As noted in Mike Buss’ project writeup, while incredibly useful, 3D printers do present a number of potential dangers. First, there’s the possibility of releasing harmful chemicals into the air, and of course one could catch on fire if there’s a serious malfunction. Although these risks had mostly been acceptable to Buss, after welcoming a new baby to the world, he decided to make a few enhancements to his Ultimaker S3.
Buss’ augmentation takes the form of a clear Lexan box that sits on top of the device, housing a filter, fan, and an Arduino Nano 33 IoT for control. The Nano interfaces with the S3 by polling its API over WiFi, allowing it to start and stop the fan automatically depending on if the printer is at work. A VOC (volatile organic compounds) sensor detects air pollution levels, which is sent over to a NAS (network-attached storage device)via WiFi for logging. Fan speed can be modified via PWM from the Arduino, and the eventual goal is to have the system adjust settings based on air quality.
The new upgrade package also features sensors for temperature and humidity, as well as a flame sensor that sits over the printer. If a fire is detected, the printer immediately shuts off, and an audible alarm starts blaring. While Buss admits that “a 3D printer probably won’t kill you,” it was a fun project that should improve home air quality.