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Building an enclosure for the printer, should I add a heater?


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Posted · Building an enclosure for the printer, should I add a heater?

So I'm partially done with the physical construction. Up next is the door and then the thermostat, and that is where the question comes in.

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Should I get a heater to bootstrap the temperature in the enclosure? Most adhesion issues I've had is the base layer (PLA) and the support (PVA) and I hope that is due to my AC kicking in and blasting cold air into my home at night. As this is early in the print should I look at putting a heater into the space to pre-warm the air prior to printing?

* since this I've added a nest cam so I can monitor it remotely, the humidity & temperature parts are next and the door by the end of the year.

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    Posted · Building an enclosure for the printer, should I add a heater?

    Having a enclose printer usually does not help with PLA. Some people have already tried but get failed prints due to the increased temperature. If the environment is warm PLA will get soft and you get extrusion problems. If you are printing ABS yes this is a good solution.

    So PLA hates heath

    and ABS loves heath

    So be carefull that the temperature in the box does not go up too much for PLA

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    Posted · Building an enclosure for the printer, should I add a heater?

    Hi there,

    My solution regarding heat was to just put a plastic tote box over the top of the printer, along with a front door/cover (copying someone brilliant on this forum :) ). For printing ABS and (cheap) polycarbonate and even XT, you only need the ambient temperature in the printer to be about 40-50C to get workable prints. So a full enclosure, from a heat perspective, might be a bit overkill. And as Arjan says, the heated bed, if you preheat for a while, will take care of the heating.

    But there might be another reason for fully enclosing the printer. Particulates and smells. ABS, polycarbonate and other non-PLA filaments often put out much more (and much worse) particulates that you, ideally, do not want to breath. Or, at least, there is at least one study that seems to indicate this. So, an enclosure would let you contain and either vent or scrub those out so you don't breath them.

    The problem with just venting to the outdoors, is that you are also losing all that lovely warm air as well, making it harder to keep a consistent ambient temperature. A scrubbing system with HEPA and carbon filters works better because it keeps/returns the heated air in/to the enclosure. There are some printable designs for these out there, but I cannot remember any details. Do some research on this if you are interested. :)

    All this is a much fancier setup than just enclosing though, and maybe containment is enough to minimise particulate breathing, if this is a concern for you.

    Plus, as Arjan says, you pretty much do not want/need any of that for PLA printing. I can take the tote box off for printing PLA and all is fine.

    Anyway, I will end by saying that I am no expert on this stuff and have not personally built a full enclosure. What I say above is only a summary from the research I did on this topic when I was considering an enclosure. I.e. What I read in these forums and elsewhere.

    Hope this helps. Caveat emptor. YMMV. :)

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    Posted · Building an enclosure for the printer, should I add a heater?

    the drawer is working really well, it is smooth enough that I can move it while printing without any concern. it has been a fun project to work on.

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    Posted · Building an enclosure for the printer, should I add a heater?

    I would say that heating my print chamber made a marked improvement in limiting warping on large PLA parts. I am not heating the whole printer, only inside. I wouldn't recommend heating the entire thing as it would be likely to overheat the electronics with additional heat. My crude system is made up of a hair dryer, a water heater temperature switch to switch it on and off and a large oven bag. The switch has an adjustable temperature setting. It is kind of crude, but even this setup was an improvement.

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