Open Letter to Snapmaker re: Air Purifier

Dear Snapmaker,

There has been a lot of talk (mostly negative from what I’ve seen) regarding the new Air Purifier product. According to the quick start guide at: https://s3.us-west-2.amazonaws.com/snapmaker.com/download/manual/Snapmaker2_Air+Purifier_EN_V1.0.0.pdf, the user is to “Put the unattached end of the hose outdoors.”

I’m an attorney and I understand that such language may be placed in a user manual purely in order to limit Snapmaker’s liability. But, this message presents a very real problem for Snapmaker and its customers. On one hand, I applaud Snapmaker for making such a tightly-integrated filtering product. But, the current stance of Snapmaker on the use of the Air Purifier is unacceptable. The conclusion one is led to is: either a) Snapmaker has produced an insufficient air filtering product, which doesn’t adequately filter out pollutants, or b) Snapmaker doesn’t have confidence in its own product such that it is comfortable with the potential for liability if the Air Purifier exhaust is left indoors. Either conclusion is not acceptable.

Your competition, such as Glowforge, produce air filters that are specifically designed for indoor use. Although it is more expensive at $999.00, Glowforge advertises that their air filter is safe to use indoors.

Your users want a product that is capable of being used entirely indoors. To many users, there is zero value add if the exhaust of the Air Purifier must still be vented outdoors.

I believe that the users deserve a clear and formal statement from Snapmaker vis a vis the efficacy and safety of the Air Purifier. What it boils down to is a formal answer to these questions:

  1. Does Snapmaker believe that its Air Purifier product is safe to use entirely indoors? In other words, does it actually do what it claims to do in terms of filtering the air and “purifying” it?

  2. Is Snapmaker willing to agree that such a use is not “unintended” without the qualifying/liability-limiting language currently in the product literature?

If the answer to Question 1 is No, you will limit your customer base for such a product because, in the eyes of users, there would be no point to having such a filter if the end result (venting outside) is the same.

If the answer to Question 2 is No, this will also limit your customer base for the product because it would be a clear message that Snapmaker is not willing to stand behind its products.

I sincerely hope that the answers to both questions are Yes as I am a fan of your products. I hope to hear from you soon.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Schmidt

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Snapmaker will not respond to anything inconvenient.

Many people have submitted suggestions and bug reports to GitHub.
However, they are rarely adopted and are not reflected in the firmware updates.

They are only focused on selling.
It’s really a disappointing management policy.

This question he wrote should be taken seriously and answered by Snapmaker.

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Thank you for your response. @Snapmaker-Support? @Melitta_Snapmaker?

In the hopes of raising awareness at Snapmaker about this post, I penned the following e-mail:

I tweeted to @snapmaker about this also:

Sent them a message on Facebook:

I have sent multiple e-mails to various YouTubers in order to raise awareness of this issue.

Received this kind response from YouTuber EBPMAN.

For anyone interested in more information on the importance of filtration when using laser, see my post here: Information on Laser Safety - Air Venting or Filtering

There’s another option here you’re not considering. Snapmaker seems to be targeting the market that wants to protect the environment by filtering their exhaust air before it goes outside, to be diluted in the vastness of the atmosphere. It adds only a few dollars per hour in operating cost, maybe only doubling the total cost of operation. It’s principally providing the benefit of emotional well-being to people that don’t have time, skill, or inclination to learn about actual risks and yet also want the mollification that they are good people willing to spend good money to protect the environment.

There’s a market for that, for people who are buying the image but not the substance. That’s already the marketing approach Snapmaker has taken with the design, engineering, and manufacturing of their product in general; it looks good on the outside but the inside is a mess. There’s no reason to believe their air filter product would be any different.

I totally agree that is a possibility in terms of their target market. I’ve thought about that. But, if that’s the case, then they need to say so. “Help save the environment by using our Air Purifier, but don’t think for a second that the output of our air purifier is clean enough to vent indoors.” I have no idea if any of these types of chemicals that are released are harmful to the environment in the form and quantity that would be present pre- and post-filtering.

EDIT: Another post I read triggered a thought about this angle. If the environment is the reason for using the filter, is it actually beneficial to use a replaceable filter cartridge that will likely end up in a landfill when it technically constitutes hazardous waste?

Tagging @staff in the hopes of getting a response.

Tagging @W_Jing in the hopes of getting a response.

@JonnieCache thats a new Snapmaker employee, probably Edwin’s replacement. He doesn’t quite know very much yet, still needs to learn more. He told a lady on the fb group to reinstall Luban when she has a defective enclosure port hub.

Hi Jonnie,

We truly admire your professionalism as an attorney and thank you for bringing attention to this topic.

For Snapmaker, responsibility and safety are our top priorities, that’s why we are taking a step further to make this first air purifier for 3DP and laser in the first place, and we hold every word accountable. However, it doesn’t mean we’re not confident with our products.

Regarding the first question,

  • Does Snapmaker believe that its Air Purifier product is safe to use entirely indoors? In other words, does it actually do what it claims to do in terms of filtering the air and “purifying” it?

