Safety issues and location

Elementary/primary and middle schools need to think about safety.

High school workshops are likely to have proper exhaust systems and teachers used to working around dangerous equipment – this is often not available in K-8 schools.

A quick summary of safety recommendations we have seen:

  • Enclosed printers – so children can’t get their fingers at the hot extruder. Some variations:
    • Some printers will automatically stop when the doors open (and some don’t) – Afinia H800 / Up Box
    • Some printers will shield the hot extruder from children’s fingers – BEE THE FIRST
  • Enclosed printer with air filter – so fumes are contained
    • Important if there is no way to vent the printer
    • Newer printers have HEPA air filters – Cubicon Single, Afinia H800 / Up Box
  • Only print PLA (not ABS)
    • The two most common types of filament are PLA and ABS plastic.
    • ABS is made from oil and is similar to the plastic used in Lego
    • PLA is made from cornstarch, is bio-degradable and is generally considered safer
    • Some printers will only print one or the other material – some print both
  • Scrapers, tools etc
    • Some printers require a ‘perforated board’ to be used to stick the print to the board. These usually require a sharpened ‘scraper’ to remove. This is not kid-friendly.

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Makers Empire helps K-8 teachers teach Design Thinking, STEM and 21st-century learning skills using 3D printing. Our pioneering 3D solutions for schools include 3D modelling software, over 150 lesson plans aligned with international standards and professional development. With Makers Empire, engaged students learn how to solve real-world problems and make their world better.