3D Printer Enclosure

I want to be able to print with ABS, ASA, and maybe eventually PC on my respectably modified Ender 3 (I know) without giving me or my cat permanent brain/lung damage.

I haven’t been the greatest on documentation for this one. But essentially, here is the checklist I have:

  1. Design and build the box

This was done in FreeCAD in June-July '23. I built it out of wood furring, 3/4" plywood for the base, 1/8" plywood for the back and top, and clear polycarbonate for the door and sides. I filled the inside with copious amounts of silicone caulking. Maybe overkill, but it’ll help me sleep at night.

Above, the partially-completed box with what may appear to the untrained eye to be a 3D printer. It is actually my cat.

  1. Implement adequate ventilation that can be opened and closed to the outdoors


I made some custom parts on the aforementioned printer, including a duct section with a 90-degree bend in it, with room for a PC fan (to be run after a print), as well as a wall mount. The wall mount is just mounted to some MDF I found at my school’s senior design lab. The interface to the box has a place to mount a shutter later, so that I can remotely open and close the enclosure to the outdoors when a print ends or starts. You may be thinking that the prints might be a bit porous. Obviously, with the lengths I went with the caulking, this is a weak spot. You might be right. YOLO.

The outside of the back of the enclosure is shown with the 90-degree duct containing the fan.

The inside of the back of the enclosure, where you can see the fan behind the stationary part of the shutter.

  1. The shutter (I’m here now)

The shutter is to be controlled by an ATMega328P connected to my OctoPi (A Raspberry Pi 3 running OctoPrint). The shutter is turned by a little stepper motor I got off of some 2D printer I took apart years ago. Nominally, it runs on 24 volts, but I’ve tested it and I think I can get away with 12 volts. True, the Ender 3 runs on 24 volts, but I need to drive the fan with 12 volts anyway, so I might as well underdrive the motor as well. I’ll do this with a PC power supply most likely.

I have the shutter designed, printed, and mounted on the motor, the mount to the inside of the enclosure likewise completed, and a plated perfboard halfway completed for the ATMega328 and motor driver ICs. I considered programming the ATMega328 on bare metal, but I’m familiar with Arduino, and I just want to see this thing working. Maybe later.

The code is in progress.

I’m content with this little bit of documentation I have up even if nobody reads it. It’s a start!

If anyone does see this, though, I would appreciate thoughts and feedback!

Welcome @psampson !

How are you making Octopi talk to the Arduino? Are you writing your own custom plugin?

Here’s my modest attempt at an enclosure. YMMV


modest? :wink:

Shame the gasket idea didn’t fully pan out.

Nice Chris!

The aluminum extrusion would have been a good idea. Oh well, so far the printer hasn’t threatened spontaneous combustion, although adding relay control to the 24v supply might be prudent. I have a camera always watching the system, and I tend to check in on it periodically while it prints, so being able to completely turn off the high-power stuff remotely would give me some ease of mind.

@Parker_Dillmann I’ll probably write my own plugin to send commands to the Arduino with the GPIO UART on the Pi, although I haven’t written code for the OctoPrint ecosystem yet. It looks like the documentation is excellent. I’ll have a go sometime this week.

Thanks. Yeah, I don’t know how serious the fire issue is. Maybe I was being overly cautious, and my friend who made me aware of this hazard went overboard. I also had in the back of my mind that I purchased one of the cheaper Chinese printers out there, and didn’t have a great feeling that fire safety was a top consideration in its design and manufacturing. If I had a higher quality printer from a reputable company, I think I would worry less.

Funny thing, despite also having an OctoPrint RP4 with a camera watching the print, I still don’t feel comfortable leaving the house with it running. Maybe if I got one of those ball fire extinguishers I’d rest easy.

Yeah, the camera is great because I can leave the room and view it from anywhere in the house on a computer or my phone (there’s an app for that).

I like your exhaust fitting design. That’s been on my to-do list for ever. I just don’t print enough nor print using serious fume emitting filaments to worry yet. I have installed my printer next to a window so routing a duct would be straightforward if that becomes a concern. I’d probably send one of those glass panels back to the shop and ask them to cut a hole (or maybe just buying a new pane with hole would be cheaper)


Given that my current 3D printer at home is starting to give off “burning” smells I would say having caution of fire hazard is warranted. Also, I am pushing this printer way beyond the temperatures it was originally designed to print for and its been almost non stop printing for 6 years might also be the reason :wink:

I’d look more into that fire board that I describe in my project text. Being in the US, you may be able to source it at a not-crazy cost. And while glass is nice for a printer enclosure, you don’t really need all 5 sides to be glass.

Also there could be different levels of worry, depending on where your printer is located — in a room in your house, in a garage, or a free-standing shed in the back yard.