Following on from a previous post on 3D printer enclosures, this is a short post on how to build a very quickly assembled,  cheap and effective enclosure for a Lulzbot Taz 5. We wanted to build one for three main reasons:

  1. Keep smells in.
  2. Keep noise in.
  3. Most importantly, reduce cracked and warped ABS prints like the one below.

This enclosure is only good at number 3 but only takes 10 minutes to assemble and raises the ambient temperature from as low as 12ᵒC to ~38ᵒC. A great improvement for minimal effort and cost.

Motivation

It started snowing outside and the 3D printer was in a room with a broken radiator. The ambient temperature in the room was down to 12ᵒC. This is just about the worst condition in which to print ABS plastic since it’s so prone to temperature change related shrinkage causing delamination, cracking and warping.

Motivation for a heated enclosure includes an end to split and cracked ABS prints.
This Low polygon Darth Vader was printed in black ABS and cracked due to being printed in a cold room.
Solution: Old sheet, some wood and a desk lamp

Step 1: Attach a wooden frame to the top of the 3D printer. The size was chosen to cover the entire travel range of the Taz 5’s print bed.

IMG_20160224_204235
Wooden frame held together with gardening wire.

Step 2:  Drape a sheet over the top of the wooden frame. Be careful not to cover up the control unit’s air vents and not to let it touch the greased Z-stage rods.

Drape a sheet over the wooden frame. Bonus points if you hang a thermometer from the printer to check the temperature.
Drape a sheet over the wooden frame. Bonus points if you hang a thermometer from the printer to check the temperature.

(Bonus) Step 3: Hang a thermometer from the printer frame to quickly check the temperature. Also, poke a halogen or incandescent bulb desk lamp under the sheet so that the heat from the bulb helps increase the print volume temperature AND allows you to see what is happening when you lift up the sheet for a sneaky peek.

That’s it. This cheap and quick temporary enclosure has raised the print volume temperature to about 38ᵒC and has put an end to cracking ABS on our large prints as can be seen in the gallery below.

Shortcomings

Whilst a great improvement, this draped sheet enclosure has some major shortcomings in that the ABS fumes still stink out the room and the stepper motor noise still pollutes the adjacent rooms. Our next enclosure will be designed to eliminate these. Enclosure V2 post coming soon.