Facilitating Safe FFF 3D Printing: A Prototype Material Case Study
1.1. Additive Manufacturing
- On-demand part manufacturing, with the potential to remove barriers posed by remote manufacturing and the delivery of parts, as well as the need to maintain a large inventory.
- Economical production of small batches.
- Individual customization of print objects and the uncomplicated redesign of parts.
- Small waste generation.
- Straightforward supply chains and a reduced need for tooling.
- The increased involvement of consumers in the manufacturing process, as 3D printing files can be distributed and will enable printing in non-professional settings.
1.2. Fused Filament Fabrication
1.2.1. The Emission Potential of the FFF Technique
1.2.2. Toxicity of the Emitted Particles
1.2.3. Novel FFF Materials
1.2.4. FFF and Microfluidics
1.3. Utility of a Production Goal-Based Assessment
2. Materials and Methods
2.2. Exposure Assessment Methodology
2.3. Instrument Selection and Characteristics
- Channel (ch) 1: 300 nm–400 nm
- Channel (ch) 2: 400 nm–500 nm
- Channel (ch) 3: 500 nm–600 nm
- Channel (ch) 4: 600 nm–1 μm
- Channel (ch) 5: 1 μm–2.5 μm
- Channel (ch) 6: 2.5 μm–25 μm
- Equipment used;
- Materials used;
- Description of work practices;
- Controls in place;
- Maintenance schedule;
- Potential incidental particle and VOC sources.
2.5. Hazard Identification
2.6. Measurement Campaign Design
2.6.1. Instrument Placement
2.6.2. Print Object Shape and Print Settings
3.1. Measurements 1 and 2 (Impact of Temperature)
3.2. Measurement 3, 5 and 6 Results
3.2.1. Measurement 3 (Impact of Shape)
3.2.2. Measurements 5 and 6 (Operator Exposure)
3.3. Comparison with the Literature
3.4. Comparison with Exposure Limits
3.5. Exposure Scenarios
- Lay out a methodology for a basic-level, but highly informative emission/exposure assessment without the use of instruments, which, although very accurate and producing detailed input, may be out of reach for a small-scale 3D printing workspace (e.g., SMPS, GCMS).
- Enable basic-level emission assessments without the need for additional installations and controlled chambers, utilizing printer enclosure features.
- Enable the identification of emission issues through the fewest possible experiments, requiring minimal interference and with normal productivity or process disruption.
- Provide an additional dimension of supporting data on the printability test workflow, which is a well-established and widely practiced methodology in most 3D printing workplaces.
- Minimize the material required, enabling comparative assessment of multiple filament feedstock samples and reducing time-investment requirements.
- Produce data that can be highly valuable in the setting-up of a safe production capacity in FFF 3D printing
4.1. Suggesting a Methodology
- Perform emission assessment in print objects of low complexity (e.g., hollow cubes) to assess the different peak emission potential of the various candidate materials, as well as the impact of different temperatures on emission potential.
- Perform an emission assessment in the objects to be produced, or objects displaying similar structural properties, to assess if specific object qualities could lead to higher emissions.
- Perform cross-evaluation of emission assessment with printability test results, to assess if there is any agreement or compromise between properties/printability and reduced emission potential. Conclude with an optimal set of parameters.
- Use the optimal set of parameters to perform exposure assessment for prolonged prints of the structurally relevant objects, to assess the efficiency of controls, and evaluate potentially needed adjustments to work practices. Evaluation of the adequacy of controls and the performance of amendments if this is deemed necessary.
- Compile data generated from the printability assessment, material performance, and emission/exposure studies, to support the selection of all-around viable options in terms of material selection, print parameter definition, and work practice refinement.
