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3poro

UM2, Greenhouse Edition

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After some weeks with UM2, I found several reasons for building a quasi-closed chamber for the printer. The key reasons were:

1) Noise. While UM2 can't be claimed to be noisy for a 3D printer, I got tired of its sounds if I had to stay in the same (small) room with it for a few hours.

2) Heat management 1/2. The room where my UM2 is located is air-conditioned. For comfort reasons I don't want to switch off the air conditioning. Having one non-insulated device heating the room and another device keeping the room cool doesn't feel smart.

3) Heat management 2/2. I plan to print primarily ABS, so getting the heat spread evenly across the printing chamber makes sense, to fight warping.

4) Vandal protection. My 2-year-old son loves to grab whatever is on the build plate - whether the build plate is cool or not, whether the print is ready or not, whether I like his gesture idea or not.

5) Odour mitigation. As mentioned above, I plan to print primarily ABS - and, as mentioned above, the room is air-conditioned. As the air circulates in the room, the smell of hot ABS becomes quite dominant.

To get to my implementation, here's the general view of my UM2, Greenhouse Edition:

general view

 

Currently the top lid is kept in place by gravity; I'm planning to add similar fixtures to it as I now have in the front door.

 

The most interesting part is probably on the left hand side of the printer:

 

left front

left rear

When designing the dome, I couldn't find any meaningful place for the filament reel on the backside of the printer anymore - so I decided to move it to the side. This required re-locating the feeder:

feeder close-up

 

(Thanks to IRobertI for the feeder!)

If you are wondering about the perforated plate on the side - I'm in the process of figuring out the optimal location for the filament reel. Now I can fix the filament reel holder to any of the holes on the plate without having to modify anything. It looks like different filaments might have different optimal locations - also there might be a difference depending on whether the reel is empty or full.

So far everything looks good, I just need to get back to printing. I'm wondering whether it would make sense to add a fan inside the greenhouse to improve the circulation of air within the chamber. I'm also planning to make the chamber more tight by covering a few holes/gaps in it. Already now the thermal insulation makes quite clear separation between the room temperature and the temperatures inside the chamber, as can be seen with a thermal camera:

thermal camera view

 

Everything below the build plate level stays cool.

 

I wonder if this construction raises any questions or concerns?

 

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Nice hack :)

What's the device in the dome at the top? Lights??

For the feeder/Spool Holder you could have placed the spoolholder below the feeder so you wouldn't need to change the feeder.

Do you extract the vapours somehow?

Next step, put a separation and add an aquarium on top :mrgreen:

 

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Nice hack :)

 

What's the device in the dome at the top? Lights??

 

 

Thank you! The device on the top is actually just an IP camera. While the camera in front of the printer is good for monitoring progress of printing, its depth of field is not sufficient to check the quality of the printed layer(s). The camera on top has manual focus which actually allow you to adjust the focus down to a few centimeters. Most IP cameras have quite limited focusing capabilities.

 

As such, I'm all ears about hints for good IP cameras for this kind of monitoring purposes. Most cameras with remote focusing and high resolution seem to be fairly big and often very expensive - and they only allow focusing starting from half a meter or so.

 

 

For the feeder/Spool Holder you could have placed the spoolholder below the feeder so you wouldn't need to change the feeder.

 

 

Hrmpfh - well, yes, true, but - the space behind the printer would be very packed after that and I would have very little freedom to continue improving the filament path. Especially if Ultimaker will manage to come up with a dual extrusion upgrade for UM2. Also, for ergonomics I prefer to have the feeder more accessible than it is in its original location.

 

However, I had also other reasons for taking the stepper motor out from its original location. First of all, now as the enclosure is more closed than before, I was concerned about the temperatures of the stepper motors - the feeder stepper motor is right below one of the motors moving the print head. According to my experience, increasing the feeder stepper motor current to 1.5 amps really helps - which of course adds to its temperature. Now, the heat from the feeder stepper motor is actually useful, as the air it warms helps to close the gap needed for the moving Bowden tube and the cables.

