Introduction: 3d Printer Enclosure From Upcycled Furniture

Having recently acquired a 3d printer, i quickly noticed that, despite calibrations, there were a few temperature-related problems.

The chief among them ws the amount of time the bed took to heat up, the room was not able to hold the temperature unless the doors were shut and the curtains pulled - this lead to another problem, I was overheating!

We also had problems with layer delamination on larger prints in ABS - something that could be solved by keeping the printer in a warmer environment.

I had a few "Lack" tables from IKEA laying about, and noticed that when stacked atop each other, the printer fit almost exactly inside, this gave me the idea to create an enclosure for the printer, how hard could it be?

Step 1: Parts, Consumables and Tools

After doing some research, I decided on a few things that I wanted for the enclosure

  • Transparent Windows on each side
  • Removable Door, rather than Hinged for ease of assembly
  • Extractor Fan to rapidly cool the environment
  • Voltage and Temperature Readings
  • Lighting
  • Mounts for the Controller Board, Pi and Power Supply on the back

With this in mind, I went online and purchased the parts I needed to buy, and grabbed the STLs for parts I could print

Parts

  • 2 IKEA Lack Tables
  • 4x Arcrylic Sheet 400x450x5mm
  • 12v LED Strip Lighting Reel
  • 120mm Computer Fan
  • 12v Digital Thermometer Display
  • 3-30v Digital Voltmeter Display
  • 2x Round Rocker Switches w/ LED
  • 8x Neodymium Magnet 10x3mm
  • 16x Corner Braces

Consumables

  • Wood Glue
  • Epoxy Adhesive
  • Silicone Sealant
  • Wood Screws
  • Rubber Grommets
  • Various M3 and M4 Bolts & Nuts
  • Heatshrink Tube, Various Sizes
  • 12v Wires
  • Hot Glue
  • 4x Wooden Pins

Printed Parts

Many of the tools and much of the advice used in this build were provided by my loca Makerspace SoMakeIt Southampton.

Step 2: Frame

First, get your two Tables, turn one of them upside down.

You want to drill the holes off-center in the bottom of the legs, as when it comes to drilling holes in the top of the other table, there is a metal screw that is used to attach the table top to the leg. Once you've drilled the holes in the bottom of the legs, use these holes as a guide to drill into the top of the other table.

Apply some wood glue to the wooden pins and insert them into the holes, make sure they're in tight. Then apply some glue to the other end of the pin, and some to the top of the table. Place the tables atop one another and using some gentle force, press down on the top table until the pins are fully seated. Don't be too vigorous with this assembly until it has dried overnight.

The added bonus of attaching the two tables together was a massive increase in stability, which should help to reduce the vibrations on your printer.

Step 3: Left Wall

This can be the right wall if you'd prefer - where I will have the printer sitting means easier access to these controls on the left side.

First, mark out the holes before you start drilling - you want to make sure you have enough room to fit everything.

The items that will go on this side are:

  • 120mm Fan
  • 2x Rocker Switch
  • Voltmeter and Thermometer

When drilling the arcrylic, you need to make sure that the bits you're using don't catch - this may cause the arcrylic sheet to shatter, which wouldn't make for a very good enclosure. Do this by starting with a 2mm/3mm bit, and working your way up to the size you need.

For the larger circles, use the hole saw with a bit in the middle to center it. Go slow, and be careful not to let the blade stick - the arcrylic will melt around the blade and possibly stick to it.

For the square holes (the voltmeter and thermometer), I used a rotary tool with a cutting disc.

The third image is just for example, do not remove the protective film yet.

This would all have been a lot easier with a Laser Cutter - I would strongly recommend using one of those if you have access to it.

Step 4: Front, Back and Right Walls

These walls are much easier than the Left wall.

The front wall only needs eight holes to attach the handles by. Place the handles on the sheet to mark where the holes need to be and drill them.

The Right wall can be left as-is

The Back wall needs mounting holes for the power supply and Print Controller. It also needs a hole for the PTFE filament tube to feed through, and a hole below the print controller for the wires.

