Introduction: 3d Printer Enclosure
This is a simple, easy, and cheap way to enclose your 3d Printer and vent to the outside. This is just a trial/prototype. I am not even sure that it will work safely - So, make at your own risk.
Venting fumes like ABS is very important. ABS printing produces toxic fumes, and should not be inhaled. Venting to the outside can be tricky as opening windows can produce a draft where the air from the outside comes into the house. So even though you have a positive flow vent out - The house could be sucking that very air back into the room... Make sure the air you are venting to the outside is not being sucked back in. Ok, let's get started.
My Enclosure: For a Prusa MK2. 24"L X 20"W X 26.5"H Outside Dimensions (Subtract 2" for Inside Dimensions).
2: 16' (or longest avail) 1/2 pvc pipe
8: 90° T 1/2 PVC Angle T connectors
Heavy duty Tin foil (widest available)
Duck Tape (Or Ducting Tape)
Heavy Duty Plastic like plastic drop cloth, or even Heavy duty Trash Bags (I used 1mil, should have gone with 3mil)
Foam window or door gap seal roll (see images)
PVC glue, Hot Glue gun, polystyrene, or other foam.
When measuring - Make sure you measure how large a space for the inside (with X,Y,Z, at limits) (so printer fits).
-Make sure you measure outside limits of which your printer sits on (Need about 2" extra, 1/2 pipe is just under 1" thick).
The 90° Angle T fittings add about an 1" to each side of the pipe fitting (about, not exactly). So if your outer length is like mine (24") I cut the pvc length pieces to 22"... Total length is about 24.25" for mine.
Step 1: Cut the PVC
Once you have your measurements, you can start cutting your PVC.
You will need 4 Length pieces, 4 Width pieces, and 4 Height pieces. Cut them as close to exact as possible.
Do not glue yet.
Assemble the entire thing placing the 90° Angle T pieces at all 8 corners as in image.
Place the newly assembled unit over the 3d Printer.
Move the X, Y, and Z axes to make sure everything fits. I had to modify my power connector to the 3d printer as it stuck out from the side. I simply removed the power connector and hard wired an old pc power cable to the 3d printer power supply (no tutorial on this).
Once you verify it will indeed fit - Now we can glue. PVC glue sets up FAST! Make sure you have a flat working surface to work on (outside - fumes are toxic - parental supervision advised - use gloves, and safety goggles). Disassemble all the pieces, and separate into easy to work with groups. Label the pieces with a marker to prevent accidentally gluing the wrong pieces.
Glue the bottom first (So you have a base). Then work on the top. As you are gluing the top together it helps to align the 90° Angle T pieces from the top to the bottom as you slide the pieces together. This will help make sure that the top is the same as the bottom. Imagine - You are making a mirror copy of the bottom with the top. When done, set the top on top of the bottom - All the 90° Angle T pieces should align up. If not, its ok - It's not a spaceship... Then glue the height pieces into the base, then glue the top onto the height pieces.
I printed out some 80mm fan to dryer vent hose adapters (find on thingivers.com), and found an old scrap piece of glass for viewing. These are optional. If you don't have any glass or plexyglass lying around. I recommend Good Will, or the $1 store and grab a cheap picture frame, toy, diploma display, or something that would work as a viewing media... A dryer vent adapter can also be purchased at Home Depot or Lowes.
I glued these items in place with the PVC cement. That only worked ok. I reinforced them with hot glue (This might be a bad Idea ). As the unit gets hot, the hot glue may melt. Might want to affix with another medium....
Step 2: Add Heat Shielding
The Enclosure needs to stay at a constant temp for optimal printing. This is kind of difficult. I am going to attempt to regulate the temperature by regulating the exhaust fan speed. We will see how that works.
I attached heavy duty tin foil to the inside of the unit (see images).
If you plan your dimensions out well, your foil will be easier to fit...
Attach the foil to the top, then tape to the bottom. Tape sides to PVC pipe.
The more foil you add the more difficult it becomes... I don't have any recomandations - It's not easy, but it doesn't have to be perfect - Again, not a spaceship.
For the top. I cut out some polystyrene Styrofoam that I had to match the top. I added the foil to the inside, then slid the piece inside the top PVC supports, and taped it on. This seemed to work.
Step 3: Sound and Insulation.
The foil is pretty loud as it moves around, and I thought this might create more noise than I like.
I took the rest of the polystyrene I had laying around and attached it to the sides.
This seemed to work ok. Hoping that the added insulation will help reduce printer noise and stabilize inside temperatures.
Step 4: Plastic Wrap
Ok, now we are ready to finish this up.
I used 1mm drop cloth found at Lowes. I do not reccomend this crap. While it is bigger and easier to cover your entire device in one clean wrap - Duck tape that sticks to it will not come off without ripping holes in it.
I recommend cutting up heavy duty trash bags...
Anyway. I threw the plastic over the top and just started taping it to the bottom.
Once you get it all taped to the bottom - You will have a bread bag effect at the top. A whole bunch of plastic at the top. I cut and taped till it was the way I liked it. You could probably just twist it like a bread bag and use a twist tie if you like...
Step 5: Foam Seal the Bottom
The bottom will be slightly uneven as the corner pieces create a gap.
Use door/window seal foam to line the PVC poles on the "Bottom" (not the corner pieces, just the pipe), then use another layer that goes the entire length and width of the bottom (corner to corner) (over the top of the previously foamed PVC poles...
Step 6: Add Dryer Vent
Ok, Add the dryer vent to the enclosure (you could just tape it on).
Then on the other end - Attach an 80mm pc fan to exhaust out the fumes.
Run the vented end with the fan to the outside.
*** WARNING - Make sure when venting - That the air from the vent is nut sucked back into the house or area that you are printing. ABS fumes are toxic. Further - Make sure that your printer does not get so hot as to melt the polystyrene, or PVC, or Tape, or Glues. polystyrene, PVC, and other fumes from this build are toxic as well. ***
4 years ago
Wellp, I have been using this for about 5 months now. It works great. The downsides to this style enclosure are:
- It's big - So you need room to be able to lift it off and set it aside.
- The bottom seals have to be monitored. If the seals get degraded then the exhaust fan can suck enough air to cool your headed bed to the point where it cannot maintain heat.
It was easy, It works great, It allows you access to your printer from all sides.
Another Note: I changed the voltage for the exhaust fan from 12v to 5v... The fan does not need to suck that much. Just enough to take the ABS fumes outside.
5 years ago
I had not considered venting the air would be an issue, but it makes sense to make this. I will keep this in mind in case I ever pull the trigger on a printer. Thanks for sharing!
5 years ago on Step 6
It's an enclosure.
5 years ago
Glad it helps. Post what mods you make to yours - I know I would like to add some led lighting, a camera mount and a door maybe...
5 years ago
Nice. This is exactly how I envisioned attempting ventilation for my printer. Just wasn't sure how to vent outside with environmental control concerns in mind.