3D Printer Enclosure Is Pleasant On The Eyes And Ears

There’s a lot going on in the 3D printing world. Huge printing beds, unique materials like concrete, and more accessible, inexpensive printers for us regular folk. The only thing that’s often overlooked with these smaller printers is the ruckus that they can make. The sounds of all those motors can get tiresome after a while, which was likely the inspiration for [Fabien]’s home 3D printer workstation. (Google Translate from French)
After acquiring a new printer, [Fabien] needed a place to put it and created his own piece of furniture for it. The stand is made out of spruce and is lined with insulation. He uses a combination of cork, foam, and recycled rubber tile to help with heat, sound, and vibration respectively. Don’t worry, though, he did install a ventilation system for the fumes! After the printer housing is squared away, he place a webcam inside so that the user can monitor the print without disturbing it. Everything, including the current print, is managed with a computer on the top of the cabinet.
Having a good workspace is just as important as having a quality tool, and [Fabien] has certainly accomplished that for his new 3D printer. There have been a lot of good workspace builds over the years, too, including electronics labs in a portable box and this masterpiece workbench. If you’ve ever experienced the frustration of working in an area that wasn’t designed for the task at hand, you’ll easily be able to appreciate any of these custom solutions.

37 thoughts on “3D Printer Enclosure Is Pleasant On The Eyes And Ears

    1. Hi, I’m the maker of the enclosure above.

      The foam I’m using IS flammable.
      I’ve tested this before the assembly, but only a raw flame directly above the foam for 3-4 seconds seem to set it on fire.
      I’ve not be able to find any sound-proof foam with fire retardant …

      To be fair, my only real fire prevention with this enclosure is common sense.
      It’s a wood box (spruce wood to be exact), filled with cork and foam, and running inside a printer with two +200°C hot-end.

      Overall, I thinks the enclosure is safe mainly because of the printer in it.
      It’s a BCN3D Sigma printer with semi-closed aluminium body all around it.
      Also, around the printer body, I’ve leave a 15cm space to avoid the foam being in contact with the printer.
      And at top, I’ve leave a +30cm space for the bowden tubes.

      To avoid any problems my working rules are simple : always monitoring (webcam and direct access), always be next to the printer (in case of something goes wrong, and not only fire), always be ready to shutdown main power and take the fire extinguisher (mounted next to the enclosure).

      1. It would be relatively easy to incorporate a CO2 extinguisher and use a heat sensor to automatically turn it on. This little box is filled within seconds with CO2. You should consider to do something like this, just for the sake of safety.

        1. Adding a heat sensor and an alarm in the enclosure would be easy.
          But I don’t see how to trigger a CO2 cartridge electrically, maybe with a solenoid valve ?

          I known they are small automatic CO2 extinguisher for flammable liquid storage box but they are damn expensive and trigger at 70°C …

        2. I wonder how practical it would be to flood the build chamber with argon. Constant flow would probably be prohibitively expensive for long prints, but you could run a line into the printer enclosure and use a hand valve to periodically flood the space.

          1. Only semi-related: I wonder if filling with an inert gas would help any of the 3d printing process? It works well in metal welding. Perhaps we are accepting poor performance because we don’t know that oxidation is hurting us? This is just conjecture — not based on any evidence.

  1. Site the air inlet so that the camera lens does not get a buildup of plastic fumes on it. i.e. Put the air inlet near the camera and outlet on the opposite side.

    1. The webcam I’m using in the enclosure has a glass lens (logictech C920). So, if the lens get dirty, I can easily clean the mess.

      I was also worried about the fumes, but for now, i haven’t seen any trace of fumes on the lens (yet).

      1. I’ve seen minor build-up above the hot end. The rest of my own enclosure still looks pristine.

        Sadly, I’ve seen one case where the heatsink/barrel looks like it’s had decades of dust settling on it, and it’s kind of scary. I wonder what the guy was doing, or if it was some kind of super nasty garbage plastic.

  2. The construction looks superb, but I think a different type of insulating foam should be used.
    That looks like flammable urethane to me. :/
    Keep an extinguisher on hand.

    Great build-log, and it translated very well.

    1. Instead of 12mm wood I would have used two layers of 3mm ply with a 12mm cavity in between and then filled the cavity with expanding foam. Then used flame retardant paint in the inside.

      For venting you could use an extractor with a smoke detector that shuts off the venting and inlet to seal off any more oxygen so that a flame is not supported.

  3. Nice. A good option for bringing more machinery into the living area, this is the future yes? Currently most useful for recording small things like a bluebird vine star or a cricket. Perhaps an inner layer of another rigid material that is floating on the foam is a direction to satisfy the fire comments. C02 blast to choke a fire?

  4. I saw a nice enclosure recently – it was a small equipment rack with Perspex sides. And door. I can’t rember how fume extraction was handled but it certainly looked nice reduced the noise and you could watch what was going on.

    1. The air extractor is made out of two 3D printed parts and a metal ventilation cover (normally used for fireplace air extractor).

      One of the printed part has a big space to fit a silent 25x140x140mm computer fan and a 10x140x140mm carbon filter. The fixing holes are aligned with the fixing holes of the metal cover. And the second part just plug on the outside top of the first part.

      The final assembly is like a big sandwich mounted from the inside of the enclosure : plastic cover plug, base part with filter and fan, wood (from the back of the enclosure) and the shiny metal cover, fixed together with screw and nuts.

  5. I agree with nano. This is a very bad idea. 3d printers are not safe enough to leave unattended. And saying they are is just putting your head in the sand. Please Google 3d printer fires

    1. If someone let his 3D printer unattended, he deserve a fire start.
      As you said, 3D printers are not safe enough to be leave unattended.

