for the feedback, I know that when we checked the Elide was out of stock on Amazon. Hopefully, our readers will check out the Elide option when it comes back in stock.

  4. kl – some good digging there. You are correct, no one should ever ignore a thermal runaway error. There will be a reason for the error, and most of the time it’s because of a developing hardware fault. It will be interesting to see what Prusa determine when they check out the printer.

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