Printer particulate emissions: Can the SDS011 monitor it?


A large concern with 3D printing indoors is the printer particulate emissions, especially considering how harmful these can be. The SDS011 is an air quality sensor that can be used to monitor PM2.5 and PM10 levels.

Since I have used it quite successfully to monitor the forest fires around my home in British Columbia, I was curious to see if it would be able to monitor particulate emissions from a printer as well.

Capturing 3D printer particulate emissions

In this simple test, I first placed the sensor at rest on the printer bed, and captured a few measurements:

Pm2.5 printer particulate emissions baseline
Baseline PM2.5 levels

And after about 10 minutes of printing, I took measurements again to see if there was any difference in particulate levels.

PM2.5 printer particulate emissions after 10 minutes
PM2.5 levels after 10 minutes

The sensor was placed very close to the hot end, and if it was able to capture anything, I would expect to see it shown on the measurements.

monitor printer particulate emissions with SDS011 next to the 3D printer hot end
Sensor placement: a few CM away from the hot end


Looks like there is no difference between no printing activity and an active printer after 10 minutes. Therefore, the SDS011 is not adequate to monitor air quality for PLA 3D printing.

So, my advice: If you are printing indoors, get a vented enclosure. I ended up purchasing one, and pushing the air outside. This completely eliminated any of the smells associated with PLA printing indoors, and gave me peace of mind that I’m not breathing in any of the plastic fumes.






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