4.2. Study Limitations and Potential for Refinement
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|Material Name||Composition||Type of Material||Quantity of Filament|
|Ingeo 3D850/3052D||4:1 blend (20 wt %)||PLA/PLA||8 m|
|Ingeo 3D850/BASF ecovio IS1335||4:1 blend (20 wt %)||PLA/PBAT/inorganic filler||8 m|
|Ingeo 3D850/reduced graphene oxide (rGO)||0.05 wt % rGO||PLA/reduced graphene oxide||8 m|
|Basic Exposure-Related Information|
|Process||Fused filament fabrication 3D printing|
|Release/exposure expected||Emission of particles (ultrafine and microscale) and VOCs due to partial decomposition and the thermal degradation of polymer filament.|
|Workroom characteristics||Volume: ≈45 m3|
Air conditioning in function during the whole workday
Temperature: 24 °C–30 °C
Relative Humidity: 43–48%
|Secondary processes conducted within the workroom||Office work supportive to the printer (e.g., STL file preparation, print video capture), print post-processing (e.g., support removal), print test result evaluation.|
|Materials used||Ingeo 3D850/3052D—8 m of filament|
Ingeo 3D850/BASF ecovio IS133—8 m of filament
Ingeo 3D850/reduced Graphene Oxide(rGO)—8 m of filament
|Process automation||Manual process initiation (print start) and finish (print removal); printing itself requires only progress monitoring. Manual stop and object removal in the case of critical defects.|
|Process containment||Printer (Raise3D Pro2 Plus 3D ) is fully enclosed while operating. Specific process sub-phases require short-term enclosure disruption.|
|Process duration||Full 8 h workday. Long prints may continue overnight, being monitored remotely.|
|Employees associated with the process||2 employees are directly involved (applicable for exposure scenarios 1–5—see Section 3.5) and 2 employees are indirectly involved (applicable for exposure scenarios 3–5—see Section 3.5).|
|Work patterns||Specific print phases or maintenance, repair, and process optimization activities require employees to work in close proximity to the printer, and with the main exposure control (printer enclosure) disabled.|
|Maintenance schedule||Cleaning of the printer bed every day, removal of filament waste after every print, regular hot-end replacement, regular HEPA (high-efficiency particulate absorbing filter) filter replacement (printer outflow and air purifier).|
|Primary particle emission source||Main 3D printing process|
|Incidental particle emission sources||No other instruments that can lead to particle generation are used within the specific workroom during print operations. No apparent sources of significant incidental ultrafine particle emissions. General workplace dust particles may be present. Disturbance of settled/deposited particles on work surfaces may occur (e.g., due to air conditioning airflow).|
|Primary VOC emission source||Main 3D printing process|
|Incidental VOC emission sources||Print bed adhesion sprays, print object coloring sprays|
|Current controls applied||General Ventilation, Mechanical ventilation, HEPA filter in printer enclosure exhaust, Air purifier equipped with HEPA filter, filtering facepiece respirators (FFP3) masks available in the workplace.|
|Parameter||Measurement 1||Measurement 2||Measurement 3||Measurement 4||Measurement 5||Measurement 6|
|Instrument setup||Setup I. Emission source and far field||Setup I. Emission source and far field||Setup I. Emission source and far field||Setup II. Breathing Zone||Setup II. Breathing Zone||Setup II. Breathing Zone|
|Nozzle diameter||0.4 mm||0.4 mm||0.2 mm||0.4 mm||0.2 mm||0.2 mm|
|Print object||Type A||Type A||Type B||Type C||Type B||Type B|
|Controls Active||All controls||All controls||All controls||All controls||All controls||All controls|
|Materials tested||Ingeo 3D850/3052DIngeo 3D850/BASF ecovio IS133|
Ingeo 3D850/reduced Graphene Oxide(rGO)
|Ingeo 3D850/3052DIngeo 3D850/BASF ecovio IS133|
Ingeo 3D850/reduced Graphene Oxide(rGO)
|Ingeo 3D850/3052DIngeo 3D850/BASF ecovio IS133||Ingeo 3D850/3052DIngeo 3D850/BASF ecovio IS133|
Ingeo 3D850/reduced Graphene Oxide(rGO)
|Ingeo 3D850/3052D||Ingeo 3D850/BASF ecovio IS133|
|Print nozzle temperature||215 °C|
|215 °C||215 °C||215 °CC||215 °CC|
