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  • Air quality concerns

    Hello,

    I am a newcomer to the fascinating world of 3D printing and I'm very keen to acquire my first printer. However, in my extensive research on Youtube there seems to be a growing issue concerning the particulate emissions from 3D printers.

    I know that different filament types have different risks (PLA is relatively inert compared to, say, ABS) but all seem to possibly have as yet unrealised long-term health issues. My home is quite small so I would be in close proximity to wherever my printer was positioned so this issue is of concern to me.

    Does anyone else think this is a reason to dissuade me from buying a printer? Has anyone experienced side effects from their printer or felt it necessary to use extraction because of it?

    I would very much appreciate your help and insights.

    Regards,

    James.

  • #2
    Any chance you can install a window fan? Ventilation is key. As you point out, there are more studies to be done but plastics has been round for a long time. Personally, I mostly print in PLA and will never try ABS (many still use it).

    Cheers

    Comment


    • #3
      Alan,

      Thanks for the input. My living circumstances (renting a small two room dwelling) don't really lend themselves to changes to the property to accommodate ventilation so anywhere I place a printer (essentially either the living room or the bedroom) means I will always be in close proximity to it while it is running.

      From what I have researched ABS is actively dangerous as it emits Styrene which is nasty. My plan would be to print with PLA or PETG only which would limit potential emissions but even those filament options are not 100% "safe" in my circumstances. I am beginning to question the wisdom of a 3D printer as things stand, which is frustrating!

      James.

      Comment


      • #4
        ABS is nasty. In fact when printing ABS there is also Acetone involved, which is even more nasty as it evaporates as soon as the can is opened.

        In your case I would go for a printer that comes with an enclosure and an suitable air filter designed to filter stuff like that.

        However, if you want to go cheap, you need to build an enclosure (there is no way around) and use a flexible air pipe like used for laundry dryers and a window/door you can slide. There are several solutions out there to simply slide your window open, lock the pipe with a fan on bracket into the spacing and fill the rest with a wooden or metal plate you insert while printing.

        I would guess you can build something similar for windows that only can be opened/angled (european windows style), but that would need more afford as you need to enclose the rest of the window to avoid the nasty stuff from entering on the other side of the window again.

        Comment


        • #5
          Too bad a window fan won't work. This article indicates that limiting the hours of PLA printing in combination with an air purifier might work. Also, some enclosed printers come with HEPA filters.

          Cheers

          Comment


          • #6
            Honestly, I question the applicability of HEPA filters for this purpose. As I understand it, filaments like ABS actually put out fumes, which I suspect would go right through a HEPA filter. To me, it takes activated carbon to trap the fumes. I dunno, maybe I'm completely offbase.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Ender5r View Post
              ... it takes activated carbon to trap the fumes. I dunno, maybe I'm completely offbase.
              Yup, I had HEPA+fine-grained carbon filter in mind when I wrote that, but took a typing shortcut.

              Cheers

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks fellas for your input, it's much appreciated.

                The ventilation suggestions would be a solution but are not practical in my particular circumstances. I would plan to print using only PLA or PETG so I think my only possible option is to buy an air purifier to sit alongside the printer while it is running. Because my respiratory system is quite sensitive, I still have concerns even with this approach. As frustrating as it is, I am currently minded to abandon the idea of 3D printing until my living circumstances change.

                Thanks again,

                James.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Perhaps there is some light at the end of the tunnel...

                  I've just found that Creality sell an enclosure "tent" for their printers that wouldn't extract fumes but would, at least, keep them confined (perhaps some sort of extraction and filtration could be added). Does anyone have any experience of using such a system for controlling temperature and containing fumes?

                  Thanks,

                  James.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    There are a number of enclosures, made by different companies, to enclose 3D printers. I would conduct research on YouTube to see which ones might suit your situation.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I'm an old geezer and I worked in construction of many different things including every toxic glue etc that existed. If you have real respiration problems perhaps you need to take special precautions but ventilation was always my go to.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Ventilation is certainly important. When I can, though, I prefer to find a way to capture toxins so they don't get released into the air, though I realize that's not always possible.

                        BTW, in another thread, I posted about a proof-of-concept filtration box I built yesterday: https://forum.drvax.com/forum/3d-pri...=2111#post2111
                        Last edited by Ender5r; 07-27-2020, 04:56 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by James1968 View Post
                          Hello,

                          I am a newcomer to the fascinating world of 3D printing and I'm very keen to acquire my first printer. However, in my extensive research on Youtube there seems to be a growing issue concerning the particulate emissions from 3D printers.

                          I know that different filament types have different risks (PLA is relatively inert compared to, say, ABS) but all seem to possibly have as yet unrealised long-term health issues. My home is quite small so I would be in close proximity to wherever my printer was positioned so this issue is of concern to me.

                          Does anyone else think this is a reason to dissuade me from buying a printer? Has anyone experienced side effects from their printer or felt it necessary to use extraction because of it?

                          I would very much appreciate your help and insights.

                          Regards,

                          James.
                          Tests were done on PLA and the chemical released was so small and nominal it was not worth even noting. I have had my printer on a table right behind me and have been printing with PLA and PETG for a few years with zero issues. Some of it does have a slight oder that can be irritating at times but there has been no noticeable issues. You are correct however about some of the other types like ABS which out gas some nasty chemicals. You might consider setting up a simple fan configuration in a nearby window to exhaust the fumes if it is bothering you but for the simple things with the mentioned filaments I dont see an issue.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I agree about PLA. I'm not as confident that PETG is harmless. I find the 'odor' affects me in odd ways. I just built a prototype filtration box to see if it can help with PETG fumes: https://forum.drvax.com/forum/3d-pri...=2111#post2111

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Personally I wouldn't be worried about using PLA in a clothes closet where I slept. But that is just me. Believe me you encounter far more dangerous gases when you walk outside.

                              Comment

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