Many 3D printers are made in China, and as asbestos is still legal in China (with large ongoing production it seems).

It is thus quite possible to end up with a 3D Printer that has asbestos parts in it.

Even though asbestos is illegal in some parts of the world (like Australia, though not the USA as far as I know), given the above, and the possible lack of care by suppliers and/or oversights during imports, one may want to do due diligence.

This becomes even more important if you plan to make modifications to your printer.

When speaking with even large producers, you may also get very conflicting answers ("yes part xyz has asbestos in it" vs "no it does not") - which further complicates the matter.

Asbestos testing is usually about 50-70 USD per sample, and often destruction of the tested item is necessary, so that is not a viable way either.

There are also heating elements used in printers which may be shielded with asbestos containing materials (as asbestos has good heat resistance properties).

How to avoid asbestos exposure with a high degree of certitude?

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to 3dPrinting.SE! There's a couple of things here which are striking. First, in order for asbestos to be "bad", it has to be in the dust form. As long as it stays in a solid, no issue. Secondly, the only thing asbestos is used for is insulation. There's almost nothing on a 3d printer which requires insulating (except for maybe the print head, but there are other things which are used for this purpose). Thirdly, it would most likely depend on the printer being looked at. If you're wondering, look up Libby, Montana ... I lived there 9 years as a kid so asbestos is a known to me. $\endgroup$ – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Jun 10 '19 at 23:32
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you. The print head may be wrapped in asbestos containing heat shielding, the heated base board may have asbestos in it, etc. Those elements are in constant motion, and many abrupt motions at that. They are also often touched, disturbed and dismantled for upgrades. You are entitled to your opinion, and there is no need to quote your experience (others may have experience too!), but please do not state your view of reality as the truth, i.e. "there are other things which are used for this purpose" is a statement of fact, and it may be quite inaccurate. Let's wait for others. Thank you. $\endgroup$ – Roel Van de Paar Jun 10 '19 at 23:41
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    $\begingroup$ The print head may be wrapped in asbestos containing heat shielding, the heated base board may have asbestos in it, etc - that's quite a few mays. Do you have any actual concrete examples of products with asbestos in them, to back up your claims? That's not to say that it is never used, but I've never seen asbestos used in a 3D printer... however, maybe I'm just not purchasing the same printers as you. Also, duplicating your question as an answer elsewhere is a bit unusual... $\endgroup$ – Greenonline Jun 11 '19 at 13:41
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    $\begingroup$ I know of not a single chinese printer that does so and I spend some hours a month checking gearbest and such for new printers. In fact, it's obviously cheaper to skip thermal insulation and that is what most printers do or at best use some kapton tape! $\endgroup$ – Trish Jun 19 '19 at 10:34
  • $\begingroup$ Here is one; stock CR10 Creality heating bed; amazon.com/ask/questions/Tx2ORK5BUBPR8MZ/ref=ask_dp_dpmw_al_hza $\endgroup$ – Roel Van de Paar Jun 20 '19 at 2:59

How to avoid asbestos exposure with a high degree of certitude?

If you're not willing to do asbestos testing yourself and can't trust your suppliers either, then this is impossible.

That said, for most of the components on a 3D printer it is easy to verify they're asbestos-free (I've never seen a steel linear shaft containing asbestos). For the remaining components, you may be able to pick an alternative which you know to be safe, for instance an all-metal hotend without insulating tape, or a heated bed that's plain FR4 without insulation. If there are any components that you distrust specifically (such as a heater cartridge) you should source that from a trusted supplier.

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  • $\begingroup$ Hmm some great ideas in here, thanks Tom! $\endgroup$ – Roel Van de Paar Jun 11 '19 at 23:00

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