3D Printer Tragedy Claims a Life

Thankfully it’s rare that we report on something as tragic as the death of a 17-year old, but the fact that the proximate cause was a 3D printer makes it all the worse and important for us to discuss.

The BBC report tells of a recently concluded coroner’s inquest into the December death of a young man in a fire at his family’s magic shop in Lincolnshire. The building was gutted by the fire, and the victim died of smoke inhalation. The inquest found that he had been working with a 3D printer in the shop and using hairspray to prepare the bed, a tip he apparently picked up from forums and blogs.

Unfortunately for this young man and his family, the online material didn’t mention that hairspray propellant contains volatile hydrocarbons like propane, cyclopropane, n-butane and isobutane — all highly flammable. Apparently the victim used enough hairspray in a small enough space to create an explosive mixture of fuel and air. Neighbors reported a gigantic fireball that consumed the shop, which took 50 firefighters to control.

While the inquest doesn’t directly blame the 3D printer as the source of ignition — which could just as easily have been a spark from a light switch, or a pilot light on a water heater — it does mention that the hot end can reach 300C. And the fact remains that were it not for the 3D printer and the online tips, it’s unlikely that a 17-year old boy would be using enough hairspray in an enclosed space to create what amounted to a bomb.

By all accounts, the victim was a bright and thoughtful kid, and for this to have happened is an unmitigated tragedy for his family and friends. This young man probably had a bright future and stood to contribute to the hacker community but for a brief lapse of judgment. Before anyone starts slinging around the blame in the comments section, think about it — how many time haves you done something like this and gotten away with it? This kid got badly unlucky and paid the ultimate price. Maybe we should make his death worth something by looking at what we do that skates a little too close to the thin edge of the ice.

Main image source: Daily Mail

[Thanks to Tom Bates for the tip]

137 thoughts on “3D Printer Tragedy Claims a Life

  1. There is very rarely one simple cause for a major accident of this nature, rather there is a string of poor decisions and lapses in judgment made often by several people, not just the person who initiates the event. The inappropriate use of hairspray therefore was not the cause per se and this tragedy needs to be analysed in detail to try and understand the whole sequence that led up to this explosion and fire.

    1. I 100% agree with you, but the UK’s media will ignore the evidence and print the story that gets the most clicks. And so it may be that 3D printers will become then next thing to hate, they did a good job with drones.

  2. I just don’t understand how this is so easily possible. How much hair spray is needed to even turn a small 6m² room into an explosive? I sounds like it can’t be all that much unless he emptied a whole bottle on the assumable small print bed.
    Anyone who can do the math on this?

      1. that’s what I was thinking since I’ve used hair spray to kill water bugs too fast to catch other ways. It takes lots of vaporized hairspray to make a huge fireball and the kid would have already been chocking from that.

        I wonder if there was a head crash or something which caused a small fire in the 3D printer( what make/model? ) and if he put the spray can on top, it would have fallen inside with the plastic fire and eventually exploded.

        1. The quality of the flammability limit page is not very good: “in addition, it takes longer for the combustion of paper to start at lower temperatures” – that is the subject, right?
          In any case, there may be more flammable suff in hair spray. But I do not think nitrocellulose would be allowed as a component ;)

    1. The LEL of propane is ~ 3% plus all the fragrances in hairspray & the carrier solvent, you’re looking at roughly 0.18 cubic meters.
      A can of aquanet is ~300g most of which is highly flammable.

      Having said that, I’d wager there were other fumes contributing to it, I mean who sprays a whole can of hair spray for a 30 sqcm print bed? Unless add others suggested the can was left near the hot end or sorted between two wires.

      1. Having found a value for R in cubic meters, it takes 322g of propane to blow the walls of a 6 cubic meter shed. Again, the entire contents of the hairspray can, an unlikely event on purpose or accident.

