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  1. #1

    Can Filtration Prevent Air Quality Health Issues?

    I am currently in a group project researching the need for a filtration system for 3D printers. Does anyone have any experience or some personal opinions on this subject?

    Fourth Dimensions

  2. #2
    Staff Engineer
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Oakland, CA
    It wouldn't hurt to try, but most FFF printers aren't enclosed (someone has a patent on enclosures for these things) so it would be hard to capture and filter the air around them. There has been some concern voiced about the toxicity and endocrine effects of the heated plastics used, even PLA, which is generally thought of as safe because it's derived from starch. Here's a link:

    However, given the very small size of the particles emitted, it's hard to imagine what sort of filter would be able to remove them and be practical and affordable as well:

    Andrew Werby

  3. #3
    There is a very good article here about ultrafine particles (< 100 nanometres in diameter) emitted by 3D printers. The upshot is that there is every possibility that there are negative health effects. Printing with a single PLA printer released roughly the same quantity of UFPs as cooking with an electric frying pan. Not enough is known about the precise chemical makeup of the particles to properly assess their health affects, but the size itself presents an issue.

    The best filter I'm aware of that's reasonably commercially available are the HEPA filters used in some vacuum cleaners. These are rated to remove 99.97% of 0.3 micrometer (or 300 nanometer) sized particles from air passed through them Unfortunately, that means they're no good for our purposes.

    There are new HECA filters coming out that are specially designed for filtering UFPs. They have applications in cars, but I've not found any that are readily available Interestingly, it seems that UFPs can affect decision making.

  4. #4
    Student rvanwaes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Follow rvanwaes On Twitter
    After talking with an Industrial Hygienist about this - someone who measures air quality and helps determine appropriate filtration systems for a living - anything with both activated charcoal and a HEPA filter should help with the smell and any possible health effects as long as it gives you enough air flow at the print bed. Air flow is "enough" if you have the printer in an enclosed container or if you can feel a light breeze from the intake near the extruder.

    I picked up an air cleaner on Amazon for under $50 and that's been helping quite a bit. I'll be printing an intake manifold for it to better direct the fumes to the cleaner.

  5. #5

    A U15 to U17 will be needed in order to filter these BPAs. We are conducting research for a school project that might lead to production if the need is identified. We have a CAD diagram of the prototype so far. The final presentation will be in December. Your thoughts are appreciated. Thanks for all the input.

    ~ Nick
    Fourth Dimensions

  6. #6

    Do you think filters rated U15 - U17 are not the solution for this issue? Hoover has some filters that address this very issue. I did see the UFP can affect decision making. Seems like a lot of facts to consider when standing around a 3D printer.

    Fourth Dimensions

  7. #7
    Would you consider an off the shelf solution?

    Fourth Dimensions

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Thingiverse has a lot of filter holders you can put in or on your printer. Also I remember seeing a new printer that had a built-in filter on the back of the unit.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    3D Printer Tellus
    MBot 3D have a build in filtration system for smelly ABS.

    I have not tried it but it got a review of 8/10. I am contacting them to sell it on 3Dfilamenta Marketspace, just wainting for some answer before publishing it

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