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This is an enclosure for printing in ABS or other temperature sensitive materials. The goal was to make it attractive enough to pass the family-acceptance test while keeping the printer easy to use and maintain. The enclosure is a 24" x 26" x 26" acrylic box with a fitted MDF wood tray base. The whole thing sits on top of an Ikea Lack table with the electronics mounted on the underside.

The design goals:

  • Create an enclosed thermal environment
  • Minimalist, attractive appearance
  • Reduce the printer's sound
  • Keep the printer easy to use and maintain

To meet these goals:

  • Seal air gaps, even around the doors and base.
  • Put a spotlight overhead to increase the dramatic effect and provide ample lighting.
  • Moved the electronics out of the control box and attached to the table underside. Put the electronics in passively cooled protective enclosures so that the noisy control box fans are no longer needed. Also having the components spread out underneath allows easier upgrades and maintenance.
  • Put access doors on the left side: to provide easy access to the extruder, build plate, and behind the Z gantry; to prevent accidental walking into the open doors.

Requirements

  • Creality CR-10 3D Printer (this enclosure is optimized for that printer)
  • Proficiency and safety with electronics that handle house current

  • Good Woodworking skills

  • Table Saw - You may choose to get the acrylic panels cut professionally. But the table saw is also used to cut the MDF wood parts for the enclosure bottom.
  • Very big cutoff sled for the table saw. Allows you to cut truly square panels.
  • Mitre saw
  • Handheld tools such as a Jigsaw, Drill, Electric Sander, and Dremel with cutoff tool
  • Brad nail gun for building the MDF bottom of the enclosure
  • Paint brush
  • Fine-tooth jigsaw blade (labeled "for plastics")
  • Spotlight placed over the printer's permanent home. Seventy-five percent of what makes the printer attractive in the photos above is the spotlights.

  • A hole saw somewhere between 1 inch to 2 inches. This is to allow the stepper motor wires and end-stop sensor wires to pass through.

  • An Octoprint server. If you aren't using one, you don't know what you're missing. IF YOU DON'T HAVE AN OCTOPRINT SERVER, you will need to mount the sMelzi board so you can access the SD card. Sorry I can't recommend where it should go where the wires will reach. You'll have to experiment when attaching the electronics and its possible there is no ideal place.

Materials

  • 4 ft. x 8 ft. acrylic sheet. This cost me $110. Here is my source for the material.
  • Ikea Lack Side Table (Black-Brown color) $9.99
  • SCIGRIP 16 10315 Acrylic Cement
  • 2 ft. x 4 ft. x 1/2 inch MDF panel for the bottom of the enclosure
  • 10 feet of 2-1/2 inch x 1/2 inch MDF strip for the bottom of the enclosure. I used

    5/8 in. x 2-1/2 in. Primed MDF Mullion Casing Moulding

    .
  • Assorted M3 screws and nuts for mounting the electronics in the enclosures
  • Wood primer
  • Black latex paint
  • Printed parts from my Thingiverse CR-10 Enclosure Collection.
  • Nuts and bolts for the printed hinges and door knobs.
  • Self-tapping wood screws to attach the electronics enclosures to the underside.
  • Roller skate bearing for the TUSH spool holders

Disclaimer (IMPORTANT!)

I take no responsibility if you damage your printer. I take no responsibility for any injury or damage from working with the electronics in your printer, or from woodworking equipment. I am not an electrician. I am not a professional woodworker. I take no responsibility for anything you do with these instructions. I have prepared these instruction to the best of my ability to show you what I have done. Your results are your own.

Step 1: Build the Acrylic Box

NOTE: Keep the acrylic protective sheets on until the project is COMPLETELY FINISHED as the acrylic sheet scratches very, very easily. Only peel back the covering as needed and replace when finished. Also, you can mark measurements and notes all over the protective sheet.

Cut Acrylic Panels

  1. Cut the acrylic box panels are cut from a 4 ft x 8 ft x 1/8 inch sheet of clear acrylic.
    • Use the attached PDF with sheet cutting dimensions.
    • The kerf of the saw blade will reduce the dimensions, and mistakes will reduce the dimensions... you'll have to adjust as this happens.
    • Please don't try to cut the sheet with a circular saw and straight edge, it will only end badly.
    • Cutting with a plastic cutting tool is a joke at this scale.
  2. Clearly write on each panel "TOP", "LEFT", "RIGHT", etcetera, with a marker

Door Frame

  1. Cut the doors out of the Right panel.
    • Start each cut with a Dremel fitted with a circular cutoff saw.
    • Then insert a jigsaw with a fine-tooth blade into the kerf.
    • Make the cuts very slowly but with the blade going fast. IF YOU SLOW THE BLADE SPEED OR MOVE TOO QUICKLY, the blade will catch on the acrylic and SHATTER!! I'm speaking from experience here unfortunately :-(
  2. Cut a set of 3/4 inch wide strips of acrylic in order to trim the door to make the door seal when shut.
    • Cut enough to go around both doors, plus one piece between the two doors.
    • Cut them longer than needed for the mitered corners.
    • See the photos for reference.
  3. 45º mitre cut each 3/4 strip piece to frame the large opening in the Right panel. See the detail photo with the red hinge for reference.
    • Each strip should overlap the door opening 1/2 inch and extend into the opening 1/4 inch. The 1/2 inch overlap is your glueing surface, and the 1/4 inch is the seal for the doors.
    • Dry fit the pieces with masking tape.

