When I decided to purchase a 3D printer last year to help with prototyping new ideas I did a lot of research to determine what I wanted. I ended up purchasing the Makergear M2 because it had a large print area, a heated bed and could print at high temperatures, it could also be upgraded to a dual extruder head. The one thing it did not have was an enclosed workspace. I soon found out that having an enclosure such as this is really useful for a number of reasons.
- Keeps the printer clean
- Keeps the cat away from the printer (for the safety of both)
- Keeps the printer warm during printing
- Cuts down on the amount of noise when printing
For all these reasons I decided to build one and since I had recently installed some Ikea besta cabinets with glass doors I realized that these doors would be perfect for this project. I sketched out some rough drawings of the cabinet and got to work. The entire project took 3 Saturdays mostly due to waiting for the enamel to dry and not having the correct parts.
Parts list from Ikea
- 15" Besta Glassvik doors (x4)
- 25" Besta Glassvik door
- 25" Besta Lappviken door
- 15" Omlopp LED light strip
- 18" Omlopp LED light strip (x3)
- Ansluta 6 port electronic transformer
- Ansluta Power supply cord
- Besta cabinet feet (x16) you cannot purchase these but you might find them in the extra parts bins
- Besta soft close door hinge pairs (x3)
Other parts not from Ikea
- Pine 2x4 8 feet long
- Wood glue
- 3" wood screws
- Small steel brackets
- web camera (optional)
- stick on bubble levels (for a travel camper)
- spray enamel and primer
- Drill/driver with various drill and driver bits
- Miter saw
- Screw drivers
Step 1: Build the Frame
When I originally conceived of this design I had thought that I could either just use the 15" tall Glassvik doors or the taller 25" Glassvik doors for the sides. However I quickly realized that the 15" doors were about 3 inches short to accommodate the Makergear G2 and the 25" doors would make the enclosure taller than necessary. Since I only needed about 3 inches I decided to add a 2x4 frame under the doors on the sides. This would give me an an extra 3.5 inches of clearance and allow me to use the 15" doors.
The trick to this design is in understanding how these hinges work. They are designed so that when closed the cabinet door completely covers the frame of the cabinet. This means that when mounting two doors together one will overlap and abut the other as if it were the frame of the cabinet. Using this information it is possible to design the cabinet in such a way that it is slightly wider than it is deep. This is done by mounting the left and right doors on the outside of the front and back doors. In other words the door at the back and front play the part of the cabinet frame for the doors mounted on the left and right.
All of this means that when building the frame it is important to get the measurements correct. The depth of the frame should be the same as the width of one door. The width of the frame should be the same as the width of one door PLUS the thickness of two doors.
- Frame Depth = width of door
- Frame Width = width of door + thickness of door + thickness of door
It just so happens that if you make a box this size, it closely matchs to the dimensions of a large 25" tall besta door. We will use this later to create the lid and the base.
With all these measurements you can then cut the 2x4 into sections with 45 degree miters. These should be joined together with wood glue and counter sunk wood screws. Or use any method of joining you prefer. If have the equipment a nice dovetail joint would really be slick. The basic idea is that you are making a box that has the same dimensions as a besta door.
Step 2: Attaching Hinges
While you are building the box of doors you will need to attach the doors together in ways they were not meant to be attached. For some of the hinge positions you will be able to use the pre cut holes and plastic inserts to mount the door side (round part) of the hinge. This is how the hinges are attached to the two side panels.
For the front and back panels you will need to attach the cabinet side of the hinge to the door. You can place hinge on these panels directly over the precut holes, you just need to remove the plastic insert with a pair of pliers and drill new mounting holes. You can then use sheet metal screws to attach the hinges.
Step 3: Attaching to the Frame
In this design there are 3 doors that open.
- Left side
This means that the remaining two panels, the back and the right side do not open and are attached to the frame. I used small steel brackets from the hardware store to attach the inside of each of these panels to the frame and to each other. This is also a good time to add some reenforcing brackets to the inside corners of the frame
Step 4: Paint the Frame and Add the Base
I decided to paint the frame white to match the doors. In preparation I filled the counter sunk screw holes on the outside of the frame with wood filler, let it dry and sanded it smooth. Next I painted it outside with a spray enamel. Because I chose to use an enamel I had to wait several days between coats and about a week before it was ready to be handled. This added about 2 weeks of mostly waiting time to the project.
When the enamel had finally cured it was time to attach the base. The base should have come out perfectly aligned with the Lappviken door, however in the two weeks it had slightly shifted and was slightly out of alignment this was not enough that I couldn't make it work. If I were to do this again I would probably use a denser wood such as oak that would have less of a tendency to skew, although it would increase the cost.
I used the Lappviken door as the base. The inside of the door would face down and the outside of the door would face up. I attached the base by first laying the frame on the underside of the base and tracing where the inner edge of the frame was. Then I placed the base on top of the frame (upside down from their final relation) and predrilled holes and placed screws along the entire perimeter. I placed about 6 screws along each edge.
Step 5: Add the Feet
I had a bunch of left over besta feet left over from a previous project. I mounted 4 of these along each edge of the bottom to lift the cabinet up slightly and to give the ability to adjust the level of the entire cabinet. These feet are meant to be screwed into nuts, however it is still possible to attach these into wood. Drill the first part of the hole through the base a little larger than the threads, then drill the holes in the frame just slightly smaller. Attaching these feet also gave me the opportunity to hide the hinge cut outs on the Lappviken door under some of these feet. Once that was done we were ready to flip it over and reattach all the doors.
Step 6: Reassemble
Add the doors back the way they were originally.
You'll also want to drill a hole somewhere in the frame to be able to run power and data cables into the enclosure.
Step 7: Lights
I installed the four lights around the top of the doors. The smaller light goes in the back between the two hinges for the lid. The other 3 lights go on the other panels. I attached them with double sided adhesive and routed all of the wires to the right rear corner. Connected them to the power transformer and then connected the transformer to the powerstrip. The two parts of the transformer were then mounted to the rear panel and frame with double sided tape. I routed the power cord for the transformer all the way around the inside of the frame so that I could position the power switch for the lights just inside the front door for easy access. I secured all the cables with 3M christmas light hooks.
Step 8: Install the Printer
Place your 3D printer into the enclosure. Make sure that when you place it you have adequate clearance in all directions. To do this with the M2 I moved the bed to it's highest and lowest positions and pushed it as far as it would go in each horizontal direction.
I located the power supply at the front opening so that it can be switched on and off easily. A USB cable is connected through the side port to my laptop to control the printer.