How Much Carbon Monoxide Does 3D Printing Emit? Here Is What You Should Do About it!


3D printing technology is a fast-growing industry. Industrial users and consumers can get a preferred choice of a printer in the market that meets their requirements.

The rate at which 3D printing technology is penetrating the market is escalating rapidly to an extent that even retail customers are capable of purchasing a low-cost 3D printer.

So how much carbon monoxide does a 3d printer emit? When 3D printing with PLA, particles emission rate ranges from (3.26 x 109) to (8.23 x 1010) ppm per minute emission rate when subjected to 220 to 240 degrees Celsius temperature, which is likely to include Carbon Monoxide.

The above statement is in according to the outcome of Samantha Hall, Ian Pengelly, James Staff, Neil Plant, and Gareth Evans in their Health and Safety Executive report, (Measurements made by Testo DISCmini).

3D Printing Is Here To Stay

With an increase in the use of 3D printers across the globe and the emission of particles such as carbon monoxide, health and safety measures have become a vital topic worth discussing. Let us expand on this further.

General health risks associated with 3D printers

Some serious precautions should be observed when using a 3D printer as a health and safety measure.  For instance, you should not touch the printer nozzle because it ejects melting plastic that can burn your skin.

The carbon monoxide emitted by the printer when operational can also cause serious health risks to the human body when inhaled directly. Electric shocks from damaged power cords can also cause serious injuries if not well maintained.

You can avoid all these risks by simply following the user instructions guide that comes with your 3D printer. 

Does 3D printer emit Carbon monoxide, and what are the risks?

Yes, some 3D printers emit carbon monoxide. However, the number of fumes emitted by the printer may not be harmful, especially if you install your printer in a spacious room. This is not ruling out the risk aspects of carbon monoxide fumes. Some people have died from carbon monoxide poisoning emitted from their 3D printers.

However, carbon monoxide builds up in the human body before they become a health risk. The fumes get fatal at about 0.04% or 400 PPM, yet with ventilation, air leaks, and other good airflow sources, there must be a huge production of carbon monoxide to reach this high level.

Unless you leave the printer running for several days and close the printing room, 3D printers may not produce such a large volume of carbon monoxide.

Are 3D printing fumes dangerous?

The 3D printing fumes may be considered harmful to your health and safety. The 3D printing process emits toxic filament fumes. Generally, a 3D printer works by melting the PLA or ABS plastic filaments when they are subjected to high temperatures. Then the printer deposits the hot plastic melting solution in layers to create the desired object. (Source)

Check out our article to find out more about the poisonous nature of 3D printing.

Are PLA printing fumes considered dangerous?

The 3D printing filament is considered the safest as it is made up of very natural materials such as sugarcane and corn. So when these filaments are heated or burnt, they give off a sweet smell plus a non-toxic chemical called Lactide.

  This is to say that the PLA printing fumes are not considered dangerous but you should still protect yourself because you cannot have yourself breathing in the fumes for long hours. Regardless these fumes are not dangerous, they might still be intoxicating. (Source)

Is it safe to 3D print in the room?

It is not safe to 3D print or keeps your 3D printer in any of your rooms in your home. Such rooms include the living room, bedroom, bathroom, or kitchen. The particles produced by 3D printers may impact the indoor air quality negatively and this will turn toxic, especially in rooms that are poorly ventilated.

You should use an air purifier for the rooms to help expel the particle fumes coming out of your 3D printer.

Regardless, there is an Italian 3D printer manufacturing company known as WASP that designed an indoor 3D printing house. This 3D printing house is eco-friendly for 3D printing. WASP has been leading in the eco-friendly houses design initiative. The houses ensure that workers are not harmed by the printers or printing environment.

Is it safe to print using PLA in your bedroom?

Installing a 3D printer in your bed is a choice you are free to make but, it’s not recommended, especially if you intend to leave your 3D printer operational for several hours and the room is not well ventilated. The fumes and smells that your 3D printer emits while the filament is subjected to high temperatures may have some health risks.

PLA filament materials have a mild smell compared to ABS that can be harsher with nauseous feelings around them. Some people are more sensitive to fumes and may develop respiratory problems very fast in such conditions.