The reason why we recommend: “connecting the hose on the Enclosure to the Air Inlet, and the new hose to the Air Outlet. Secure all hose clamps. Put the unattached end of the hose outdoors” in the quick start guide is to ensure the ultimate safety for all users and in all situations.

On the one hand, based on our research, every country has different standards of indoor emission, which is hard to align. On the other hand, the emission generated during the process of 3D printing and laser cutting & engraving depends on the material used, and how the user uses the machine. However, we have no control over this, which makes it hard to determine the exact effect they have on the human body even after filtration.

It is not an issue about “if we believe our product is safe to use entirely indoors”, but if we are believers of science and probability.

Regarding the second question,

  • Is Snapmaker willing to agree that such use is not “unintended” without the qualifying/liability-limiting language currently in the product literature?

Based on the above-mentioned reasons, our choice of words was careful with the responsible considerations of all possible circumstances.

The Air Cartridge was testified and proven by authoritative third-party organizations, mainly on the main emission generated from 3D printing and laser cutting & engraving process including the VOCs and PM. Among similar products with the same price range in the market, our Air Cartridge has a high 95.9% filtration efficiency (PM0.3-0.5). Feel free to check out the full reports here.

Hope this answers your questions and thanks for your attention and support for Snapmaker.

Best regards,

Team Snapmaker

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I really don’t understand what you are trying to instigate? That it is false advertising?

We have a large laser cutter with a professional filtering system that costs a few thousand bucks and that too needs a vent to the outside. I have actually never heard of a system that does just filter the air so perfectly that you can leave it indoors. Also because of the pressures and so on, the air is actually slightly warmer coming out of the filter and would cause the room to heat up gradually.

An air purification that is 100% effective while leaving the air at the same temperature and humidity as the ambient air in the room is physically impossible. Having a CNC or laser cutter in your living room is equally unrealistic. Just like you wouldn’t have a table saw in your living room, but you would either use it in some workshop or garage or outdoors. What makes you think a 3D printer or CNC or laser cutter is any different.

I agree they could have made it more clear that it needs a connection to the outside, but anyone looking into air filtration will quickly realise that 99.9% of air filters need a vent to the outside and if you blindly believe that it will work like magic and not leave any odours or remaining particles you’ve quite frankly done so little research into CNC and Laser Cutting, that you probably shouldn’t own a machine like that.

No company will ever claim that it is 100% safe, because of people like you who are just looking for opportunities to sue them. There are simply too many parameters that they cannot predict like what materials you will use, how large the room is, etc. etc. If there is a company that DOES claim that, please let us know so we can buy this miracle machine. The Glowforge only claims that the air contains “fewer particles” than normal air. That does not mean the air is less harmful than before. I am almost certain that this does not mean it will contain less harmful gasses and odours because those are almost impossible to filter out with normal (non-industrial) means.

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Thank you for your well-worded response. This provides me with the information that I needed.

I completely understand the complexity of the problem due to the indefiniteness of the materials to be utilized with your machine. The problem for many people is that we want a filter that makes the exhaust air safe for human exposure. For me and other people, there is no point in filtering if it still must be vented outdoors.

Without meaning to give legal advice, I believe that it needs to be more clearly stated what the filter can and can’t do. Granted, you have mentioned it in the one sentence in the manual, but I believe users deserve more notice than that.

I have sent an e-mail asking that my order for the filter be cancelled.

Thank you,

Jonathan

My posts are not about suing. They are about the end user understanding the capabilities and limits of a given product (in this case the Air Purifier) so that no one is harmed in order to prevent lawsuits. Snapmaker needs to be completely transparent about what their filter does and doesn’t do so that the users can make up their own minds.

See Glowforge’s filter product at glowforge.com. Some info here: https://glowforge.com/faq/tech-specs#whats-the-optional-air-filter

Quote from the FAQ:

What’s the optional Air Filter?

The Glowforge Air Filter lets you put your printer anywhere. It’s about the size of a recycle bin, and it sits on the ground near your Glowforge printer, connected by a hose. It cleans the air from the Glowforge unit and returns the filtered air to the room. That means it’s safe to operate your Glowforge anywhere in your home, school, or office when the instructions are followed.

In fact, the filtered air has significantly fewer particles than typical indoor air. Alternatively, you can use your Glowforge near a window with the included hose.

(emphasis added)

Not only is Glowforge’s laser more powerful (which presumably means more chemicals released in the process), but they specifically state that the filtered air is safe for completely indoor use. So clearly, it can be done.

Yes, but they state quite clearly on the website what it does:

Wether you deem that save enough is something you should research yourself, because legally it would mean they would have to check the regulations of every country they sell to and see that no matter what allowed material you use the levels of particles does not exceed that countries regulations. The Glowforge just makes that claim but does not actually provide as clear numbers as the Snapmaker Air Purifier.

The Snapmaker Air filter costs half the price of the Glowforge, the cartridges are actually less than half price.

Like I said, this is not a normal household appliance, it is a specialised machine that you are getting an air filter for. They should be able to assume that you are doing your own basic research or due diligence to know wether you consider it save or not. But all the numbers are there.

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Thank you for responding to the inquiries presented.

While the answer may not be what I was hoping to hear (that being the device will let you exhaust indoors), at least you have explained your rationale and reasoning so people can make their own decisions.

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