The 3D printing industry has known for several years that desktop extrusion systems can produce some noxious byproducts, specifically volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and ultrafine particles (UFPs). However, manufacturers have been slow to rectify this issue, with only one so far achieving a GREENGUARD certification from UL. Stratasys subsidiary MakerBot has stepped up to the plate and developed its new Clean Air System for its METHOD and METHOD X 3D printers.
MakerBot’s prior attempts to maintain the safety necessary for office and educational environments relied on the use of PLA, a biopolymer that is much less toxic than engineering-related materials such as ABS and nylon. However, with its latest management shakeup, the company refocused once more and designed a completely new 3D printer from the ground up, the METHOD 3D printer, which offers professional-level features such as a heated bed, chamber and the ability to use a wide range of filaments.
Though the printer and the upgraded METHOD X are more capable than previous Replicator models, they had yet to offer the filtration that would make it a truly safe machine for spaces that may not always have the best ventilation. The MakerBot Clean Air System uses a HEPA filter to remove up to 95 percent of UFPs compared to 3D printing without it. The accessory is designed to integrate into the METHOD series in a seamless manner, with the HEPA lid controlled automatically and accounting for such variables as the ambient conditions, the temperature in the chamber, and the material being used.
The Clean Air System complements existing safety features such as enclosed build chambers that keep users from touching the extruder during printing. If the door is opened, the printer pauses. The newer SKETCH 3D printer from MakerBot also has a built-in particular filter for use in schools.
It’s great to see such a large manufacturer like MakerBot embrace filtration in its printers. As Executive Editor Joris Peels pointed out, air filter systems are necessary for desktop 3D printing to see widespread adoption. 3D printing is still a very new industry, particularly when it comes to the desktop segment. This gives us an opportunity to get ahead of issues that older industries failed to account for, such as environmentally hazardous work environments, carbon-intensive operations, the use of fossil fuel-based materials, unsustainable recycling regime, inequitable material sourcing, closed-source business practices, etc.
Of course, a new filter system isn’t as flashy as metal 3D printing filaments or specialty extruders, but it is important for user safety. And, with this new product, MakerBot has immediately placed itself ahead of most of its competitors, which do not offer filtering systems. It does come with a hefty price tag, however. At $899, businesses that don’t value safety might decide to skimp on the filter and instead use the money for other accessories. Or they might skip a MakerBot altogether and go for several Creality systems, depending on whether they prefer quality or value.
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Stay up-to-date on all the latest news from the 3D printing industry and receive information and offers from third party vendors.
You May Also Like
3D Printing News Briefs, September 23, 2023: Research Awards, Dental Veneers, Gaming, & More
In 3D Printing News Briefs, technologies developed by ORNL researchers won six R&D research awards, Rolls-Royce delivered its first of four Coach-built Droptail models with 3D printed elements, and Boston...
Ready for 2024: Additive Manufacturing Strategies Gears up to Revolutionize 3D Printing Industry Again
Additive Manufacturing Strategies (AMS) has set the stage for another groundbreaking conference, slated for February 6-8, 2024. After a banner year that surpassed all expectations, the seventh installment is poised...
Distributed 3D Printing Has Arrived: Markforged CEO Shai Terem Explains New Digital Source Platform
I think Shai Terem is onto something: “What did Apple do? They came with great hardware, great software, and they connected the content creators to it — they went to...
Saudi Arabia’s NAMI to Begin Qualifying 3D Printed Oil & Gas Parts
National Additive Manufacturing & Innovation Company (NAMI), an AM services bureau based in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) capital of Riyadh, announced at the AM Conclave in Abu Dhabi...
Upload your 3D Models and get them printed quickly and efficiently.