 

Here are a couple of photos of the current setup:

 

original motor cut-out with bearing

assembly 4/8, looking from outside the UM2

assembly 6/8, looking from outside the UM2

assembly 7/8, looking from outside the UM2

assembly 8/8, looking from outside the UM2

 

The movement of the feeder during printing seems to help extraction of the filament from the reel. The spool holder has bearings, but that doesn't help a lot if the filament gets stuck with itself - but movement of the feeder can do the trick.

 

 

Do you extract the vapours somehow?

 

Next step, put a separation and add an aquarium on top :mrgreen:

 

Currently vapors are not extracted. If there will be need, I'll probably add some fan inside the dome and put there a filter which would collect some of the vapors. Due to temperature management, I would like to keep the circulation closed - but let's see how things turn out.

The aquarium is a great idea, thank you! I thought of making a terrarium out of the thing... If there were some spiders living in the printer, they could be printing some webs when I'm not printing. They would also help me find any holes I may have forgotten to fix...

 

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Yeah, very professional looking; very nice! I too am looking for a good IP camera that can zoom in and allow me to check the quality of the print; I'll keep you posted if you do the same for me, nothing I've found so far can give me the focus and resolution I'm looking for.

 

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Yeah, very professional looking; very nice! I too am looking for a good IP camera that can zoom in and allow me to check the quality of the print; I'll keep you posted if you do the same for me, nothing I've found so far can give me the focus and resolution I'm looking for.

 

Thank you!

The IP camera market is actually very frustrating to research. There are hundreds of different camera models, most of them having crappy sensors and hopeless software full of bugs. Finding detailed specifications (sensor size, minimum focusing distance, availability of remote manual focus) is next to impossible for most makes.

My current 2-camera setup serves me quite well, not being perfect though. As I have one PC close to the printer, I'm wondering whether I should use DSLR connected to it. For another project I'm using a Nikon DSLR with Nikon's Camera Control Pro software to communicate with the camera. Using live view mode, you can actually use the camera as a very good IP camera - although the user interface is far from optimal. In my case, I'm using remote desktop connection to the PC with the camera attached.

Probably the cheapest camera which is compatible with Nikon Camera Control Pro is Nikon D5000; I could find them on eBay for around 150 USD.

My current top view camera is an Edimax IC-3030iWn. While I wouldn't praise it too loudly, it offers accurate manual (not remote) focusing. Here's a screenshot:

screen capture from Edimax top view camera

 

The resolution is 1280x1024, which is practical for a top view camera. Having a "Full HD" camera wouldn't give almost any additional (usable) resolution. For a front view camera, the aspect ratio of a Full HD camera would naturally be better.

 

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Do you extract the vapours somehow?

 

Now I have (finally) gotten a chance to test the hack a bit more extensively with ABS (I guess I should thank Ultimaker at this point or something).

It looks like there's quite little need for vapor extraction, at least regarding odors. I still can smell I'm printing ABS rather than PLA, but now the room feels fresh - not like before, when smell of ABS was fairly dominant.

At some point - maybe - I might consider a fan and a filter combo inside the dome. Now it doesn't feel like a priority, though.

 

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While searching for a camera for the same purpose, I came to the conclusion that ip-attached cameras all seem to be low-res and pricy, compared to USB-attached. Probably a bandwidth constraint.

Logitech has several USB-attached cameras that can focus down to 7-10cm, and have wide-field or 1080P.

 

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I agree with JonnyBischof. ABS should only be printed in a very well ventilated room. The odors are one thing, the emitted nano particles are maybe even worse. Some of them are small enough (<100nm) to not only penetrate your lung but also the blood vessels there. PLA does emit more than a magnitude less nano particles.

 

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You are right about the dangers of the ABS fumes. The room is quite well ventilated, but when my Ultimaker was open, even the maximum level of ventilation didn't help. Now, even if I turn the ventilation off, I don't feel discomfort in the room. I understand this doesn't yet make the room safe to stay in, at least for longer periods of time. However, I assume there is at least some correlation between level of smell and level of dangerous fumes and nano particles.

As my next effort I'll make my dome even tighter by closing any unnecessary holes/gaps - this serves the temperature management as well. I'll also place there some soft material (an old cotton cloth or something) which absorbs small particles better than the hard plastic walls do.

