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3D Printing Safety

I will touch on the basics of safety here, but a great resource for understanding 3D Printing safety can be found at the Carnegie Mellon University web site:

  • Work in a well ventilated area. Both FDM and Resin printing emit particles and VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) while printing. Good airflow that is vented to the outdoors is preferable, but a solid ventilation system should be adequate. Additionally, a solid air purifier can be tremendously helpful for those sensitive to odors and fumes. I have included a simple description of a DIY filter below that is capable of clearing VOCs from the air.
  • Wear a respirator when working directly with an operating printer or any time you are working with uncured resin. For FDM, this is especially important when printing in ABS, as the fumes can be hazardous.
  • Use safety glasses during post processing. With resin, it’s important to keep uncured resin out of your eyes. With FDM, you might be surprised how far and fast a clipped support can travel.
  • When working with uncured resin, be sure to wear neoprene or nitrile gloves to avoid skin contact. While it’s not immediately dangerous, prolonged or repeated contact can affect your nervous system and cause an allergic reaction.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby. While fires are rare, they have been known to happen. FDM printers are literally using temperatures up to 280° C (536° F) to melt plastic and some manufacturers have been known to forego quality control to meet consumer demands.
  • Avoid sticking your fingers into the printing while it’s operating. They may be small, but the motors are surprisingly strong. FDM printers can move suddenly and without warning, so wait until they’re finished printing.

VOC Filter Box

Materials List:

All you have to do is place the air filter behind the box fan and turn it on. Instant air purifier that does a better job than expensive purifiers due to it’s large surface area. I leave mine running constantly, so the airflow keeps them together. If you intend to only use it when needed, I would suggest using duct tape to hold them together.

One of the best things about this low cost option is the ability to place several around your house. I keep one in my work area, one in my bedroom, one in the living room and one in my son’s room. Great for allergy sufferers as well.

Box Fan VOC FilterThe optional Activated Charcoal and Mosquito Netting are for those that want to take their filter to the next level. Simply fill the pleated area of the filter with activated charcoal and cut a section of mosquito netting to fit. Tape the netting down snug to hold the charcoal in. It’s best to add the charcoal on the side facing the fan.

The added charcoal will significantly increase the filtration area and remove more VOCs per cycle. It will also increase the lifespan of your filter. Just remember to replace the filter when airflow begins to decrease. Mine has needed to be replaced about twice a year.

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