The simplicity and versatility of 3D printing means that there is something for both hobbyists and professionals. During the recent Covid-19 lockdown, many businesses and enthusiasts had to work from home to keep their business running and make ample use of spare time. Today, we cover the essential safety tips when 3D printing at home. While these tips apply for general 3D printing, working D.I.Y. projects at home often results in certain carefreeness. And since there is generally a lack of H.S.E. guidelines at home, there is an increased risk of injury. Read on to fund out six critical tips for safe and secure 3D printing at home.
1. Setup in a clutter-free and well-ventilated area
Unlike workshops and industrial areas with designated spaces for machines and equipment, you might have to make do with a simple desk and chair arrangement. Before you start printing, ensure that your chosen workspace is free from clutter, dirt, and debris. This is because 3D printers have many moving parts that can be damaged when heavy items, dirt, or litter fall into these parts.
Also, ensure that all electrical wires are plugged into the closest wall sockets and remain secure to avoid tripping the operator or the equipment. Ventilation is crucial for 3D printers because of the heat that is exchanged during their operations. As 3D printers can release toxic and harmful chemical fumes, proper ventilation will help prevent illness, nausea, or lightheadedness by flushing out fumes to the surrounding environment to avoid direct inhalation by the operator.
2. Use safety goggles and face masks.
Most people believe that safety goggles are reserved for welding operations. This couldn’t be any further from the truth. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics states that around 20,000 eye injuries occur in the workplace annually. While 3D printers rarely injure, wearing safety goggles is a great way to protect from direct contact with harmful chemicals and residual resin materials. In the unlikely event of a printer explosion, your safety goggles will also guarantee that no flying debris ends up in your eyes.
Facemasks are already part of essential safety kits in these times of Covid-19. However, wearing a facemask will help protect and prevent the inhalation of harmful and toxic chemicals used in printing your material.
3. Wear tight-fitting apparels
Another safety for 3D printing is to avoid operating the machine with loosely-fitted clothes. This is because of the many moving parts in the 3D printing that can catch onto parts of the operator’s clothing and damage your printed parts, the machine rotors, and unused material resins.
Depending on the size and kind of the 3D printer, these parts can move with enough speed and force that will catch loose clothing and result in some form of accident to the operator.
4. Do not touch moving parts and fresh prints.
Avoid touching moving parts of your 3D printer to avoid burns and injuries. 3D printers extrude and deposit materials unto beds. Some of the materials are heated up to 400F before they are deposited. Coming in contact with these materials before they have cooled will cause significant degree of burns on the hands and other parts of the skin. It is advised that you run your printing in a conditioned environment and allow printed parts to cool before inspecting for defects or continuing post-printing operations.
5. Temperature control is essential.
Having noted that 3D printers may extrude materials at up to 400F, there is a need to control temperature and cooling if printing operations are to remain successful. While materials must reach certain temperatures before they cure, surpassing these temperatures may damage the material, cause fires, or heat the material until it releases toxic fumes and smoke.
A key workaround is gauging and setting the printer to the recommended temperature. Also, ensure rooms are well ventilated to avoid heat accumulation and preventable fires. As a safety precaution, have an extinguisher around your designated work area.
6. Consider electrical hazards
Lastly, check and ensure that your printer is being used with the appropriate power ratings and electrical outlets. Avoid liquids around power sockets, ensure no naked wires, and avoid using your printer in wet conditions.
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FirstPart also provides stringent quality control evaluations and super-efficient logistics that guarantees that you receive your 3D printed objects, free from warping and printing defects. All our parts are printed and finished to specifications quickly, and most importantly, affordably.