A discussion on Reddit focuses on a very unusual apartment rental advertisement that mentions 3D printing. But what does this mean?
The full image of the alleged rental advertisement is shown below. I’m not certain if this is indeed real, but for sake of argument, let’s say it is and discuss the implications. (Although the writer apparently works at Dyson, manufacturers of fans, filters and vacuums where staff may be more aware of air contamination issues).
The line “Sorry no smokers, pets or 3D printers” is seen, with out the “3D printers” very often in similar listings for accommodation. What has caused the renter to add 3D printing to the list of no-no’s?
The problems caused by 3D printing in a home, I believe, are only two: potential contamination of the air by particulate matter, and operational noise.
Noise is quite variable among 3D printers. I recall my original MakerBot CupCake was ridiculously noisy to the point where you could instantly recognize its health merely by sound. From another room.
However, modern 3D printers are very often far quieter – and I actually miss the opportunity for out-of-sight monitoring provided by audible feedback. Nevertheless, machines can be extremely quiet. In our lab, for example, the 3DWox can be printing and you might not even notice.
Regarding particulate matter, there are two aspects. First, the aroma, which would be the most notable issue. While 3D printing PLA is mostly aroma-free unless you’re up close with the printer, ABS printing is not. A long ABS print can stink up a home pretty fast unless you have (and should have) proper ventilation. ABS odors are not pleasant and some people even complain they incur sore throats when exposed. Well, except that guy I met at the plastics plant who seems completely immune to such things.
The second particulate aspect is more nasty: nanoparticles emitted during printing become airborne and can be inhaled. Over time this could result in accumulation of nasty chemicals in your lungs, possibly leading to bad things in the future. Again, ventilation is a requirement, or at least a proper filter installed on your machine (which, by the way, the 3DWox has.)
One perhaps good outcome of this scenario is that the notion of 3D printing is sufficiently widespread to cause someone to put it in an advertisement. Negatively in this case, but present nevertheless.
I suspect that the writer simply had a bad experience with a prior renter, who likely had a very noisy machine and who 3D printed ABS objects non-stop in a non-ventilated home.
I’d kick him out, too.