    2. What Hackaday has forgotten to mention, which was reported in the initial article, was the fact that there was a substantial amount of flash paper (a product sold by the magic shop, a highly volatile material designed for pyrotechnic effects in magic shows and the like) stored incorrectly in close proximity to something that gets substantially hot. Combine that with the absolutely absurd amount of propellant that was the 3 cans of hairspray used, and any kind of spark, and you’ve got one big boom.
      Flash paper and similar materials used to be used as a propellant in cannons. It is less complex to make, and when a lot of it is compressed into a relatively confined space, it produces forces approaching that of older black powder.
      In all likelihood, the kid would’ve gotten away with some burns at worst, had the flash paper not been part of the equation (even if he had used the absurd amount of hairspray described.)
      It is extremely disappointing, but not surprising, that 3d printing and 3d printers are being blamed for this, when it is a substantial amount of poor judgement and decisions made by multiple people, that lead to this tragedy.

      I’m sure in 2 months time, every 3d printer shipping will have a “dont use hairspray as a bed adhesion promoter” engraved on the bed, but not until after this family sues whichever company’s 3d printer their son had.

      1. *exceeds black powder.
        Gun cotton was used in artillery for decades as well as quarrying throughout the 1800s. It’s still available as single base smokeless powder (with burn rate modifiers), if used in a blackpowder gun it will blow the chamber apart.

        1. I seem to recall gun cotton… Isn’t its thing that it is HIGHLY explosive, but doesn’t produce enough actual propellant gasses to use for reliable gunfire, even it the chamber were made strong enough?

        2. AFAIK nitrocellulose is still the main ingredient for gunpowders today. But I have always heard, that it would be the other way round: Using blackpowder in a gun designed for smokeless powder can give you an explosion.

          1. Depends on the powder. Most small arms powders now are double or triple base powders that have nitrocellulose mixed with other explosives like nitroglycerine or nitroguanidine.

            Whoever told you that is dangerously misinformed.
            It’s unlikely you’ll be able to get enough black powder into any cartridge introduced since WWII to get respectable results. Black powder also burns slower than gun cotton, so you get the pressure spread over a longer time, this is why a frontier rifle is 3-4 ft long but an M-16 can be around 2 ft. You can still use black powder in older cartridges like shotgun shells or .45-70 govt. .357mag/.38, .45LC. It does have the well known draw back of making your gun exceedingly dirty & prone to rust if not immediately cleaned.

          2. And you heard wrong… I think “Iraqveteran888” has an entertaining youtube video on that subject.
            BP in a gun designed for smokeless will just foul it up (and cause corrosion if you don’t clean it), it has several times less “power” then smokeless…also performance will suck, BP can’t even come close the projectile speeds attainable with NC propellants…
            However doing it the other way around with the volume of the powder being the same, you will probably cause destructive pressures, this turning the gun into a bomb.
            Under ideal conditions, smokeless burns with virtually no solid remains (everything is gaseous), while BP has a lot of solid remains. Guess which one generates more gases that do the work? ;-)

          3. Flashpaper burns in a flash, but without an initiator it doesn’t detonate, but the surface area and thus burn rate of nitrated cellulose paper is very high compared to the the burn speed of dissolved into a paste and plastic extruded and flaked, balled, or cylindrical smokeless powder which is often a mix for nitrocellulose and nitroglycerine with acetone used to soften it for forming(I seem to remember several preservative ingredients to prevent spontaneous burning and detonation). In fact dissolved and plastic formed nitrocellulose was the first available plastic, it made for exciting stories of explosive billiards balls and WW-II POWs blowing open door locks with crushed coat buttons.

      2. “not until after this family sues whichever company’s 3d printer their son had.”

        This happened in England – I sincerely doubt anyone will sue anyone.

        That flash paper contributed to the explosion sounds believable, but where did you read that? I can’t find reference in the BBC link or the Metro one. (I’ve not clicked on the Daily Mail link, seeing as it’s not remotely like a credible news source).

        In the spirit of the HaD article, though, I’ll readily confess to at least having more fingers than I deserve from my own teenage endeavors. Those incidents made me into the slightly more safety-conscious grown-up that I am today. It’s just a shame that the people would learn the most from the near-misses sometimes don’t get them.

    3. I can say I’ve been using hairspray for years and I’m still nursing off the same bottle. So I can’t imagine having gone through three in a short enough time that the empties would all still be present. Generally I get several prints out of a lite spritz before I will need to clean/reapply to my boro.

