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  1. #1

    Proper Ventilation for 3d printing

    Hi there. I tried to do my first prints yesterday, but soon realized that my apartment isn't sufficiently ventilated (I'm printing in polycarbonate). I have a vent in my kitchen, but I don't think that alone would work. And I don't think opening the windows would help, although I have a small apartment so I might be wrong there. Does anyone else here print in apartments? What kind of ventilation methods do you use? Is there a ventilation method out there that would preclude the need for a dust mask?

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Technician
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moocow View Post
    Hi there. I tried to do my first prints yesterday, but soon realized that my apartment isn't sufficiently ventilated (I'm printing in polycarbonate). I have a vent in my kitchen, but I don't think that alone would work. And I don't think opening the windows would help, although I have a small apartment so I might be wrong there. Does anyone else here print in apartments? What kind of ventilation methods do you use? Is there a ventilation method out there that would preclude the need for a dust mask?

    Thank you.
    At the moment I only print with PLA as it is the only material known to be safe without venting. I want to expand to other materials and I've considered the following plan. Build an enclosure for the printer, and run some drying vent hose from the inside of the enclosure to outside via a window. Would also need to add a fan to one end of the ducting to help push the air along.

  3. #3
    Engineer-in-Training iDig3Dprinting's Avatar
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    A vented enclosed build area is the best idea. with opening windows etc you have to be careful as this causes an unpredictable printing environment that can lead to inconsistent extrusion and so anomolies in the final print.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by iDig3Dprinting View Post
    A vented enclosed build area is the best idea. with opening windows etc you have to be careful as this causes an unpredictable printing environment that can lead to inconsistent extrusion and so anomolies in the final print.
    Thanks, guys. Any idea where I can find an enclosure suitable for an apartment? Or do I have to build one?

  5. #5
    Engineer-in-Training iDig3Dprinting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moocow View Post
    Thanks, guys. Any idea where I can find an enclosure suitable for an apartment? Or do I have to build one?

    You could do all your 3D printing wearing scuba gear and tank , flippers optional.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
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    what you need are three things (you could get away with just 2)

    A large cardboard box.
    A tumble dryer vent tube: http://www.amazon.com/Deflecto-Conne...ryer+vent+tube
    small fan (optional)

    make sure the cardboard box fits over your printer and the printer can still function.
    Make hole in top of box so that the tumble dryer tube is a nice tight fit - ducttape might help.
    put other end of tube out of window.

    Job done.
    As the printer warms up the air will rise and go through the tube, it will create an active draw.
    You could use the fan to help it, but once you've got warm air in the box and cold air out the window, it'll naturally create a draw.

    You might want to cut a panel or two in the box and cover with clear plastic of some kind so you can see what's going on. Empty laminate pouches are ideal for this. Or any thickness perspex. Large clear food bags work as well.

    Oh yeah:
    At the moment I only print with PLA as it is the only material known to be safe without venting.
    Afraid not. It still produces micro particles that might or might not be hazardous to your health. Just because it doesn't smell horrible, doesn't mean it's actually good for you.

  7. #7
    Engineer-in-Training Hugues's Avatar
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    My printers are in a corner of my basement and luckily there is a window. But opening it just draw cold air from the outside.

    So i bought a board of plywood to fit the opening of the window, installed a bathroom fan in it.

    WHen i print i open the window and install the board with fan in the opening, plug it in and it sucks air out.

    Then i suspended clear plastic curtains from the ceiling (scotched to the ceiling to avoid any air gap) around the printer area.

    When i print i leave the door of the basement to let air come in so the fan can push it out.

    Works nicely.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by iDig3Dprinting View Post
    You could do all your 3D printing wearing scuba gear and tank , flippers optional.
    Thanks, I did and succeeded.

  9. #9
    Technician Axl_Myk's Avatar
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    Be aware of wind. A vent going out a window can lead to wild temp swings in the enclosure. A dryer vent may help with that since they have dampers.
    If you draw too much air with a vent fan, you could be cooling the entire enclosure with room air.

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