In today’s article, I show you how to make an enclosure for a 3D printer yourself. We will use 3d printed parts, plexiglass, and the cheapest IKEA LACK tables.
Creating an enclosure for a 3D printer is a good idea because of several aspects. First of all, a properly made enclosure provides insulation for the printer. In this way, it does not collect dust and dirt, which is quite important for correct prints. In addition, such a cover makes it more difficult for us to accidentally damage the printer – if no elements of it stick out from behind the desk or table, the device is more secure. An undoubted advantage is also the great appearance of such construction.
3D printer enclosure – what is it used for?
However, the reason why people use cover for 3D printers is the specific requirements of some filaments. These are characterized by various properties, including susceptibility to shrinkage. When printing a given element, the head heats up the filament. As it cools down, it may shrink more or less. When the temperature difference is quite large – the shrinkage is greater, which can completely spoil the printout. The problem is especially visible and troublesome with larger prints. Why? The heated bed radiates heat, which allows the printed layer to cool down a little longer, which reduces shrinkage. The higher we print, the temperature difference is greater, which also affects shrinkage. You have to also consider movement of air in the room with the printer. Enclosure makes the temperature around the printer much higher than in the room and relatively constant. All 3D printers already equipped with covers are available in stores. However, a quite popular solution is the use of shadeless tents used in product photography, or building your own enclosure using the popular and fairly cheap IKEA LACK tables.
3D printing: Which materials require the printer to be built in, and which do not?
For what materials is a printer enclosure not needed? PLA, TPU, PETG, Carbon-PLA, Silk, Wood-PLA. What is it useful for? Mostly ABS, Carbon-Nylon, ASA, Nylon.
Budujemy własną zabudowę drukarki 3D
The project below assumes the use of 3 IKEA LACK tables, 3-millimeter thick acrylic sheets, a PIR motion sensor for 12V, a 2835 led strip, a 12V power supply built into the plug, temperature sensor with display and your favorite PLA filament. The total construction cost was about 55 euro.
The design includes quite an interesting assembly method, but also a lot of elements. Depending on your preferences, you can choose different solutions. You can make the entire cover firmly hold on the table, make the top plate easily and quickly removable, or thing removable.
The elements responsible for holding the plexiglass are made in 3 versions. The first one is fixed – they are screwed to both the legs of the table top and the table itself. The second has no filling inside. They are placed on an additional element that is screwed to the top. In this way – after lifting, for example, the entire cover, the fixings remain in the table top. This allows for quick disassembly and installation of the cover without the need for adjustment. The third type of handles are elements with a hinge. As you can imagine, thanks to them we’ll have a door.
A popular solution is to move the filament spool mounting outside the structure – above the table top. However, I wanted to have everything hidden inside, which is why my structure is higher (I bought 3 IKEA tables to use additional legs, and the top will be used for a different project). This required reworking the source design and adding the middle supports and leg connectors. The simplest solution turned out to be the best – the middle elements are “mirror-connected into one thing” mounts. STL files for download at the end of the article.
When creating the cover, I wanted to improve several elements at once. I wanted to eliminate the need to turn on the light when checking the print status. That is why I decided to take care of light and, in a way, automation.
In the garage, I found old aluminum profiles for LED strips, as well as the remnant of the LED 2835 spool. They are cool because they do not heat up much – so you can use more of them and more densely. Color cool white: about 6,000 Kelvin. I cut the profile into 3 sections. Central 50 cm, and sides – 2x25cm. I designed handles for them, which I printed in black PLA.
Inside the enclosure is the printer’s power cord. I also added two additional ones – LED wires, and a temperature sensor probe. The detachable mount to the table had a version with a hole for wires, but a similar solution was missing in the fixed version. I made it over by adding a small hole just right for the wires. This way it is nicer and tighter, and the cables are well hidden and released outside the housing.
I have designed one more element – a box placed at the top of the table top. There is a 12V power input from the antenna power supply, PIR sensor, LED power output, temperature display and output for the measurement probe.
I connected everything in such a way that if the sensor detects motion within 3 meters, it turns the power on for 15 seconds. This automatically activates the LEDs and the temperature sensor that shows the current temperature measurement inside enclosure on the display. Just in case, so as not to burn down either the 3D printer or the house.
Final effects and what’s to be done
The temperature measurement after a 4-hour PLA 200/60 printout was 32 degrees at a room temperature of 20 degrees. As part of subsequent modifications, I am considering shortening the legs to the height of the top of the filament spool.
Files to download:
- Plexi Holder Extender with hinge
- Plexi Holder Extender no hinge
- Plexi Holder fixed with hole
- Modded Hinge for extender
- LedProfile HolderPlexiHolderExtender-hinge.stl
- LedProfile Holder Corner