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Does 3D Printing Smell

  • 6 min read

Does 3D Printing Smell? How to Avoid the Odors!

3D printing, a revolutionary technology, has transformed the way we create and manufacture objects. It allows for intricate designs and rapid prototyping, making it a popular choice in various industries from aerospace to medicine. However, as with any innovative technology, it comes with its unique set of challenges. One such issue often encountered by enthusiasts and professionals alike is the distinctive odor produced during the printing process. This phenomenon raises important questions about its nature and implications. Why does 3D printing smell? Is this smell harmful, and how can it be effectively managed? These are critical considerations for anyone involved in 3D printing, as understanding and addressing them ensures a safer and more pleasant printing experience.

Why Does It Smell During 3D Printing?

3D printing is an innovative manufacturing process that allows for the creation of intricate objects by layering materials. However, one common issue faced by users is the distinctive smell emitted during the printing process. Understanding the origins of this odor involves several factors inherent to the 3D printing process. Here, we will explore the reasons behind the odorous experience encountered during 3D printing.

Filament Material Composition

The type of filament used in 3D printing plays a significant role in the smell produced. Materials like ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) and PLA (Polylactic Acid) are popular choices, each with distinct odor profiles. ABS is known for its slightly acrid smell due to the compounds released upon heating, while PLA, often made from cornstarch, emits a comparatively milder, sweet odor. Understanding these material-specific scents can help in selecting the right filament for your printing needs and environment.

Heating and Melting Process

The heating and melting process in 3D printing is another key factor contributing to the odor. As the printer heats the filament to its melting point, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other particles are released into the air. The intensity of the smell depends on the melting temperature, with higher temperatures typically producing stronger odors. This aspect is crucial in understanding the olfactory impact of different printing techniques and materials.

Ventilation and Environmental Factors

Moreover, the printing environment significantly influences the intensity and spread of the odor. Factors such as temperature, humidity, and air circulation within the printing area can impact the concentration of the smell. Adequate ventilation and controlling the environmental settings play a pivotal role in managing and sometimes mitigating the scent experienced during 3D printing.

Is the Smell Harmful?

The question of safety often arises alongside the noticeable odors in 3D printing, leading many to wonder: Do 3D printers smell, and is this smell harmful? Research indicates that certain filaments release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and ultrafine particles (UFPs) during printing, which can be harmful if inhaled in large quantities or over prolonged periods.
The risk is particularly notable with filaments like ABS, which, when heated, emit styrene - a compound known for its strong odor and potential health risks. Prolonged exposure to styrene can lead to irritation of the respiratory tract, headaches, and fatigue. On the other hand, filaments like PLA are considered safer due to their biodegradable nature and emit fewer harmful particles. However, even PLA can produce ultrafine particles that may pose respiratory risks, especially in poorly ventilated spaces.
It's important to note that the level of harm depends on several factors, including the duration of exposure, the type of filament, the printing temperature, and the ventilation of the space. While occasional exposure to these odors in a well-ventilated area is unlikely to cause significant health issues for most individuals, continuous exposure in confined spaces could be more concerning. Therefore, understanding these risks and taking appropriate safety measures is crucial for safe 3D printing practices.

How to Deal with the Smell?

Exploring effective ways to manage the odor linked to 3D printing is crucial for a more comfortable printing experience. Here are strategies to effectively deal with the smell associated with 3D printing:

Implement Proper Ventilation

Maintaining proper ventilation during 3D printing is essential to minimizing the odor. Ensure your workspace has ample airflow, whether it's by situating the printer in a well-ventilated area or using exhaust systems and air purifiers to direct fumes outside. This helps disperse the odor and decreases its concentration within enclosed spaces.

Utilize Low-Odor Filaments and Enclosures

Choose low-odor 3D printer filaments like PLA (Polylactic Acid) or PETG (Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol) for your 3D printing projects. These materials emit fewer unpleasant odors during the printing process compared to ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) or resin. Additionally, enclosing the printer in hoods or enclosures can help contain the fumes, contributing to a more controlled printing environment and reducing odor spread.