      This is why I’ve installed a webcam inside the enclosure and I check the monitor during the whole print until the extruder are cold.
      A fire extinguisher is mounted next to the enclosure and I’m (literally) working two meters away from the printer.
      I also open the door time to time just to be sure everything fine with the filament and the print.
      See my reply to nano comment for more info ;)

      As a side note, peoples letting their print run during night are just plain stupid and dangerous.
      In my country smock detector are mandatory by law, but people just don’t install them because it’s too expensive or just by pure laziness.
      So, regularly I heard about friends printing 3D models during night in their living room, with no smock detector nor fire extinguisher. Grrrrrrrr.

      1. That some 3D printers have a tendency to go up in flames doesn’t mean that every 3D printer will go up in smoke!
        Saying that 3D printers are a fire hazard is just an emotion fueled by what? On what info is this based, statistics please. How many cases are we talking about and who made them?
        I’m sure that you could leave a decent and certified 3D printer completely unattended if you want to, but with careful planning of your time (and your design) you shouldn’t have to.

        Of the many 3D printers that are available, how many are actually certified? Lot’s of them are DIY or kits of which I’m sure are not certified or will not pass HF-emission and/or safety regulations. I build my own 3D printer from scratch and it has lot’s of safety features. People who build their own 3D printers should be very aware of the risks involved with heating elements, if they don’t then they should not be building such a device and most certainly not leave it unattended.

        But don’t get me wrong, any form of hot and/or moving machinery should never be left unattended. Simply because you never know what your kids or pets might do when you are not around.

        1. All 3D printer are not fire hazard, far from that.
          I just say you should never let a 3D printer alone, like any other machine.

          Thermal runaway are easy to get : badly wired or mounted sensor, faulty component, firmware crash or bug.
          I’ve got multiple thermal runaway with my DIY reprap kit (but to be fair, I’ve tweak it so much it was inevitable).

          A certified printer can do a thermal runaway as easily as a reprap kit. I’ve experimented one with my sigma because of a bug in an early version of the firmware.
          Maybe some certified printer have thermal fuses wired on the extruder heater but I’ve never such a printer yet.

          1. eep. Makes me glad now that smoothieware now has quite a few added checks & balances. It uses the uC watchdog timer so it resets the processor in the case of a lock-up and it it can even self-kill power to the machine or even just to a circuit in case a FET latches.

            I’ve yet to experience runaway but it does concern me. I’ll take any advance I can get on that front.

  6. I saw an advert for a kids toy the other day. It was sort of like fast setting silicone sealant. [ used to make rubber jewellery. ] I would love to see a cold liquid 3D printer one day. With no head you’d only have to move a set of tubes for each colour. Much quieter and faster.

    1. Fast curing silicone would be a pain to work with, it would keep clogging the nozzles, not to mention that polymerization releases a fair bit of heat, which in turn would tend to cause a positive feedback for curing it even faster (polymerization goes faster with elevated temps), so thick things would cure much quicker then thin ones.

  7. Noise pollution should be taken very seriously; even at so-called low levels it can damage your hearing before you notice anything is wrong. I’ve got severe tinnitus in both ears thanks to working for 5 years in an office that was also (mis)used as the server room.

  8. Safety Patrol showing in full force.

    3D printers aren’t magic devices, your fear of them shows a lack of understanding.

    There’s only 2 ways a printer can catch fire. 1. The thermister fails the software tells the hot end to keep heating at full power. That’s a firmware fix. MArlin has thermal runaway protection.

    2. The other point of failure is the power supply and circuit board. Your computer has this possibility too. The solution? Use a quality PSU from a computer instead of the shitty PSU meant to light LEDs. Make sure you have a quality (well designed) board mounted vertically in a metal housing with a fan in it. Obviously your cables should be large enough to accomodate the currents as well. Basic stuff people.

    1. “There’s only 2 ways a printer can catch fire. 1. The thermister fails the software tells the hot end to keep heating at full power. That’s a firmware fix. MArlin has thermal runaway protection.”

      Are you implying that software/firmware never could get stuck in a loop ignoring the sensors? There are enough ‘fail’ videos around that have convinced me that a device that extrudes flammable material through a heated end is never 100% safe.
      Software can fail. Firmware can fali. Thermistors can fail.
      Safetys can fail. Cats are mean.

      1. When I read the “only two ways” I thought – great! I will buy one of these with a big enclosure and if the house ever catches fire then I will jump in the enclosure with the 3D printer and be safe because that isn’t one of the “two ways” they they can burn.

        And to the original post – one day I was printing and sharks came to the front door and bunt the printer with LASERs.

    2. I’d say buy a 24V MeanWell supply. They’re solid hardware. Using a PC PSU means limiting your motors, the extra 12V does give higher performance margins. And if you’re using a DC heated bed, it halves the current to the bed, putting less current load on the connector, FET and wiring.

      I get exasperated when I see people buy the $30 RAMPS. Not only is RAMPS kind of scary, one made from alternate, lower spec parts really scare me. It’s been superseded but people get bewitched by the siren song of cheap.

  9. I always get a kick out of the insane safety recommentations, like a CO2 dump into the chassis, based on some smoke or heat detection. Brilliant, lets add more things that are just as likely to fail into the safety chain. IF you are worried about thermal runaway and want what the engineering community (including the UL) considers appropriate, add a thermal fuse of the proper temperature rating that is mounted to your hot end heating block.

    Hot end exceeds temp, thermal fuse opens and cuts power to the element before it can reach combusion temp for the filament or housing. They are simple, cheap (a few bucks), and way more reliable than some Rube Goldberg contraption to valve in an inert gas in an attempt to recreate the Cyberdyne office fire scenes from T2.

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