As you saw, version 1 of the enclosure was a very quick method to get the ambient temperature around the print up. this helped to stop parts from cracking, but did nothing to combat the noise or fumes. So we took it upon ourselves to make a proper enclosure, and if possible measure any improvements that are achieved.

As with most projects we should first set out the constraints on our design which are space, cost and access to tools. The printer currently sits on a desk in Matthews attic, and there is only so much space to work with, in fact this space is not much larger than the Taz, so the enclosure will have to be quite tight around the printer. This has an accidental benefit of helping to achieve a higher temperatures within the enclosure due to the smaller volume that needs to be heated. As with any project we would like it to cost as little as possible, and wherever possible we would like to make something ourselves rather than buy it where at all possible. Of course the printer helps greatly with this. And finally we don’t have access to a huge workshop, and apart from the 3d printer we don’t have access to many specialist tools, this means wherever possible we would like to use things without modifications, or pre-finished.

We decided that for the enclosure we would use lengths of 20×20 mm aluminium extrusion to form a frame, and 4mm acrylic sheets filling the gaps in the frame. We had these delivered to us pre-cut, dimensions and number of each detailed below.

Cut list

[table]
Extrusion length (mm),Quantity
560,4
660,4
680,4
[/table]

[table]
Acrylic sheet dimensions (mm),Quantity
570×670,1
690×570,2
690×670,1
600×700,1
[/table]

To help isolate the sound of the printer, the whole enclosure is lifted above the table on a foam block. The bottom of the enclosure is made up of a 20 mm thick sheet of plywood, to give a strong sturdy base to attach the printer and the enclosure frame too.

Holding it together

In order to hold the frame together we designed some 3d printed corner brackets.

[viewstl id=110]

Each corner uses 3 of these corner brackets with the exception of the corners along the bottom or at the front of the frame. The ridges in the bracket are intended to slot into the  fit into the 5mm slots in the extrusion, and also help to grip onto m4 nuts. This means that rather than using expensive t-nuts to hold together the enclosure, much cheaper regular nuts can be used instead. The frame uses 16 of these 3d printed brackets, which can fit in just 2 prints.

At the front,where the front door will attach, a different menchanism was required to hold the frame together, this only needs to hold the front bar on gently along the front but cannot protrude past the frame, otherwhise the front sheet wont attach properly.

[viewstl id=118]

These brackets are much smaller than the corner brackets, and as such do not have a built in method of capturing a nut. However we simply printed a small tool to slide into the slot in the extrusion and grip the nut. These are sufficient still to hold the frame together on the inside face of the front opening.

In the next part We will show how these parts come together to enclose the printer, and discuss how well the enclosure is working.