Why should you keep a hamster by your 3D printer for metals, if you don’t want your operators to become like the zombies in Michael Jackson’s famous musical videoclip?

Here is the most economical method to save your operators from the terrible killer Argon.

3 criceti


Why is Argon a dangerous killer and how can you safeguard your operators against a chess game with death?

Argon, which in Greek means “lazy”, is a noble gas used in 3D printing for the production and processing of reactive metal-based powders.

For reactive powders i mean every metal powder wich contains an high concentration of carbon such as Aluminum an Titanium

Argon is an inert gas which, in the environment does not alter the existing chemical reaction.

The real drawback of this gas is that it is both inodorous and colourless!

Why is this a problem?

Because inert gasses, like Argon can cause asphyxiation because of the lack of oxygen; that is why they are highly dangerous.

“But if my operator realizes he is not breathing properly he will leave the printing room immediately! Where’s the problem?”

The problem is that it is impossible to be aware of the presence of a leak of argon gas and it is not me saying this to frighten you!

Two important associations say this and on their website they explain what are the symptoms of asphyxia and why these symptoms are not enough to make the operator realize he is suffocating.

According to the association Assogastecnici and EIGA (the European Association of Industrial Gasses), available information on the danger of inert gasses is insufficient to safeguard operators who risk their life every day without knowing it.

What are the symptoms of asphyxiation produced by Argon, symptoms which will not alarm your operators who suffocate without realizing it?

  • Dizziness;
  • Headache;
  • Difficulty of speech

When your operator feels even only one of these symptoms, it is already too late; you will find your operator unconscious or dead on the floor by your 3D Argon printer.

And it will be too late to call the ambulance to save his life.

The quantity of oxygen necessary for our life is 21% and normally contained in the air we breathe. The situation becomes dangerous when oxygen is reduced to less than 18%, which is what happens when we take in even only one breath of Argon!

These inert gasses not only act without warning but also rapidly.

Only a quick resuscitation can save your operator from brain damage due to lack of oxygen.  Therefore if you have a 3D Argon printer in your company or intend buying one, be sure to train a resuscitation team who can rapidly reach your company to save your operator.

Organize the rescue team members in advance!

According to a document drawn up by Assogastecnici, often, even the person who comes to the rescue dies.

In your company you will need not only an expert rescue team, but also heroes who are ready to give up their life for another person.

Be careful of enclosed and narrow spaces.

The killer Argon claims more victims in enclosed and narrow rooms like the one where you keep your printer.

In confined and narrow rooms, Argon gas could accumulate because the space is not well-ventilated or cleared and there is insufficient change of air.

“My operators wear protective clothing to safeguard their health! They are not risking anything!”

Operators who work with 3D Argon printers by law must wear the correct protective armour like knights going into battle!

operatore in difficoltà

gas masks, antistatic shoes, gloves, SCBA (compressed air breathing apparatus)…

Do you really think it is enough to dress them like divers to guarantee the safety of your operators?

How can you be sure that the gas mask does not have a production defect? It really does not take much to be suffocated: a small hole in a protective suit, carelessness on the part of the operator or an improper use of the gas mask.

Safety is never enough and the variables you have to check, which could compromise the safety of your employees are too many, as was proved in the tragedy which occurred in a Milanese company on 16th January 2018.

According to the autopsy, the four workers died of asphyxiation due to the argon present in the industrial oven used to produce titanium-steel laminates.

If you think your company has all the unbeatable safety trappings, remember that also Superman had his Kryptonite;

In fact, in the Milanese company the alarm which warned of argon leaks was in perfect working order, except that it did not go off when it should have done!

This is what happens when you rely on preventive safety measures!

Errare tecnologicum est.

If you don’t want your employees to end up like those poor men, you have two solutions, two paths to take, immediately.

Here is the first fast and economical solution if you want your operators to escape, before the terrible killer argon entraps them:

scappa dall’argon

Put a hamster cage by your 3D argon printer!

I would like to tell you not to use argon. But if you need to print aluminum components in 3D, you have no other choice,  but to go to the nearest pet shop and buy a small rodent who, while turning on its wheel, will not only keep your operators company, but will also save their lives.

Argon is a heavy gas and when it leaks it settles at the bottom of the room pushing oxygen to the top.

If there were a leak in the printer room, the hamster would be as dead as a doornail in no time!

If your operators notice that the hamster is lying on its back with its tongue hanging out, they must up and run immediately, before it is too late.

“What if my operators don’t notice that the hamster is dead?”

If they don’t immediately notice, then there is no point in putting the hamster in the room with your 3D printer. The method works only if your pay a security guard to spend his working hours checking that the hamster is still alive.

It’s absurd, I know, but when it comes down to safety in the workplace and human rights, you must take everything into account, and you must do your best to avoid catastrophies like the one in Milan.

Are all gasses used in the 3D printer room as dangerous as this?


Before I spoke of two solutions. The second is for all manufacturers who want to use a 3D printer to produce steel components, since the printer I am going to speak about is specific only for steel!

Luckily, not all gasses are so lethal and not all force operators to draw up their will and testament before going to work.

3D4Steel does not want to make our operators undergo this danger and neither does it want to use hamsters as a prevention.

That is why we do not to use argon for our 3D printer but nitrogen instead!

Nitrogen is a noble and inert gas.

You are probably asking yourself what is the difference then with argon…

Here are the differences between the killer Argon and nitrogen.

  • Argon is a heavier gas than nitrogen, that is why when it leaks it settles at the bottom pushing oxygen to the top, suffocating the operators;
  • Large quantities of nitrogen are needed to die of suffocation, while with argon 2% is enough;
  • Nitrogen is less dangerous! Consider that the earth’s atmosphere is made up of 78,094” nitrogen, 20,946% oxygen and only 0,934% argon;
  • While operators handling argon have to dress like astronauts, operators working with 3D nitrogen printer need to wear only a small mask. This means their uniform is lighter and more comfortable;

For the 3D4STEEL printer we use nitrogen directly from the oxygen in the room, therefore we don’t need to buy extra cylinders which could be dangerous and expensive!

Moreover, your operators do not have to dress like divers to work and do not have to babysit a hamster.

You could always buy a hamster but to take home!

If you have to print steel components, choose 3D nitrogen printers which are safer.

If, on the other hand, you use argon you do so at your own risk and peril, fully aware of the danger posed by the killer you are making your operators handle. Therefore buy the hamster and put him by your 3D printer. At least you can say that you have an extra safety measure or at least tried.

So If:

  • you want to learn how to use the 3D4STEEL nitrogen printer?

  • you want to know if it is suitable to perfectly print the components you need?

  • you want to know how much it will cost to keep and manage?

  • you want to know how to exploit it to the best, to produce 5 times faster compared to other standard 3D printers and how to increase your profits?

Between you and the only solution which will allow you to have a complete picture of what it would be like to have a 3D printer in your production chain, there is just one click

you could print your component using a 3D for steel nitrogen printer, safer for your operators and for your company, even before buying it!

Fill in the questionnaire and you will be contacted by one of our technicians.

It is always better to lose 7 minutes to fill in a questionnaire than to cancel out, for ever, years of your  operators’ lives.

Picture of Ivano Corsini

Ivano Corsini

Fondatore e CEO di 3D4MEC Srl
Creatore di CorSystem - Stampa 3D Superveloce per la meccanica

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