Home 3D Printing Tips Can You Bring A 3D Printer on A Plane?

Can You Bring A 3D Printer on A Plane?

by 3Dprintingadvice

The technology of 3D printing ensures that you can print cheaper and faster. Moreover, it will enable you to print anything imaginable. As a result, it is understandable if you want to travel with your 3D printer.

Therefore, if you are planning to do a lot of traveling, you may probably want to know if you can bring a 3D printer on a plane. After doing extensive research, I believe that there may be a possibility.

Can You Bring A 3D Printer on A Plane?

So Can You Bring A 3D Printer on A Plane?

Yes, you can bring your 3D printer with you on a plane when you are traveling. However, you should make sure that the printer is protected adequately. Your 3D printer needs protection from potential shocks. Furthermore, there is a need to protect them from cold, severe temperatures.  

You can carry your printer in check-in baggage although some of the airlines may make a fuss. Most especially regarding the ink and the printer cartridges which they may see as dangerous goods.That is why it is advisable to call the airline before your travelingto know their regulations.

Even though your 3D printer in no way looks like a weapon or an accessory to weapon delivery, yet there are still risks. You may have a run-in with customs officials. As a result, there will bea possibility of the officials confiscating your 3D printer. Thus, the likelihood of ever seeing your printer shortlymay be nil. Moreover, your insurance coverage may not reach covering the actions of the security officials. 

You may not be aware of it, but you are on international space anytime you walk into the customs area. You are already outside the country although it may over the other side of the gate you just passed. You no longer have the right to send back anything or to retrace your steps. Although there may be one or two occasions where they are allowed to do so.However, I have known of several cases where they don’t allow for such things. 

Custom security sees it as creating leeway for drug dealers and clever smugglers. The customs authorities are aware of this fact and try their best to avoid it. That is why immediately you enter any custom controlled area; you are not allowed to go back.

Thus, if the customs officials take into their minds to take exception to your 3D printer, there is no undoing it. There is no way for you to guarantee the safety of your printer. So if I were you, I would follow the best way to travel with my 3D printer. I think it is advisable to package your stuff properly and go in with it as checked luggage. 

Ways to Travel with your 3D Printer

You can bring it in as a checked in luggage- This way is possible. However, you have to make sure that you do not install the cartridge or ink in your printer. Furthermore, there is the need to check up the airline regulations. Some of airlines or countries you may fly to may not mind pre-installation of the cartridge and printer.

On the other hand, most Countries specifically do not allow. They may only allow you to bring your printer. Thus, it is advisable to cross-check before booking your flight.

  • Ensure to meet the weight and dimensional weight restrictions- You should make sure that the packaging for your 3D printer is according to the weight requirements of the checked luggage. If you can achieve this, you will not face any problem. Moreover, the security officials will not waste time to check whether you installed the cartridge or ink in your printer. 
  • Bring your Printer in the Cabin- If you want to follow this method, you should first, of, all, check the airline website for luggage restrictions. During your research, you may find airlines that only allow 5kg, 8kg, 10kg, or 15kg if you are lucky. If by chance, your 3D printer weighs above these numbers, you can take it to the cabin. Furthermore, you can board the plane early if you want to be comfortable while traveling in the cabin. An early boarder, you will get the opportunity to pack your printer at the overhead bin. Since there is the likelihood that the overhead passengers will not occupy all the overhead space. Otherwise, your travel may be uncomfortable if you try to carry the large printer on your lap. That is when you board late.      
  • You can bring your Printer in your Carry-on– Another way you can carry your 3D printer on a plane is to pack it in your carry-on bag. That is if your 3D printer is the right size to fit in a carry-on bag. This way, you will be sure of the safety of your printer. Moreover, any inspection regarding your stuff will be carried out in your presence. Since most security officials do not care about the safety of your property as they are checking for irregularities.But if you are there, you can protect your property. It takes a high-class bully to try to damage your property at your presence. The only thing it will cost you is to call the airline before your travel. Explain to them what you will be carrying along and its importance. After explaining, you can then ask for their permission to bring your device along.    
  • You can get a Pelican Case- Packing your printer in a pelican case is a sure way to travel on the plane. Since the pelican case is a dedicated case for flying, it can protect your printer. For instance, if you pack your printer in the standard Pelican 1600, you are sure of its safety. Although sometimes, the pelican case may be more expensive than your printer, you are assured of your printer’s safety. Furthermore, you can pack the printer inside and fix a sticker on the outside. The label will explain what the device in the big box is all about. 
  • Ship the printer ahead of you- If you are flying somewhere and you want to bring your 3D printer with you, you can always ship it ahead. Shipping the device ahead of you can prevent all the stress you will suffer otherwise from airline security officials. You can ship the printer some days before the time of your travels. The hotel you will be staying in will surely receive the package for you. Shipping the printer through FedEx, UPS, or any other agency you know to be safe. All you need to do is make sure that your printer is packed appropriately. At least through this route, you don’t have to worry about the airport or border hassles.    


Overall, you can bring your 3D printer on the plane. Just make sure that it does not fall under the category of dangerous goods for that particular airline. That is hazardous goods according to the UN 1210 under IATA DG regulations. That is why it is always advisable to visit the airline website or call ahead of time.

When you understand what their security measures regulate, you can prepare yourself. Security officials do not usually provide the way for you to return any device they do not accept. So you will be running the risk of losing your printer if you are not appropriately prepared.

With the above information, I believe that I can confidently bring my 3D printer on a plane. 

Related Questions

Q: Can packing your 3D printer properly ensure that you are not checked by security officials?

A: The current regulations of the airlines is that once you reach the TSA checkpoint, you should switch on your devices. As a result, even if you pack the printer adequately, you will still haveto unpack it at the TSA checkpoint. 

Q: If you do not call and explain to the airline before your travel, will they allow you to carry any device against their regulations?

A: It is not possible to succeed if you do not call them in advance and get their permission.  

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