3D printing can be a fun and exciting activity for kids, but it should always be done with adult supervision. Kids can create all sorts of things, learn about technology, and gain valuable skills that can pay off later in life by knowing how to use one safely.
This post will take a look at 3D printing for kids. I’ll tell you if it’s safe for children and provide parents with some other important information they should know about 3D printing. The goal is to give you everything you need for a safe 3D printing experience with kids.
Let’s get after it.
- Key Takeaways
- Is 3D Printing Safe for Kids?
- Baby Safe Filament and Other Concerns
- How to Choose a 3D Printer for Kids
- What’s the Best 3D Printer for Kids?
- Final Thoughts
- 3D printing offers lots of possibilities for children, including learning new technology, unlocking creativity, and having a lot of fun.
- 3D printing is generally safe, but children should always be supervised when using one to reduce potential risks.
- The main dangers with a 3D printer and kids are that the printer’s hot end can cause injury and be a potential fire risk, and small parts created by the printer can be a choking hazard.
Is 3D Printing Safe for Kids?
With adult supervision, 3D printing is generally safe for kids. But there are a few safety issues you should be aware of when allowing children to use a 3D printer. You must also understand all the potential risks of using a 3D printer.
First, kids should always be supervised when using a 3D printer and shouldn’t be allowed to use them on their own. You always want to reduce the risk of danger, and proper supervision is essential in making this happen.
Most experts suggest that 3D printers are only safe for children eight years and older. While this is general advice, it’s a good guideline for an age where kids are old enough to use technology and understand some of the dangers involved.
Even with supervision, using a 3D printer comes with some risks. One of these is the risk of burns and fires caused by the hot end of a 3D printer. All 3D printers work by melting material to print it, which requires a hot end.
Children should be instructed not to touch the hot end of the printer when it’s in use. They also need to know that they should put foreign objects in the printer because this can cause potentially cause a fire.
Another safety issue with 3D printers is that harmful particles can potentially be released into the air when the printer is in use. The effects of these particles aren’t entirely well-known, which should be alarming for parents.
Some food-safe materials can be used with 3D printers, which may reduce the risk of these harmful particles in the air. But because 3D printers are relatively new, these risks are just starting to be explored.
Choking is another concern for parents who allow their children to use a 3D printer. These printers can produce small items children might want to put in their mounts. This can result in choking, which is potentially fatal.
Baby Safe Filament and Other Concerns
There isn’t currently a baby safe filament for 3D printers, and every type of filament you use on these printers comes with a risk. If you plan on making toys for your kids with a 3D printer, you need to understand the risks involved.
Some 3D printers come totally enclosed, which can reduce the risk of burns and other issues related to the printer’s hot end. These are a good idea to use for kids, but they should still only be operated with supervision.
An enclosed printer does not reduce the risk of choking caused by the items created by a 3D printer. If the printed item is small enough to fit into a child’s mouth, it’s a potential choking hazard.
You should always use food-grade materials with a 3D printer to make toys or other items that kids will play with. If you don’t, there are chemicals that the children could ingest if they put the item in their mouths or handle it often.
How to Choose a 3D Printer for Kids
Here are a few things that we recommend you take into consideration.
When looking at 3D printers for kids, you need to focus on design. Always ensure the printer has a closed enclosure when possible, especially if the printer has a heated bed.
That will keep the hot parts away from your kid’s hands and make the device safer to operate. In addition, try to get something with a simple, eye-catching design.
Kids are much more likely to work with the printer if it looks fun and accessible as opposed to convoluted or overcomplicated.
Ease of Use
Going off of simple design, you also need to ensure that your kid’s 3D printer is easy to use. Remember, just because a model looks simple to you doesn’t mean your child will be able to easily get the hang of it.
Do your research and get something that’s truly accessible. LCD screens go a long way here, and you also want convenient features that simplify each part of the printing process.
The other big aspect when getting any type of electronic device for children is safety. Each model on this list has specific mechanisms that cut down on accidents and prevent any unfortunate injuries.
As mentioned, models that keep hot parts hidden are great for this. Ones with fewer moving parts are also key because that lessens the chance of something bad happening. For safety, simple is always better.
What’s the Best 3D Printer for Kids?
Here are a few of our top recommendations, along with a quick review of each printer.
1. Flashforge Finder
If you’re someone who wants a safe kid’s 3D printer that won’t break the bank, look no further than the Flashforge Finder.
This affordable machine provides you with a lot of excellent features and ensures your kid will stay safe no matter how much they use it.
That’s largely due to the plastic, semi-enclosed frame and non-heated print bed that actively cuts down on accidental burns.
Kids will also love this printer because of how easy it is to both use and operate. Where some models are much too intimidating, the Finder utilizes a 3.5-inch full-color touchscreen that has plenty of easy-to-read icons.
That means anyone can get the hang of it right away. You can also use the smart assist leveling system to make sure your prints come out perfect each and every time.
2. SainSmart x Creality
Though not directed for kids only, the SainSmart x Creality is an affordable printer that beginners of all ages can use without any issues.
This device has a compact design, which makes it portable and perfect for smaller hands. Even so, it also has a large build volume and gives users the ability to print a wide range of different products. It’s secure and heats up quickly.
The other reason the SainSmart x Creality is so good for children is because of how easy it is to use and put together. It comes semi-assembled out of the box and can be fully built-in no time at all.
In addition, the interactive LCD screen enables kids to follow along as they print. That makes this an intuitive, hands-on experience.
The model also has a small price tag, which makes it a good way to go if you’re looking to save some money without losing quality.
3. Labists Mini Desktop Printer
The Labists Mini Desktop Printer is a kid’s device through and through. Not only is it incredibly compact, which makes it much less intimidating for newcomers, but it can be put together quickly.
If your child enjoys building, this is the way to go. The bed is also unheated in order to ensure nobody gets accidentally burned as they work, and it’s flexible to cut down on sharp edges.
If you’re worried about your kid being able to use this mini printer, don’t be. It comes with a unique button system that’s both intuitive and easy to understand. Your kid will be able to control all of the parts of the printing process in no time.
The Labists Desktop Printer also heats up quickly (3 minutes) and saves energy. It’s also quiet, which is always nice to have in a household with kids.
Here are a few quick answers to some of the most frequently asked questions related to if 3D printing is safe for kids.
What age can kids use a 3D printer?
3D printing is generally safe for kids eight and older, but they should still be supervised when using a printer. Children younger than this are more at risk when using a 3D printer because of the potential dangers and difficulties in using one.
Is 3D printing good for kids?
3D printing can be a lot of fun for kids, and the technology can allow them to create toys and other items they enjoy. There are some dangers involved with using a 3D printer, which need to be understood before allowing kids to use one.
Can you 3D print baby toys?
It is possible to 3D print baby toys, but certain precautions need to be in place to do so. You should only use food-safe printing material because there is a risk of harm if you use some plastics and other materials.
3D printers can be a lot of fun for children, and you can create homemade toys using one. But children should only use them under direct adult supervision to avoid all associated risks, including burns, choking, and chemical exposure.
Have you ever used a 3D printer with a child? How was the experience, and did you keep things safe? Let me know in the comments below.