      A few people have mentioned other probably issues such as the probability that flash paper or other magic oriented combustibles where likely contributing factors. It seems harmless to most people since we muggles only see it as a puff of smoke in the occasional magic act but it isn’t anything to mess around with. When you pile enough of it together in one place like a magic shop it can be a significant hazard.

    4. As an ex firefighter… hairspray and aerosols are extremely volatile. It doesn’t take more than one can and a little bit of heat/ sparking to trigger a chain reaction (and they’re extremely scary when there’s more than one). My condolences to the boy and his family sounds like we lost a good hacker.

  3. It’s worth mentioning that the hairspray itself (apart from the propellant) is quite flammable, using ethers/alcohols and the like to assist in viscosity reduction of the hydrocarbon binders, which themselves may be flammable.

    It’s likely that the fine mist dispersion of product/solvents themselves that likely produced the bulk of the explosive effect.

    This is the primary reason it’s so popular as a fuel for potato guns and the like.

  4. This is really sad and an unfortunate reminder of my mom saying “its all fun and games until someone loses an eye.” We have a policy of shutting down our printers at the end of the day regardless of whether or not the print jobs are finished. It sets a good example for the students and I tell you, I’ve seen melted aluminum hot ends where the thermocouple came loose during printing and the heater carried on full tilt. Scary stuff.

    All the best to the family in this tragedy.

    1. “I’ve seen melted aluminum hot ends where the thermocouple came loose during printing and the heater carried on full tilt. Scary stuff.”

      This isn’t a knock on you, atomkemp, but I have to call “bullshit”:

      First and foremost, if the temperature sensor (or for that matter, the heater) falls out, the builder did something wrong at the beginning of the build or during maintenance of the machine. Thermistors can be cemented-in, screwed-in, secured with a crimped ferrule around the bulb and a grub screw from the side, or even fastened in with a wide-headed screw from outside, holding it in by its (insulated) wires. They can also be had in axial packages (wires out two separate holes, so nowhere to fall out to), which can then also be cemented-in. Hell, one could put an automotive hose clamp around the hotend to hold it in. Tape is the last method anyone should be using, but even THAT won’t fall out if it’s done right. Simply put, there’s just no reason for it to fall out, ever.

      Second, even a thermistor that’s just sitting loose in its hole would still read somewhat close to correct, just lower than normal. That would be true even if it were just laying against the outside of the hotend. If it were completely out of the hotend and not in enough contact with it, it’s going to be reading ambient air temperature. If the thermistor were to break a wire or otherwise lose connection, it would read zero degrees or close to it. If it shorts out, it will read excessively high. In all cases, a change in power sent to the heater would not result in a reasonable change in temperature, and good firmware will detect these conditions and shut the printer down.

      Third, the firmware should never be configured to operate with a reading over, say, 350C or so (e.g. far above even polycarbonate filament) . Aluminum melts at 660C, and properly-configured firmware would shut the machine down long before that became a risk.

      Finally, I have to ask wtf kind of over-powered heater was used in that case? :-) I can’t seem to find a reference, but even a common 12v/40W heater cartridge should be able to reach 300C without any trouble.

      1. The heaters will climb a fair bit when the temperature sensor is no longer attached. I had the sensor “fall out” of the hot end in my 2012 solidoodle. It set anything plastic that was touching the hot end on fire. Filament, peek plastic, etc. Pronterface reported the hot end at a comfortable 22C.

        Thankfully newer firmwares and hardware designs address this issue.

        I still gave away the solidoodle, then went and made a kossel-mini based printer with somewhat more focus on safety…

        1. I’m fairly surprised that this wasn’t dealt with earlier. The first time (or any other time after that) the software can calculate degrees temp above ambient per PWM unit and limit the future maximum PWM value to perhaps 1.2 times this value. Then you can’t have overheating problems that are too serious even if the sensor falls off.

          I would be interested to know how you improved safety as I have no experience with 3D printers and I have just bought 3 steppers with 14:1 reduction gearboxes to make a radial delta for drilling the holes in PCB’s. I will most likely add an extruder and hot bed at some stage.

