Custom TAZ enclosure

Here is the box that my brother built for the TAZ. Just finished installing the lights. I’ve printed a box full of things with the case and things seem to be much more consistent. I’ve only used ABS in the box and haven’t had any warping, shrinking, or cracking.

With the box open:

Dimmest setting:

Brightest setting:

Little bit of color:

I need that. I may look for rigid insulating panels at Lowe’s and glue them together. I have another idea - put a 250 watt heat lamp on top pointing down.

pretty sweet.

what is it made of?
and how is the material tube going in the top?

I was thinking of using a halogen lamp.
light + heat

I need to take some pictures of the sides and top to show the details, but there is a cutout along the top for the filament guide (it’s attached to the box). There are two filament spool holders on the same side as the guide. There is brushing on each side of the cutout to keep dust out while allowing the guide to move freely.

Each side has a small door with glass inserts. All the doors have magnetic clasps to keep the closed.

There is a small hole for the fan in the RAMBo box and one a little further back for the power cables. Same brushing for the small opening for the power cables.

The LEDs have a remote to control them. I’m not sure if you can see it in the pictures, but there is an IR control in the back of the box on the left.

Oh, it’s made of wood - he had a sheet of plywood in his shop (he’s a builder), so we used that. He wanted to use some really nice maple he uses to make cabinets, but I wanted something lighter. I think he painted the outside with acrylic paint and inside with semi-gloss.

He is already planning a V2. Wants me to hook up some fans to a thermistor so it can maintain a consistent temperature. From my usage, I don’t think we’ll need it. I was initially concerned that it would get too hot, but after some long prints (10 hours), the heat seemed to hover over the bed and the box never really became too hot. I’m pretty happy with it.

What is your recommended ID of the box?

did you get any temp readings inside?

Are you using plexiglass or real glass?

Also, how hot does it get inside?

How about the electronics inside the Taz controller box? And step motors (which I find get really hot when printing)?

I’m going to try and find something to give me a temperature readout this week. When I open the box after a print has finished I can tell you it’s not noticeably hot. Even after many hour print.

I’ll measure the inside to get exact dimensions.

The panes are glass.

This really nice, I was thinking of something like this but insulated.

Love the work man!

I’m in the build stage (a ton of McMaster Carr boxes in my garage haha) of a high end enclosure for the TAZ or any printer that can fit in it (the design is easily scaled based on the structural build). Stay tuned to the forums in the next month or two (hopefully not three :confused: ) for the release of it I plan to make the full design and capabilities open to the public. For now what I will say is it will cost anyone building it probably $400 + to build and should last a lifetime.



I have been waiting to get a TAZ since version 1 came out last spring, but they always sold out, and then there was that long break over the summer until version 2 became available. It wasn’t easy sitting around waiting to join the 3D printing revolution, but it was more important to me to support Lulzbot and their commitment to libre hardware. So in the meantime I have been reading this forum learning what is involved and getting a sense that the first two things to address are making a heated enclosure and auto bed leveling. Luckily user:1013 has paved the way for the auto bed leveling, thanks 1013.

Here are some of the ideas I have been kicking around for a heated enclosure, but because I don’t have a printer, I have to speculate on some interface and usability issues.

Our bounding box for the TAZ2 is 590x508x505 (width, depth, height).

!Edit: the 508 dimension does not account for the amount the heated bed extends beyond the vertical face of the Y axis brackets! (end edit)

For the average hand to come in from the sides and grasp the frame to move it in and out of our enclosure, we should offset the bounding box by 70mm on the right side and 25mm on the electronics side. So now our width is 685mm. First assumption is that this leaves enough room to insert and remove the SD card in the LCD screen in the upper left front corner of the TAZ frame, not shown in picture. At this point you might be wondering where the filament spool is for these measurements, and I decided it is more important to reduce the printer’s footprint. Most of us have space to stack and build upward. Let’s offset the front and back by 30mm on each side, our new depth becomes 568, and even that might be too excessive.
I had the same idea as user:benfarmer to have the filament spool outside and have it feed through a slot cut in the top of our enclosure. But then, to make less manufacturing processes, why cut a slot in the top for the filament to feed through? Why not have the filament sit above the TAZ completely inside the enclosure and attach to the frame of the TAZ? The frame will have no problem with the load. I just don’t know how high it needs to be for the filament to move freely when the x-axis moves side to side. You can position the spool front to back so that the filament comes off the spool tangent to where it enters the extruder. You could print the supports that hold the spool and if you double extrude, just have a longer axis for the two spools to pivot on.
I think another benefit to having the filament in the enclosure is that it will be a consistent temperature each time you use it and reduce moisture content. If you print in your garage in the winter the filament could be at a very chilly room temp or if you summer in Arizona, your garage temp could be a few degrees from already melting the filament on the spool. :wink: Also, since heat rises, your filament sits up in the hottest part of the enclosure and your electronics sit down in the coolest part. Ideally I would like to move the electronics out of the enclosure, but for now let’s assume they will stay inside. One thing I don’t know is if it makes a lick of difference whether the filament is pre-temped or not once it hits the heating element of the extruder. Experiment needed.

