Testing Enclosure with top panel

We’ve had a number of folks asking about enclosing the top of their mini in addition to enclosing all four sides. So, we made a top panel (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:994992) and attached it with the same panel clips as the rest of our enclosure (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:994992). Both are laser cut acrylic. We then did some test prints to monitor the internal temperature of the build envelope, during some extended prints. Bottom line, adding the top panel raises the internal temperature by roughly 10-13 degrees F vs leaving the top open. On a 85 degree day, we were seeing internal temperatures of 103 with the enclosure on the printer, and roughly 115 with the top panel added.

I’d definitely recommend monitoring the internal temperature when using the top. We found the simplest/cheapest way is with a meat thermometer, inserted through the thermometer monitoring port in the top front of the machine. :slight_smile:

Bonus with the top panel installed the inside says cleaner, and the cat can’t reach in and steal our prints.

Jim Rasmussen
TabSynth Design Works LLC

TopPlate.dxf (28.7 KB)

Interesting. I am super interested in an enclosure for my mini but being as the device wasn’t designed for one have you guys done any long term testing to see if these somewhat higher temperatures are handled well with the device? Do the hot ends and beds compensate or do they tend to overheat so you have to adjust your temps via software to account for the increase? Is this open source? Is there an option to just take the diagram down to your local glass merchant and have them cut them for you?

Good questions. We took a fairly conservative approach (well conservative is a relative thing! :slight_smile: - enclosing just the four sides and not the top or bottom, initially. We’ve got a little over six months of usage with the partial enclosure on the unit. Internal temperatures elevate about 15 degrees (by our rather crude measurements.) Haven’t noticed any problems with the printed parts, or electronics. Print quality when printing with ABS was improved quite a bit. We didn’t have to make any adjustments to the print settings. This makes sense to me, as both bed and the nozzle are managed by a PID controller which maintains their temperatures in a tight range. I suspect that the only difference would perhaps be a slight decrease in power usage, and few dynamic adjustments to maintain the temperatures. With the top plate in place, our very limited testing shows approx. a 10-12 degree increase in the internal temperature, relative operation with the sides enclosed, but no top plate. This makes sense, as there is much less opportunity for the warm air to vent out the top and draw cooler air into the printer build volume. One other concern may be the stratification of the heated layer, with the printer getting too hot at the top. Just speculation at this point. We are currently building experience with the more fully enclosed printer. Doing some larger/taller prints. So far, so good.

Jim Rasmussen

Being on a budget at the moment I went the cardboard box route with a hole cut out the side to vent the electronics and a hole on top slightly bigger then the spool since the box wasn’t tall enough to cover the machine and the spool. I have been amazed by the results. Seems like an acrylic case would be just as awesome, just not as cool looking as my cardboard deal :slight_smile:

All joking aside, I had a cool idea to cut a hole in the front and attach a small clear piece of plastic with magnets so it could be easily removed and I could actually see whats going on in there.

Maybe for Christmas the wife will help me invest in something more like what you have going on.