Following up on our report on 3D printing safety, we’ve been tipped to a safety device dedicated to 3D printers: the Smoke Signal.
It’s much like a smoke detector whose only purpose is to monitor the activities of your personal 3D printer. The Smoke Signal is composed of two units, a sensor that’s placed above your active printer and a relay unit attached by CAT5 cable to the sensor.
The sensor is essentially a smoke detector. The difference from the typical household smoke detector is what happens when the sensor triggers. In a typical household scenario, the detector begins blaring an annoyingly loud horn and possibly auto-calls for assistance. The Smoke Signal performs a more active and relevant task: it cuts the power to your 3D printer.
So, the scenarios would be: fried wiring, overheating extruders, a smoldering blob of mis-extruded plastic stuck on the hot end or worse. All of these, if they generate sufficient smoke particles, would be resolved by the Smoke Signal.
We’re always cautious running our 3D printers; they do fail and in rare cases failures can result in catastrophes. No system is 100% safe, so we believe the Smoke Signal is a smart option to reduce the odds of disaster.
The Smoke Signal is in fundraising mode now, with a campaign on Kickstarter. If they hit stretch goals, they’ll add a USB connection to enable you to instruct the printer to shut down gracefully before power is pulled. You can pre-order a unit for USD$70-80, depending on whether you wish to print your own cases.
This is a very good idea.