Step 5: Assembly

Now that the wood glue has had some time to dry (At least for me, this was the beginning of day 2 of the build)

First, put some screws in to mount the power rack - I intend for the enclosure to be fairly self-contained, only needing one power lead and ethernet cable. Be careful when drilling the pilot holes, as the Lack is very cheaply manufactured - the walls are extremely thin. If you have access to some, expanding foam could be injected to provide something for the screws to grip better.

Then you'll want to measure and drill holes to mount the Corner Braces - these will be used to hold the arcrylic sheets. Mine were placed 3" from the legs, such that the arcrylic sheet would be held around 1" from the edge of the table. There are braces on the top and bottom table.

You may need to cut/sand your arcrylic sheets down to fit in the gap, I needed to remove about 5mm of material from the short edge of all of my sheets.

Hold the sheet against the corner braces and mark where the holes need to be drilled to fit the bolts. Drill the holes out, being careful not to shatter the arcrylic, and perform a test fit of your arcrylic before you remove the protective sheets.

During the test fit, I used some hot glue around the braces to provide some more stability.

Do not drill holes in the front arcrylic sheet - we shall be mounting magnets in the next step.

Step 6: Front Door Magnets

Use the epoxy to attach four magnets to some corner braces - I put the magnet on the inside of the brace, you will get a stronget attraction, and therefore a more robust door if the magnet is on the outside of the brace.

Once the epoxy has set, screw the braces down to the frame (the magnets may want to steal your screw, be careful!) and epoxy them in place. I used masking tape to stop the top braces from unsticking while the epoxy set.

Then, peel the protective film from the front door arcrylic, and place it against the braces. Mark the position of the magnets with a marker. Epoxy four more magnets to the arcrylic. At this point you should decide, based on the strength of the magnets, which side is the front of your door. Attach and tighten the handles.

Step 7: Wiring

Cut three strips of the lights, and solder some wire to one end, using red for positive and black for ground.

Using some 12v rated wire, and some heatshrink, I connected the three strips in parallel, and routed them towards the left side of the case, where the other wiring was taking place.

Following the diagram, I connected all the components, leaving two wires for 12v input and ground that would connect to the 12v power supply the printer runs from.

Step 8: Power, Pi and Brain

Peel the protective film off of the back of the rear arcrylic sheet and attach the Power Supply and Print Controller.

Use Epoxy to attach the Pi cradle.

Fix the panel to the back of the enclosure, and re-connect the wires from your printer to the controller. If you have an LCD, it is a better idea to run this cable ontop of the enclosure and fix it there.

Peel the film off of and attach the right panel once you have the wiring done.

Step 9: Final Assembly, Power Test and Sealing

After tightening all of the bolts that attach the walls to the frame, rin around the edges of the arcrylic with the silicone sealant. When applying silicone sealant, you're compressing the silicone slightly, so after you release the trigger, silicone will keep coming out of the nozzle. Bear this in mind less you make a mess!

Without connecting the power supply to your printer, attach the two wires from your enclosure wiring and run a test. Make sure that all of the components work and the voltage reading is stable.

Once the silicone has dried, you are ready to test your enclosure. Slice up something small and hit print. You should notice that the bed heats up a lot quicker (it cut the time mine took by about 20 minutes) and the temperature in the enclosure should rise slowly. Mine topped out at around 40c.

After the print is done, I tested the extractor fan, which was less than exciting - as I had forgotten to include an intake. Cracking open the door allowed for some airflow and the temperature inside quickly went back to room temperature.