Personal Protection and Maintenance

For personal safety, use appropriate protective gear, such as masks or respirators designed for fume filtration. Regularly clean and maintain your 3D printer, including its nozzle and bed, to minimize the accumulation of residue that can lead to odor. Proper upkeep ensures smoother printing and reduces the chances of strong or noxious smells during operation.
What’s more, selecting a high-quality 3D printer can indeed play a role in minimizing or managing odors during the printing process. Some printers are designed with features that reduce emissions or have better ventilation systems, helping to mitigate the smell associated with 3D printing. Additionally, certain models might have better compatibility with low-odor filaments, further contributing to a less odorous printing experience.
Here are the two compatible 3D printers recommended:


  • AnkerMake M5 3D Printer
AnkerMake M5 3D Printer is a pioneering 3D printer that is highly compatible with filaments like PLA, PETG, TPU, and ABS. With PowerBoost™ 2.0, it ensures smooth and quality printing output. Its latest Fast Mode upgrade propels the AnkerMake M5 to an astounding printing speed of 500 mm/s and an acceleration of 5,000 mm/s². Thanks to the advanced direct drive extruder and seamlessly integrated die-cast aluminum alloy structure, it ensures an astounding 0.1 mm detail at 5X faster speed. You can start and oversee your prints from anywhere, anytime—be, be it in the lab or miles away—using the AnkerMake App or Slicer. This helps guarantee your health by reducing potential exposure to filament odors.


  • AnkerMake M5C 3D Printer
AnkerMake M5C 3D Printer is a cutting-edge 3D printer revolutionizing the printing experience. With advanced features such as easy multi-device control with our AnkerMake app and a customizable one-click button, this printer offers remarkable speed, boasting a maximum speed of 500 mm/s and an extrusion flow of 35 mm³/s, ensuring swift and efficient printing tasks. Engineered for precision, it delivers 0.1 mm precise printing and incorporates a 7×7 auto-leveling system for impeccable accuracy. Built with a full aluminum alloy structure, it guarantees durability and stability throughout the printing process. The printer's all-metal hotend supports a wide array of filaments, including PLA+, PLA, PLA-CF, PETG, PETG-CF, PA, PA-CF, ABS, and TPU, offering versatile printing options. Control and manage your printing tasks effortlessly using the AnkerMake app and AnkerMake Slicer software, providing an intuitive platform for bringing your creative ideas to life.


Does 3D printing smell? Yes, it does. Throughout this article, we've explored the various reasons behind the distinct odor emitted during 3D printing. From the composition of filament materials to the heating and melting processes, and the impact of ventilation and environmental factors, we've seen that the smell is an inherent part of the 3D printing process. We've also delved into the potential health implications of these odors and provided practical solutions for dealing with them, including proper ventilation, using low-odor filaments and enclosures, and the importance of personal protection and regular maintenance. Remember, while 3D printing offers a realm of creative possibilities, it's crucial to prioritize safety and health considerations in your printing environment.


Do Enclosed 3D Printers Smell?

Enclosed 3D printers typically reduce the spread of odors compared to open-frame models, but they do not completely eliminate them. The smell generated depends on the type of material used. For instance, ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) tends to emit a stronger odor than PLA (Polylactic Acid). Efficient ventilation or air filtration systems in the printer enclosure can further minimize odors, enhancing the overall printing experience.


What Are the Best Filament Materials for Reducing Odors?

For reducing odors in 3D printing, PLA (Polylactic Acid) and PETG (Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol) are among the best filament materials. PLA is biodegradable and emits a mild, sweet smell, while PETG is odorless and eco-friendly. Both are popular choices for their low odor and ease of use.

Can I 3D Print in an Enclosed Room or Office?

3D printing in an enclosed room or office is possible, especially with low-odor filaments like PLA. However, proper ventilation is crucial to avoid the buildup of fumes, particularly when using materials like ABS. An enclosed printer can further minimize odor and particle dispersion, enhancing safety in such environments.