A 3D printer is an amazing machine, giving you a lot of creative options to explore. However, it’s also relatively new. As a result, this technology is bound to have a few teething problems, which can result in a potentially unsafe situation.
So, is it safe to 3D print indoors? There are a few potential safety issues that you might need to be aware of when deciding where to install your 3D printer. First, some filaments might release harmful toxins into the room. It’s also possible that some models are at risk of overheating. However, there are a few simple ways that you can protect yourself from these dangers. Because of this, as long as you’re careful, you should be able to safely use your 3D printer indoors.
Do 3D Printers Release Harmful Toxins?
One of the biggest concerns about installing a 3D printer is that they might be releasing potentially harmful chemicals. Multiple studies have confirmed that the filament does release chemicals when in use. How bad these toxins are will depend on the type of filament that you’re using. It can also depend on how long you’re using the printer.
For many people, the thought that the 3D printer could be creating toxic fumes is a major concern. These concerns surfaced as a result of a study, which found that, when the plastic is melted to form the mold, several potentially harmful chemicals are released.
The types of chemicals that will be released depends on a few factors. First, it depends on the way you intend to use the device. The longer the print, the more plastic you’ll need to melt. As a result, more chemicals will be released into the air.
However, one of the biggest factors is the type of filament that you’ll be using. If you’re planning on using your 3D printer indoors, you’ll need to make sure that you’re using non-toxic filament. These are designed to limit the number of toxins produced when using the device.
What Are The Health Risks Of These Toxins?
The health impacts that the toxins from a 3D printer can cause will vary, depending on the types of toxins you’re exposed to. In general, though, you might experience headaches, fatigue, and potential lung damage.
The impacts of 3D printers will depend on how long you’ve been exposed and the type of toxin that was produced. In general, though, the longer you’re exposed the more serious the potential impact will be.
In some cases, you might experience headaches or fatigue. It’s also possible that you might get drowsy when the device is in use.
In some cases, breathing in these toxins has been linked to lung damage. It’s also possible that they might lead to cell damage. However, these severe impacts tend to be relatively rare, only impacting those who use the printer frequently. Generally, you’ll need to be breathing in the fumes for three hours for these effects to start to present.
It should be noted that 3D printing remains a very new technology. As a result, there will need to be more studies into the long-term health impacts. As these studies are performed, it’s likely that we’ll get a better understanding of how much of a health risk these printers might be.
Can You Eat From 3D Printed Utensils?
This depends on the type of plastic that you used. If you used ABS plastic, you shouldn’t eat from it. This won’t be BPA free and could be exposing you to dangerous chemicals. If you intend to make cutlery, you’ll need to use special filaments.
People use their 3D printers to make all kinds of items. For example, you might want to use it to make a 3D printed plate or design your own knife and fork. However, you should take extra care when making any item which will come in regular contact with your food.
When 3D printing this, you should be very careful about the type of plastic filament that you choose to use. In most cases, you’ll want to avoid using ABS. Though this is one of the most common filament types, it won’t be suitable for food items, as it contains BPA, which can be a harmful toxin.
As 3D printers become more popular, there’s been more research focused on creating filaments that will be suitable for food items. In this area, there are a few options that are coming onto the market. However, it’s recommended that you investigate each of these choices thoroughly before printing food items. If you aren’t sure about the filament, don’t print the cutlery.
How Can You Protect Yourself From Dangerous Toxins?
There are a few simple things that you can do to protect yourself from the health impacts associated with 3D printers. First, you might want to make sure that the area you’re using the printer in is well ventilated. You should also try to use non-toxic filament.
As we mentioned earlier, one of the best protective options that you might want to explore is changing the type of filament that you are using. There are several non-toxic options available on the market. These will ensure that you aren’t exposed to any harsh chemicals. In this area, you want to look for PLA filament, rather than ABS.
Another excellent strategy is to use the printer in a well-ventilated room. This ensures that any fumes emitted through the printing process will be removed from the area quickly. This prevents the fumes from building up, reducing their danger.
The amount of ventilation required will often depend on the size of the machine. For a smaller printer, you might just need a room with an open window. For a more powerful device, you might need to get an exhaust fan.
As we mentioned, it takes around three hours for the fumes to build-up to the point where they could do serious lung damage. Because of this, you might want to try limiting the amount of time each printing stint lasts. However, this might not always be a practical strategy, especially if you’re running a commercial operation.
If you’re really worried about the fumes emitted, you might want to consider wearing a face mace or using an air purifier with a HEPA filter. In most cases, this won’t be necessary. As long as the room has adequate ventilation, most of the health risks will be removed. As a result, these types of actions usually aren’t warranted.
Are 3D Printers Fire Hazards?
In some cases, your printer could be a potential fire risk. There are a few ways that this device might start a fire. For example, it might overheat or the plastic might dip into the hot part of the machine. Thankfully, there are a few ways that you can reduce the chances of starting a fire.
There are a few potential reasons why a 3D printer might cause a fire. This is because it needs to heat the plastic to high temperatures in order to create the plastic model. As a result, if something flammable, like a piece of paper, comes into contact with one of these elements, a fire could start.
It’s also possible that the machine might catch alight. For example, some devices might overheat, or the plastic could spill into the inner workings of the machine. This can block off some of the controls responsible for controlling internal temperatures.