Next: moving the heat around. I don’t know how hot these enclosures will get naturally. Perhaps some of you that have one can lend some data. I also don’t know what the point is to have all your heat collect in the top of the enclosure when you really need it down around the part. Or do you want it down around your part? Will a warm draft cause parts to separate? Will a hot draft cause the same to happen? At what temp does the ambient moving air inside the enclosure need to be to provide the benefits of something like a sous-vide machine. Which gives us the most benefit: creating a draft-free oven like environment, or a drafty convection oven, or draft-free radiant heat from a few halogen bulbs pointed at the printer bed? I don’t have a printer, so I have no idea which we should shoot for. In the back of my head is the idea of having possibly two computer fans attached to the inner corners of the enclosures to circulate air, if all of this would actually create a benefit. What about too much heat? What are the operating temperatures for the stepper motors and the electronics? I don’t know, but I think it could be an easy fix because you can get a thermostat switch for $10 (ex: Circuit On At 120°F and Off At 105°F or what ever temperature range you want) for an exhaust fan to remove heat if it gets too high for the components, and why not have another to turn on the halogen lights (ex: Circuit On At 85°F and Off At 100°F). And while you are exhausting air, get a thin duct to attach to the enclosure so you can exhaust the air out your bedroom window in case you print in the house, no ABS fumes. A problem with lights turning on and off for heat is that if you have a webcam recording, this can mess up your exposure. I would probably use some 35W heating rods. Because the electronics sit low and close to the side of the enclosure, why not have a duct that directs exterior air to and from the electronics enclosure and the fan inside the electronics enclosure does the circulation. Think indoor gas fireplace, you have to bring air in from outside and vent it back outside. Plus, that is what I think I am seeing in user:benfarmer’s pictures.

Lastly are enclosure forms and materials. I like user:1013’s simple cardboard enclosure. But if I want to have a webcam filming the printing so I can playback later and figure out where things went wrong, then I need light. If I want the process to be visible and not have to open and close the cardboard enclosure to see, I think the material needs to be transparent or have transparent windows. If I do window openings like user:benfarmer, how much extra labor does it add to cut out the windows and cut glass and wood. Granted if the wood is free materials sitting around, that is a different story. I like the idea of a Plexiglas enclosure, no windows to cut for viewing. One material could create the entire enclosure. Downside, scratches and dirt make it harder to see through and clean plastic enclosures, glass would be better for visibility but not for durability. Also, does the enclosure even need a base? Or can we just create an enclosure lid we set over the entire printer? Similar to something you set over a cake or pie. Three 3’ x 6’ sheets of Plexiglas, 3mm in thickness, might run you $150 total and could each be cut in half and attached with printed corner braces and create the 6 or 5 sided enclosure we need. How about a door though to get in and remove your print? How about no door? Connect two neighbor sides and the ceiling as the removable section of the enclosure; the other two neighboring sides and the floor are stationary. Now you have access to the electronics without pulling the machine in and out (to replace blown fuses) and access to the front of the printbed. More access area then if you had one door on one side. See picture for example. The image is to scale, so you see a 3’ x 6’ sheet of Plexiglas cut in half is still way too big, and I said I want to keep my foot print as small as possible. So I still need to find different size sheets that would create a small footprint with the least number of cuts needed. Oh, and we’ll need handles to lift the enclosure on and off. Oh, and not sure a 3mm piece of Plexiglas is strong enough to lift the entire printer and enclosure. Oh, and we’ll need access holes to bring the power cable in from the power supply and a USB cord.

I think it will be great when I finally get the printer and I am too busy tinkering with it to sit and write these long posts. I like to write out the thought process though so others can see what I’m considering and maybe catch things I’m not even aware of. Hope it sparks some ideas though, and hopefully others can improve on my ideas. I’ll definitely post my enclosure when it is all said and done.

Here’s what I quickly put together from a few printed parts, and some 1/4" acrylic that we have laying around here.

