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LePaul

Health Conerns printing with Plastics

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Yes, very important. I noticed it when I printed my first object and I watched it become reality with amazing eyes. But afterwards I got an incredible headache and was extremely tired. Then I found in google others reports about the emission and I now always have my room ventilated when the machine is working. I still have to figure it out how I will operate in winter time....

 

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Particle size is a big issue, coming from the medical world (I'm in information technology at a medical center so the reading material on so many health concerns is abundant!). You don't want pulmonay issues or anything else! It looks even worse for materials other than PLA...note the toxic nature of ABS and others.

So my friends, be safe!

 

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Keep in mind that this study (if it's the study I saw previously) mentioned cooking with oils and candles as creating similar sized particles. Scented candles can also give me a headache.

Not to say there is no danger - just keeping it in perspective.

 

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I still have to figure it out how I will operate in winter time....

 

I always have mine set up in my storage/utility/breaker box/furnace room (whatever you wish to call it). This is great because it is very large so the particles dissipate more and because of the furnace. As most of you know, the furnace circulates and filters all the air in your house, so having the machine right next to it helps quite a bit emissions wise.

 

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I read the publication too, two days ago...

Nanoparticles are a serious issue. The size the particles from 3D printers have is sufficiently small to allow the particles not only to penetrate the lung but also to transfer into the blood (<100nm). And they seem not to origin from condensation as then they would be approx. 10-15nm in size.

I think the proper way to deal with that issue in closed rooms is to enclose the printer and install a controlled ventilation to that enclosure with a HEPA filter. I think closed 3D desktop printers will become standard within a few years (especially the commercial ones).

 

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Well I'm not sure you can rule it out simply because the particle size is the same for a different object/item

This is a good question for a scientist :)

I do know that ABS fumes are downright nasty. I know some parts I have bought for my R2 came from a gent who laser cuts the pieces. That burnt smell reeks for quite some time, to the point I threw it away.

There's a lot of info on the dangers of various plastics and since we are "cooking" these to the melting point, it'll be interesting to see what the results are for other plastics like Delrin or Nylon materials.

That said, I'm not planning to suit up like Darth Vader (yet)...but I am thinking about proper ventilation...and wondering how that might affect how the prints come out (cooling)

 

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Ok, I think that specially with PLA you don't need to worry so much. PLA, as it is a polymer of lactic acid, is edible and although the properties change when in lager particles, as a chemist, I think it's safe.

ABS on the other hand is more harmful because it consists of three reactive monomers. All three with very low boiling points so when printing, a lot of these monomers evaporate. Two of these, acrylonitrile and butadiene, are carcinogen and should therefore be avoided.

Last but not least, I've also read this article in a Dutch newspaper and the conclusion said that although 3D-printing releases nano-particles, the amount never exceeded the levels of other household appliances! Think of a laser (paper)printer which releases a lot more nano particles (toner). And if you'd like to smoke a cigaret during your newest 3D print.. you should more worry about that cigaret then about your printer :smile:

 

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There are scientific publications saying that below 100nm it doesn't really matter what materials the particles are made of (that's why you should e.g. not use ordinary tap water with ultrasonic humidifiers, at least in regions with large lime content...). They are physically dangerous, not chemically... as a physicist, I think one has to keep an eye on it...

Laser printer made significant prograss within the last few years. In many (European) countries restrictions on particle densities are tough...

And I agree with the cigarette... ;-)

 

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