Skip to Content

Should All 3D Printers Be Ventilated? 5 Things To Know

3D printers give off very harmful resin fumes. The effects of these eco-friendly thermoplastics do not show immediately but become dangerous over a long period. 

Written by:
Last updated:

3D printers give off very harmful resin fumes. The effects of these eco-friendly thermoplastics do not show immediately but become dangerous over a long period. 

All 3D printers should be ventilated to avoid inhaling toxic materials. Ventilation prevents safety disasters and health issues that can occur in the long run. Always purchase the right 3D printer and use eco-friendly materials to avoid fatal disasters.

Every printer is different and uses its fuels, ventilation, and materials to print. Read on to learn about preventing the inhalation of toxic fumes from your 3D printers and why you should purchase a 3D printer that meets your ventilation standards. Ventilation saves you from dangerous emergency room visits.

Things To Know About 3D Printers

3D printers can create a 3-dimensional figure from just a digital file. Unfortunately, these helpful machines have several safety concerns. The dangerous burning plastic smell called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can cause cancer.

These safety risks go unnoticed because buyers are unaware of how life-threatening they are. Below you will learn the most important things about 3D printer ventilation so you can keep yourself safe.

Before purchasing your 3D printer, there are a few things you should know:

  1. Fumes From Your 3D Printer Can Be Hazardous
3d printer ventilator on hotend

The fumes from 3D printing can be hazardous to your health. These fumes are called volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Although you may not feel the effects of VOCs immediately, breathing in resin fumes for too long can have severe impacts on your health.

You might recognize VOCs from household products like acetone, formaldehyde, and benzene. These all have different toxicity levels. Long-term, unprotected exposure can cause serious health issues like cancer

In any case, using proper ventilation like enclosures that immediately filtrate the air around your 3D printer is the only way to avoid these hazards.

  1. ALL 3D Printers Require Ventilation

Proper ventilation prevents you from breathing in toxic fumes like styrene, a chemical that can be harmful to your upper respiratory system. The ventilation process makes the air around your 3D printer breathable. 

Overexposure to resin fumes can be fatal. Without ventilation, the air around your 3D printer would not be safe to breathe and may end up making you ill. To prevent this from happening, 3D printer owners use vents to detoxify the air before it reaches the human respiratory system.

There are many types of ventilation systems available for your selection. The most effective method for ventilating your 3D printer is using an enclosure. Enclosures instantly purify the harmful, ultra-fine plastics surrounding your 3D printer and make the air around it breathable.

  1. The Location of Your 3D Printer Is Important

The place that you put your 3D printer will have a significant impact on your health and safety. The location of your 3D printer includes the room, the amount of airflow, the material you place your machine on, and much more. 

If you do not consider the location of your machine, it can overheat and cause a fire. Consider the following about your 3D printer location:

  • The more airflow, the better.
  • Avoid placing your printer in high-traffic areas.
  • Do not place your machine on wood.
  • Your office is not an ideal printing space
  1. The Type of Printing Materials Used Can Affect Your Health

Consider what materials you are going to use wisely. The resins used have a significant impact on the environment and your health. The type of resin used to print 3D models include the following:

  • Poly Lactic Acid (PLA). A biodegradable plastic made from corn starch. It varies in color and is perfect for beginners just starting on their 3D printing journey. According to an Illinois Institute of Technology study, PLA filament fumes are sweet and are mostly harmless.
  • Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS). A durable and flexible petroleum-based plastic. This synthetic material has a much higher heat resistance than polylactic acid (PLA). VOCs emitted from ABS during the 3D printing process are harmful to your health and even cause cancer.
  1. There Must Be a Way for Your Heat To Escape Your Enclosure

Temperature control is a critical element for owning a 3D printer. If the heat from your machine gets trapped in your enclosure, the plastic parts in your 3D printer may melt.

One of the most common problems that occur when a 3D printer overheats is plastic parts melting. Melting plastic occurs because printing takes a long time which can change the temperature quickly. If plastic overheats, this can cause the rest of the machine to catch on fire.

Because heat can be so overbearing, keep all electronics outside your enclosure. Keeping electronics and power supplies outside of the 3D printer enclosure further mitigates interactions between you and VOCs. 

Checkout some enclosures for your 3d printer here

How Much Ventilation Does a 3D Printer Require?

3D printers require constant ventilation as they print to keep the air toxin-free. Leave the ventilation system running after the machine has stopped printing to continue circulating the air inside your enclosure.

Ventilation keeps the air free of dangerous microparticles. Without this step, you can accidentally cut your life short because you exposed yourself to toxic chemicals. 

There are a few key features that all 3D printers should include: 

  • Ductless ventilation
  • Enclosed cases
  • Environment control (temperature, moisture, etc.)

When purchasing your 3D printer, find a ventilation option that works for you and that satisfies your printing needs. Remember, your 3D printer requires constant ventilation to purify the air. 

You might also be interested in purchasing an additional air purifier for the room. This way, any fumes that somehow go unpurified will be given another clean. 

Final Thoughts

Whether you are a small business looking to manufacture goods or an entrepreneur trying to create a prototype of your next great invention, 3D printers are the way to go. 

These innovative machines are moveable, eco-friendly devices that can print massive designs in less time than it takes to get a good night’s sleep!

The fumes from 3D printing can be very hazardous. Ventilating your 3D printer is critical for your health. Without ventilation, you will breathe in harmful resin fumes that can be cancerous to your upper respiratory system. 

Written by:
Last updated:

About Ben

I started 3D printing since 2013 and have learned a lot since then. Because of this I want to share my knowledge of what I have learned in the past years with the community. Currently I own 2 Bambulab X1 Carbon, Prusa SL1S and a Prusa MK3S+. Hope you learn something from my blog after my years of experience in 3D printing.