Thermal Enclosure For 3D Printer

by the_digital_dentist, published

Thermal Enclosure For 3D Printer by the_digital_dentist Mar 16, 2014
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Update: I apparently never uploaded the stl file for the rear corners. Well, now I have. Enjoy!

Large ABS 3D prints tend to delaminate during printing if you don't keep them warm while printing. This "thing" is a group of 3D printable parts to make a thermally insulating box from 1" PIR foam to contain your printer. I designed printed pieces to hold the foam boards because I frequently take my printer to demonstrations and I wanted to be able take the box apart and put it back together.
If you don't need to move your printer, just use duct tape to hold the foam pieces together and don't bother printing parts to do it.


Measure your printer and calculate the sizes of the foam pieces you'll need to build the box to enclose it. Cut the pieces in the configuration shown or the printed parts may not work. I used 1" PIR foam with foil on both sides because it is fire retardant, but you could probably get away with polystyrene foam.
You'll need four of the rear corners, two of the front corners, and two of the hinge assemblies. Print as many of the clips as you think you'll need for your box size.
The front and rear corner pieces and the hinges are printed in two parts then superglued together in order to avoid using support material during printing. Print with a 3-5mm brim to prevent corners lifting off the print bed (see the photo of the rear corner).
It's a good idea to tape the edges of the foam pieces to prevent damaging them. 2" packing tape or duct tape works fine. You may want to put some pieces of masonite or wood under your printer's feet, depending on how heavy it is, to prevent them from sinking into the foam.
The hinges are designed so that 6-32 screws will screw tightly into the door hinge pieces and fit loosely in the box hinge piece.
It's also a good idea to move the printer's electronics outside the box- heat and electronics are not a good combination.
1) Cut notches in the foam then put the clips, corners, and hinge on the bottom piece of foam,
2) set your printer on it,
3) add suitably notched back and side pieces of foam,
4) put the clips, corners, and hinge on the suitably notched top piece
5) put the top on the box and press it into place
6) put the door on the hinge
7) cut notches/holes as needed for filament, cables, and windows.
You don't really need to seal the box air tight, so don't worry about small gaps at corners and edges. If you're really paranoid about it you can make "weather strips" using packing tape at the edges of the foam boards.
Update: I measured the temperature inside the box using a thermocouple and found that I had to leave the door open a little to keep the temperature from rising above 42C. My electronics are still inside the box and that was as hot as I wanted to let it get without some provision for cooling the electronics.
The last photo shows a 3 Face Cup (blue) I printed inside the box using ABS. It took about 15 hours to print and exhibits no delamination.

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Are you concerned about cooling the hotend? is there any fresh air supply?

For printing ABS there is no need to bring in cool air to cool the hot-end. The heatsink and fan on the hot-end are adequate even at 50C inside the chamber.

and the heated bed doesnt increase the chamber temp over 50?

In the original printer, MegaMax, pictured here, if I closed the door of the enclosure the temperature would get to about 50C. When I operated it at that time I kept the door propped open a little to keep the temperature down to about 45C because the electronics were inside the enclosure.

In the 2nd generation of the printer, Son of MegaMax, the top, back and bottom panels are PIR foam board and the other three are 1/8" clear polycarbonate. With everything closed the temperature gets to 45C, or about 25C above room temperature.

If you build the enclosure and the internal temperature gets too high, make a few vent holes. If you make too many, just put a piece of tape over them, or make a sliding cover that makes ventilation adjustable.

3DPrintClean is developing an Odor and Ultrafine Particle filtration attachment for DIY enclosures. Would make a great addition. See http://3dprintclean.com/3dprintclean-scrubber.htm - Disclosure, I am the founder of 3DPrintClean.

Hi, your printer its cool!! could you send me several photos?¿?, [email protected]

Thanks a lot!!!

Thank you!! Thank you for the fast response. I will finish this today and post pictures later.

Ouch! Sorry about that... I uploaded the stl file called "rear_corners.stl".

I have started to print this. I did not realize it was 1 inch. I purchased 3/4 inch. No big deal I printed a test piece at 75% and it works great. I noticed however that there are no rear corners in the thing files. I was hoping that maybe you could upload them so I could finish this print. Thank you for a great design.

I am using NEMA-23 motors to drive the axes and they run cool to the touch. The NEMA-17 extruder motor runs pretty warm, so I am watching it to see how it behaves inside the box. I haven't measured temperature in the box yet but will do so in a day or so.

Doesnt your stepper motors get overheated? Or maybe you have some kind of cooling for them? Mine did while printing in an enclosure. The enclosure reached about 40c+. I had to have the door a little open to keep the temperatures below 40c.