Health hazards from WSF dust ?

Discussion in 'Technologies and Hardware' started by tebee, Mar 12, 2014.

  1. tebee
    tebee Well-Known Member
    I just got a batch of models from Shapeways in WSF that were badly cleaned and covered in a layer of un-fused WSF powder.

    Upon trying to clean these myself with a toothbrush, after a few I find myself wheezing and coughing. Are there any health hazards from this dust or is it just that I'm very sensitive to dust at the moment, as I'm just starting on my yearly dose of Hay Fever?

  2. Youknowwho4eva
    Youknowwho4eva Shapeways Employee Community Team
    I'd think it's at least as bad as breathing in any other particulate.
  3. feklee
    feklee Well-Known Member
    Could one rinse models with water for cleaning?
  4. HOLDEN8702
    HOLDEN8702 Well-Known Member

    I have immersed WSF models in a water can for days.

    I've made also experiments with tea and coffee to test shadow finish. Coffee is hardest, but it leaves some spots. Tea gives more lighter shade.
  5. Youknowwho4eva
    Youknowwho4eva Shapeways Employee Community Team
    So everyone knows, we (shapeways) shouldn't be sending improperly cleaned models. I've reported this incident but please email service whenever you have such incidents.
  6. stop4stuff
    stop4stuff Well-Known Member
  7. First: the disclaimer. I'm not a medical authority.

    The material is nylon, which is "reasonably" inert and should not interact harmfully with your lungs. The particles are not likely small enough to interfere with cellular activity. Much like most other environmental dust, the particles will be moved out of your lungs by action of the cilia on the lining of the lung tissue. I doubt there would be a statistically significant health risk, due to the lack of prolonged and/or persistent exposure. If you have concerns, wear a common filter mask similar to one's used by medical staff. (ie.: Respirator not required.)
  8. tebee
    tebee Well-Known Member
    I've resorted to putting them in an ultrasonic cleaning bath . After several 45 min sessions I've been able to clear most of the loose powder, though some remains stubbornly sticking. The ultrasonic cleaning solution does not seem to precipitate the powder like it does with most things

    Using the old toothbrush on the now wet powder seems to remove it without the dust though.

    This is one of the items as it came, with all the detail caked in powder.


  9. stop4stuff
    stop4stuff Well-Known Member
    Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
    Here's what I think;

    WSF is printed under a vacuum so there's no air trapped in with the powder.
    An ultrasonic cleaner works by creating tiny air bubbles (cavitation) on the surface of whatever is being cleaned.
    As the surface of WSF covered in powder is essentially a 'solid' surface, ultrasonic cleaning has little effect.

    A couple of ideas I can suggest;

    1. Adapt a plastic bottle so that it can be attached to a vacuum cleaner,
    - make a platform with small holes it in to sit snuggly inside the bottle
    - use a brush to brush off the powder into the bottle whilst the vacuum cleaner is running.

    2. Grab the windscreen washer system from an old car
    - hook the pump upto a 12v supply
    - use this as a mini high(ish) pressure washer to hose off the powder.