          I am prototyping with RAMPS 1.4 and writing custom code so far just for testing but I might use one of the other code packages available.

        2. PS: The standard practice for mains voltage heater protection is a thermal fuse in series with the heaters power supply. They are cheep and will work fine with lower voltages and DC. So not including one of these is just plan dumb because there only a dollar or two and software bug immune.

          Just be warned that they are normally crimp connected. You *can* solder them but you have to be quick and buy an extra one just in case you aren’t quick enough. If the solder melts or breaks down then no problem because the fault condition is no power for fire.

          1. To protect your hotend you need a thermal fuse in the 270 to 300°C range. I think this could be soldered if you want, without damaging it. But you probably want a more thermally stable connection :-)

          2. Crimping is always better but you can get away with soldering when you are dealing with lower voltages because the leads are quite thick as there rated at 10 Amps so they have sufficient surface area to dissipate some heat in free air as long as you don’t trim the pig tails. Also as mentioned the fail condition, if the solder fails is the same as fusing and heating is disconnected.

      2. I don’t understand Vanessa’s reply. Obviously atomkemp saw a printer where the firmware was misconfigured, the physical construction was shoddy, and the power supply/thermistor combination was considerably more powerful than necessary. I don’t understand why she would say “these can’t happen beause you’d have to [a list of very probable things that almost certainly happened]”. A misconfigured 3D printer with poor design decisions is hardly a unicorn.

        1. It’s not that it can’t happen, rather that these days there’s just no reason for it. There are simply too many options that should ensure a safe and working thermal sensor. To ignore, avoid, or be unaware of *all* of them simply is inexcusable. That’s not even accounting for the use of thermal fuses, as others have mentioned.

  5. How much hair spray do you have to spray to trigger a conflagration of such magnitude that it sets fire to your house, let alone “a gigantic fireball”? Legit question, maybe it’s less than I imagine.

  6. Too many times have I looked back at something I did 6 months ago and think “holy shit that was dangerous! And I didnt even know!”. And I’m the kind of person who does 3 weeks of in depth research before I actually do anything. This is certainly a stark reminder that accidents do happen even with the best intentions.

  7. ive never had to use any of the usual weird methods for 3d printing. keep your kapton clean and it sticks every time. wipe it down with a lint free cloth and a dab of rubbing alcohol between prints. thats all i ever needed to do.

    1. We tested pretty much all methods at Ultimaker. We didn’t find a case where hairspray would give a better result then other less messy options. So even while the 3D printing community keeps promoting this method, there is no reason to do it.

      Staples gluestick is one of the best options we found, easy to apply, not messy at all, and very good adhesion.
      Else, Buildtak never seems to fail in getting things to stick, even materials that won’t stick to anything else.

        1. Classic UHU is like a clear rubber cement kind of stuff. Classic Elmers is a white glue, then you say PVA, so can you clarify whether you are talking about solid glue sticks, the classic types of glues indicated by the brand names, or something else?

      1. Thanks for mentioning this. If safer alternatives exist, then the industry and its community needs to promote them, and to spread info about the dangers of others.

        I know very little about the 3D printing process, or its community, and we all know that “hacking” is often celebrated as an independent, non-conformist, rules-breaking activity, but if the community is still promoting needlessly risky tips like hairspray, they need to cut that out.

  8. I read another article which stated the home was also a magic shop owned by the family. Apparently the 3D printed sat on a stack / or sat on a desk above a stack of flash paper, which ignited from the fire and made the situation occur very fast. It’s hard to imagine enough hair spray to be used over time to cause a fire, but one possible explanation was the bottle of hairspray was placed on the heatbed, which made the can hot enough to combust. Hopefully others can learn from this and prevent this from happening again.

  9. Butane has an autoignition temperature of 288 °C therefore a hot print head could definitely ignite it. Regardless of exactly what happened, using a 3D printer in an (obviously) unventilated space is idiotic.

    Then again he could also have been huffing and then lit up a cigarette, kids these days….

