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Epoxy Safety Tips, What Do You Do?

Ryan O.

Elite member
#1
So recently I was doing some work with epoxy, the normal, an open window, a fan, etc. and didn't notice that the fan had unplugged. Afterwards I had a mild headache for about 20 minutes, luckily it was only 30 minute epoxy instead of the really long curing resins like what's used for fiberglassing or making resin molds so for one time limited exposure there aren't any long term sideaffects from what I've been able to find.

However this reminded me that not everyone may use a fan, especially if they're new to using epoxies. That led me down the rabbit hole of what precautions people who work with the stronger epoxies daily use, and what easy things they do can help hobbyists. I went looking on the forums and didn't find a dedicated thread, although it may be in a builders' tips thread that I haven't found yet, so hopefully this isn't redundant.

Here's a list of things that should be used for hobby grade epoxies (5-30min) that I've been able to find, and I'd like to hear your tips and I'll add them to the list:
  1. A fan
  2. Gloves
  3. A well ventilated room where the part stays for 24 hours
  4. An open window or door
  5. eye protection (I've heard some people who don't have safety glasses use swim goggles)
  6. An N-95 mask (for some places those are still hard to find and a hospital's use of it is more important than a hobbyist's)
  7. A respirator (better than a mask if possible, but also good to combine both)
 
Last edited:

Bricks

Master member
#3
Interesting. I never gave it much thought and have never had any issues. I have been soldeing, glueing, etc four+ decades without much caution. Will have to give it more thought going forward.

LB

Me too and I have done considerable work on fiber glassing full size boats, vehicles etc and painting. There is nothing in this world any more that someone some where doesn't claim that it is bad for you. Just good old common sense goes along ways.
 

Ryan O.

Elite member
#4
Me too and I have done considerable work on fiber glassing full size boats, vehicles etc and painting. There is nothing in this world any more that someone some where doesn't claim that it is bad for you. Just good old common sense goes along ways.
Yeah, I always find it annoying how the local news is constantly reporting weak studies about whether coffee is unhealthy or not or whether curdled milk will reduce your risk for cancer. Every time something that's actually harmless is labelled dangerous people are less concerned about actually dangerous things. Kind of like putting the "known in the state of california to cause cancer" label on everything that is mildly carcinogenic. sry, sort of a rant but who doesn't like a rant ;)
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#5
Yeah, I always find it annoying how the local news is constantly reporting weak studies about whether coffee is unhealthy or not or whether curdled milk will reduce your risk for cancer. Every time something that's actually harmless is labelled dangerous people are less concerned about actually dangerous things. Kind of like putting the "known in the state of california to cause cancer" label on everything that is mildly carcinogenic. sry, sort of a rant but who doesn't like a rant ;)
I think the issue with that is the people who say, “Done it for years, and I feel fine!”, and then find out they have stage IV lung cancer or other serious respiratory issues, or refuse to make the link even when a doctor tells them specifically what caused it. An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure, even of some people refuse to believe/accept it...
 

LitterBug

Troll Spammer
#8
I think the issue with that is the people who say, “Done it for years, and I feel fine!”, and then find out they have stage IV lung cancer or other serious respiratory issues, or refuse to make the link even when a doctor tells them specifically what caused it. An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure, even of some people refuse to believe/accept it...
Yeah, That's why I am going to give it a bit more thought going forward.....

I have a vent in the basement from an old downdraft stove that I could use to extract fumes. Thinking about doing that, especially when printing ABS. I usually open a window when riding my bike down there to get fresh air in.
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#9
Yeah, That's why I am going to give it a bit more thought going forward.....

I have a vent in the basement from an old downdraft stove that I could use to extract fumes. Thinking about doing that, especially when printing ABS. I usually open a window when riding my bike down there to get fresh air in.
Ooch - I’d highly recommend opening a window or using the vent from the stove if you’re printing ABS, if for nothing else than to get rid of the smell. 😁
 

makattack

Winter is coming
Moderator
Mentor
#12
To me, those solvent smells just aren't pleasant and have a tinge of "it's gotta be bad for me if they're that strong" -- so I tend to be overly cautious. It's not just epoxy, but it's the flux we use in soldering, the paint, the glues, etc. What I do is I use a 3M respirator with both a N95 particulate filter and an organic fume filter (they sit on top of each other) -- it's a half mask, so if I do stuff with potentially reactive or splattering material, I'll wear plastic safety goggles too.

This is probably an over-reaction from when I was in the Army and we had no PPE for any of the strong solvents and stuff we used.
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#13
To me, those solvent smells just aren't pleasant and have a tinge of "it's gotta be bad for me if they're that strong" -- so I tend to be overly cautious. It's not just epoxy, but it's the flux we use in soldering, the paint, the glues, etc. What I do is I use a 3M respirator with both a N95 particulate filter and an organic fume filter (they sit on top of each other) -- it's a half mask, so if I do stuff with potentially reactive or splattering material, I'll wear plastic safety goggles too.