With the enclosure, the room the printer is in is at a much more comfortable temperature, which is by far the biggest benefit in the summer months. I have yet to do a long print inside it, but I shall update this with the results

Comments

author
gc9n made it!(author)2017-03-02

my current IKEA tables is little bit diferent.

my internal distance between legs are 400X445 so now i have to cut 0,5cm excess plexiglass

author
gc9n made it!(author)2017-03-03

you have to modify the materials / Acrylic Dimensions. the correct dimensions in order to fit exactly inside the inner of the legs is 400X445 NOT 400X450

author
JohnB985 made it!(author)2017-05-07

what were you're measurements on the tables you bought? I noticed the black tables had a different measurement than the other colors.

author
frolen13 made it!(author)2016-09-05

It took time but it turned out great! It wasn't fun taking apart the printer to route cables however. But I am very happy with the results!

I ended up designing my own brackets to attach the two tables together. I'll attach the STL here

IMG_20160831_215748603.jpgIMG_20160831_220259.jpgLeg-Table link.stl
author
BroachW made it!(author)2017-03-10

How did you mount the controller to the underside?

author
ZakK16 made it!(author)2016-11-13

Can you elaboarte at all on how you ran your cables? What you had to disconnect and whatnot?

author
AndreasM38 made it!(author)2016-08-26

I used Ikea "Fabrikör" for my delta printer enclosure. This is a metal/glas cabinet which looks quite nice.

author
MartinR174 made it!(author)2016-12-31

Hello,

How does the Fabrikator work for you? Did you have to drill holes to route the power cable? Any issues with overheating? I'm thinking about getting this cabinet.

author
AndreasM38 made it!(author)2017-03-02

Hello Martin. Sorry for the very late reply. Yes, I was drilling many holes at the bottom for the power cable and top cover. I had no issues with overheating. The opposite was the case: I sealed the glass windows with Silicone in order to keep the temperature higher inside the cabinet.

author
SteveP229 made it!(author)2017-03-01

I am building this and adding a sainsmart digital relay board connected to my raspberry pi so I can control the fan(s) and lighting from the PI. I have some python scripts which can trigger the relays. These scripts will be triggered by commands I am adding to the OctoPi system menu. I have already added a wemo insight switch to power the printer on and off. I control the wemo through commands I have already added to the OctoPi system menu. The nice thing about the wemo insight switch is that it gives you information about how much power the printer uses. You can use this information to calculate the power cost of running the printer, which can be entered into the OctoPi cost addon, so you can have an accurate estimate of what each part you print actually cost you to produce.

I am also putting my cooling and venting fans in the bottom of the enclosure so I don't have to mount things on the acrylic panels. I will print enclosures for the thermometer and relay board do I can mount them, and the raspberry pi under the enclosure.

I have also seen other versions of this make that use extensions on the legs of the top table. This is to provide a little extra height to the enclosure since there may be issues with bumping into the top when you print tall objects otherwise. These builds seem a little complex with printed leg extensions and different size acrylic windows. I plan on using lengths of 2x4 mounted to the top of the bottom table to get this extra height. This solves a few issues, mo more concern about running into the bolts that connect the legs to the bottom table, and no need for larger acrylic windows. Stay tuned to see how this works out.

author
MClouse93 made it!(author)2017-01-13

I think i may try this but maybe add a drawer feature to it so I can slide the printer out of the enclosure for easy access. The only thing will that I need extra long, or modular, cables. Thoughts?

author
slw119th made it!(author)2016-12-22

Nice! Check out this enclosure solution on Kickstarter: https://goo.gl/M8EcAz

IMG_0223.JPG
author
Alan+Erickson made it!(author)2016-11-06

Here's mine. Ended up printing a few of the parts that were needed.

A lot more cables than one would think. Octopi, two lights, webcam, fan, power, .......

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author
henryqiu19 made it!(author)2016-08-03

Im planning on using a raspberry pi for octoprint with my wanhao duplicator i3, do i need to purchase another raspberry pi for this? Or can I use the same one?

author
Kasudamt made it!(author)2015-12-26

I made this enclosure and it is great! Even with the plexiglass sides it gets up to 42 C on the inside on its own in just 30 minutes. I added tape insulation on the top so maybe that helps some.

For the filament hole in the top, I made a slit on the bottom of the table for the filament to be able to move a bit easier and just a round hole at the top. The tables are essentially thick cardboard so there are 2 solid surfaces and corrugation between them.