Thankfully, these situations are extremely rare. In most cases, they’ll only occur if you’ve purchased a low-quality device. These won’t have the necessary safety features to prevent a fire from breaking out. Because of this, as 3D printers become more common and the industry gets more tightly regulated it’s likely that the chances of a fire starting will reduce even further.
How Can You Reduce The Fire Risk Of A 3D Printer?
Thankfully, there are multiple ways that you can protect yourself from the potential fire damage to these devices. First, you will need to make sure that you’re focusing on the safety aspects of the printer. You might also want to make sure that you remove any flammable objects from the room and have installed a smoke detector.
One of the best ways to reduce the threat of fire risk from the 3D printer is by making sure that you’re focusing on the safety aspects of the model that you’ve selected. For example, you want to try to get a model that has the ability to automatically shut off if it detects something has gone wrong.
You should also make sure that you’re only using the machine when you’re at home and can monitor the device. If you see that a malfunction has occurred, you’ll be able to jump in quickly and solve the problem. After you’ve finished installing it, you might pay close attention, to make sure that everything has been set-up properly.
It’s also important to make sure that you’ve removed any flammable objects from the room. For example, you want to check that there aren’t any curtains which can make contact with the hot parts of the printer and catch alight. You should also be aware that the filament might be flammable.
You can also customize the area to make sure that you’ll be alerted if there is an issue. In this case, you’ll want to make sure that you have a smoke detector in the same room as the printer. You might also want to place the printer in a room that has been fireproofed. If you’re really concerned about the potential of a printer causing a fire, you might want to get a device that will automatically turn off the power once it detects smoke in the building.
Finally, you should be making sure that the 3D printer has been well-maintained. In this case, you’ll need to make sure that all the nuts and bolts have been attached properly. The owner’s manual might also list a few tasks which you might need to regularly complete.
If you do all these tasks, you will be able to build a very safe operating environment for your 3D printer. As a result, your 3D printer will be no more dangerous than any other electrical appliance in the house. However, if you’re still concerned, you might want to hook up a wireless camera, so you can watch the printer while you’re away. Though not required, taking this extra step could give you a little more peace of mind.
Can You Burn Yourself On A 3D Printer?
If you’re not careful, you might accidentally burn your fingers on the printer. There are some parts of the printer that you are most likely to burn yourself on. Often, the hottest part will be the filament head.
When in operation the 3D printer has a lot of heated elements. For example, the machine plate might get warm. However, one of the hottest parts of the device will be the filament head, where the plastic is melted. If you accidentally touch this part, you will likely burn yourself.
If you do need to touch the filament head, wait for the machine to cool. You might also want to make sure that you are keeping the printer out of the reach of young children, who might not be aware of the danger the hot machinery can cause.
In most cases, this won’t be a severe burn. As a result, there won’t be any lasting impacts or scarring. To recover, you’ll need to make sure that you run the burn under cool water for a few minutes. If you have some, you can put some petroleum jelly over the burn. You might also want to cover it with a bandage if the area starts to blister.
Is The 3D Printer Going To Cause Hearing Damage?
It’s unlikely that a typical printer is going to be loud enough to cause deafness. However, if you leave it running for several hours at a time, it might start to damage your hearing, over a long period.
It’s estimated that the average 3D printer is around 50 decibels when in use. This is the same amount of noise that a typical conversation produces. In most cases, a device will need to be over 85 decibels before you’ll start to experience any serious impacts on your hearing. There are several smartphone apps that you can use to measure how loud your printer is.
However, it’s recommended that we try to limit the amount of noise that we’re exposed to each day. According to the World Health Organization, we should try to limit the amount of indoor noise we’re exposed to each day to 45 decibels.
Because of this, if you’re constantly running the 3D printer, you might be inadvertently damaging your hearing. Thankfully, because of the low volume, you’ll need to leave the printer on for several hours each day before it’ll have any noticeable impacts on your hearing. Because of this, you might want to have a few breaks between manufacturing each component, to give your hearing some time to recover.
Thankfully, there are a few simple ways that you can reduce the noise that the printer makes. If you haven’t yet purchased the model, you might want to consider focusing on choosing a quiet device. You should be able to find how loud it will be by looking at the product specifications.
If you’ve already purchased the device, you can reduce the volume by creating a soundproof room for the printer to operate in. This doesn’t need to be complex. In most cases, you’ll be able to soundproof the area by putting old pillows on the walls. These will help absorb the noise produced by the printer.
- Is a 3D printer safe to use around pets? It’s common for many pets to be inquisitive about the devices that are in their living environment. However, they won’t know the dangers that it can pose. To make sure that they don’t accidentally burn themselves, or push the printer over, you should keep the printer in a separate room, which the pets won’t have access to.
- Can you use a 3D printer around children? You should be able to use a 3D printer around a child. However, you’ll need to make sure that they aren’t able to touch the device. You’ll also need to make sure that the device has been ventilated properly, to make sure that they aren’t breathing in any dangerous fumes.
There are a few potential hazards that you might want to look out for when using a printer. For example, you might encounter potentially dangerous fumes, hot elements that can start a fire, and loud noises. Thankfully, there are several ways that you’ll be able to overcome these problems. This can be as simple as opening a window or adding some soundproofing. By making a few simple changes to your set-up, you should be able to use a 3D printer indoors without any lasting health impacts.