          1. I worry about the one’s that are not dead, yet, because unlike your kind I am useful and know how to get a message across, even if you don’t like it.

    1. Most of us posting to this site have been an idiot many times over. This kid just didn’t get as many lessons as we have. I morn the death of a kindred spirit that was trying to learn and paid the price of Prometheus.

          1. You don’t worry about the dead ones. My point is if you have a near miss with disaster it helps other people if you share that knowledge, even if you wrap it in black humour, and the SJWs can just go and die in a corner for all I care as they are essentially useless trolls and time wasters.

  10. This guy must have done something utterly stupid and unreasonable. I think that throwing 3D printing in the title is clickbait and giving it unearned bad reputation (in the minds of uneducated people who both don’t have any prior opinion and read only the headlines)

    1. i cant count the number of times mom damn near set the house on fire trying to make coffee. its not like she drinks esspresso or anything, just regular instant coffee. she is notorious for melting my pans. there is a nice scorch mark on the counter where she put the overheated pan to cool down. good thing i had a spare fire extinguisher. i finally coughed up the bills for her to have a microwave. but its only a matter of time until she figures out how to light the house on fire with it.

      the morale of this story, is that mundane things can be utterly dangerous in the wrong hands.

  11. Whatever this guy did, it wasn’t simply applying a thin coat of hairspray to a printbed. He either sprayed like the whole can at once, or there were some other highly flammable or explosive materials around. Either way, nothing to do with 3D printers or “unregulated online tutorials”, as the BBC article claimed.
    Also, Suicides happen. Just sayin’.

  12. This sad. This shouldn’t happen ever again. Workspace safety is no joke.
    It also reminds me that you can earn a darwin award very easily.
    The source of fire may have been also a shorting LiPo or trying to smooth a 3d printed part with heat by a small flame.

    1. Oh my God, that’s hilarious!! You’re actually the first person in years to discover that my name rhymes with a luncheon meat product!!! I mean, when was the last time I heard that – maybe third grade? Congratulations on reaching such lofty heights of wit and social commentary.

  13. My moment of reflection is that it’s well past time I invest in a fire extinguisher for my workstation. Cause right now my fire plan pretty much consists of shouting obscenities at the blaze and hoping it goes out on it’s own.

    1. A bucket of sand could be a good first measure (depending on the materials around). It does much less damage to electronics and metal tools in comparison to salt-powder or wet foam based extinguishers and is much cheaper to re-fill. You can always contemplate about destroying everything in the room after you have thrown a pile of sand on it.

  14. Propane from hair spray? I looked at the ingredients (online) in the hair spray I use and there is no mention of propane. Does that really made sense given people could use this around a hair dryer?

        1. Hmm… I know some cans use nitrogen as propellant, but I guess the typical hairspray contents aren’t soluble in it?
          Anyway, fun fact: CFCs were invented to save lives lost to people smoking while shaving with flamable shaving foams, at least according to my chemistry teacher.

  15. Even 3D printer companies suggest using hair spray on the bed. At Maker Faire one guy with a huge delta 3D printer was spraying down the whole bed with the stuff. Meanwhile… the guy on the video says don’t do it. Humm

    1. A manufacturer commented upthread that they don’t recommend hairspray, and safer alternatives were mentioned. So the community needs to get their heads together on this.

      If hairspray is actually a useful product in this application, then guidelines for its safe use should be established and published, so that no-one’s following some online advice without also knowing the caveats.

  16. I have this cunning plan to make a safety bunker for a 3D printer.

    First I’ll get a load of rust which is like iron that’s already burnt, so that stuff should be safe, then I’ll get some heat resistant plastic like teflon and grind a bunch of that in it, then I’ll use a bunch of gelatine as a binder, that will make it solid but slightly rubbery, impact absorbing, am I thinking with my head or what? But this will make up to some shitty color and we want it to look all technical and futury, so I’ll just mix a bunch of aluminum power in for color, get it all shiny looking….

    Then, I’ll build a double walled enclosure with it, with RC hobby lithium battery packs between the walls, because isolated power source, duh, and those are the cheap heeeeyuuuuge capacity ones… I spared no expense, I just bought more than I woulda got with shitty LiPos….