Asthmatic people will be affected if subjected to such conditions, especially if the rooms are poorly ventilated.

If the room is not spacious enough, you can easily damage other things by knocking into them, and this may, in turn, harm your body.

Another important thing you must put into account is whether you have a manufactured 3D printer or a 3D printer kit. These two are very distinct in respect to fire safety. When you purchase a 3D printer kit, you are technically the manufacturer. Hence the package vendor will not be responsible to ensure you have electrical and fire certification of the printer.

Ideal places you can use your 3D printer

The ideal places to use your 3D printer could be your garage, a workshop, your basement, or a home office.

The garage, basement, or workshop should be considered first, as you can easily leave the door and windows open to allow ventilation.

Also, you would have sufficient space for printing without being concerned about bumping into the parts of the printer as you move from one place to another.

Asides from the benefits mentioned, you get to prevent your family from getting disturbed by the noise from printing.

A home office is also a good one but you have to ensure that you have good ventilation. It should also be structured in a way that the fumes and noise emitting from the printer do not disturb others living in the house.

It is advised that you place the 3D printer close to the window or purchase an air purifier. (Source)

Check out our article on where to and not to place a 3D printer in homes and schools.

Is it safe to 3D print for 24 hours?

The 3D printing process may take longer. It may take several hours that, sometimes run throughout the night, more than 24 hours to print an object to completion. The longer the plastic material heats, the higher the volumes of toxic fumes emitted. Breathing in the fume particles can be harmful to your health, especially if the printing room is not eco-friendly.

Is it OK to leave your 3D printer running overnight?

Your 3D printer should not be left running for hours without attending to it because it causes major hazards. There have been fire outbreaks due to the poor wiring of 3D printers or their heated bed failures.

3D printers can also disconnect from their surface while in operation leaving the rest of your work extruding filament and that is very dangerous. (Source)

If you purchase a printer kit and assembled it yourself, do not leave it unattended for a couple of weeks of its onset operation. You need to also consider that the printer failure could originate from the software side.

Is it safe to print using PLA in your bedroom?

Installing a 3D printer in your bed is a choice you are free to make but, it’s not recommended, especially if you intend to leave your 3D printer operational for several hours and the room is not well ventilated. The fumes and smells that your 3D printer emits while the filament is subjected to high temperatures may have some health risks.

PLA filament materials have a mild smell compared to ABS that can be harsher with nauseous feelings around them. Some people are more sensitive to fumes and may develop respiratory problems very fast in such conditions.

Asthmatic people will be affected if subjected to such conditions, especially if the rooms are poorly ventilated.

If the room is not spacious enough, you can easily damage other things by knocking into them, and this may, in turn, harm your body.

Another important thing you must put into account is whether you have a manufactured 3D printer or a 3D printer kit. These two are very distinct in respect to fire safety.

When you purchase a 3D printer kit, you are technically the manufacturer. Hence the package vendor will not be responsible to ensure you have electrical and fire certification of the printer.

Conclusion

Generally, 3D printing technology has its fair share of health hazards. 3D printing uses plastic filaments which must be subjected to overheating in order to melt, forming the 3d parts. During the melting process, toxic fumes are emitted, finding their way to the environment.

Leaving your 3D printer running several hours while you are away or overnight is risky. It doesn’t matter the type of 3D printer you are using, or the safety precautions you have taken, leaving your printer run overnight will always subject your life to danger.

However, if you are determined to leave your 3D printer running unattended overnight, you need to first ensure your printer comes with safety precautions and follow those precautions to the latter to guarantee your safety.  Also, ensure your 3D printer has the latest firmware installed since it’s one of the important things that guarantee safeguard.

At 3D Print Schooling, we have equipped you with well-researched content that enlightens you on general health risks associated with 3D printers and all the precautions you are expected to take when dealing with 3D printers.

There is more important information that you will want to know from this article, therefore we urge you to keep reading wide to get proper timely content on safety measures with 3D printers. 

sherifjallad

I am a very well experienced techie civil engineer who's extensively interested in 3D printing technology and even more captivated by the potential of 3D printing livable structures

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