I moved the electronics just outside the acrylic, and also left the spool outside using the same stock mount. There’s a cheap webcam mounted inside, along with a small fluorescent light. I can view and control the printer from my tablet when I’m offsite this way. The whole printer is being moved in a month or so to a new room, so the gap between the acrylic and table is only until it has a better table to sit on. For now, I cut a piece of styrofoam to fill the gap.

It was very quickly (and crudely) put together, so some of the seams aren’t perfect, and there are a couple small cracks, but it does the trick. The quality of the prints coming off is very good now. I have a wireless temperature sensor in there, and the temperature stays a consistent 38ºC through the entire print. I haven’t tried moving the sensor around to see how uneven it may actually be in there.

The door is a must, the enclosure itself is quite heavy to lift off each time. I just used 4 bolts, and put a sheet of acrylic on top, secured using knobs on the bolts. I will eventually put a handle or two on the door to make it easier to remove.

Hope this helps!

Cool, so there is enough slack in the electronics cable to move it out of the enclosure. It sounds like a five sided cube with a door will work best if ones table is big enough. Thanks for sharing, looks simple enough.


I actually bought benfarmer’s case (he’s going to build a better one soon) and have been using it with my TAZ for the last week or so. I can tell you that temperature wise, after a 15-ish hour ABS print, the inside walls of the box were around 100F when I measured with an IR thermometer. I don’t know what the temp should be for ABS, but at that temp, I still got significant cracking & warping of my print…so that’s apparently not hot enough. I have a 1st gen TAZ, so I’m a little worried about getting the temp too high in there since lots of the structural parts to my printer are also made of printed ABS and I don’t want them to soften up at all.

Ben lined his case with ultra bright LED strips. They don’t get hot at all (I touched them after 20 hours of full brightness and they weren’t hot at all). I think they work really well and give a very bright and even light since they run all the way aroudn the top of the enclosure. You may want to think about them if you move away from the acrylic enclosure since carboard (or wood in the case of my enclosure) will definitely need more light than a single fluorescent bulb. They look something like this strip from Adafruit:

I like your idea of mounting the filament above the TAZ instead of on the side. It works fine from the side, but you have to be careful with the angle of the filament to make sure it doesn’t bind up. I may try to make an add on for this enclosure to mount the spool above. I’m curious what you discover as far as keeping the ABS pre-heated in the box or keeping it outside the enclosure.

  • Adam

Good point, I did not think about the heat on the printed parts the printer is made of. If you printed an “L” shaped part and attached it to the inner side of your enclosure and put a lead weight on it out on the cantilevered end (like a person out on the edge of a diving board), we could see if the heat inside the enclosure distorts dimensions that have a load on them. Of course, if you had a corbel supporting the cantilevered end, it probably would not matter much until we had a heavy enough weight to pull layers apart with the help of the low heat weakening the “glue joints.”

I wasn’t sure what you meant by the filament binding. Do you mean from the side-to-side travel of the x-axis or the travel of the z-axis if it were to go from its lowest height to its highest? If you are referring to the latter, I assumed the filament slack would hang out towards the back of the enclosure and be taken up when the z-axis moves back down or the extruder starts to feed. I did consider binding for x-axis travel and if I need to address that I could use something like a lazy Susan bearing under a singular support holding the spool and limit the angle of rotation to 90 degrees. All ideas at this point.

There is not much slack, but enough to slip a 1/4" piece of plexi between the frame and the electronic enclosure. I cut a small notch at the bottom to let the cables pass through.

The enclosure I have mounts the spool on the lower right corner outside of the enclosure and then the feed tube runs up to the top and down through a slit into the extruder. With this particular setup, when the TAZ is at x-min, everything is fine, but when it’s all the way at x-max, the filament is coming into the extruder at a pretty steep angle. Sometimes that angle can be too steep and cause a feed issue.

I think your idea of feeding filament from the top is a much better idea.

  • Adam

Does anyone have the new TAZ 2 w/ LCD and can verify if there is enough excess wiring to move the LCD screen if needed? I assume the only wires running to it, come from the electronics case. I think since one can move the electronics out of the heated enclosure,

one could also mount the LCD above the electronics enclosure outside of the heated enclosure. That way you can make adjustments at the LCD without opening and closing your heated enclosure.

I built larger boxes because I have the room and they fit nice with my racks.
It is staying a nice 74F withe the extruder and bet up to temp.
Eliminated my de-lamination issues with my cold shop.
I can flip down the lower hinge and access the bed while not letting all the heat out.
Material: acrylic, foam core, gaffer tape, piano hinge, little alum. angle, and some floor tile for the bases.

Have not needed to build one for the AO-101. That little tank is 100x more reliable and robust than my 2 TAZ2’s.