ABS Filament safety concerns

  • I have the XYZPrinting da-Vinci-1.0 with ABS filament. I am concerned about ventilation. If this is used inside, what safety precautions are necessary, which are recommended, and/or which are optional?

    There have been many questions about safety before. This is quite likely to be a duplicate of one of them. Have you looked existing questions yet? They might contain the answer you're looking for.

    @kamuro This printer is enclosed. I did look through at 2/3 of those already. Also, I am not just concerned about when heating, but even when it is off. Or heated via ambient temperatures. Ventilation in general

    Hi @MathFromScratch. I noticed there haven't been much activity to this question in a while. Did any of the links above answer it for you? And if not, how might we be able to fill the gap?

  • Yes... The issue with all 3d printing materials. Not just ABS, but worse with ABS is the fine air particulate and Ultra fine it creates during the 3d printing process. PLA is considered safer than ABS. But I fear people will use this as justification, it is like saying I only smoke one cig a day instead of two so I am safe and healthy. No it really should be taken seriously.

    There are a number of scientific papers and articles proving that this is an issue. Specifically that 3d printers release ultra fine particles into the air. Which can damage the lungs over time. I would STRONGLY advise not using a 3d printer around children, or at least putting it in the garage where you will not contaminate your homes air supply.


    Lot of these have some scary looking graphs. Note that I am being a bit sarcastic when I say "scary looking graphs" the take away is ABS has twice the Fine Partical emission as PLA. However should you be worried, is still up to debate. The idea is that FPE can maybe contribute to cancer or other illnesses. FPEs are thought to irritate the lungs.

    These graphs are of the ultra fine particle emissions.
    enter image description here

    enter image description here

    as you can see PLA is MUCH safer in this regard.

    I cannot find the paper at the moment, but the recommendation is a full air cycle several times an hour. As someone that lives in a Cold state I personally just use PLA and am rolling the dice.

    There is another SO where I cover my future plans for an air scrubber.

    I will note that other materials such as Polycarbonate should just be plain avoided.

    I also want to provide these links on WHY ultra fine particles are bad. In summary they really upset your lungs and are thought to cause lung cancer over time.

    Wikipedia on Ultra fine particulates.
    White paper on ultra fine particulates.

    I am nearly offended at the "scary looking graphs" part. The graphs depict data, and that data has some interpretation. You can't tell whether something might be dangerous based on looking at graphs and saying "that looks scary!". You don't mention what the graphs depict (for the first graph, you haven't even listed the units of the vertical axis). According to the last graph, PLA emits 10 times fewer particles than ABS but I'm not sure how that justifies your "MUCH safer" claim. Perhaps the level of ABS is nothing to worry about to begin with, or even the level of PLA might pose a risk.

    Fair point though try to not get offended by graphs haha. The issue is it's unknown exactly how dangerous but it is generally agreed that both pla and abs are dangerous. I think it's important to note that it's implied one should read the articles I posted along with the graphs I'll also point out both graphs are of the same measurement. Ultra fine particles

    “ABS has twice the Fine Partical emission as PLA” The graphs you posted are log scale. The second graph shows ABS having about 10x the UFP emission rate of PLA. In the first graph, the differences are in the 100x to 1000x range.

  • Most reputable suppliers of filament should have MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) available for the material they are providing. This sheet should provide you with some mechanical, electrical, and chemical properties as well as safety concerns. For the most part an ABS MSDS will tell you that it can be harmful to inhale or consume ABS in any phase state (solid, gas, liquid, etc.).

    Although you didn't explicitly state it in your question, your tag will lead to some pretty good answers to a somewhat related question about air filtration options.

    The second paragraph of this answer seems more suited as a comment.

  • I haven't printed much ABS but I rapidly realised that printing ABS in an enclosed space soon fills up with fumes, which apart from their toxic nature, see answer above, really stink. I close off the print space rest of the house and wear a two-filter painters respirator when in the same environment and ventilate the room when finished - I live in a temperate zone so leaving the window open isn't always an option and drafts can affect the print. Ideally, I should enclose the printer and filter the airflow but for the amount of ABS I print, it's not an economic option so a respirator it is.

  • your fine at practical temperatures.
    source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acrylonitrile_butadiene_styrene#Hazard_for_humans

    recommended would probably be set your controller to not go above 380c if your really worried. but it's not needed.

    380C is WAY to hot for 3D printing. 230C is a more appropriate temperature. Also, the OP is requesting safety precautions related to the harmful fumes that ABS gives off during printing.

    380 is too hot. 260 is probably far above what you would want but I wouldn't set a hardware limit at that.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM

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