Avoid 3D Printers Without Proper Electrical Certification

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Avoid 3D Printers Without Proper Electrical Certification

We won’t mince words here: there is a very real risk that your 3D printer can catch fire if it doesn’t conform to industry safety standards. This isn’t meant to be taken lightly- some people have lost their homes to faulty printer electrical work. Naturally, applying hot plastic to a hot building plate isn’t a risk-free process, but it is unacceptable that people are losing their homes to entirely preventable printer fires. The worst part? If your printer isn’t electrically certified under the Canadian Standards Association (CSA Group), your house insurance is unlikely to cover the damages.

For example, a quick search on Amazon.ca for 3D printers will return thousands of results, many of which are enticing due to their low-price tag. Many of these printers come from China and lack proper construction, which can jeopardize the integrity of electrical wiring and result in a volatile printer primed to start a fire at a moment’s notice. Please tread with caution here, as Amazon retailers are not required to comply with the CSA group’s safety standards, and as such, may endanger you and your home.

In 2019, a Guelph condo caught fire due to a faulty 3D printer. The fire spread throughout several units, required the fire department to extinguish, and ultimately, forced several tenants out of their homes due to the damage. Saving a few dollars on an uncertified 3D printer can cost you thousands of dollars in damages and put people’s lives at risk. It’s just not worth it.

Reasons for 3D printer fires vary, as they can be caused by untested built-in power supplies, insufficiently soldered joints in the circuit board, flared nozzles, amateur wiring work, or flammable plastic insulation. In the Guelph fire, the printer overheated due to poor ventilation paneling. That said, the vast majority of 3D printer fires are electrical in nature. Electrical fires spread notoriously quickly and are difficult to get under control, making this a very real threat.

The best safety precaution against a 3D printer fire (and the associated damages) is to purchase an electrically certified machine to CSA electrical standards.. At 3D Printing Canada, customer safety is our top priority. That’s why we exclusively sell 3D printers that have received approval by the CSA group. When you shop with us, you can be confident that your printer has been rigorously tested and inspected to ensure it conforms to rigid safety standards. While the risk of fire cannot be eliminated entirely due to the nature of these machines, the risk becomes negligible with proper testing. As a bonus, you can rest easy knowing that your home insurance will have your back in the event of an accidental fire.

Of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t suggest practicing fire safety at home alongside buying an electrically certified 3D printer from a reliable source. It is important to install working smoke alarms on each level of your house and especially in the room where your 3D printer is housed. Be sure to test these alarms regularly and change the batteries if need be. In addition, it is a best practice to keep flammable items away from your 3D printer at all times. Stacks of papers, old coffee to-go cups, and notebooks all need to go! Finally, we caution against leaving an active printer unattended for long periods of time. Larger print jobs come with larger risk due to longer run times which can increase the chance print failure.

We hope this article highlights the risks of using electrically uncertified 3D printers. Unfortunately, these printers have flooded the market due to the popularity of at-home 3D printing, but often do not adhere to acceptable safety standards.

At 3D Printing Canada, all the machines we sell are certified by a qualified electrical inspector. We do not sell printers that are not electrically certified. To learn more about the electrical certification process at 3D Printing Canada, feel free to reach out to our team here.