3D printing tech can be considered one of the most significant developments of the last 100 years, having revolutionized several industries.
But 3D printers are not just limited to big industries and commercial manufacturing, they have also worked their way into our homes, allowing everyday people to take their hobbies to a whole new level.
While the convenience afforded by 3D printing is very enticing to hobbyists and DIY enthusiasts, many people often doubt whether investing in a 3D printer is a good idea over concerns about the smell they produce. But,
Do 3D Printers Smell?
Yes, 3D printers produce a very distinct smell when printing. The smell of 3d printing is caused by the resins and plastic filaments. Their fumes can give off a strong, invasive odor while they print.
The smell itself can vary wildly from one 3D printing filament to the next, but most people consider these different aromas as unpleasant or off-putting.
So, while the 3D printer itself does not have an offensive smell, the materials that they use to print give off smells that some people may find unpleasant.
But it gets worse.
One of the most common questions that you see in 3D printing forums and chat boards is regarding the safety of these fumes. With 3D printing producing such distinct and noticeable smells, many people are concerned about any toxic fumes or smells that may harm their health. So,
Is 3D Printer Smell Toxic Or Harmful?
Yes, the fumes produced during 3D printing processes are toxic and can be harmful to humans if inhaled directly or for prolonged periods.
Two very common materials used by home 3D printers are Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol, commonly known as PETG, and Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene, known commonly as ABS, both of which are known to release a large volume of volatile organic compounds.
These VOCs, which often include chemicals like styrene and ethylbenzene, are not safe to breathe and have been known to cause adverse reactions in humans. Some VOCs commonly associated with 3D printing have even been linked to increased risk of certain types of cancer.
PLA, another highly popular printing material used in hobbyist-level 3D printing, is considered generally safe for humans since it gives off significantly fewer VOCs.
What Are The Most Common Symptoms Of 3D Printer Fume Inhalation?
The most common symptoms of 3D printer fume inhalation are
- Eye, nose, and throat irritation
Difficulty breathing and other respiratory issues such as asthma are also known to occur as a result of breathing 3D printer fumes over extended periods. And, as mentioned above, some of the volatile compounds released by 3D printers during printing processes have been linked to cancer risk.
As such it is important that you take the smells and fumes of 3D printing seriously and ensure that proper precautions and safety measures are met.
With the smell of 3D printers being caused by potentially harmful fumes, it makes perfect sense to wonder if it is even safe to have a 3D printer at home.
Is It Safe To Have A 3D Printer At Home?
It is considered safe to have a 3D printer at home as long as proper precautions and safety measures are met to ensure that the fumes released by the plastics, resins, and metals used by 3D printers are not inhaled directly or for extended periods.
To reduce the risk of this type of exposure, you should operate your 3D printer in a properly ventilated area. It may not even be a bad idea to invest in a legitimate air-filtration system if you plan on using your 3D printer often.
The important thing is to ensure that all of the potentially harmful particles your 3D printers emits – the same particles that produce the strong smell – are either blown out or filtered out of the air you breathe.
It is also very important that you follow your printer’s manufacturer’s instructions to avoid putting yourself or your family members in unnecessary danger.
How Do I Get Rid Of 3D Printer Smells?
To get rid of the smell produced by 3D printers you have to remember that these smells are caused by the presence of VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, in the air. As such, to get rid of these smells you have to get rid of the VOC molecules.
The most effective way to get rid of the 3D printing smell is to have good ventilation around your printer.
Set up your printer in a well-ventilated room with plenty of windows and natural air flow, or create airflow via the use of fans placed around the room. Doing so will circulate toxic and harmful fumes out of the room and significantly reduce the smell produced by the 3D printer.
I would also highly recommend investing in an air filtration system. A quality air purifier with a HEPA filter, such as this LEVOIT Core 300 True HEPA Air Purifier, (from Amazon) can remove a large number of airborne toxins and VOCs in a matter of minutes.
Consider looking into changing your 3D printer filament of choice. Not all 3D printer filaments are created equal and some will produce significantly fewer VOCs, resulting in less noticeable or pungent smells. PLA filament is a great choice if 3D printer smells are your biggest concern.
You should also make sure that you monitor and maintain your printer to ensure proper operation at all times.
With all that being said, it’s worth noting that it may not be possible to completely get rid of the smell produced by 3D printers.
So, if you are interested in trying 3D printing for the first time, make sure you do lots of research and ask around before committing to the hobby.
Last update on 2023-03-22 at 09:28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API