What’s Your 3D Printer Doing When Your Away?

3D printers can be dangerous like any other appliance or piece of machinery. If you don’t know what your doing, ask someone that does. If operated properly they are perfectly safe machines.
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This is an important topic that is rarely discussed but, it’s definitely one of the most important things to know if you own any kind of 3D printer. Most users and not just new owners, have a misconception that it is okay to leave their printer unattended while printing. We are all guilty of stepping out of the room for a few minutes when its running. The main issue is the long prints. How do you do a 12 hr or longer print without leaving it running alone? There are many different ways to limit the potential hazard of it catching fire or something else that could lead to a catastrophic failure.

It’s not to hard to cut up a larger print into smaller prints that can later be bolted or fused together. This is a common practice done by many advanced users. A lot of prints that I model are designed to be printed separately and later assembled into one larger piece. Doing this has another advantage as there’s nothing more frustrating than getting 11 hrs into a print to have it fail. I also take other precautions like keeping a fire extinguisher within a few feet of my printers.

Another neat mod is adding an ip camera or a setup with raspberry pi so that prints can be easily monitored via cell phone, computer or tablet. You can buy cheap portable setups or make one yourself for a reasonable amount of money. At RepRap Squad we have several different temp sensors tied into an alarm system. Once two or more of those sensors reach a pre set temp it sounds an alarm. We are currently in the midst of adding text messaging into the alarm system for added protection. Even with all the safety measures that we have taken at the shop, we still rarely leave the printer running by itself.

Another important part of owning a 3D printer is being safe when making modifications to your printer. If you don’t know what you’re doing it is important to ask someone that does or do the research to find out how to do it. I have heard as well as experienced plenty of people that just went ahead with the modification and didn’t know what they were doing. Typically it ended up in an almost catastrophic failure. Power supplies melting or catching on fire as well as wiring hazards, all because the owner didn’t have a full understanding of what they were doing.

If anybody ever has any questions or needs any help we are at RepRap Squad are always available.

Here’s one of many stories I found about people being careless and catching their printer on fire.

I set my Mendelmax on fire today…

Hint to the wise, do not be printing on one, printer, forget the power switch is live on the Mendelmax… cut wires to fan so you can add two more to keep your POS Printroboard from overheating and immediately have the wire you cut erupt in flames.

Next step is to not run out of the room looking for a fire extinguisher that you wife moved while cleaning the kitchen… that would be the time you would want to … I don’t know turn the power off to the PS?

So while Mendelmax is on fire, I am in the other room looking for a fire extinguisher (power supply still on), the fire alarm goes off. Wife sticks head out of door asking what the hell is going on (Third Shifter).. I say popcorn again.. she goes back to bed.

Get back in office, no fire extinguisher, turn power off. Patt out the burnt wires. After 1 hour of trouble shooting I lost 2 RP parts, pretty much all my wires, and that’s about it…. WIN! (ish)

This is the Second RepRap I have ever set on fire 🙂

Here’s the link to the above story:

Posted from RepRap Squad HQ


Posted on April 5, 2014, in RepRap - The Basics, RepRap News and Usefull Info and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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