3D Printer Safety Activities for Middle School STEM

Teaching 3D printer safety to middle schoolers is crucial to ensure a safe and productive learning environment. This resource offers background information about the potential hazards of 3D printing and engaging activities that can help students understand the importance of following safety protocols when using a 3D printer. By promoting safe practices, educators can help prevent accidents and create a responsible and informed generation of young makers.

Short on time? Grab this done-for-you safety lesson!

This image is titled "3D Printing Safety Activities." The picture shows 3D printing safety task cards with a task card recording sheet and a color-by-number activity.

Why Teach 3D Printer Safety

Before diving into the 3D printing projects, it’s important to provide students with an introduction to 3D printer safety. This can include discussing the potential hazards associated with 3D printing, such as burns from hot printer components or exposure to harmful particulates. By setting a foundation of safety awareness, you’ll prevent future accidents and students will be better equipped to understand and follow the safety protocols when they begin using your 3D printer.

What Are the Dangers of 3D Printing?

While 3D printers are a remarkable resource in STEM classrooms, they also come with certain inherent dangers that students must be aware of and take precautions against. The primary risks associated with 3D printing are: 

  1. Emission of potentially harmful particulates
  2. High temperatures and hot printer components during printing
  3. Electrical shocks or fires
  4. Mechanical failures that damage the machine

Ensuring that users, particularly students receive adequate training and supervision is essential to preventing 3D printer accidents. To mitigate these dangers, 3D printers should be used in well-ventilated spaces. Using quality materials from reputable sources, maintain the printer regularly, and follow safety guidelines provided by the manufacturer will also protect students from the potential hazards. By understanding and respecting the potential dangers, your STEM students can fully enjoy the benefits of 3D printing while ensuring a safe and responsible printing experience.

Introduce Your Students to Potential 3D Printing Hazards

First, you should teach your students about the potential hazards associated with 3D printing. This can be done through a classroom discussion, independent research, or whole class instruction. Students should be encouraged to think about the risks involved, such as burns from hot surfaces or moving parts, and exposure to fumes or chemicals. By actively engaging students in identifying potential hazards, they will develop a better understanding of the importance of safety precautions when using a 3D printer.

This image shows a list of 3D printing safety rules printed on a poster. Next to it is a worksheet titled "3D Printing Safety Quiz."

3D Printer Safety Rules.

It is crucial to establish clear safety rules when using a 3D printer in a middle school STEM classroom. These rules should be communicated to students at the beginning of the activity and reinforced throughout the lesson. Some important safety rules to include are:

  1. No food, drinks, or gum near the printer.
  2. Inspect the printer before each use. Immediately report any damage or accidents to your teacher.
  3. Keep a window and/or door open during printing as much as possible.
  4. Do not touch the extruder or printer head.
  5. Move away from the printer after you start printing. Stay away as much as possible.
  6. Keep the space near the printer clear, and wipe surfaces with a damp cloth after use.
  7. Wash your hands after using the 3D printer.
  8. Follow all your teacher’s instructions.

By implementing these safety rules, students will learn to protect themselves from possible harm and ensure the 3D printer remains in good working condition.

Looking for More Support Teaching 3D Printer Safety?

If you’re looking for additional support and resources for teaching 3D printer safety to middle schoolers, grab this complete 3D printing safety lesson. You’ll get a break from planning, while your students are learning best practices for 3D printing.

This image reads "3D Printing Safety Activities: Print and Digital." It shows a 3D printing safety task card recording sheet and a color-by-code activity."

This lesson includes:

  • A reading comprehension passage about the hazards of 3D printing
  • A list of 3D printing safety rules
  • A set of safety task cards
  • A color-by-number 3D printing safety practice activity
  • A 3D printer safety quiz
  • 3D printing licenses to issue to your students at the end of the lesson

You’ll also get digital and printable versions of the student activities, detailed teacher notes, and a slideshow for easy lesson facilitation. 

Grab this done-for-you STEM activity, and check lesson planning off your to-do list.

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