Safety when printing ABS

I discovered ABS lately. Love the one from 3D Printing Canada. I made myself an extruder Voron M4 for my Geeetech A10. I needed more torque. This one has plenty.

Question: how much precaution do you take when printing ABS? Do you have a fan that push the air ourside the house? Personnaly I don’t. Should I have one? Is it ok to print ABS without a fan for an hour or two once in a while?

I didn’t find an SDS on PC Canada site for the house brand ABS. I didn’t look too hard they should supply one upon request. I did look at one for Makerbot ABS. I think it can be assumed all ABS will be similar.

The material is generally fine until it is heated. Fumes and dust are a hazard.The biggest red flag for me is there is inconclusive data of how much a Carcinogen it is. Depending on the lab it is somewhat, slightly or not proven.

The interpretation is at least my interpenetration is that the testing takes a long time and it is not yet complete. I work with chemicals every day for 30 years. I have many times watched chemicals go from non toxic, suspected, too toxic too really exceptionally toxic as data stacked up. Carcinogens are bad for that sometimes they take many years to surface often.

My advise is there is no reason to take unnecessary risks, enclose the printer (it prints better that way anyhow) and run a in line fan with dryer hose outside. There is no reason to have what is likely to be classed as a Carcinogen in your home. The micro particles from 3d printing are not well understood the most reasonable course is to take precautions. Oh gee I when overboard on that, is far better, than I wish I was more cautious. Cancer is not something you want to have.


Enclosed printer + fan + filter. For the rest, Kitedemon said it all. Simple and effective answer and I totally agree with him.

Like he said, Abs tends to have poor layer adhesion when printed out of an enclosure. You will have all kind of troubles over the time.

Think about your health first. :wink: And If you don’t want a print that fails after 8 hours of printing, take the time to make an enclosure. Or buy one, like the creality hood. ;p

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Thanks kitedemon and Pa1
I am printing in an enclosure, something simple I built with coroplast which I install only when I need it (ABS, ASA). But I have no fan on it at the moment. I guess to be safe I should have one and push the air outside, which is not energy efficient with the cold weather coming up (living in Ottawa).
Would there be any type of filter I can use to prevent from pushing the air outside? I guess I can do some research on that…
I’m also afraid that a fan will cool down the enclosure. Without heater I get a steady tempeture around 34 degrees, with which I’m getting good print.
Thanks for your feedback.

@tremrej yes there are systems that are closed so to speak. Bofa is the only unit I have seen first hand. It is Canadian certified and tested. Remember the safety discussion. If you don’t know it works from lab testing you don’t know it works. The issue, and why I didn’t start here becomes clear rapidly. It is as much as many better 3d printers and more than the cheap ones. I think the small 3d printer unit is pushing $1000 and they go up from there.

3D PrintPRO 3

I print ABS and ASA but in the summer typically, Winter I tend to stick to lower hazard materials.

My attempt to run a duct from my enclosure to the window didn’t work very well, so now I have a fan mounted directly in the window. It connects to a dryer vent shroud that I got from Home Depot and mounted on a piece of foam core that I stuck in the window. It’s not perfectly insulated, but it’s not bad, and since the fan is running most of the time I’m not sucking that much cold air back in.

In America, one can also get things that are meant to go in the window for a dryer vent, but I couldn’t find a Canadian source of such a device so I made my own Red Greene style. :slight_smile:
In any case, I do recommend ventilating the room. Before I put the fan in, even with the printer enclosed I couldn’t go in the room without a respirator or I’d just start coughing. I have breathing issues even with PLA, so obviously I’m sensitive, but just because it doesn’t hit you as hard doesn’t mean it’s safe to breathe.

Having a bit of fresh air leaking into your house will cost a trivial amount of extra heating energy and make the whole house healthier, too. :smiley:

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Chemicals effect everybody differently, some react fast some never react. In many ways thoes of us that react to the irritants like @VagabondElf describes are better off. They limit exposure to the secondary long term effects.

Carcinogens are like crossing the street blindfolded. At 3 am you might get away with it at rush hour maybe not. If you get hit you get hit the time of day doesn’t matter. It is always best not to cross the road at all.

Indeed, filaments are very toxic when printed, and you were right to say that it is important to have an enclosure and to use a filtration system to protect yourself from nanoparticle emissions. Reducing your exposure time to these emissions during printing is crucial to protect your health. We recently conducted a study on this subject by testing nanoparticles emissions depending on the filaments used, if you are interested you can find it here:

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I have a alveo filtration system on my Prusa enclosure. It works quite well there is little to no trace of fumes from outside the enclosure and I wait 5 mins after the print with filtration running and when opened the same, no smell. I can’t test fumes and Microparticles so all I have is my senses. Not scientific or safe but as far as I can tell it works.


We are happy to hear that you like our products. Waiting 5 minutes with the filtration running is very important, you adopted the right habits! Indeed, a good filtration system absorbing odors and reducing toxic fumes is crucial for the safety of all operators. It is important to remember to renew the filter every 6 months to guarantee its efficiency.

@ALVEO3D Does the 6 months change with running hours?

If you don’t use the filter much does it extend?

If you are running it all the time does it shorten?

The filter lasts up to 600 hours in the most adverse conditions:

  • Highly emissive filaments (like ABS)
  • High filtration temperatures (45 to 60 °C)
  • Humid environment

There are many factors that determine the life span of a filter and we recommend a renewal every 6 months if you use it occasionally

As long as the filters are kept in their original packaging, away from sunlight and humidity, their efficiency is not altered and they can be used up to one year after purchase

However, once the filter is out of its packaging, it will start to saturate and its efficiency will be reduced after 6 months of exposure to the natural environment

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Hmm thank you. I typically print ASA so a high emissive filament and print high volumes, so I should be planning on changing filters every month or two.

Indeed in these conditions, every month or two is what we recommend.

Is there a Canadian supplier of the filters? In the packaging what is the shelf life of the filters. I am guessing 12 months?

Unfortunately, we cannot ship to North America yet, safety regulations are different between the EU and Canada. We are working on it and we will let you know when it is possible. If it is well kept in its packaging without being exposed to sunlight or humidity, it can be from 12 to 18 months

Thank you. That is what I expected completely. I am happy my understanding and your research are aligned.

Please post when you have a Canadian source (Hint hint) I am buying through a third part and shipping is brutal.