With winter currently in full swing, there's a particularly annoying 3D printing problem that is rearing its ugly head, Warping. For those who don't know, warping is what happens when parts of a printed model shrink due to cold drafts across the heat bed, causing it to lift and deform from the print bed. Some 3D printers come equipped with an enclosure that helps control the environment around your printer and minimise warping, however, our Lulzbot 3D Printers do not. So Aleph Objects in conjunction with the guys over at PrintedSolid have designed some Laser Cut Acrylic Enclosures that fit perfectly to the Taz 6 3D printer, stepping up its ability to print in cooler environments. We've got a Printer Enclosure Kit here, and we're going to take you through the process of putting it all together.
Prior Preparation Required!
In the enclosure kit, you receive all of the 3mm acrylic laser cut panels you need to construct your enclosure, along with all of the nuts and bolts that hold the entire thing together. However, you will need a few additional tools and parts that don't come with the kit, but the hex drivers you need come with your printer's toolkit and the brackets can be printed by you on your printer. So before we set out on the enclosure assembly project, go ahead and grab out a 3mm, 4mm and 5mm Hex driver from your kit and load your printer up with some filament (our prints took about 225 grams all up).
You will need to print 4 brackets in total, that will be bolted to the top 4 corners of the Taz 6 Frame. The are right angled pieces that These are the 3 different models you will need alongside the quantities required for 1 enclosure (all downloadable at the bottom of this article):
- 2 x left brackets
- 1 x right bracket
- 1 x left cable bracket
We used Lulzbot Green PolyLite PLA Filament, using the standard print profile in Cura Lulzbot Edition to print ours off. We oriented them like this (see below) on the print bed.
Then to make sure we were not going to print unnecessary support material, we entered the Full Setting window, navigated to the Support option in the left-hand menu and selected "Touching Build plate" as the support option. I also bumped my Fill Density up to around 45-50% (potentially a little overkill) to make sure my models would be solid when bolting them to the frame. After removing the two outer screws on the frame corner brackets, it was pretty easy to install the printed brackets with the included screws.
To safely put this enclosure together in one sitting you need to have 1 thing firmly fixed in your mind, above all else. These acrylic panels crack extremely easily if you over tighten the screws. All you need to do to install each screw is tighten it until it holds its position without moving around. That's all, and that's plenty. If you do happen to break a piece though, you can organise a replacement panel at a discounted rate through printedsolid.com.
Putting together the Acrylic Jigsaw
To proceed on with the installation of your enclosure, all you really need to do is follow along with the instruction manual that's available right here (it's also printed and in your kit!). After putting together my enclosure, I'll vouch that this guide is very straightforward and accurate, once you get into the flow of peeling back the paper off each piece and holding it together whilst inserting the nuts and bolts it all goes together really nicely, albeit rather slowly.
The biggest thing I noticed when assembling our enclosure that wasn't mentioned in the guide was the removal of the bolts from the Taz 6 Frame in Step 3. It's not a massive deal, but they are quite tightly screwed onto the frame, so take care when loosening them, as you can easily round them and cause yourself a world of hurt.
Once you've assembled your enclosure, all that's left to do is make sure it fits in your allotted bench space (remember it will take up about 60mm more than it did before in the Y-axis direction!). As you may have gathered in putting the frame together, you can remove the front and back halves of the enclosure by lifting it up off the printed bracket posts.
I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and it has helped put together your enclosure with no issues along the way!