Food-grade 3D printing filaments include PLA, PP, copolyester, PET, PET-G, HIPS and nylon-6, as well as some brands of ABS, ASA and PEI. Having to run parts through the dishwasher rules out PET, nylon and PLA because these plastics soften and distort between 60 and 70°C. Fiber-optic polypropylene remains one of our favorite materials for its durability and flexibility. We wanted them to go one step further to certify that it is safe for food, but until then we still love it because of its non-toxic rating and compliance.
In the heating step, this lead can contaminate the printing material, making it unsuitable for food safety. If it is now possible to print food in 3D, it is also possible to create complete objects, small or large parts, and any type of device that can be used to handle food, or simply related to food. Even if you don't plan to sell your food-grade 3D printed items, it's worth the effort to come up with a plan. But let's ignore the horrors of genital reduction of plastics in general and limit the scope of this effort to the more pressing toxicological aspects of 3D printed plastics.
For this reason, upgrading to an all-metal hot end can make your 3D printer more suitable for manufacturing food-safe products. To start with food-safe 3D printing, here are some of the most popular filaments that have received FDA certification. Although PLA is promoted as a biodegradable filament synthesized from the sugars found in corn or sugar cane, different brands introduce various additives to improve the printability, durability, and other physical characteristics of printed parts. Although FDA has conducted due diligence and issued approvals for reputable filaments, it still cannot control unknown print temperature variables and unpredictable use cases.
There is a product called Max Crystal Clear Epoxy Resin on Amazon that is designed only to coat 3D printed PLA, PVC and PET to make it food safe. This means that it is the safest 3D printer filament available for prolonged exposure to food at room temperature or below. These are the ways in which the 3D printing process itself renders plastics no healthier than they are accused of being, starting with the peculiar way FDM 3D printers tend to make plastic objects. It will be tempting to make something as special as a homemade utensil an option in your kitchen, but the more it comes into contact with food, the more dangerous it will be.
As with any other manufacturing process, certain modifications must be made to 3D printing to ensure that finished products are safe for prolonged contact with food. Not only does this prevent cross-contamination, but it also makes it easier to customize a 3D printer with parts more appropriate for food-safe printing.