3D printers are fairly big machines, especially when you don’t have a lot of space in your apartment, living space, or house. People turn to creative locations to put their 3D printer, like a closet or garage but some places are not advised.
This article will look into whether you can put a 3D printer in your closet or not.
You can 3D print in your closet but you should take precautionary measures before doing so. Among other things, you should make sure you are printing with a safe material such as PLA, have a safe enclosure which is fireproof, and have some ongoing ventilation system which cleans up the air and particulates.
The rest of this article will detail the safety issues and risks that arise with putting your 3D printer in a closet, as well as other common questions around this topic so keep reading on.
The ideal approach of placing a 3D printer in your home is to place it in such a place from where you’ll get the best quality prints.
The rest of this article will detail the safety issues and risks that arise with putting your 3D printer in a closet, as well as other common questions around this topic so, keep reading on.
Is it Safe to put a 3D Printer in a Closet?
This depends upon your closet and whether it has been set up correctly.
If it entails proper ventilation along with a HEPA filter then you can lower the associated risks of placing it in the closet but still, you need to keep a complete check on important things so that you may not face any trouble in the future.
There are few things which you must check properly before placing a 3D printer in your closet. Let’s look into it.
Ventilation Risks of a 3D Printer
3D printers require proper ventilation when printing with certain materials if you want to minimize risks to your health.
The materials that are normally utilized for 3D printing are ABS, PLA, and nylon. All these materials can be a cause of potentially treacherous and risky volatile organic compounds such as butanol, styrene, ethylbenzene, cyclohexanone, and others.
Heating ABS at temperature distinctive for 3D printing results in high VOC discharge. It is a significant shortcoming of this normally utilized printing material.
Utilizing a 3D printer in a closet with an insignificant ventilation framework may lead to a noteworthy release of VOC concentration in the air.
3D printers without proper ventilation in a closet can also expose users to UFPs (ultra-fine particles) that are released during the printing progression.
Inhaling UFPs can cause unfavorable health effects, including a bigger possibility of heart disease, stroke, and asthma.
The temperature of the closet where you have placed your printer plays an important role in the quality of the print. These specifications differ from printer to printer.
If your 3D printer makes good quality prints in a cold environment then try to set up the setting of your closet according to it so that you can get the best possible outcome.
Operating temperature can make a break your overall print quality or can even lead to prints consistently failing. I would trial and error different temperatures using a temperature tower so you can gauge how well your prints work out.
Fire Risks of 3D Printer
Although 3D printers are not the most dangerous forms of machinery out there, it comes with risks associated with it. Fires have occurred with 3D printers, but are usually due to some really bad wiring connections from the manufacturer, or incomplete firmware.
Many 3D printers are flame retardant, meaning that if should something overheat, the plastic is going to melt. Even with an open flame touching it, there’s an added chemical in the plastic that will keep it from actively burning itself but it is not present in all the printers.
It’s better to keep a complete check on the wires and connectors of the printer and also take proper account of temperature and humidity levels according to the requirement of the printer so that it may not cause any problem.
The most important thing to check though, is whether it has thermal runway installed, which is a program that pauses the 3D printer when temperatures aren’t working in the usual pattern.
It has definitely saved many fires in the 3D printing field across the board.
A 3D printer does not work well in highly humid areas. PLA and ABS do not soak up moisture too promptly but nylon, PETG, and PVA will.
If you want to combat the levels of humidity, a dehumidifier is a great way out as it is ideal to have as low humidity as doable for your filaments.
You might not want to use a 3D printer in your closet if you have straight sunlight shining on it. The sunlight can cause damage to 3D printing. It can make the end product easily breakable and brittle.
Some filament is affected by UV rays and heat so you might see imperfections when the sunlight is directly involved.
Mechanical Risks of a 3D Printer
The mechanical risks of a 3D printer are associated with hot extruders and motors. When the printer is switched on, avoid touching the heated print bed, nozzle, motors, or heater block, as it will give you minor burns.
Do not touch the printer while the axis carriages and extruders are moving as it can cause the skin to be caught or pinched.
If you are tinkering with your 3D printer, make sure the main power source is unplugged and disconnected so there aren’t any unnecessary risks. If you use your 3D printer as advertised, you shouldn’t run into many problems on this side of things.
How Do I Make My 3D Printer Safer to Print?
Nowadays 3D printers have been expanding in both fame and affordability. They are being utilized in research centers, workplaces, shops, and in private areas (apartments and lofts).
The way that there are realized dangers related to the utilization of these sorts of printers has provoked RIT’s EH&S Department to investigate the printers utilized nearby and assess them for their security.
Usually, the problems that occur in 3D printers are because of high voltage, mechanical hazards from moving parts, ventilation problems, chemical vapors, heat, etc. If you keep account of all these points and take proper measures according to your printer then you can make your 3D printer safer to print.
Safety really starts with the individual, but you can do the following things to keep safer:
- Buy your 3D printer from a reputable company
- Make sure you follow a verified tutorial when assembling your printer
- Minimize use of tools and scrapers by using a flex buildplate
- Implement gloves and other safety equipment when handling your 3D printer
- Make sure your 3D printer is out of reach of pets and children
- Get a 3D printer with in-built safety features and detections
What Materials Should You Use or Avoid When 3D Printing?
3D printing can be done effectively if you have all the knowledge of using a 3D printer and have access to all the right material that is being used by your printer.
When it comes to 3D printing the material which you should not use for 3D printing is ABS, Nylon & Carbon Fiber as these materials can release small, harmful particulates that are not ideal to breath in.
Studies have shown they release large amounts of harmful materials, so I would stick to low temperature materials like PLA.
How to Ventilate Your 3D Printer in a Closet?
There are some ways by the use of which one can easily ventilate their 3D printer in a closet are installing air purifiers, air extractors, etc. Installing air purifiers can help in managing the toxicity in the air.
If you are facing the toxicity issues in the air then the best approach is to buy a small air purifier for your closet. One can also make use of air extractors for improving the ventilation of an enclosed closet.
The air extractors suck all the heat from the closet and exchange it with cool air. By using these ways one can easily ventilate their 3D printer in a closet.