When asked about the safety of 3D printing, people think about the possibility of printers catching fire. However, in addition to producing ultrafine particles, 3D printers also produce volatile organic compounds (VOCs). What is the big issue about particles or volatile organic compounds in 3D printing?
Emissions from 3D printing can be broken down into two primary groups: particle emissions and volatile organic compound emissions. After going through each one further below, we will investigate how dangerous they are.
Why you need the best budget air purifier
Let us talk about what we mean when we say “particulate.” During printing, there will always be ultrafine particles created into the air that might be breathed in due to how FDM and SLA 3D printers harden the plastic. These particles could be inhaled. These so-called “ultrafine particles,” which have a size of 100 nanometers or less, are invisible to the naked eye because of their minute dimensions.
When plastic filaments are heated, they let off some fumes, as is their natural tendency, into the surrounding air. These vapors belong to a class of gases known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and their odor can identify them. Some people have the misconception that printing at lower temperatures can lessen the dangers associated with fumes. However, the truth is that many common FDM filament materials start emitting volatile organic.
Compounds (VOCs) are well below the temperatures required to make them flexible enough for printing.
The fact that FDM printing releases ultrafine particles, often known as UFPs for short, is a source of even greater worry. UFPs are tiny mall airborne particles. Because UFPs may be taken into the bloodstream through the lungs, this makes it possible for them to proliferate throughout the rest of the body. It has been established that exposure to UFP has a significant rate of correlation not only with lung cancer but also with heart disease.
The filaments used in 3D printers are not all created equal. In the same way that they each have unique material qualities, the quantities of emissions that filaments create are also distinct. ABS and PLA, for example, produce considerably different levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and unfractionated polymers (UFPs). The rate at which ABS produces UFPs is around one order of magnitude larger than that of PLA. However, even PLA filament is not risk-free because it is still regarded as having a high UFP emission rate. This puts it in the category of high-risk materials. Another typical filament material is nylon, which has a danger level comparable to that of ABS.
To some degree, your choice of printer will determine the number of fumes and UFPs you will be subjected to during the printing process. Ventilation systems are frequently incorporated into industrial 3D printers. Vents aren’t typically included on low-cost home 3D printers, which is a bit of a bummer. Consequently, home 3D printing hobbyists are frequently subjected to higher quantities of volatile organic compounds and ultrafine particles than typical users of 3D printers in the workplace.
How to 3D Print Safely
Your choice of printer will, to some degree, determine the number of fumes and UFPs to which you will be subjected during the printing process. Ventilation systems are frequently incorporated into industrial 3D printers. Vents aren’t typically included on low-cost home 3D printers, which is a bit of a bummer. Consequently, home 3D printing hobbyists are frequently subjected to higher quantities of volatile organic compounds and ultrafine particles than typical users of 3D printers in the workplace.
Incorporating carbon and HEPA filtration is an essential component of a high-quality air purifier designed for 3D printing. This is necessary given that neither type of filter is capable, on its own, of removing all of the pollutants that come from 3D printing.
Feel free to visit the Snapmaker website to buy the best personal air purifier.