  4. Straight cut a strip to go between the two doors. It is attached to one of the two doors and overlaps the other creating a seal when shut.
    • Make the strip 1/2 inch shorter than the door so it does not interfere with the door frame seal.
  5. Glue each piece of the frame around the opening with the acrylic glue.
    • SCIGRIP 16 is watery so you might want to get used to how it handles on a scrap piece.
  6. Glue the door edge seal to one of the doors.
    • Overlap the door 3/8 inch and extend past the door 3/8 inch.
    • Vertically center the strip 1/4 inch in from the top and bottom of the door so it doesn't interfere with the door frame.

Glueing the Acrylic Box

  1. Read all of these steps below before beginning. The acrylic glue is tricky to control so you want to understand what is happening.
  2. Dry fit all the parts on a large flat surface using masking tape to hold everything together.
  3. Use a large carpenters square to keep everything perpendicular.
  4. The box is assembled like this:
    • The front overlaps the edge of the left and right panels.
    • The back overlaps the edge of the left and right panels.
    • The resulting width of the left and right sides should be 26 inches (1/8" + 25-3/4" + 1/8").
    • The top overlaps the front, back, left, and right panels.
  5. To glue each panel:
    1. Remove the masking tape on the joint to be glued.
    2. On the panel that is overlapped, peel back the protective sheet and pin it back with masking tape.
    3. On the piece that is edge butted attached, flow the acrylic glue down the edge. Start at the top and squeeze some glue. Follow the bead as it falls along the edge. Gently squeeze more to keep the bead of glue flowing.
    4. Mate the two panels and then secure them with masking tape.
    5. Check the joint for squareness.
    6. When the joint is hardened, replace the protective covering.
    7. Don't move on to the next joint until the joint has harden.

Install Door Knobs and Hinges

  • Glue the corner braces in place with acrylic glue. I used Hatchbox transparent red PETG.
  • Drill and attach the door knobs and hinges. When installing the hinges, carve away a little of the acrylic door frame seal so you can attach the nuts on the inside.
  • Drill a small hole in the top back left of the box to allow filament to be fed into the enclosure. Keep the hole just a little larger than filament so not much hot air will escape.

Step 2: Build the MDF Enclosure Bottom

I'm not going to go into a lot of detail here as this is mostly a woodworking task. The base is a 1/2 inch panel banded by 2-1/2 in x 5/8 in MDF. The banded corners are 45º mitre joints.

  1. Measure the final external width and depth of the acrylic box. The final size will undoubtedly vary from the original dimensions.
  2. Cut the 1/2 inch panel to size. I'm leaving it up to you to figure out the dimensions because it must be based on your materials.
    • See the dimensioned profile drawing. ERROR: but the rabbet for the base (0.19 in) was specific to my construction. You want to make the rabbet 1/4 inch.
    • Determine the size of the 1/2 inch panel by taking the final acrylic box width and depth, subtracting the thickness of the MDF banding, and adding back the rabbets.
  3. Cut the rabbets for the 1/2 inch bottom panel.
    • I cut the rabbets for the acrylic box AFTER the base is assembled and painted to ensure a proper fit.

  4. Use brad nails and wood glue as you construct.

  5. Cut a 2 inch hole with a circular hole saw into the back left corner. This hole is where you will pass the printer wires down to the electronics mounted on the table base.

  6. Paint the base with wood primer.
  7. Paint the base with black latex.
  8. Cut the rabbets for the acrylic box
    • See the detail photo for reference of the acrylic box rabbet

    • Cut them for a slightly lose fit.

    • I left this rabbet unpainted so it wouldn't stick.

Step 3: Attach Electronics to the Ikea Table

Remove the Components
  1. Print the electronics enclosures from my Thingiverse CR-10 Enclosure Collection.

  2. Print the TUSH spool holders.

  3. Unplug the control box.

  4. Unplug the stepper motor wires and end-stop sensor wires from the printer.

  5. Unscrew the two cable trunks from the back of the control box.

  6. Please read the Disclaimer at the beginning of this Instructable before continuing if you haven't already.
  7. Open the electronics control box for the CR-10.
  8. PHOTO DOCUMENT EVERYTHING INSIDE!!! You'll want to know how all the wires and connectors go back together. AS you disassemble, continue to photo document carefully. You might be tempted to think that you'll remember, but trust me, you'll be glad you did this later.

  9. Add adhesive label flags to all of the wires (fold the label in half around the wire and then label it).

  10. Remove the electronics from the CR-10's control box. This should include:
    • Power Supply
    • sMelzi Motherboard
    • MOSFET board which is a small circuit board with big cooling fins
    • LCD Display
    • External Power Plug and Rocker Switch

Attach the Components

  1. Secure each electronic in its enclosure. You'll need an assorted set of M3 screws and nuts and a few zip ties.
  2. Flip the Ikea table upside down and screw the enclosures in the arrangement seen in the first photo using self-tapping wood screws. If you don't have an Octoprint server, mount the sMelzi board so you can access the SD card. Sorry I can't recommend where it should go where the wires will reach.
  3. When the electronics are attached and wired up (except for the cables that attach to the printer), flip the Ikea table back over.

Step 4: Final Stuff

  1. Set the enclosure MDF bottom tray centered on the Ikea table.

  2. Set the printer on the enclosure MDF bottom tray with the rear Y-stepper motor up against the back of the enclosure.
  3. Feed the wires up through the hole in the enclosure MDF bottom tray.
  4. Hook the wires up to the printer.
  5. Slide the acrylic box onto the enclosure MDF bottom tray.
  6. Snap together the TUSH spool holders with the skate board bearings.
  7. I highly recommend putting a spotlight over the printer. It really makes a dramatic appearance while giving you good lighting to work with the printer.
  8. Load up with filament and do a test print.
  9. Congratulations! Please post photos of your build and I'd like to hear about changes you made.
<p>I like it. It doubles as both a safety housing and a display case.</p>

About This Instructable

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Bio: CR-10 and Wanhao Di3 owner
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