    Anyway, the enclosure is double walled, and goes right round the printer, and, you stick the batteries down inside the walls and then fill in with more of the cementy type stuff on top so no noxious gases can escape, gotta think about safety..

    Now any time you wanna run all night, it’s fine, just pop a sheet of plywood on top and weight it down with the waste bucket from beside the bandsaw….

    And any time you’re spraying any excess solvent around or leak propane from the window AC you refilled last year, just take a moment to suck it up with the shopvac, that’s what’s it’s there for people!

    ;-)

    1. Don’t forget the polyurethane foam to protect it from damage. And a side effect would be sound adsorption, printers are loud and I can’t get any sleep while one is running.

  17. Please fix the headline of this. At most the hotplate of the printer “may” have been the spark that ignited the overuse of hairspray that caused improperly stored flash paper to explode. Considering the amount used it could have been a spark from anywhere, even a wall outlet. This sort of sensationalist headline is what people point to in order to say something is unsafe. This isn’t a 3d printing tragedy. It’s a mishandling of dangerous combustibles tragedy.

  18. I don’t see that these are the correct facts at all. It says he died of smoke inhalation and he had burns to his hands, face an respiratory tract.

    While people are talking about the amount of flammables needed for the fire/explosion, no one is considering the impact of those same concentrations on the human respiratory system.

    At the concentrations being discussed a human could not maintain consciousness in the short term and would ultimately die from the harm caused to the lungs.

    I used to use hair spray and later clear acrylic paint to remove wasps that enter the workshop. The hair spray is like instant glue that seals the insect in its own personal custom cocoon mid flight so it would simply drop out of the air and onto the floor instantly.

    Any significant concentration of hair spray would have a devastating effect of lung function long before explosive levels. Even the irritation to the throat would cause someone to cough strongly and desperately try to get away from the source. So unless he made some device to keep the can spraying while unattended and then returned, the facts presented do not make sense.

    Such a tragedy for such a young man and his family.

    I personally would never allow hair spray to be heated in any way out of fear of what chemical reactions may cause toxic emissions.

      1. Yes, even your life matters to someone. Implying this kid was stupid* is an asshole move though and that means your life doesn’t matter to me – so please FOAD.

        (* a very stupid thing to do given the lack of information and also the fact that the brightest minds can make mistakes that in retrospect seem stupid)

        1. The brightest minds making stupid mistakes means they’re being stupid. Saying someone is being stupid isn’t a definition of who they are, it just means they’re doing something stupid. The kid in question died while doing something stupid. He was stupid.

  19. Sad to hear.
    I have grown up lucky to keep all my fingers eyes etc.

    Things I’ve learned. Wear eye protection. Have a method for extinguishing fires.
    Human lungs are fragile, almost all sprayed chemicals should be done outside (where I live the climate permits this). Even the “spray and cook” kitchen stuff.

    1. But hairspray is usually used indoors, it is designed for this. It is also designed to be used on the human body. So it should be no problem, except if way to much is sprayed at once or other things add up.

      1. It’s designed to put some kind of coating glue on your hairs.
        The spray makes it highly volatile, do you want this glue in your lungs ?
        Many things are “sold to be” used indoors, it doesn’t make less armful. Sprays such as bug-killing, plastic-renovation, Odour-killers (with bacteria killing agents) are as dangerous to your lungs as the hairspray.
        They are designed to be used indoor only if you use a really small amount in a well ventilated area.

  20. I have done something similar in the past.

    I had one of those plastic 5 gallon buckets you have get from hardware store.
    I was trying to dissolve some Styrofoam with gasoline to make some lo-tech napalm.
    I succeeded at doing that, wiped out the remains of the bucket, and decided to see what would
    happen if I threw a match into the bucket.

    A fireball came out and singed my eyebrows….

