I don’t own a 3D Printer but I was looking to buy one. I don’t care much about the quality as a first printer. I don’t need it commercially just as a helpful tool while prototyping objects.
I’ve been wondering this for quite some time. Ever since I read that when printing the air around the printer gets polluted by small particles. I don’t have a designated workshop and a small kid at home. Could anyone tell me how hazardous this dust of particles could be and if there are printers which do not pollute the air in the room?
In case you use a desktop, consumer 3D printer (based on material extrusion) there should not be an health issue. Small particles are more critical if you use technologies like selective laser sintering / melting. However, keep in mind to not leave strands of filament at the desk when kids are around.
I can recommend Prusa printers which offer great quality for low budget: https://www.prusa3d.com/
For instance the filament extrusion based printer Prusa Mini or the MKS3 might be a good fit.
Common plastic materials are PLA or ABS.
the housing of most DIY 3d printers is normally open and the air and polymer vapours are therefore released unfiltered into the room. So if you are using polymers that are toxic (or smell bad) when heated, it is not very healthy to stay in the same room as the printer for long or at all. And you will have a relatively long learning process until you get a good print result.
With a child in the same room and if you want to save time, it’s may be better to use a tested consumer product.
I also recommend the Prusa as a good few-frills printer. And I say few-frills as compared to no-frills because all 3D printers are extremely unreliable. We have found that Prusas for FDM and Formlabs for SLA are the least unreliable of all.
Prusas’ components do get ruined after extensive use. But getting a replacement of what went bad is easy and relatively affordable. For example: one of our Prusas clogged and the heat thermistor cable broke. I could do some major surgery and try to replace that cable, or I could replace the entire hot-end subassembly for $60 + my time to replace it (probably about 1 hour to work).
In terms of materials/safety. PLA or any organic-based material are safe for home use. I would not recommend printing with filaments like ABS or any other heavy chemical material. PLA is also the most reliable and cost effective material, just not durable when exposed to water.
That is the right projection. I am spending 1 day per week in a small university room with 1x Makerbot (ABS), 1x Ultimaker (PLA) and 2x Stratasys Objet Alaris (Photopolymer) which are always on. They all smell noticably and do make noise. I would not recommend to run any open FDM printer in the same room where you sleep, eat or spend the most of your daytime. It is enough to read the spec papers of the material manufacturers. It is either recommended to run those printers in a well ventilated environment, enclose them fully or run hepa filters near them or inside the printer housings.
ABS and Photopolymer printers have the largest particle emmission count while PLA and PET-G are relatively low.
I have both a Prusa MK3s as well as a FormLabs Form 2 and a 7 year old. As others have stated for fdm machines PLA has the lowest vocs when compared to other filaments like PETG or ABS. PETG and ABS need vent hoods for sure and are pretty nasty stuff. PLA you should probably keep near an open window or a large ventilated room. I don’t trust my health to any of them.
The Form 2 resins vary as well. I find their Pro series materials stink and give me a horrible headache if I’m trapped in a room with them (Pro Gray seems to give me headaches quick). I’m sure that’s not a good thing at all and moved the machines to an area with better ventilation and less people.
I generally don’t let my kids hang around much while the machines are in action.
I have 4 fdm machines, all Up printers by Tiertime. They are generally pretty good,not without their problems and quirks, with the UP Box being my favourite. All 4 of them print mainly ABS and have an enclosed build platform with HEPA filtered air outtake. I haven’t ever tested air quality (and my sense of smell is pretty non existent ) but maybe something enclosed with a filter would be a good place to start if you are concerned. Alternatively you could make an enclosure for your Prusa/cr10 or similar that vents out a window? My printers are all in a commercially leased building so I can run ducting and fans etc no problem. In a house it might be a different story. Hope this helps
I just had a look at what is out there and I came across the Flashforge Adventurer 3, School Edition with Activated Charcoal Filter, specifically designed around classrooms and domestic use.
I have no idea what it is like or if it is any good but there are options at least.