I also made mine with hinges for the door. They are sort of a half hinge so the door is still removable if desired. The parts can be found here:

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1227270

20151226_135043.jpg20151226_135054.jpg20151226_135131.jpg
author
Justintime804 made it!(author)2016-07-05

What size sheets are the acrylic in inches? Sorry if this is a dumb question!

Did you have to cut them at all?

author
Justintime804 made it!(author)2016-07-05

What size sheets are the acrylic in inches? Sorry if this is a dumb question!

author
bogaskilop made it!(author)2016-06-28

hi . guys what do you use as a buildpladte in your printes ?

author
CrankyCoderBlog made it!(author)2016-04-19

I am kind of surprised no one has mentioned the height issue with this. I like to work on my printer and get to it. 1 Table high seems a little on the short size. I have considered doing 3 tables, but have 0 ideas on what to put under the bottom 2. Any recommendations? I originally planned to put my filament box under them, but I think I want to hang my filament box above the printer and have the plastic pulled down.

Any thoughts? Looking to get it to atleast desk level.

author
KrogS made it!(author)2016-05-23

Just my 2 cents, but I went to my local habitat for humanity thrift store and bought a bathroom vanity to set my printer on. That was four years ago, back when my crust old Solidoodle was my machine. What I'm going to do now is adapt this design to add the Lack table on top of the vanity cabinet. This will give me a ready made frame for plexi that I can adapt to the top of my cabinet.

author
pengox made it!(author)2016-05-09

I totally agree, putting the i3 on top of just 1 table puts it at a very awkward height for me and makes bed leveling a huge pain. And I like having the filament above the printer as well, but I've been experimenting with running the filament from underneath, but over the top bar of the printer so the filament doesn't come in at an awkward angle and it's worked just fine.

Other than that, I'm planning on keeping extra filament in a box under the lowest table, and tools (pliers, tweezers, glue sticks and works in progress) under the second table.

Anyone have a problem with the cable length for the control box though? I want to keep my control box outside of the enclosure so the circuits don't overheat, curious to see if anyone else has a problem with the control box being a tad bit too short to reach one table below?

author
CrankyCoderBlog made it!(author)2016-05-10

Has anyone put their webcam for octoprint inside this case yet?

I like the time lapse stuff and being able to have remote view on it from my home automation dashboard. But was wondering if/how you were mounting your camera in the case?

author
knudo made it!(author)2016-04-22

Very nice enclosure/instructions.

I used this as "inspiration for my built, with some modifications.
Many thanks fir this !!!

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author
grejh0t made it!(author)2016-03-26

anyone tried this setup on a Wanhao - Duplicator i3 - V2 , will it fit ?

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snobban made it!(author)2016-04-07

Im about to do that maybe this weekend :)

author
J%C3%B8rgenL3 made it!(author)2016-04-09

did the Wanhao - Duplicator i3 - V2 fit?

author
FlyingF1 made it!(author)2016-03-15

If you need to customize the height of the enclosure like i did I've made a remix of a previous object with openscad allowing you to enter your own heights.http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1418719

author
CraigE16 made it!(author)2016-03-05

Great Idea, will be doing it myself. What is the height space available inside? I have found a way of increasing if necessary.

Thanks

author
Kevin+White made it!(author)2016-02-29

The black tables are currently 7.99!

author
chking made it!(author)2016-01-22

I'm looking at building this enclosure for my Folgertech Prusa i3 2020 but I'm worried about it fitting. Has anyone put this printer into this type of enclosure?

author
Kickbut101 made it!(author)2016-02-18

the printer the author was using in this very instructable is actually extremely similar to yours. It should fit just fine.

author
Kickbut101 made it!(author)2016-02-18

the printer the author was using in this very instructable is actually extremely similar to yours. It should fit just fine.

