Desktop versions of three-dimensional (3D) printers are making it possible to
turn our homes, offices, and classrooms into small-scale manufacturing
facilities with the ability to create an endless variety of products. As the
cost of a printer goes down and their popularity goes up, it's important to
recognize the potential for exposure to ultrafine particles when using these
printers. Learn more about the risks associated with desktop 3D printing and
the steps you can take to protect yourself.
Since most desktop 3D printers are not equipped with exhaust ventilation or
filtration accessories, it is important to identify the physical and chemical
properties of their emissions to better understand exposure potential and risk
when using this technology in non-industrial settings.
While using the manufacturer-supplied cover for the 3D printer can decrease the
number of particles, additional controls and precautions should still be taken.
The Canadian National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
outlines five specific steps to reduce emissions:
Always use the manufacturer's supplied controls (full enclosure can be more
effective at controlling emissions than a cover).
Use the printer in a well-ventilated place, and directly ventilate the printer.
Maintain a distance from the printer to minimize breathing in emitted
particles, and choose a low-emitting printer and filament when possible. Avoid
staying in the same room with a printer for long periods of time.
Turn off the printer if the printer nozzle jams, and allow it to ventilate
before removing the cover.
Use engineering measures first, such as manufacturer-supplied equipment and
proper ventilation, then use materials with lower emissions. Finally, wear
protective equipment such as respirators if necessary.
AplusA-online.de - Source: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety