Anyone using a 3D printer wonders to themselves “where should I put it?” and whether they should put it in their bedroom. It seems like the ideal area because it’s easy to keep watch. There are however some things to keep in mind when thinking about putting it in your bedroom which I will explain in this article.
Should you put a 3D printer in your bedroom? No, it’s not advised to put a 3D printer in your bedroom, unless you have a very good ventilation system with a HEPA filter. Your printer should be in an enclosed chamber so particles don’t spread out easily.
There are a few important things to keep in mind when deciding where to put your 3D printer. In this article I’ve pointed out red flags to look out for and other common issues that you should know about.
Factors for Good 3D Printer Placement
The ideal place for where to put your printer is where you’ll get the best quality prints. There are a number of factors that can affect the quality of the final print depending on where your printer is placed:
The average temperature of the room you are printing in can have an effect on the quality of a print. You can find the specs of the required ambient temperature of your printer as many will differ.
If your 3D printer finds itself in a cold environment, the difference in the temperature it needs to adequately print can start to increase warping, and cause prints to become loose on the print bed before it finishes.
Ideally, you want your room temperature high as well as constant. A good way to tackle this would be to have an enclosure around your printer to retain the heat necessary for a good quality print.
If you want to take an extra step, get yourself an enclosure. A great one is the Sovol Warm Enclosure for Ender 3D Printers. It’s pretty expensive, but it will last you years and usually results in better prints.
A good idea to lower how much heating your bed has to do is to use a FYSETC Foam Insulation Mat . It has great thermal conductivity and greatly reduces heat and cooling loss of your heated bed.
If your printer is in a cold environment, I’ve heard of people using an electric radiator to keep the temperature high which should work out.
The room temperature, if not at an ideal level and fluctuates a lot, can negatively affect the quality of a print and even make some fail.
Is your bedroom humid? 3D printing doesn’t tend to work very well in high humidity. When we sleep we let off quite a lot of heat which can increase the humidity of your bedroom and can ruin your filament when it soaks up the moisture in the air.
A high level of humidity in a room where your printer is printing can leave filaments brittle and easily breakable. Now there is a big difference between which filaments will be affected by humidity.
I wrote an article exactly about Why PLA Gets Brittle & Snaps which has good information and prevention methods.
PLA and ABS don’t absorb moisture too quickly but PVA, nylon and PETG will. In order to combat the levels of humidity, a dehumidifier is a great solution as it’s ideal to have as low humidity as possible for your filaments.
A good choice is the Pro Breeze Dehumidifier which is cheap, effective for a small room and has great reviews on Amazon.
For the most part, proper filament storage will fight the affects of humidity but once a filament is saturated from humidity, a proper filament-drying procedure is necessary to ensure high quality printing.
You want a good storage container, with silica gel beads to ensure your filament stays dry and isn’t affected by humidity. Go with the IRIS Weathertight Storage Box (Clear) and WiseDry 5lbs Reusable Silica Gel Beads.
To measure your humidity levels inside the storage container you should use a hygrometer. I use the cheap, accurate and pocket-size Habor Hygrometer Humidity Gauge.
If your filament already has absorbed moisture you can use a food dehydrator to get rid of it.
I’d recommend the Presto 06300 Dehydro Electric Food Dehydrator from Amazon.
They can get usually get to a nice 65°C and will work good enough to get your filament dry and ready for use. Many prints get ruined due to improper handing of their filament and bad a humid environment so this should counteract that.
From what I’ve read, putting affected filaments into a dehydrator or even an oven for some 30 minutes or so at roughly 60 degrees C will dehumidify your filaments.
Sunlight can give the opposite effect from humidity, essentially over-drying out filaments and again, causing a low quality final print.
It can have the effect of making your end product brittle and easily breakable. Make sure the area where your printer is doesn’t have direct sunlight shining on it.
There are some 3D printers that have UV protection to combat against this like the ELEGOO Mars UV 3D Printer. It uses UV photocuring so it’s a necessary protection, but standard 3D printers like the Ender 3 won’t have this.
When you have your printer in a bedroom, there can be issues with opening a window in relation to the quality of your prints. Draft from an open window can be a killer for your print quality so ensure your ventilation doesn’t create too much physical disturbance.
There can also be quite a lot of movement going on in a bedroom so you want to make sure your printer is safe during printing and storage to not get bumped in to.
So in brief, you want a room temperature which is fairly constant and not cold, a low level of humidity, out of direct sunlight and with minimal physical movement such as drafts and vibrations from movement.
Common Complaints About 3D Printers in Bedrooms
There are things that people have in common when having their printer in the bedroom. One of these is the smell and fumes that the filaments give off while high temperatures are used.
PLA generally has a mild smell, depending on how sensitive your sense of smell is, but ABS can be a bit more harsh and people do complain about feeling nauseous around it.
Some people will be more sensitive to fumes and respiratory problems than others so you have to take into account the health issues that can arise, especially over many hours in a day.
If you have asthma, the quality of air will be affected when 3D printing if you don’t have adequate ventilation systems put into place so this is something to keep in mind.
To the light sleepers out there, 3D printers do tend to make noise while in action so it may not be a viable option for you. 3D printers can be noisy and cause surfaces to vibrate, so having one printing in your bedroom while you try to sleep can cause issues.
Check out my popular post on How to Reduce Noise on Your 3D Printer.
Using an enclosure should minimize the sound your printer makes, as well as some kind of vibration absorbing pad underneath the printer.
The fan and the motors are the main culprits for the noise made by printers and printers do differ in just how much noise they make. There are many ways to reduce the noise made so it’s not the biggest factor, but does still matter.
Safety Issues with Where to Put your 3D Printer
3D printers get really hot so you wouldn’t want objects that hang over it. Things that are hung up such as paintings, clothing, curtains and pictures can be damaged by the heat of a 3D printer.
So you want to make sure there aren’t things that can be damaged, which can be difficult especially in a small bedroom.
Another thing to take into account is whether you have a 3D printer kit or a manufactured 3D printer. These are two very different things in regards to fire safety.
When you buy a 3D printer kit, the manufacturer is technically yourself so the packager of the kit wouldn’t be responsible to ensure the fire or electrical certification of the end product.
As 3D printers develop, the safety features improve so there is a much lower chance of fire risks. This doesn’t mean it’s impossible so having a smoke alarm is a good solution, but isn’t a preventative measure. Make sure your 3D printer has the latest firmware as it is one of the main things that put safeguards in place.
Possible Fumes & Dangerous Chemicals?
PLA has been considered one of the safest filaments to print with, but since it’s a relatively new material the information on long-term health effects are lacking.
Even though PLA is known for it’s safety and lack of dangerous fumes, it still gives off particles which can still cause health issues.
Some people do complain of respiratory irritation and other related issues when printing with PLA. Even though the fumes aren’t considered dangerous, it doesn’t mean you’ll be able to easily tolerate them while you relax in your bedroom or sleep.
It’s advised, if printing with PLA, to try and use the lower temperature limit of around 200°C to minimize the fumes it gives off.
You probably don’t want to be printing with ABS if you put your printer in the bedroom due to the well-known harsh fumes it can releases.
PLA is biodegradable and made from renewable starches, whereas many other filaments are made from less safe material such as ethylene, glycol and oil-based materials and usually require higher temperatures to print.
We deal with harmful fumes on a daily basis but the difference is, we aren’t subjected to them for longer than a few minutes or in other cases a few hours.
In many cases, simply being in an urban city will expose you to similar harmful particles, but you definitely don’t want to be inhaling that in an enclosed room.
With a 3D printer, you could be running it all day and night resulting in polluted air. It is recommended to not have your printer running while you occupy the room.
This is why putting your printer in a bedroom is not a very good place when taking this into account.
One of the best and most popular filters is the Levoit LV-H132 Purifier with HEPA Filter.
It’s very effective in removing harmful pollutants in the air due to its advanced 3-Stage Filtration System – pre filter, HEPA filter & high-efficiency activated carbon filter.
This purifier does an amazing job and removes 99.97% of airborne contaminants as small as 0.3 microns.
It would be ideal to have a printer with an enclosure, as well as with some type of fan or vent to remove harmful fumes. Simply opening a window while your 3D printer prints won’t necessarily direct the particles in the air away.
Your best bet is using a ventilated enclosure, as well as a high-quality filter. In addition to this, have some kind of vent/window to recirculate fresh air into the space.
Flammable Safety Issue
Bedrooms are prone to have flammable materials and may not have the best ventilation, which are both red flags for where to put your 3D printers. Now, if a 3D printer is in your bedroom, you are much more likely to catch any electrical or fire issues that occur, but this benefit also comes at a cost where it could cause harm.
Should I Put My 3D Printer on the Floor?
For the most part, if you have a solid floor, it’s going to be a flat surface which is exactly what you want for a 3D printer. Having your 3D printer on the floor however does inrease certain risks such as accidentally stepping or knocking over your printer.
You’ll also get a lot more dust affecting your printer, filament and bed surface which can decrease print quality and bed adhesion. Rather than put your 3D printer on the floor, you should at least get a small table like an IKEA Lack table, which is popular in the 3D printing community.
The Ender 3 is around 450mm x 400mm in width and length so you need a table a little bigger to house a medium sized 3D printer.
A pretty good table that you can get yourself on Amazon is the Ameriwood Home Parsons Modern End Table. It’s highly-rated, sturdy and looks good in a home or apartment setting.
Where is the best place to put a 3D printer? The usual places people put a 3D printer are in a workshop, garage, home office, wash-room, or basement. You’d just need about four square feet of space and a shelf. It’s not recommended to keep a 3D printer in your bedroom, bathroom, living room/family room or kitchen.
Should I only print with PLA? PLA, for the most part, can do almost everything that you require for 3D printing and is the recognised as the safer option in the 3D printing community. Only in specific cases will PLA not be feasible for prints so I’d recommend only printing with PLA until you have enough experience.