This is probably an over-reaction from when I was in the Army and we had no PPE for any of the strong solvents and stuff we used.
If it stops you from getting sick and keeps the gunk from trashing your lungs, is it an overreaction? I don't think so...

I remember ppolishing some car parts for my dad once as a kid. I wasn't wearing any sort of respirator or mask, and when I got done and blew my nose, it came out grey/black from all of the particulate I couldn't see. I know it's disgusting to picture, but after that, I started wearing a mask.
 

PsyBorg

Wake up! Time to fly!
#14
To me, those solvent smells just aren't pleasant and have a tinge of "it's gotta be bad for me if they're that strong" -- so I tend to be overly cautious. It's not just epoxy, but it's the flux we use in soldering, the paint, the glues, etc. What I do is I use a 3M respirator with both a N95 particulate filter and an organic fume filter (they sit on top of each other) -- it's a half mask, so if I do stuff with potentially reactive or splattering material, I'll wear plastic safety goggles too.

This is probably an over-reaction from when I was in the Army and we had no PPE for any of the strong solvents and stuff we used.
Just flashed back to PD 680 solvent and zinc chromate primer back in my Navy days restoring weapons movement gear. Nasty stuffs they were. If we were working in the hangar bay or on a sponsion in open air we used respirators. If we were back in the closed space for the painting we actually had air masks run in the space to work with that stuff.
 

The Hangar

Fly harder!
Mentor
#15
So recently I was doing some work with epoxy, the normal, an open window, a fan, etc. and didn't notice that the fan had unplugged. Afterwards I had a mild headache for about 20 minutes, luckily it was only 30 minute epoxy instead of the really long curing resins like what's used for fiberglassing or making resin molds so for one time limited exposure there aren't any long term sideaffects from what I've been able to find.

However this reminded me that not everyone may use a fan, especially if they're new to using epoxies. That led me down the rabbit hole of what precautions people who work with the stronger epoxies daily use, and what easy things they do can help hobbyists. I went looking on the forums and didn't find a dedicated thread, although it may be in a builders' tips thread that I haven't found yet, so hopefully this isn't redundant.

Here's a list of things that should be used for hobby grade epoxies (5-30min) that I've been able to find, and I'd like to hear your tips and I'll add them to the list:
  1. A fan
  2. Gloves
  3. A well ventilated room where the part stays for 24 hours
  4. An open window or door
  5. eye protection (I've heard some people who don't have safety glasses use swim goggles)
  6. An N-95 mask (for some places those are still hard to find and a hospital's use of it is more important than a hobbyist's)
  7. A respirator (better than a mask if possible, but also good to combine both)
Good tips. I, like lots of others, use epoxy, CA, solder, etc without any safety precautions. For me it’s hard to get any ventilation in my workshop in the garage without opening the garage door however, so the fumes just kinda sit there. Thanks for the reminder though, I will look into upping my protection. A little extra effort now can save lots of sorrow later. It gets me thinking, how is it for 3D printers? I can’t imagine the fumes, although not very strong, are good for you.
 

Ryan O.

Elite member
#16
Good tips. I, like lots of others, use epoxy, CA, solder, etc without any safety precautions. For me it’s hard to get any ventilation in my workshop in the garage without opening the garage door however, so the fumes just kinda sit there. Thanks for the reminder though, I will look into upping my protection. A little extra effort now can save lots of sorrow later. It gets me thinking, how is it for 3D printers? I can’t imagine the fumes, although not very strong, are good for you.
I haven't printed any of the plastics which make fumes, but if you can smell it then an enclosure with either a Hepa filter or a duct outside works fine. Also, even if the room's enclosed a fan works great to keep it from lingering and having a high concentration in a small area of the room.
 

The Hangar

Fly harder!
Mentor
#17
I haven't printed any of the plastics which make fumes, but if you can smell it then an enclosure with either a Hepa filter or a duct outside works fine. Also, even if the room's enclosed a fan works great to keep it from lingering and having a high concentration in a small area of the room.
I’ve just been using PLA, but with on of my rolls I can smell a slight odor.
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#20
Good to know, thanks. I’m printing at 200c so I should be good to go.
Stick to TPU, PETG, and PLA for most of your prints (TPU being the rubbery, flexible stuff that's like what phone cases or GoPro mounts are made of), and you'll have no real issues of toxic fumes. I mean, you don't want to stand over it and inhale deeply while it's printing, but you don't need tons of ventilation to print with it like you would with ABS, which has fallen out of favor for printing due to to its release of fumes.