Why buy 3D Printer Enclosure?
Starting your 3D printing journey opens the doors to a fun hobby that in turn requires you to learn a new craft. You'll find that 3D printing offers tons of opportunity to upgrade, modify, and DIY your way to better performance. One of the best additions to your 3D printer is to add an enclosure. Enclosures offer many benefits including a cleaner printing environment, a healthier printing environment, and improved printing results.
First lets touch on your print space, or where you have your printer setup. Many user's favored location is within reach of their computer desk. A work station like a computer desk sees a lot of activity and there is a constant need to clean and organize. Enclosing your printer helps encourage a clean and neat workspace.
Also, lets not forget protecting your print and your pets! Cat, dog, and other pets don't understand that your are printing at 200+ Celsius. Sometimes it just looks like a fun toy. Protect your pets from touching that hotend and protect your prints by keeping pet hair out of your print space!
Many users have this in an area with quiet hours such as bedroom, family room, or other common area. The repetitive buzz from the stepper motors isn't music to the ear when trying to sleep or to other people not using the printer. A printer enclosure helps contain the noise and if any fumes are produced. A quite print area keeps the family happy.
Speaking of the fumes in 3D printing, they are obviously bothersome, but they really aren't' healthy. Many print enthusiasts insist they haven't died from smelling a bit of fumes. However, who knows how processing molten plastics can effect health over a long time with consistent use. Just like many things a little isn't harmful, but long term use could affect your health. (And you do plan to print new fun stuff in an up and coming technology for the long term, am I right?)
Here is the first thing we've noticed. MICROPLASTICS. The attached picture comes from 2 months use of on our Prusa Mini. You can see a buildup of white powder where the hotend fan cools the hotend. This is Micor Plastic dust that fumes off during printing. Be assured, that hotend fan is sending that dust all around your room. That same dust accumulates on our Prusa i3 Mk3s+ and Creality Ender 3 v2 printers. We aren't here to make health claims on what this plastic does, but what we do know is that we don't want it in our living or work space.
The great benefit of our enclosure is that it contains the dust. Will the enclosure get dirty over time? It sure will. That means it is doing its job! Clearview enclosures biggest health benefit is to keep these Microplastics from spreading through your work space. A bit of acrylic cleaner every few month and your enclosure is good to go and your print environment is significantly cleaner!
Hey! Wake up! I know that was a bit of a boring health lecture.
We should touch one more health topic, the smell. Filaments like PETG print with almost no smell, but ABS has a bad smell of something like burning tires. Aside from the health concerns the smell isn't reasonable for working or living near your 3D printer. That is why we developed our 3D printer Carbon Filter. Our filter helps to reduce fumes and smells created in 3D printing. It uses the same technology as commercial respirators and gas masks. We didn't invent the tech. Tons of household and commercial air purifiers use this technology and we have applied in specially for 3D printing. Our filter uses a USB fan to pass air through charcoal media to scrub fumes and smells from the air in your 3D printer enclosure. Our Filters are compatible and bolt directly onto all Clearview enclosures.
Do note, in 3D printing there are published designs that use a black charcoal pad and call it a filter. Any rational person should be able to recognize that this won't offer much filter capacity. Don't be fooled. Our filters use a full pound of activated carbon media. It is washable and reusable with maintenance intervals of 200 to 300 hours. This is a small price to pay for a cleaner and healthier print environment.
Okay okay for real, no more boring health stuff. The last reason why you should enclose your printer is to get better prints. First, let me set this up by saying the enclosure offers a higher, more even temperature print environment. Your printer itself is the heat source. The heat bed, hotend, and power supply all heat the air in the enclosure. With Clearview enclosures it is possible to get print temperatures of up to 120f or 50c.
If you've done reading, some users say you don't want heat because is bad for the electronics. High temps do degrade electronics, but the thing to ask is how hot and by how much. We might suggest that temps of 120 degrees don't do that much damage. If your power supply lives 8 years instead of 10 years with a replacement cost of $100USD; would that create a high level of worry? We'll disclaim, we aren't electronic experts. However, most printers get upgraded in 2 to 3 yeas, so we're not afraid to suggest to not be afraid of the heat.
Here are the benefits of warmer temperature.
The first is stronger layer lines. A warmer, even temperature allows the melted filament a fraction of additional time to melt and bond together by staying near max temp for an additional fraction of a second. It makes a difference! That additional bake time equals the potential for added strength, less noticeable layer lines, and glossier prints.
If you've ever tried to print with ABS or Polycarbonate you'll see that the parts often peel themselves off the build plate. This isn't because of bad bed adhesion. Instead, it is because these materials have a volatile "Coefficient of Thermal Expansion. Meaning it expands and shrinks a lot when heated and cooled. The end result is curled up corners, less bad adhesion, and parts that loose their dimensional accuracy. An enclosure homogenizes the temperature (keeps it stable and even) making the filament and your prints expand an contract less. Once you have all your layers down, your print is reinforced with the layer directions. The warm temps of the enclosure allow a slower cool down of your parts, translating into less warping.
I've already harped on this, but keeping the elements out of the print space is a huge help for printer performance. Obviously there is nothing like a hair sticking out of your print! More so, the enemy of printer filament is moisture. Water in your filament causes bubbles, clogs, and poor print quality. The enclosure is a big protective, dust free, dry box for both your printer and filament.
These are the best benefit of the trifecta of having a better print environment. Start with a clean print area, make sure it is healthy, and that will yield better prints!
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