Introduction: 3D Printer Cabinet Enclosure

I've decided to start a new project so I can start using my Solidoodle 3 again. In the past I've had to move the printer out to the garage however it did not work well at all due to the Heat in summer and the cold in the winter. I was using Plexiglas to enclose the printer however in the winter the prints would warp even after enclosing it. Then in summer the main board would overheat due to the heat radiating off the back of the printer and the heat in the Garage making it next to impossible to cool-down with external fans thus causing the main board to overheat.With young children in the house I could not allow myself to print inside due to the fumes that are produced when printing with ABS.I spoke with my wife and convinced her that I could build a nice enclosure cabinet that looked like a piece of furniture that would be air tight so a fume filter could be used. After spending about a week thinking about it, I designed a cabinet that would allow for storage in the bottom and three doors and a removable top for easy access.

Step 1: The Design and Build

I designed the cabinet in Google Sketch up as it was better suited for wood working

The Sketch up file is attached to this instructable.

The Cabinet was constructed using standard wood working techniques so as long as you follow the sketch up file then you should be able to modify to suit your needs.

I did not have a lot of free time so it took me almost three weeks to build the cabinet and an additional two weeks for sanding, staining and adding the polyurethane coats.

After it was completed I was able to move it out of the Garage and into my office!

Step 2: Moving the Electronics

In order for this project to be successful I will need to migrate the main board out of enclosure and to the back of the cabinet. To start off I took a picture of the connections to the main board and added values to each one on the picture. I then used tape and numbered each connection to match the picture.

Step 3: Create a PCB Design, Transfer, Etch, Solder and Attach

The wires are way too short to feed back through the cabinet and I did not want to cut and splice the wires as I may need to revert this back one day.


Using Eagle Cad I created a PCB that will allow me to connect wires directly to the board and header pins so the existing Molnex on the printer can connect to my PCB thus preventing me from having to splice any wires.


I included the PDF from Eagle Cad however this will only work for a Solidoodle 3. If you have a different type of printer then you will have to design the PCB to match your printer's connectors. Once you have a design and export it out to PDF then go to Staples or Office Depot and have them print it out on ultra high gloss paper.
I'm using a standard copper clad board from Radio Shack however any PCB board will do. Trim the print out so that you only the boarder area around the circuit.

Now prep the copper clad board by taking a scotch bright pad and scouring it and then clean it with rubbing alcohol. DO NOT TOUCH THE BOARD WITH BARE HANDS!! If you do then you will leave finger prints on it and you will have to clean it again with rubbing alcohol.

Preheat a standard Iron. Once up to temperature, press the iron to the copper clad board. This will heat up the board so that when you lay the print on it the print will not move. Be Careful as the board will be extremely hot! Now place the print on the board so that the printed side is making contact with the copper. Be sure that you align this up correctly as you only have one shot at it. if you mess up then you will need to remove the paper and clean off any toner that transferred. Once aligned, use the Iron to press straight down. DO NOT MOVE THE IRON SIDE TO SIDE!! continue to press down for at least two or three minutes.

Place the copper clad board into a water bath and allow the water to soak through the paper for at least 15 to 20 minutes. Keep the board under water and slowly rub the paper off of the board. Take your time here and rub off all of the paper. inspect the board and if you find areas that need to be touched up then you can use a Black fine point sharpie to touch it up.


In this next step you need to remove all of the copper that does not have toner on it once completed it will leave us with the completed board.
For the Etchant Solution I used the one from Radio Shack. . Before you begin. be sure that you use a plastic or non-metallic container. the Etchant solution is a form of acid and will eat through metal! Again, this is acid so ware rubber gloves and eye protection!!!!

Place the Board in the container and pour the solution over the board. the board should be fully submerged in the solution.

Rock the container back and fourth so that the solution keeps moving over the board. keep doing this and remove the board every 10 minutes or so to check on it's progress.

This process can take will up to and past 30 minutes to complete.

Wash the board off with clean water once all the exposed copper has been removed. Now drill out the holes for the header pins and wire and then drill the holes in the board to match the mounting points on your printer.

Step 4: Reconnecting the Main Board and Spool Holder

While working on this project I found myself having trouble keeping track of the wires so I decided to use DB25 connectors and a custom outlet so I could quickly disconnect and reconnect the printer.

I've uploaded the custom outlet to Thingiverse:

To attach the board to the back of my cabinet I used the base of this electronics cover:

Prior to running the printer for the first time I traced out each and every line which took me almost a day to do but it was well worth it!

For the Spool holder, I removed the existing one off the back of the printer and attached it to the back of the cabinet. I then drilled a 1/2 hole in the back of the cabinet to allow the line to pass through.

Step 5: Seal It Up and Begin to Print

This enclosure has four entry points. Three doors on the sides and the entire top section. For the doors I used medium rubber window seal and attached it with 1/2 brad nails. The seal does have a adhesive on one side however it does not hold up well at all due to finish on the wood. I then used two fasteners one on the top and one on the bottom of each door to keep the door pressed up to seal. On the top I added Large rubber window seal around the inside edge and another on the outside edge.

I then added the printer back in and connected the DB25 connectors and i was ready to print.

So far I've noticed much better prints than ever before and the even without the fume filter it keeps the fumes inside and it's extremely quite!

I still need to work out some type of fume filter but that's going to be another post.

I sure hope you like it and let me know what you think.