Powder-based 3D printing systems are great in many ways, but there’s one issue that comes with all of them – what happens to all that excess powder once a build is done? 3D printers need to be cleaned after a build, and doing so requires the right tools. An ordinary vacuum cleaner isn’t suitable for cleaning the powder out of a 3D printer, so many companies have developed specialty vacuums for that very purpose.
Tiger-Vac is one company that has begun offering vacuum cleaners for additive manufacturing. The company has quite a wide variety of vacuum cleaners for cleaning 3D printers; it offers seven “wet mix” models for cleaning with water as well as four “dry recovery” models simply for suctioning powder. The cleaners are available both in electrically and pneumatically controlled versions. When working with powder for 3D printing, there are numerous hazards, including the risk of fire or explosion, but Tiger-Vac offers several levels of protection against such hazards.
Delfin is another vacuum cleaner company that has developed a vacuum for cleaning powder-based 3D printers; the Delfin Zefiro 75 Inert is a new vacuum cleaner designed to extract and inert combustible dust. The vacuum cleaner container, which is also available as an independent separator, is equipped with several filters that make the vacuumed material inert and assure complete safety.
“The extracted dust gets immersed directly into an inert oil, which makes it harmless,” the company states. “A sieve grid and a PPL filter allows to easy dispose of the collected material. Additional fiber filters protects from oil mists the upper part of the vacuum cleaner, while an overpressure safety guarantee the complete safety of the system, even in case something goes wrong with the inert bath.”
You can learn more about the Delfin Zefiro 75 Inert below:
Nilfisk Industrial Vacuum Solutions also offers a vacuum cleaner for safe cleaning of 3D printers. The Pennsylvania company’s additive manufacturing-specific vacuum, the VHS110, is designed to collect metal shavings produced after a metal 3D print is completed. It consists of an oil mist filter, filtration for metal powders, a separator for liquid and metal powder, and a container for the collection and rendering of inert metal dust. Metal powder is collected in the first filter and immersed in an inert fluid bath. It’s perfectly safe, preventing the ignition of combustible powders.
Many people think that 3D printing is a simple process, but it really isn’t, especially where metal and other powder-based processes are concerned. Materials must be handled with extreme care before, during and after the 3D printing process. A lot of powder is used to make even small parts, and that excess powder has to go somewhere at the end of a build. Anyone who works with powder-based 3D printers should be sure to have a specialized vacuum cleaner or other tool to safely clean up the powder that is left over after printing a part.
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