We have several Formlabs printers located in our Print Lab room, which is more of an industrial-type room, rather than having the printers in our normal office space. Thus far this has worked out well, isolating any noise and odors to the Print Lab.
Recently, construction/remodeling has been initiated in a vacant space adjacent to our Print Lab, with a shared ceiling, but separated by a wall. When it began, we noticed particulates of plaster/drywall/sawdust started to seep into the Print Lab through small gaps in the ceiling. We immediately covered the printers and other equipment with sealed drop-cloths, as a fine dust residue accumulated. We will obviously have to clean this up after we seal the ceiling, and make the Print Lab a “clean room” again.
I understand that uptake air from the heater fan does not come from the bottom of the printers but rather from the interior and recirculated within. Currently we are not using our printers due to fear of particulates circulating into the printer interiors, but we do not want to relocate the entire Print Lab. What are the overall particulate air quality requirements for Form 3 and Form 3L printers? I do not think there is an air filter for the uptake/incoming air.
How much dust would be considered “too much”? At some point I assume it would possibly contaminate the resin tank and/or make the LPU optical window dirty. Perhaps we should invest in some sealed printer enclosures? I have not been able to find much on this subject of air quality requirements.
Any knowledge or suggestions out there? Thanks in advance.
Good afternoon, @DAR3Dprint ,
This is an interesting question! Most of our direction on ventilation is around IPA evaporation safety first and dust falling second. Ideally the room doesn’t need to be perfectly clean as long as you’re careful dust isn’t moving when the printer is open as dust in the tank or on the optical glass are both concerns. Cleaning the optical glass is also a good idea.
If you’re worried, vent hoods or enclosures are both safe for use with our printers as long as you have good ventilation.
I operate my printers in a room that gets a fair share of welding smoke, and over time the mirrors do “fog up” with it. I recently cleaned all the machines and now have them sitting on a quilted blanket that I cover them with when they’re not being used.
Here is what I received from Formlabs Support:
This is Leyden with Formlabs Services, thank you for reaching out and printing with us. I understand that you are looking for more information on air intake and quality for a print lab that houses several printers and I would be glad to work on this with you. From what you described it sounds like you need a temporary solution for the dust that is accumulating during construction. We can’t recommend specific air quality requirements for our users when it comes to things that would fall under OSHA standards and which depend upon certain specifics of the room such as it’s dimensions and other environmental factors.
For the printers themselves though, they do intake cold air through the bottom to cool off the motherboard and that air is then heated and exhausted to bring the resin up to temperature. If you would like to individually cover the printers while they are not in use that is perfectly fine. When they are running you will want to remove the cover to prevent LPU damage. If you need to have them covered while printing you could build or purchase a cabinet or enclosure for the printers with a cutout for a HEPA filter to stop the dust.
I hope I was able to provide at least a small amount of help Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any other questions or concerns, I will be glad to assist.