Picture of 3D Printer Enclosure
Not long after assembling my 3D Printer (the Schlabricator ), my wife, Beehive, AKA She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed, banished my beloved, but slightly odorous machine to the garage. The structure, originally built for Model-T era vehicles, is behind the house and unusable as a garage, owing to a gnarled Russian Olive that obstructs the driveway.  There is power to the building, but no heat, and therein lies the motivation for building an enclosure for my Printrbot.  When the weather is coolish - in the 40's - it takes an inordinate amount of time for the heated bed to actually heat up. I have experimented with insulating the glass with a blanket of paper sheets, but it still takes far too long, and the temperature plummets when the "blanket" is removed. 

UPDATE: I've been using this enclosure almost daily since I built it and I can tell you two things: it works great at trapping heat and controlling the thermal environment around your printer, and that the vent is a useless vanity. Sure, it looks cool, but if it is warm enough to warrant venting the enclosure (as it was occasionally during the summer), I just pull the hinge pins and remove the door. DON'T drop the door! Just sayin'   I am building a smaller enclosure for another home-built 3D printer that I am dedicating to ABS after frustrating experiments with PLA. 

Other uses for a 3D printer enclosure might include mitigating fumes, noise abatement, or protection from dust or inquisitive felines.  Regardless, join me on my 3D Plexiglass adventure...

If interested, we are about to release the 3DPrintClean enclosure and filtration system. Our system enables 3D printing in PLA, ABS, HIPS, and other media,
without external ventilation. See: www.3dprintclean.com
for details.

jad514 months ago

Nice work looks awesome, thinking of making one of these, but will use Lexan as perspex is terrible.

bobnik made it!5 months ago

We built as spec'd with very minor modifications. Our magnetized front panel is one entire side of the enclosure. It's cold inside (New England winter), so we suspended a terrarium clamp lamp inside. Now, with an ambient temperature between 90-100, our ABS prints are very consistent with no warping. And yes, it both migitates fumes and helps with noise. Thank you for this design.

hchandhok1 year ago
Brilliant work! I love how you've used the printer to print out your own parts. One small suggestion, if I may, would be to add a small thermometer inside to monitor the temperature. Good luck!
jcduplessis2 years ago
Ha ha ha! My "She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed" has also requested my printer be banished to the garage! I am also in the progress of assembling and building a housing. Thanks for your ideas!
danbemp2 years ago
This is really impressive work, good job.
schlem (author) 2 years ago
PS If you want your own Skulltruder extruder gear set for your Printrbot or RepRap (Wade's Extruder) in laser-sintered nylon, get one here: http://www.shapeways.com/model/918202/skulltruder.html?li=productBox-search
schlem (author) 2 years ago
I have done some experimentation with "Gap-filling" super glue (cyanoacrylate), bonding ABS and Acrylic. I am satisfied that the bond is strong enough for the purpose of building an enclosure. Super glues are ubiquitous, and the gap filling property will accommodate the rougher surface of a 3D printed bracket and provide a strong joint. Also ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene), Acrylic [Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA)], and Cyanoacrylates are all chemically cousins, in that they contain acrylic variations.


Hope this helps
I also have a very old barn / carriage house which is 1600 square foot two floors which will someday make a great work shop / art studio. We have been working on restoring it for the last 15 years and it just needs interior finishing work like electric, isulation and interior walls + heat and air conditioning. It was a wreck and we were told just to tear it down but, I am glad we did not because it is 100 times better than it used to be it is just taken a long time. So maybe yours will be worth restoring some time. it does give you a feeling of pride when you save a building that is about 130 years old and still standing. Hope you restore yours you will be glad you did.
If you put tape in the spots where you are going to drill into the plexiglass and put the plexiglass on anouther piece of plexiglass or teflon sheet it shoud stop the cracking and chipping. This has worked well for me for at least 95% of the time.
schlem (author) 2 years ago
For the curious, this is the 3D Printer I assembled from a kit: http://printrbot.com/shop/plus/
I am delighted with it.
Check out Printrbot's full lineup:
FoamboardRC2 years ago
I noticed that your 3D printer looks laser cut. Is this some kit that you bought?
schlem (author) 2 years ago
@canibul Thanks for the suggestion, but methinks you did not understand that it is the heating plate, itself, that doesn't heat up in a cooler environment due to convection and radiant loss. The thermistor measures a temperature under the heated bed, not at the glass/Kapton. The enclosure minimizes convective air movement and traps an envelope of warmer air around the printer.
Voted !!!

Very Tidy Design, one day i will have the money to buy a 3D printer and from what ive read about heated beds and making 3D models, whatever's being printed likes to be inside a heated enclosure better than in open-air so this case is an absolute MUST for me and my brainstorming (day-dreaming, lol) of owning a 3D printer lol !!

Very Well Done !!
Nice job. I'm hoping to get a 3D Printer one day in my near future. I would LOVE to have one... BTW, look up the meaning of Gimcrack... somewhat similar to Gizmacci.
zkus2 years ago
Pretty swanky enclosure. I particularly enjoyed the little filament feed mechanism.

I have an enclosure for my makerbot, which fits cleanly into the gaps of the bot, but is otherwise probably cruder than your design here.
Canibul2 years ago
If you exchange the glass for a suitable piece of aluminum plate, it will heat up just as fast as the heating pad on the Printrbot.

Aluminum is a fantastic thermal transfer medium. Glass, on the other hand, is used for insulation.

I'm just saying....
schlem (author) 2 years ago
The author of http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:22119 suggests using hot glue to join the ABS and Plexiglass. Great idea and possibly allows disassembly.
schlem (author) 2 years ago
@wastedbabies I am very happy with my choice of the Printrbot and the quality of what it prints. I enjoyed putting the kit together over a couple of weeks, but you can buy an assembled printer if you don't feel up to building a kit. I think assembling it is a nice way to really know how it works, and it gives you some bragging rights. There are lots of guides and videos and other instructions on the Printrbot website. I elected to just use a set of instructions (without watching the videos), but the videos, I have since learned, compliment the instructions and clarify a few gotchas that I fell into while assembling my Printrbot. Additionally, the Printrbot is a RepRap descendant, if that is important to you. You can also save some money if you opt for a smaller print volume. All in all, I think the Printrbot is a well designed printer, the kit was complete and relatively easy to assemble, and there is a lot of support available. Recommended!
schlem (author) 2 years ago
PS there is a parts and tools list, but I only broke out the cost for a few things. :^)
Would you recommend your 3D printer to someone looking to purchase one? Or have you discovered/heard of a better one since your purchase. FYI about $800 and bellow is my price range.
schlem (author) 2 years ago
At a minimum, $50 for the 5 plexiglass sheets, + $5? for the glue + $10 for the holes saws (if you need), and a handful of screws to hold it all down. I assume you have a printer and filament and tape and the other tools... You could pare it down if you can find 18 x 18 inch sheets for the front door and back wall, but you are going to need to trim off a nominal 1/4 inch from those sheets and you won't have any scrap to use for the bracing around the door.
1tri2god2 years ago
Great job!!! How much do you think you spent on parts, or is there a partslist with prices that I just missed?