In recent years, 3D printing has experienced a considerable hype. Originally used in industry, the technology has now been adopted by many private users as well. They can assemble the printers from ready-made components, edit digital printing templates, and let their creative ideas take three-dimensional form.
However, product safety needs to keep pace with this development. This begins with purchasing the device and printing materials. In this respect, taking a closer look at the manufacturer, the device's safety functions and the type plate is worthwhile. Not all offered printing materials are suitable for all printers. Some materials may release vapours which are hazardous to health.
Regarding the printing process and the manufactured products, it is also necessary to take into account the health and safety of individuals. The hot nozzle of the printer poses a threat of burns or might ignite objects in its vicinity. What's more, germs can accumulate on the plastic products. In some cases, the products might also melt - for example, if used as candleholders.
Private users become manufacturers or retailers when they sell the devices or printed products. This means that they - possibly unintentionally - have assumed the role of an economic actor. According to the Product Safety Act (Produktsicherheitsgesetz) and various other regulations, they are then required to comply with specific obligations in order to ensure product safety. This "baua: Guidance" publication provides an overview of the technology behind 3D printing. It offers insights into key safety factors regarding the purchase and operation of the devices as well as the use of the printed products. Finally, the statutory framework will be discussed. Which regulations apply when a user becomes a manufacturer will be demonstrated by an example.
Please download the complete brochure "Product safety with 3D printing - Tips for private users" (in German only).
Produktsicherheit beim 3-D-Druck. Tipps für private Verwenderinnen und Verwender.
1. edition. Dortmund: Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin 2019.
ISBN: 978-3-88261-251-6, pages 36, paper, PDF file, DOI: 10.21934/baua:praxis20190102
© Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health