Frail and faltering follower of Jesus

3d Printer Safety

By Gavin Davies

I got a 3D printer, used it a few times, and was lax about using gloves/fumes etc, but then freaked out a bit about the ABS and chucked it all in the garage for a bit… Then I calmed down and decided to figure out how to use it more safely.

After a small amount of research:

  1. ABS (the 3d printer resin I’m using) is indeed dangerous, although it’s not like napalm or cyanide or anything.
  2. When ABS melts, it “releases Styrene, a potentially harmful and carcinogenic VOC. Long-term exposure to ABS fumes is also related to nausea, headaches, and fatigue. The UFPs released by ABS are also higher compared to printing with other 3D printing filaments (∼2 × 1010 to ∼9 ×1010 particles per minute).” source.

It seems ABS is the best filament, but also the most toxic. How about that.

Advice based on what I’ve read so far

  1. Don’t print by your bed whilst you sleep
  2. Don’t drink it
  3. Use the 3D printer in a well ventilated room
  4. Wash your hands if it gets on you
  5. Use a mask and gloves whilst handling it 6.”Ensure good ventilation in the workspace using air filters, fans, and windows.
  6. PLA isn’t as good as ABS but it’s safer. It’s made from cornstarch and is biodegradable, apparently.
  7. A garage is an ideal location for your 3D printer - well ventilated, large volume, keeping VOC and UFP concentrations low. Smells less too.
  8. Don’t stay in the room whilst printing is occurring.
  9. If you must print indoors, use an air filter.
  10. Use an enclosure.
  11. Don’t melt printed models - keep them away from fire.

So I probably shouldn’t panic too much about the toxins, if I take these precautions it shouldn’t do me too much harm… Given I exist in a highly toxic world already, where the food, air, soil, water and more are all to some degree infected with metals, hormones and so forth… It’s not worth thinking TOO much about it.

What about ABS when it’s cured? Safe for kids?

Apparently ABS is the stuff they make lego bricks.

Still, it’s not suitable for very young kids who will stick them in their mouths.

In the future I improved my setup!

How I improved my 3d printer safety setup