We brought a particle counter on a recent visit to the Maker Annex at the Children’s Museum of Houston.
The annex’s benevolent overlord, Brent Richardson, was getting ready to print a small, jointed dog figure about 2 inches tall using ABS filament.
Brent said it would take roughly 2 hours for the Maker Bot to complete the project.
We took pictures of the particle counter readings inside and outside the printer.
As we reported earlier, there is concern about potential health problems associated with particles and chemical fumes produced by 3D printers.
At the Maker Annex, Brent has created a fume exhaust port for the space’s 3D printer so that a Sentry Air Model 300 Portable Fume Extractor can trap particles and fumes in our unit’s filters.
We turned Brent’s how-to photos into a three-part tutorial so other maker space overlords can do it, too.
From 190,800 to zero
In addition to sampling the room and the 3D printer, we also placed the particle counter at the air outlet of our fume extractor.
The outlet is where cleansed air, filtered by both a particle filter (HEPA-High Efficiency Particulate Air) and a chemical filter (10lb activated carbon), is put back into the room.
As you can see in the photo below, the particle counter registers 0 (zero) even though the 3D printer is in operation and producing particles.
Tip from Brent
Some 3D printer aficionados have expressed concern about the potential of fume extraction airflow to cool 3D printers and perhaps alter their performance.
Brent found that turning on a fume extractor while the printer is heating up does slow the printer’s eventual arrival at the correct temperature.
He says to leave the fume extractor off until the printer has reached the desirable temperature and is ready to print.
When you turn on the fume extractor, keep it on its lowest speed setting.
He’s observed that his printer is quite good at maintaining temperature, even when the fume extractor is running.
Give us a call
If you’re planning a 3D printing capability, and you’re concerned about how to handle fumes and particles, please contact us. We’re happy to share what we’ve learned.