3D Printing Safety in Schools

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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