3D printing offers a fast and efficient way for manufacturing companies to build objects. Whether it’s a prototype or a fully finished product, a 3D printer can build it using the instructions contained in a computer-aided design (CAD) file. Injury can occur, however, if workers don’t follow proper safety measures when using a 3D printer.
#1) Wear Safety Goggles
Wearing safety goggles will lower the risk of eye injury when using a 3D printer. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 20,000 eye injuries occur each year in the workplace. While eye injuries involving 3D printers are somewhat rare, they can and do happen. With safety goggles, workers can protect their eyes from injuries.
#2) Don’t Touch
Manufacturing workers should avoid touching the 3D printer as well as the deposited material. 3D printers typically heat the raw material before depositing it onto a print bed. Depending on the type of 3D printer and the material that’s being deposited, it may reach a temperature of up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, touching the 3D printer can cause a painful burn. Manufacturing workers should wait until the 3D printer and the material has cooled before touching it.
#3) Avoid Loose-Fitted Clothing
Another safety tip manufacturing workers should follow when using a 3D printer is to avoid wearing loose-fitted clothing. 3D printers contain a plethora of moving parts, many of which move quickly and powerfully. if a worker wears loose-fitted clothing, it may catch on one of the 3D printer’s moving parts. Rather than loose-fitted clothing, manufacturing workers should wear tight-fitted clothing to lower their risk of injury when using a 3D printer.
#4) Control the Temperature
Controlling the temperature of the 3D printer can lower the risk of injury. Materials are designed to cure and harden at specific temperatures. If a 3D printer heats the material beyond this limit, the material may release toxic or otherwise harmful fumes. By setting the 3D printer to an appropriate temperature, manufacturing workers can protect themselves from exposure to these toxic or harmful fumes.
Even with temperature control measures, manufacturing workers should use the 3D printer in a well-ventilated area. Again, 3D printers can release toxic and harmful fumes. If inhaled by a worker, they may cause illness. With proper ventilation, any toxic or harmful fumes will be flushed away from the surrounding indoor space so that they aren’t inhaled by the worker. These are just a few safety tips that manufacturing workers should follow when using a 3D printer.
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