|Objective||Determine the comparative particle emission potential of the 3 filament materials at temperatures close to the optimal||Determine the comparative particle emission potential of the 3 filament materials at temperatures farther from the optimal (higher and lower)||Determine the particle emission potential when printing objects relevant to microfluidics and comparison to test objects||Determine the comparative TVOC emission potential of the 3 filament materials||Determine the employee airborne particle exposure magnitude and control efficiency, compared to Measurement 3, for Ingeo 3D850/3052D||Determine the employee airborne particle exposure magnitude and control efficiency, compared to Measurement 3, for Ingeo 3D850/BASF ecovio IS133|
|Material||Temperature||Max. Peak conc. Value (UFPs) × 103 #/cm3||Process Phase (Time)||Max. Peak conc. Value (300–400 nm) #/cm3||Process Phase (Time)|
|Ingeo 3D850/3052D||205||47.4||Print Start|
|Ingeo 3D850/BASF ecovio IS1335||205||152||Filament Loading|
|Ingeo 3D850/reduced Graphene Oxide (rGO)||205||15.3||Print Start|
|Material||Instrument Placement||Max. Peak conc. Value (UFPs) × 103 #/cm3||Process Phase||Max. Peak conc. Value (300–400 nm) #/cm3||Process Phase|
|Ingeo 3D850/3052D||Source||219||Preheat/Print Start||55.7||During Printing|
|Breathing Zone||7.66||Preheat||28.8||Print Start|
|Ingeo 3D850/BASF ecovio IS1335||Source||106||Print Start||34.5||During Printing|
|Breathing Zone||8.56||Print Start||15.3||During Printing|
|Scenario No.||Scenario Description||Exposure duration and Pattern||Applicable Controls||Comments|
|1||Employee performing printer and office work within the printing room for the whole duration of the working day.||Employee exposed to workplace concentrations for an 8h shift.||Administrative controls, shift optimization, minimization of employee presence during print operations.||Exposure to both peaks and sustained workroom concentration. Can be easily mitigated through proper risk awareness and administrative controls.|
|2||Employee controlling the printer during crucial print stages|
(print failure removal, process inspection, and monitoring)
but not present during the whole print operation.
|Employee potentially repeatedly exposed to high concentration peaks for short timeframes.||Ventilation, personal protective equipment, remote monitoring.||Employee presence and interference with the printer is needed for specific processes and tests, so many administrative controls are inapplicable.|
|3||Employee regularly checking print status but not present during the whole print operation.||If print proceeds successfully, very short exposure time. In case of failure, see scenario 2.||Ventilation, personal protective equipment (in case of peak stage entry).||Can be eliminated as a need with remote monitoring.|
|4||Printer Cleaning and maintenance.||If performed during an inappropriate print phase (e.g., high emission event), it can lead to high exposure.||Administrative controls, ventilation, personal protective equipment.||Proper scheduling of cleaning activities can remove exposure risk.|
|5||Employee enters workspace after print completion (e.g., long “overnight” prints).||Particle decay and removal is expected to lead to negligible exposure levels, provided that a level of ventilation remains in place.||Additional controls not needed.||-|
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Karayannis, P.; Saliakas, S.; Kokkinopoulos, I.; Damilos, S.; Koumoulos, E.P.; Gkartzou, E.; Gomez, J.; Charitidis, C. Facilitating Safe FFF 3D Printing: A Prototype Material Case Study. Sustainability 2022, 14, 3046. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14053046
Karayannis P, Saliakas S, Kokkinopoulos I, Damilos S, Koumoulos EP, Gkartzou E, Gomez J, Charitidis C. Facilitating Safe FFF 3D Printing: A Prototype Material Case Study. Sustainability. 2022; 14(5):3046. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14053046Chicago/Turabian Style
Karayannis, Panagiotis, Stratos Saliakas, Ioannis Kokkinopoulos, Spyridon Damilos, Elias P. Koumoulos, Eleni Gkartzou, Julio Gomez, and Constantinos Charitidis. 2022. "Facilitating Safe FFF 3D Printing: A Prototype Material Case Study" Sustainability 14, no. 5: 3046. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14053046