When it comes to 3D printing safety, many people think about printers catching on fire, or in the case of 3D printers that enable laser engraving, they think of dangers associated with high-energy lasers. However, most people are unaware that 3D printers generate ultrafine particles and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) too! So what's the big deal with 3D printing and particulates or VOCs? We'll discuss each one in detail below, then explore how hazardous they are and learn why it is crucial to have the best portable air purifier.


let's first define particulate. Due to the way that FDM 3D printers melt plastic, there will always be ultrafine particles generated into the air that you can inhale during the printing process. However, due to their tiny size, it's impossible to see these "ultrafine particles" because they are 100 nanometers or less in diameter. Therefore, the size of these particles makes them dangerous, but the good thing is that you can filter the particles with the best portable air purifier.


In contrast to particulate, VOCs are the "fumes" that you may be able to smell when a 3D printer is printing with certain filaments, such as ABS. If you've ever smelled burning plastic, you've likely inhaled VOCs. We aren't suggesting that VOCs are extremely dangerous. However, inhaling fumes frequently can cause various illnesses depending on the chemicals inhaled; that's why you need the best portable air purifier capable of filtering the VOCs.

Why is inhaling VOCs and particulates potentially hazardous?

Well, when it comes to VOCs, the answer is pretty straightforward. If you've ever looked at the side of an aerosol can under the warnings where it says "Do not inhale," and it has numerous warnings about health hazards related to inhalation, these are the same kinds of compounds produced by 3D printing. Specifically, inhaling certain VOCs can cause a variety of short-term health issues, such as "eye, nose and throat irritation, shortness of breath, headaches, fatigue, nausea, dizziness and skin problems ." Longer-term health problems can include permanent organ damage or even cancer for some VOCs.

In contrast, ultrafine particles may not be toxic like VOCs, i.e., the particles themselves don't necessarily have to be harmful chemicals. Instead, the harm from ultrafine particles comes more from their small size and ability to lodge themselves deep in your lungs and other similar issues. There's evidence to suggest that ultrafine particles can even have long-term cardiovascular effects, as well as a variety of health risks.

Use a Filter for Particulates & VOCs

One way to reduce particulates and VOCs is to use the best portable air purifier with an enclosure, so the particulates and VOCs are absorbed by the filter. So now that you know you need a 3D printing filter, what are your options? Essentially, to filter out both VOCs and particulate, you'll need both types of filters below.

HEPA filter: These types of filters remove ultrafine particles.

Activated carbon filter: This type of filter removes VOCs.

Of course, activated carbon and HEPA filters come in many shapes and sizes. Despite that, they are a relatively simple solution for removing particulates from the air. HEPA air purifiers will remove ultrafine particles from the air with very high efficiency, a 99.97% reduction under normal operating conditions.

Where can you get the best air purifier for your 3D printer?

The Snapmaker offers an affordable air purifier with HEPA filters and a carbon filter all in one to ensure maximum emissions filtration. A well-made filter cartridge for your Snapmaker 2.0 3D printer, with several layers of high-quality filters consolidated into one, is designed to trap what's emitted during laser engraving or 3D printing.

General features:

  • well-made Filter Cartridge for PM and VOCs filtration
  • High filtration level of 95.9% for PM0.3
  • Real-time monitoring of the Filter Cartridge status and lifespan
  • Fan speed control
  • Color Status Light
  • Consistent full-metal design