Updated: Aug 6, 2020
When cars first came out, people were concerned about how dangerous they were. But if that stopped everyone from driving, we wouldn't be where we are today.
The same applies to resin 3D printing. People who are new to printing with resin are often concerned about how dangerous it is. But don't let fear of the unknown cause you to miss out on all of the incredible and enjoyable benefits of this fantastic technology.
Instead, I hope this blog will show you how you can safely enjoy all that resin 3D printing has to offer. First, I'm going to answer a question beginners often ask me -
HOW TOXIC IS RESIN 3D PRINTING?
It's toxic enough that you should respect it and take every safety precaution necessary when working with it. It can only harm you if you don't follow the essential safety precautions, which is easy to do!
GET THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE LIST OF SAFETY PRECAUTIONS FOR THE PARTICULAR RESIN YOU WANT TO WORK WITH
The manufacturer of any resin you buy should be able to provide you with a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for that resin. It will contain important health and safety information, such as how the resin can affect people's health. Plus advice for using and storing the resin safely. The safety considerations for resins are not all the same, so be sure to find the specific MSDS for the resin you will use. Have a look at the website of the resin manufacturer to see if you can find it. Click here to view the MSDS documents for Fun To Do resins on their website for example (it's at the bottom of the website page).
HOW DANGEROUS IS RESIN 3D PRINTING?
If you're wondering what might happen to you if you don't adhere to safety recommendations when working with resin - it depends on the resin you use, what safety advice you aren't following and how fast you act to remedy an accident.
Generally, not wearing gloves while working with resin, for example, can cause a mild skin irritation. Washing your skin with plenty of soap and water usually solves it. You may not experience a reaction the first few times resin comes into contact with your skin at all, but in some cases, the skin's resistance to resin exposure decreases over time, leading to more severe reactions such as skin burns and blisters.
Not wearing eye protection could mean if you accidentally rub your eye while handling resin or if the resin should splash into your eye, you can experience eye irritation. Rinsing your eye cautiously with water for several minutes can help.
In serious cases, you would need to seek medical attention, which is easy to avoid by following the safety recommendations.
THE BASICS OF RESIN 3D PRINTING SAFETY
Here are some general resin safety recommendations you can follow when working with resin. However, please refer to the MSDS document of the resin you are using first and foremost.
An example of a box of nitrile gloves and UV glasses worn when working with resin.
1. Wear protective safety glasses
You will be working with resin, wet resin prints, and isopropyl alcohol - all of which can splash. Therefore it's necessary to wear eye protection. UV resistant glasses are best. Some prescription glasses are UV resistant - it might be worth checking if yours are.
2. Wear protective gloves
You never want to touch uncured resin with your bare hands. Some people recommend buying Nitril gloves, saying it offers better protection against the chemicals than standard latex gloves. We've done a test whereby we placed resin inside a latex glove for 24 hours and none of the resin leaked out, so the latex gloves that we buy from Coles Supermarket has worked just fine for us so far. Check with the manufacturer of your resin 3D printer if using resins manufactured by them or with the resin manufacturer themselves if you want to be certain. It's worth noting some people are allergic to latex gloves.
Once cured or hardened, resin objects are safe to touch with your bare hands.
3. Ensure you are working in a well-ventilated space
The space you work in should be well-ventilated or have a dedicated air extraction system. Some people in the online 3D printing communities on Facebook have built print chambers next to their windows, with fans venting fumes outside.
4. Wear closed shoes
It's a good idea to wear closed shoes when working with resin as droplets of resin can easily splash onto the skin of your feet as you work with resin throughout the day.
5. Do not dispose of toxic resin in the drain
Our eyewash station and prohibition sign at the basin.
It's essential to dispose of uncured resin properly. Absorb spillage with a suitable absorbent material and transfer it to a container for disposal, for example. Never dispose of it in drains or other in other ways that could discharge it into the aquatic environment. We've put up a sign in our workplace by the basin/sink as a reminder not to dispose of resin down the drain - click here to download the same safety sign to use in your own workspace.
6. Check the recommended safety precautions for other chemicals and tools you might be using while working with resin
Stay safe by being aware of the safety advice for any chemicals (such as isopropyl alcohol which is highly flammable) and tools you use when cleaning or finishing prints such as electric sanders and hobby knives, for example.
7. Set reminders for yourself and your colleagues
Every Gizmo 3D printer comes with a safety sticker that's clearly visible on the front of the machine to remind users to wear gloves and eye protection when working with the printers. Download this Safe Work Procedure PDF and stick it on a wall close to your resin 3D printer as a helpful reminder to those working with the resin 3D printers to do so safely.
WORKING SAFELY WITH RESIN IS EASY AND WORTH IT!
Questions? Click here to book a call with one of our technical advisors or email info@gizmo3Dprinters.com.au.
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Are there any other safety tips you think should be listed here? Let us know in the comments below.