Thinking Of Buying A 3D Printer For Your Home? Read This First.

DSCN1446 revA few weeks ago, I almost stopped 3D printing altogether. I was searching the internet, looking for information on how to make the canisters I designed watertight and stumbled upon an article about particulate matter emissions from desktop printers1. What I learned was that all filaments emit particulate matter. This explained the coughing I experienced occasionally when my printer was running. I put what I call a clean air machine on the printer enclosure that I made recently, but the enclosure is not air tight. I used wood to make the enclosure and I don’t think it could be airtight without a chemical sealer.

According to an article abstract2, Ultrafine aerosol emissions and methyl methacrylate are still detectable in a small enclosed area 20 hours after a print is finished. It turns out that Ultrafine aerosol emissions are higher when printing PLA than printing ABS. I was devastated when I read this. The reason I only print with PLA is due to its low toxicity. My desire was to have a living room full of low out-gassing furniture. Now, making the furniture could cause the health problems I was trying to avoid.

DSCN1607The day after reading these articles, I looked for a solution on the internet. One of the articles3 I read discussed a Nanofiber-based Air Filter. Perhaps, such a filter was available for desktop printers. I found several air purifiers (see the chart below). I chose Zimple because it vacuums the air at the point where the particulate matter is released; at the nozzle. I ordered one and I am waiting for its arrival from France. Files for nozzles can be downloaded from the Zimple website. I downloaded one that should fit my printer and I am having it printed by a 3D Hub. Hopefully, by the time I receive both items I will have figured out how to replace the x-axis rods on my printer with a V-slot gantry, so I can return to printing cabinet parts.


Product Name Particle Removal Size Area Treated Price
Airpura P614 .1 micron (100 nanometers) 2000 sqft $1,199.98
Dahle NanoClean 10 nanometers ? $350.96
Molekule 0.1 nanometer 600 sqft $799.00 or $67 per month
Zimpure 5-10 nanometers up to 100 Nozzle size €149.00

1 Emission of particulate matter from a desktop three-dimensional (3D) printer. Jinghai Yi, Ryan F. LeBouf, Matthew G. Duling, Timothy Nurkiewicz, Bean T. Chen, Diane Schwegler-Berry, M. Abbas Virji, Aleksandr B. Stefaniak
J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2016 Jun 2; 79(11): 453–465. Published online 2016 May 19. doi: 10.1080/15287394.2016.1166467.
2 Characterization of emissions from a desktop 3D printer and indoor air measurements in office settings. Steinle P.J Occup Environ Hyg. 2016;13(2):121-32. doi: 10.1080/15459624.2015.1091957.
3 Capturing PM2.5 Emissions from 3D Printing via Nanofiber-based Air Filter.Chengchen Rao, Fu Gu, Peng Zhao, Nusrat Sharmin, Haibing Gu, Jianzhong Fu
Sci Rep. 2017; 7: 10366. Published online 2017 Sep 4. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-10995-7.

Post note:

My Zimpure and nozzle arrived yesterday! Now on to figuring out the V-slot gantry.

Update, January 8, 2020

After owning Zimpure for about a year and a half, I cannot recommend it as a solution to venting printers and enclosures.

Consumer reports does not recommend buying Molekule filters.


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