  21. Just a passing thought, the building housed a retail “business” that no doubt, had a workshop co-located within the confines of the magic shop. As a magician, ham radio (Extra) operator) electronics builder/hacker, radio control drone/helicopter model builder pilot and photographer, how much stuff can you push into a work shop! If it was a magic shop the family owned there, they probably built a few different illusions or repaired some, I’ll wager, multiple sources of chemicals and or paint may NOT have been properly stored in suitable flame proof metal industrial. lockers…Look at it for what it was, a young man died because of possible failure to use the proper safety precautions and because of too many unknowable variables, a family suffers a tragic loss…..Whose fault? Probably never be known, all that really maters is a family lost a member and mourns…let’s all try to do it a little bit of better by giving an extra eye to personal safety and respects the family’s grief and loss. Pray for their loss if you pray, or just consider them in your mind/heart and carry on…

    Larry
    KE5QMH

  22. “the online material didn’t mention that hairspray propellant contains volatile hydrocarbons like propane, cyclopropane, n-butane and isobutane — all highly flammable.”
    absolute garbage, every 17y/o in existence knows that aerosol spray cans are flammable. even before the internet children knew this. I cant comprehend that there are people alive that haven’t done or seen this done before school leaving age.
    I would say it must be pretty difficult to burn down a house with just a can of hair spray, even if it burst or exploded there just isn’t enough energy to start a large enough fire quickly enough that a capable and conscious person couldn’t have dealt with.
    just goes to show that risk assessments aren’t just pointless pen pushing by jobsworth fun ruiners. even just a couple of minutes to stop and think about what could go wrong prevents dreadful things like this.

  23. maybe the hairspray can burst because he sat it on the heated bed?

    But come on people get some PEI! PLA, ABS, PETG, Nylon all stick to it, the only thing that wont that ive found is Delrin.

  24. Frankly, from the 3D printing hobbyists I’ve seen, I’m surprised somebody hasn’t blown themselves up with dangerous implementations of the acetone vapor-phase reflux process for making fused smooth model surfaces.

  25. “Unsafe Practices Take a Life”…. this kid had it coming for lack consideration to vapor safety – if it wasn’t the 3d printer, it would have been him spraypainting or using a solvent.

  26. The latent heat source of the print head would not be enough to trigger the explosion. Just not enough energy. Somehow one of the cams exploded, and caused a chain reaction with the other cans in the room, along with the explosive material nearby all mixed within a closed space. The fault doesn’t lie with a machine but the user, which sucks. Never know what day is your last, and nothing can truly be done to change the time. Hope the dude believed in Jesus. This would a good opportunity though to educate others on stoichiometry.

  27. So many possible factors are involved. It is clear that the room was badly ventilated which is a bad idea if working with any device that involves melting something (soldering,3D-printing,etc), There probably were other flammable compounds stored there (magicians love their smoke and Flash-paper), Lapse in judgement in relying on web info, Possibly working to long, Perhaps a faulty hairspray can/mixture. Those are just a few factors.

    I know makers/hackers often have to make due with less ideal conditions and resort to hacks and such, but when i look at this this was a recipe for disaster waiting to happen. Even if you think it’s safe never throw caution into the wind and be sure to take a critical look at your working environment and make sure it is safe, especially when dealing with flammable/toxic/lethal projects.

    To be fair tough i wasn’t that cautious when i was younger either. I used to do stuff on my desk without any precautions, You don’t expect a arduino or a battery to blow up, but ive since learned of the risks with electronics and have taken precautions, replacing cheap tools by reliable ones, make sure i got proper ventilation and even having my own personal Extinguisher in case of a fire.

    It is a shame a life is lost, but if lucky it will trigger people to take precautions, if unlucky 3d-printers are gonna get vilified.

  28. I’m always surprised not to read stories like this about vapour polishing. Acetone makes really easy explosive atmospheres even ambient, then there are the people who heat it. When challenged people normally say there isn’t that much and it is contained in an airtight box – clearly not realising that is the recipe for a really dangerous explosion rather than boring old fire.

  29. I’m not sure if I have ever burnt hair spray but as a kid I used to squirt WD-40 and sometimes even Ether across a lighter to warm myself while working in an unheated garage. I also disposed of a bunch of old spray paint cans in a burning barel. They didn’t explode, they took off like rockets but with no fins they twisted around through the air very unpredictable.

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