Professional 3D printers are often equipped with closed or semi-closed housing. Consumer machines are more generally without an enclosure. Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of an enclosure for your 3D printer, which proves to be an indispensable accessory for the operation of your machine.
The enclosure protects against 3D printing risks
In the professional field, safety requirements are intended to protect operators from the various risks associated with the use of machines. These risks are also present for non-professional use. Heating plates are generally above 100°C and the extruder is around 280°C, it is possible to consider the risk of burns but also a danger of injury from the machine’s automatic movements. An informed user is likely to be little exposure to these risks, but the surroundings or the public could face them.
The Alveo3D team has also identified invisible risks related to the polluting emissions of melted plastic filament. It is possible to feel unpleasant odors or even irritations when the printer is in a closed and poorly ventilated space. These emissions are related to the presence of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and Nanoparticles that are emitted during filament extrusion. When the printer is placed in an enclosure, it is possible to contain these polluting emissions, filter them or evacuate them outside the printing area. In this case, it is the operator who regularly uses his equipment that is exposed the most, and the 3D printer enclosure allows for containing and filtering these toxic emissions.
Advantages of having a 3D printer enclosure
A 3D printer without an enclosure is exposed to some unpleasantness, such as dust. By protecting your 3D printer with an enclosure, you can reduce maintenance operations, especially on the maintenance of moving parts and the extruder. A solid enclosure is an effective protection against all risks of shock or machine blockage by an external element.
In addition, there is always a risk of fire that remains in the minds of many makers who leave the printer running for long hours. Enclosing your 3D printer will allow you to quickly detect any risk of fire by using a smoke detector and the possibility of adding an automatic extinguisher. For added safety, our custom enclosures are equipped with polycarbonate panels that can withstand higher temperatures and are difficult to ignite.
Printing technical filaments, the indispensable heat of the enclosure
Reducing Airflows Around the 3D Printer
Optimize your workspace
There are many models of 3D printers and your enclosure will need to match the characteristics of your machine. Depending on the machine, front access will suffice, but for others, you will need side or rear doors. It is with this in mind that the Alveo3D team offers custom-made enclosures to meet all specifications. It is important to consider maintenance operations and everyday use of your equipment.
Loading the consumable
Visibility of prints
However, the biggest disadvantage of enclosing a 3D printer in a cabinet without a filtration system is the concentration of pollutants. COV and nanoparticle levels can quickly rise to toxic levels. For the Alveo3D team, implementing an air extraction or filtration system is essential for using a cabinet. The AlveoONE and AlveoONE-R systems are specifically designed for this application.
Among the advantages we mentioned for using a enclosure, temperature must be controlled to not exceed the technical limits of your equipment. This is one of the reasons for the presence of a temperature sensor on our V2 board (accessory to the AlveoONE air filtration systems). Refer to your equipment’s technical sheet and verify that the temperature inside the enclosure does not exceed the manufacturer’s values, often around 50°C.
It is possible to relocate the control interface and electrical power supply of the printer to protect the equipment.
The disadvantages we just mentioned are inherent to the use of a case but can be reduced by using transparent panels, a temperature control system and by providing sufficient accessibility. The benefits brought are then essential for good productivity and the ability to print more technical filaments that require a warm and stable environment around the printing area. The measurements made in terms of toxicity of nanoparticle emissions and COV prove the necessity of protecting users. This is all the more necessary for the use of 3D printers in poorly ventilated small premises. Equip your printer with a case and its air filtration system to print in peace.
Meet us on our social media:
Article written by:
CEO at Alveo3D