Continuing on from part one where we discussed the parts that make up the enclosure, in this part we will discuss the assembly of these parts into a functioning enclosure, and detail the how well it functions, as well as discus where the enclosure can be improved upon. Lets start with some pictures of the assembled enclosure

Assembling the frame sections

The enclosure is basically made up of 4 panels (top, two sides and back). Each panel consists of one of the sheets of acrylic, surrounded on all sides by lengths of extrusion. The 4mm acrylic sheets slide into the channel on the 20×20 mm extrusion. The lengths of extrusion are then connected using the 3D printed corner pieces. Each of these panels however do share some of the lengths of extrusion, with the top panel assembled first followed by each other panel.

Once all the panels are assembled there should be one remaining length of extrusion. This is connected using a different type of brace, as the normal corner pieces would interfere with the removable front sheet. In order to help with installing these braces we also printed a small tool to hold the nuts in the extrusion channel while they were tightened allowing us to completely avoid using T-nuts in this frame.

The printer was then placed onto the sheet of plywood, and the enclosure lifted into place over the printer.

Using the enclosure

So first of all when without any additional heating (ie just from the printers heated bed and extruder), we are able to achieve a steady temperature within the enclosure of just short of 40 ‘C. This allows us to print with less warping and cracking, but we were able to achieve similar temperatures by simply draping a sheet over the printer.

When it comes to noise, this is where this enclosure really comes into its own. Before adding the enclosure, I measured the volume of a typical print to be approximately, 60 dB (loud enough that you need to speak up to be heard over it if you are near by). where as after placing the printer into the enclosure, this noise was reduced down to only approximately 20 dB (quiet enough that you can whisper and still be heard over the printer when stood next to it).

We also wanted the enclosure to help contain the fumes that come from the molten plastic during the print. This is successful to a degree, in that during the print there is no smell from printing ABS detectable within the room, however this problem is not yet completely solved, as when the front cover of the printer is removed after the print has finished, and the enclosure cooled down, there is still a detectable smell of molten plastic that is released into the room.