The use of 3D printers for both rapid prototyping and manufacturing is gaining popularity at a fast pace. However, if you are considering using a 3D printer at home, you may have come across information about the emissions that it produces. If you’re wondering whether you need an air purifier for your 3D printer, we can help you. In this article, we will discuss the various emissions that a 3D printer produces and whether the best personal air purifier can be an effective solution to mitigate their effects.
Basics of 3D Printers
For home use, 3D printers commonly use thermoplastics, with PLA (Polylactic Acid) and ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) being the most widely used plastics. These plastics are fed into the printer in the form of filaments, which are then heated to their melting point. The liquefied plastic is deposited layer by layer on a printing platform, forming the object that you are printing. However, as the plastic is heated and melted within the printer, certain air pollutants are emitted. The best personal air purifier can help mitigate the effects.
Air Pollutants Emitted by 3D Printers
Scientific studies have found that 3D printers emit both particulate and gaseous pollutants, such as Carbon Monoxide, Hydrogen Cyanide, and various other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like aldehydes and benzene.
Particulate Pollutants Produced by 3D Printers
Particulate pollutants are a mixture of solid and liquid droplets present in the air, such as dust, smoke, soot, dirt, dander, and pollen. They are classified based on their size, with PM10 pollutants being smaller than 10 micrometers, PM2.5 pollutants being smaller than 2.5 micrometers, and ultrafine pollutants being smaller than 0.1 micrometers. Particulates smaller than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5) are particularly dangerous since they can bypass our respiratory system and lodge in our lungs, leading to health problems related to the lungs and the heart. Without the best personal air purifier, things can get unhealthy.
Research has shown that 3D printing produces particulate pollutants of all sizes, with a significant increase in concentration levels seen for particle sizes ranging from 0.01 um to 0.1 um. Scientists have concluded that operating a 3D printer produces fine particles of the same magnitude as grilling food on gas or electric stoves at low power. Thus, both PLA and ABS-based 3D printers can be classified as high emitters of fine particles.
Gaseous Pollutants Emitted by 3D Printers
Apart from particulate pollutants, 3D printers also emit pollutant gases during operation. VOCs, which are compounds containing carbon and are produced by burning substances like fossil fuels or plastics, are an important class of pollutants emitted by 3D printers. Inhaling VOCs can cause irritation in the eyes, nose, and throat, and long-term exposure can have serious health consequences. 3D printers can also emit other harmful gases like Carbon Dioxide and Hydrogen Cyanide.
The best affordable air purifier can be effective in reducing the pollutants emitted by a 3D printer, and most air purifiers have at least two types of filters that can help with this. The first type of filter is the HEPA filter, which is the most common filter found on air purifiers. HEPA filters are designed to capture particulate pollutants, and they adhere to international standards for air filtration. In the US, the HEPA standard requires filters to remove at least 99.97% of pollutants that are 0.3 micrometers or larger in size. Snapmaker has a brilliant design and the best affordable air purifier on the market. While 3D printers produce particulate pollutants in a range of sizes, including particles as small as 0.01 micrometers, research has shown that HEPA filters are highly effective at removing particles of this size. The second type of filter commonly found on air purifiers is the activated carbon filter, which is used to remove gaseous pollutants, including odors and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).