Introduction: Easy and Cheap 3D Printer Fume Hood Enclosure

Aside from the chemicals released while melting plastics, nanoparticles are to be feared the most when you 3D print. PLA may not be so safe after all. If you are interested, read the following science articles:

Now from what I have seen online, most fume hood can cost more than the 3D printer. So I decided to make a very general instructable with that in mind. Therefore I recommend that you recycle whatever you can find. You could even use a cardboard box and it would work. All you need is an exhaust fan powerful enough. I invested roughly 20$ in this project, most of the stuff was taken from dumpster diving.

We will build a 60cm x 60cm x 60cm box with an exhaust fan for the famous Anet A8. I am not a carpenter, far from there, so I’ll keep this simple!

For this project you will need :

  • A circular saw
  • A drill
  • A jigsaw
  • Screws
  • 1/4” plywood (~6.3mm) or whatever you can find
  • 1 1/2” x 3/4” (~19mm x 38mm) pieces of wood or whatever you can find
  • A piece of plexiglass or any transparent plastic (not essential but recommended)
  • A fan or a blower (about 2 cubic meter / minute). I use a 115V AC 7W fan, model 4715MS-12T-B20.
  • Some piece of PVC/ABS pipe or an empty food can
  • A dryer vent hose

Most of the cuts I did were with a circular saw. I did not even bother using a guide. Turned out fine for what I needed!

Disclaimer : I don't take any responsibility for whatever bad could happen by you following these instructions.

Step 1: First Panel

Cut 4 pieces of ¼” plywood to 60cm x 60 cm

Take one of the panels and make a frame with the 1 ½”x ¾”, leaving ¼” all around. It should look like this.

Step 2: Join Two Other Panels to the Frame

Step 3: ​Duplicate the First Panel You Made to Put It on Top.

Step 4: Add the Missing Edges

Make sur to leave ¼” (6.3mm) all around for the remaining panels to fit in.

You can always decide not to put the bottom front edge if you want to slide your printer in and out easily.

Step 5: Rear and Front Panels

Measure the dimensions of the missing panels one at a time. It should be around 58.7cm x 60cm. Fix the rear panel. The other will be for the front door.

Step 6: Cut a Window in the Front Panel

Cut a window in your last panel. Use a drill to make a hole and then work your way in with the jigsaw. If you are going to fix some plexiglass there, think about leaving a little padding.

Step 7: It's Fan Time!

Cut a whole to the dimension of your PVC pipe (or food can) and fix the fan inside the box. You can use the jigsaw to make the hole, it does not have to be extra precise.

Assuming your fan comes with a casing, put the pipe on top and tape it there. That is until you print something nice to secure it there.

Run the vent hose to the outside world and voilà!

Step 8: Printing a Holder for the Exhaust Pipe and a Net for the Hose Vent (optional)

To secure the pipe in place, I recommend printing a holder. I designed mine in fusion360 after measuring the diameter of the PVC pipe. The pipe can be sealed there with some transparent tape, hot glue, etc. I find this important as fumes are coming out directly from there.

At the end of the vent hose, I decided to put a net in case some crazy animals want to go inside!

Attached are my fusion360 designs.

Step 9: Connect the Vent Hose and Start Printing

As you may have noticed, I installed a power bar inside the enclosure. No need to seal this properly as air needs to flow inside the enclosure in order to carry out the ultrafine particles.

Consider adding this :

  • an air filter for the fan
  • some hinge to open and close the door properly, I recommend using this on thingiverse : Parametric Hinge
  • a light
  • a raspberry pi with octoprint and a camera to control your printer
  • relays to control the fan and the light (which I show in this instructable)

About security :

Air flowing inside a wood enclosure is perfect to set your place on fire! Make sure you don't leave the printer unattended. Having a smoke detector around is a really good idea.

Consider also updating the firmware of your printer to detect connection problems (for example, Marlin will stop the printer if a wiring problem is detected and won't try to heat the bed forever).