Background

Print failures are commonplace within the 3D printing world, in part due to unsuitable working environments causing the first layer to not affix properly to the print bed. With many different printers working simultaneously within our innovation hub, our prototyping engineers are always looking for ways to improve the process and output quality for our customers’ projects.

 

 

By documenting this project at each stage, we are able to demonstrate how an idea is taken all the way through from a concept to a working model.”
'Print failures cost both time and money, so we hope that this case study will help other 3D printer users to overcome this common issue.”

Gabriela Adamczyk, Prototyping Engineer, Sensor City

Approaching Sensor City

We therefore set about to design and build an enclosure for our Prusa i3 MK3 3D printer, in order to create a stable printing environment, protecting the print bed from exposure to external factors, including draughts and temperature variations.

Partner Support

In order to produce a bespoke enclosure for our 3D printer, a number of methodical processes were undertaken. This included designing the CAD model, manufacturing a frame, door and shield, as well as creating a spool holder to be affixed to the top of the enclosure. A hybrid manufacturing approach was used, using a combination of methods to meet the scope of the project, manage its timescale and optimise the use of available materials, equipment and software.

A full step-by-step guide following each stage of the production process (with images) can be viewed here.

Working into the future

Whether working at a home or within an industrial setting, following the guidance and advice set out in this case study will assist in producing more reliable and valuable 3D prints.

Not only will the addition of an enclosure better regulate the temperature and cleanliness within the print bed area, but it will also help to reduce the overall sound level in the work environment by dampening noise.

Results

This project has resulted in a stable printing environment for our Prusa 3D printer, thanks to the print bed being shielded from any draughts which can cause warping and shrinking of the prints. The enclosure also keeps the temperature high and stable, improving the layer adhesion (especially in the case of materials such as ABS and PetG).

A reduction in the smell and level of pollutants emitted during 3D printing process is also observed, which can be more easily ventilated without being released into the work environment. A final benefit of installing a protective enclosure, is the prevention of dirt and dust settling on the print bed and other parts of the printer.

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