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A project log for Another 3D Printer Enclosure

Documenting my crazy idea of making a fire resistant enclosure out of Aluminum and tempered glass.

TheStumblerTheStumbler 08/26/2020 at 12:070 Comments

I've been curious for some time about 3D printers, but never took the plunge until the virus hit.  Back in March, a friend of mine pointed out that he was making miniature people, cars, and buildings for his HO-gauge model railroad layout using a $300 printer from China.  I knew the time had come.  His model was the Ender 3, but I splurged and got the Ender 5 Pro.  

Shortly after receiving my new printer, another friend told me I needed an enclosure, advice that I kept putting off until I realized he was right.  After doing a little research, I wasn't really impressed with any of the off-the-shelf solutions.  Having an enclosure that was not flammable seemed to be desirable, but many of the popular ones weren't.  Building my own seemed an option, but I imagined complex 3D pieces to join panes of glass together at the corners began to worry me. And any "good" enclosure needs doors, panels, mounting points for accessories, etc.  

Then suddenly, I had an idea ... use the same type of aluminum extrusions that comprised the 3D printer as frames for a glass enclosure. and it seemed much more approachable.  This hack page will force me to document my project, and hopefully nag me to wrap it up sooner than later.

The main design is locked in.  I was a little worried about a few educated guesses I made in the design, so I built a small test panel.  Surprisingly, everything went together as expected.  The only tweak was one I had planned for, that was selecting the type and size of packing to keep the glass from rattling in the frame.  I have all the hardware in-hand, and pulled the plug on the extrusions and glass panels yesterday.

I have a substantial part of the documentation already completed.  This includes a BOM, with part information and data sheets, and CAD drawings in DWG/DXF format (assembly drawings) and OpenSCAD for 3D modeling and exploded view animation.  I'll try to post an update every couple of days until it's all built and in-service.

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