author
ZenOne made it!(author)2016-01-10

I wanted more space between the tables, so I made these spacers/leg retainers. If I printed them again I would make them 10mm shorter for perfectly square windows.
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1258633

author
kirk.taylor.9659 made it!(author)2015-07-21

Is your printer being vented directly into the room it's in? If so, you should think about running some dryer hose or similar to a window to vent outside, especially if printing with ABS!!

author
peterjacob made it!(author)2015-07-28

The fumes from ABS are not dangerous (but smells bad) during normal processing. However, Thermal Decomposition of ABS (overheating or trying to burn it) does produce some unpleasant fumes. Exposure of high concentrations of these vapors and fumes could cause nausea, drowsiness, and headache.
Source: ABS Material Safety Data Sheet http://www.tapplastics.com/uploads/pdf/MSDS%20ABS...


TL;DR: Don't worry, ABS is pretty much harmless, just don't eat it. ;)

author
kirk.taylor.9659 made it!(author)2015-07-28

Actually, it's not the fumes that you should be worried about (although I think it's pretty careless to call it "harmless"). Instead, proper ventilation should be in place to remove the ultrafine particulate matter that has be shown to be emitted when printing with both PLA and ABS (ABS produces much more due to the high temps):

http://3dprintingindustry.com/2013/07/29/ultrafine-particles-and-the-potential-risks-of-printing-without-ventilation/

author
nwalk made it!(author)2015-08-09

that article has no scientific merit. they basically compare it to an electric frying pan. do you cook food? then you produce "dangerous nanoparticles" ooooh! they also don't say what the nanoparticles are, they just say that they are present. then, they cross referenced to other research that says there might be dangerous stuff, but that doesn't prove that there is bad stuff

bad science

author
jimrittenour made it!(author)2015-07-27

Can you add detail about the fan? Is the pi or temperature display controlling it?

I like the project, I'll make one for sure!

author
phatima made it!(author)2015-07-28

It's just wired from the Rocker Switch to Ground - so it's manually controlled.

Just a simple 120mm Computer fan - nothing special. You could wire it up to be controlled by the Pi, or the Thermometer if you can find one with fan control.

author
jimrittenour made it!(author)2015-07-28

Great, thanks.

author
vcruzmed made it!(author)2015-07-27

Very nice enclosure! However, I think that 40ºC is a bit low for printing ABS. I've read that the recommended chamber temperature is around 60ºC. Are you getting good results? No warping at all?

author
phatima made it!(author)2015-07-28

Good results so far! Only delamination was when the y-belt slipped and introduced quite an extreme overhang.

40* was on a 1-hr print, longer prints the temperature has been rising, highest I've seen is 48* - not perfect, but a lot better than room temperature!

author
daverowntree made it!(author)2015-07-21

Nice one Shaun - great first addition to the So Make It group and I genuinely think its a brilliantly simple bit of up-cycling, I will be building one as I want to run my printer in the conservatory of an evening, and it will not look out of place one bit :)

Although, I just registered a max temp of 47 Celcius in the room today, so I need to think about where to store it (or just make everthing in ABS!)

author
phatima made it!(author)2015-07-21

Printing ABS the inside of the enclosure seems to stabilise at around 42c - that's with a 90c bed and 230c hotend. Temp of the room was about 24c having the window open didn't seem to affect the temperature inside the enclosure at all, which is a relief

When you build yours, let me know, I have a few extra magnets spare from this one I'd be happy to donate.

author
omnibot made it!(author)2015-07-21

Nice! That looks good enough to keep in the living room.

author
geodad6 made it!(author)2015-07-20

I am going to make this my winter project this year as I love Ikea and my PrintrBot Jr V1.2 could use a nice home. Great job! Thanks for making this!

author
emilyvanleemput made it!(author)2015-07-20

I already thought I recognised those tables, last time I saw them being used they looked slightly different though: https://www.instructables.com/id/Sliced-LACK-table/ . The variations seem endless :)

author
seamster made it!(author)2015-07-20

This is a great use for a couple of lack tables. Nice work!

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