Health and Safety

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This page lists advice which can help you protect your health and that of others. While some people might find a lot of points self-explanatory, repetitive and/or boring, we urge you to read it fully at least once.


General advice

  • Keep a first aid kit handy. A normal first aid kit for cars should suffice, but you might want to add some (more) plasters and something to treat burns. Ideally, you'll never need it, but when you do, you'll be happy to have it.
  • Same goes for a (small) fire extinguisher.
  • When operating machines, wear protective clothing. This depends on the machine you're working on, generally you should:
    • NOT wear gloves when operating machines with rotating parts (e.g. a lathe), because the gloves could get caught in it.
    • Wear goggles when operating machines which produce chips. High velocity shrapnel and eyes don't mix well.
    • Safety shoes/boots with steel caps can protect your feet from falling stuff, e.g. that anvil you were holding just a few second before.
  • Make sure you've read and understood the instruction manuals of the equipment you use.
  • Be especially careful when children are around. Don't leave them unsupervised.
    • Ask them not to touch any tools and (most importantly!) explain to them why.
    • While you're at it, get the next generation interested in RepRap.


  • Some solder contains lead, wash your hands after using it. Otherwise, lead particles might make their way into your body.
  • Some solder contains soldering agents. You won't get around it, but at least try not to inhale them.
  • A soldering iron operates at temperatures between 150 and 480 °C [302 and 896 °F], don't touch anywhere but the grip/handle.

Working with electronics

  • Always do a quick visual check of the device in question before applying power to it.
  • Do not touch current-carrying parts, you might get an electric shock.
  • Do not touch electrified people, always pull the plug or turn off the mains first!
  • Water and electronics generally don't mix well.
  • Don't inhale the magic smoke. When something starts smoking, turn off the power immediately and ready your fire extinguisher.

Operating your RepRap

  • RepRap works with materials at temperatures from ambient to about 240 C. Clearly at the top of this range you are in danger of burning yourself - be careful! Also some parts of the RepRap machine (particularly the extruder) are capable of generating quite high forces and torques - don't get your fingers in them.
  • Please be careful and use a double boiler when melting wax or thermoplastic. A double boiler is a set of two pans. The lower pan contains hot water, and the upper pan is placed in the lower pan.
  • If you do not have a double boiler, put your wax or thermoplastic in a soup can and place that in a saucepan half full of water.

Place the saucepan on your stovetop or hot plate and heat normally.

Handgun Test:

  • Every manufacturing technology that humanity has ever come up with has been used to make weapons, and doubtless RepRap will be no exception. There is no absolute way to stop this, any more than one could stop someone buying a second-hand lathe on eBay and using that to turn up all sorts of very nasty objects. However, the RepRap researchers will work actively to inhibit and to subvert the use of RepRap for weapons production, whether by individuals, companies, or governments. And we will remove any such designs from this site. At least RepRap is not very suited to weapons manufacture - it tends to work with more subtle and delicate materials. Give people an internal combustion engine and a few will make tanks; but many more will make ambulances.

Sebastien Bailard

Laser radiation

First: Read Wikipedias section on Laser radiation hazards.
Second: Make sure you have adequate safety glasses for the laser in question!

See also: Laser Safety