 

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There is not necessarily a correlation between smell and nano particles. Best examples are candles. They produce many nano particles even if they burn normally and produce no smell. If they flicker the amount of nano particles produced raises by one to two order of magnitudes. Typical particle sizes for candles are around 15nm.

 

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I agree - smell and nano particles are not always correlated. However, if the burning/heating process produces both sensible smell and nano particles and if you isolate it in a way you sense 90% less of smell, I would assume also the number of nano particles has decreased. Whether the decrease is 90% is a different question.

If candles flicker, the burning process changes, but there is no such change in case of printing with ABS - unless nozzle temperature would be changed significantly.

At the moment the (by far) biggest gap in my dome is the one needed for the Bowden tube and the cables to come out from the printing head. The size of it is 3x5cm (15cm2) and it is well below the level of the printing head. As the hot stepper motor is right under the gap, the fumes and other particles need to do some acrobatics to come out from the chamber. I'm not saying the problem is now solved, but I do believe there's a clear improvement over the starting point.

One reason why I think the fumes are less of a problem is the delay after which the ABS smell appears. When the printer was open, I could smell the fumes in a few seconds after starting a print - now it takes at least a minute before I start smelling anything. I believe during the delay also the fumes and the nano particles lose part of their aggressiveness. Again, I'm not claiming the time is enough to make them harmless, but some impact it should have.

 

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Is there any research on how to "catch" these Nano particles out of the air? I guess a simple air filter won't suffice and isn't a good idea anyways because it would need to be replaced from time to time.

Maybe there's a way to "attract" the particles with static electricity or ionized air / water? Sometimes these solutions can be simpler than they sound...

 

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Is there any research on how to "catch" these Nano particles out of the air? I guess a simple air filter won't suffice and isn't a good idea anyways because it would need to be replaced from time to time.

Maybe there's a way to "attract" the particles with static electricity or ionized air / water? Sometimes these solutions can be simpler than they sound...

 

Electrostatic precipitators are excellent for filtering nano particles.

edit: However, most devices from China have a miserable efficiency.

 

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Nano particles never loose their aggressivness; they are aggressive by their small nature.

 

Nano particles are dangerous also because of their small size, but they also have their chemical properties. They also can stick to each other and to surrounding surface materials. The more aggressive they are (chemically), the more likely they will do so. Therefore, in real world environments, time does help - but estimating the impact without thorough analysis is very difficult.

 

Electrostatic precipitators are excellent for filtering nano particles.

edit: However, most devices from China have a miserable efficiency.

 

Hmm... That's a very interesting idea... What do you think about devices like these:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/High-Efficiency-Electrostatic-Precipitator-Filter/dp/B00J0O39T6

http://www.amazon.com/Kmall24-Amazing-Portable-Purifier-Travel/dp/B00L525TVW

http://www.amazon.com/Hewe-HC-727-Home-Ionizer-Purifier/dp/B0014X6R22

I'm now thinking about placing something inside the dome.

 

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I think it would be a very interesting research!

But is there a (doable) method to measure whether it works or not?

And could there be a problem with combustible gases and high voltages in the same space (aka "look how well... *BOOOOOOM*")?

 

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@3Poro: Difficult to say from just seeing a picture if a device is good or not. If you show me pictures from the inside, I could tell you. However, the I would not expect the second one to be efficient due to the size. The larger the better.

@Jonny: Somewhere on my todo list is actually to do a similar study as the one I put the link above. The problem is not the equipment but the time needed to do it... :sad:

And I would not recommend to run a domestic ESP in an environment with combustible gases. However, there are ESPs for such applications which are built accordingly.

 

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Absolutely I can share the STL files:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/gi3qxp9en3va42q/front_door_fixtures.zip?dl=0

They assume 5mm wall thickness and some rubber/foam tightener between the door and the printer. My door is 30cm in height and 28cm in width; the top edge of it is right under the "Ultimaker" text. For the handles I used 4mm bolts and nuts.

Let me know if the files are of any help; I only designed the parts for myself, but I'm happy if they can serve somebody else as well :)

 

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