n before g
How many times do we have to tell you in before g unless you're talking about gnomes
Scientists are calling for more research into the effect, negative or otherwise, of 3D printers on indoor air quality. A variety of semi-pro 3D printers – fused deposition modelling (FDM) aka fused filament fabrication (FFF) – create models by heating and depositing layer upon layers of plastic filament, gradually forming the …
Everything is dangerous when used incorrectly enough. The question is whether these devices are safe when used correctly. Many people put them in enclosed spaces, because the closet is the best place for a thing that takes up space and you don't really have to interact with very much. So if it is dangerous for it to be in there, we should probably know and deal with it.
I’m not certain. I’ve been looking into charcoal filtration for the printers I share an office with. I find that SLA printing is nasty to share a room with. FDM isn’t as bad, but I sometimes wonder if I’m getting headaches from it. I currently have 4 FDM printers running pretty much 24/7 and it’s better to be safe than sorry.
These all deal with chemicals, heat and exposure to the air. These are not going to be nice to the human body. Use air filtration, circulation etc. While perhaps an FDM is about as safe as a BBQ, I'd probably not risk my life on the new one turning up soon.
So this article is a nice reminder that some fan, or using it in a seperate room to me, is due. That and a proper solder station so I don't get gassed by that stuff either (flux more than the solder).
I work pretty much 7 days a week with 3D printers at my place of work. Every printer enclosure has an extraction system linked to it and there are two two-stage cyclonic separators, nano-filters and regularly changed carbon scrubbers. The whole thing is vented externally.
I see YouTube “Stars” with rooms full of printers with no ventilation. I see printer manufacturers Josef Prusa and others, having print farms (rooms full of printers) with little or no ventilation. I see school classrooms full of printers with sod-all ventilation.
This is just dumb.
I see the dust and particulates that build up in our printers over the space of a week - no way do I want to breathe any of that in!
It might turn out not to be a hazard, but if you can avoid breathing in plastic crap by fitting a little ventilation system, why wouldn’t you?
(It won’t be safe. Nothing ever truly is)
I was a COSHH office in the MOD back in the late ‘80s. It was then I discovered just how bad some of this stuff can be.
A tiny bit of common-sense can go a long way. 3D printers are cool, but don’t breathe the fumes...
OK - how about an air ionizer operating near the printers? I bet that'll fix most of it. Just a regular "home unit" would probably do it. That, and filter all of the OTHER crap out of the air that just might be a whole lot worse...
Or, for a nice comparison, how about CIGARETTE SMOKE and its effect on EVERYBODY ELSE AROUND THE SMOKER??? I'll take the 3D printer farm ANY day.
"Or, for a nice comparison, how about CIGARETTE SMOKE"
In what situation Bob? I thought you lived in the states, not India or China?
You can't smoke inside any public buildings or workplaces* around these parts. Or within 5 meters of a doorway. So it'll only be in private homes or vehicles you have to put up with it. Or in the open air, which seems to not generally be a problem.
I"m curious as to what sort of levels result from usage. As I understand it, all particulate matter is bad for you, and the smaller/tougher the fibres are, the worse. So hardwood dust is more dangerous than softwood dust etc. But if you're sanding down a small table, you can probably get away with not using a mask, but if you're in a workshop 8 hours a day, you should take proper precautions.
It's a bit like the radiation from x-rays. The patient doesn't need screening, since they'll only get occasional exposure, but the radiologist gets nuked for 8 hours a day, hence why they hide behind the door.
Oh, and Bob, you should be bitching about vapers. That's the acceptable target for hate :D
*some of the coffeeshops let you smoke inside their smoking rooms, but complaing about other smokers in a smoking area is odd.
The classic "Use in a well ventilated area" is put on stuff for a reason.
People should be aware it's the size of particles from some Diesel exhausts that makes them dangerous, just as Asbestos is. In big lumps, not so much.
Likewise a big lump of plastic may only be a hazard if it falls on you. But in particles you could snort up without realizing it?
"Preliminary tests with in vivo, in vitro and acellular methods for particles generated by *a limited number of filaments* showed adverse responses." (my emphasis)
So... no mention of the different types of filaments that can be used (PET / PLA / ABS / etc) and whether this has any effect of the types or amounts of particulate, and then there's this "limited number of filaments" line that (to me) makes it seem like someone cherry-picked the results to prompt further and bigger spending.
exactly, PLA is supposed to be biodegradable and doesn't smell when you make things with it. I bought a spool of PLA because it was relatively inexpensive to test out a 3D printer I just got. if I want to make anything more "final" I'll use ABS but the PLA does very well for testing designs, especially if you're likely to throw it away after you screw it up for the N'th time.
PLA allows greater detail than ABS. ABS objects can be used at slightly higher temperatures, won't biodegrade if left outside, and are easier to finish.
In fact you can bring an ABS object to a mirror smooth finish if you expose it to acetone vapour - which is just as hazardous a process as it sounds.
Still, in a conventional workshop there are plenty of other nasty things around, such as MDF dust.
PLA is biodegradable- if you have an Industrial Composter to hand - that garden type isn’t going to cut it.
PLA does smell - usually a bit sweet with a slight curry undertone. PLA, if overheated is not all that nice - gives off carcinogens. It also has a habit of bursting into flames if overheated as it hydrolyses around the hotend and nozzle so won’t flow away like most petrochemical-based filaments.
I write the safety MSDS for our filaments. These are based on the raw plastic stock that we extrude from. ALL plastics suck in one area or another. If you think otherwise, you are deluded.
The trick is to be smart when using this stuff - reduce the risks from the unknown. People thought asbestos was safe when they first starting using it - they even sprayed it out of huge firehose-like nozzles to coat enginerooms of warships and metal girders of large buildings...
I’m not suggesting that the sky will fall in by using a 3D printer, just don’t be an idiot.
Unless you are using an SLA resin 3D printer - uncured resin and fumes from that shit is NASTY!!
Not only can it cause all sorts of illnesses, the effect of exposure is cumulative. I won’t have that crap anywhere around other people. I think they are awesome, just be aware of the risks.
I'm not sure why you're getting so many downvotes for a sensible question.
Unfortunately neither of their linked papers actually name either the printers they tested, or the brands of filament, even though as they state in their conclusion:
"Filament brand, [...] can also have a substantial effect on emissions."
From a quick skim, the temperature of the print head seemed to have a large effect, and PLA seemed to produce an order of magnitude less particles than nylon, and ABS was another order of magnitude more than nylon. (Viewable in a particularly fun graph, figure 6, which splits it's y-axis twice to fit dissimilar results onto the same graph).
When I was in college I ran a copy and print shop. A big industrial Xerox machine - which cost the better part of $75k when a $ was really worth something- used these massive containers of toner. I want to say 10kg at a go.
Screwup one: not paying attention I slipped and dropped a tub, dumping about a kilo of powder inside the machine.
Screwup two: not thinking very clearly I grabbed the nearest vacuum instead of the proper HEPA one and touched the nozzle to the powder. The resulting pillar of black filth out the exhaust looked like the ash cloud that did in Pompeii.
I probably should not be left unattended around 3D printers.
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