Hazards and Safey Considerations to Remember When 3D Printing

3D printers have been around for long enough for us to say that they can certainly be used safely. Nowadays, 3D printers can be found in humble garage workshops, schools and universities, laboratories, and manufacturing shop floors. Just like any other electrical device or industrial tool, there are both proper and improper ways of using a 3D printer.
Thus, this article does not seek to answer the question of whether 3D printing is safe. The answer is yes, but only under the proper conditions and with the appropriate measures in place. To systematically go through these safety tips, we shall cluster them according to the hazard they address – from the most serious to the less impactful.
Chemical fumes and ultra-fine particles
The reaction of filaments in terms of emission of chemical fumes may vary from one filament to another – some may release toxic fumes, or some may have more benign emissions. However, the emission of ultra-fine plastic particles is a purely mechanical process that occurs regardless of the filament material being used.
We consider gas-borne hazards to be the most insidious danger associated with 3D printing. While some chemical fumes are easy to detect by their smell, ultra-fine particles are essentially invisible and undetectable by our olfactory senses. This makes it easy to fall into the trap of being complacent with safety measures.
What makes respiratory hazards particularly dangerous in 3D printing is that it’s often done in a workshop or home setting where there are virtually no safety standards. This is one of the few undesirable consequences of 3D printing being incredibly DIY-friendly. To avoid the long-term health effects of inhaling these 3D printing byproducts, here are some of the measures you can take.
Print in a room with good ventilation
The easiest safety measure to take is to use your 3D printer in a room with good ventilation. If you have a window, keep it open as wide as possible so that there’s always fresh air flowing into the room. An exhaust fan would be better, but not necessary. An active air extractor or exhaust fan would be best – just make sure to consider the size of your room when selecting the proper equipment.
Wear breathing protection

It would be best not to linger in the same room as your 3D printer, especially since the process can take several hours. If you must be in the vicinity to monitor the progress or to tweak the printer, then we advise wearing proper breathing protection.
When selecting a respirator mask, keep in mind that you need protection against two things: chemical gases and ultra-fine particles. We suggest buying a reusable half face mask respirator and a stock of disposable cartridges .
Have an air purifier with a HEPA filter
If there isn’t enough ventilation in your room, then the next best thing would be to have an air purifier with a HEPA filter. Just take...