Enclosure for 3D Printer - Cheap and Easy Build Plans

Time to build a cheap enclosure for my MonoPrice Select Mini 3D printer.

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3D Printer Enclosure - Cheap Build Plans - MonoPrice Select Mini


After printing with my 3D printer for a few months i kept seeing and reading about enclosures. I decided to try and build one for a couple of reasons and here are some of the things i focused on: 1. Be cheap and compact. I didn't want to buy anything or spend money. And it had to be as small as possible to fit on the corner of my desk. That's why i used whatever plywood i had in the basement. 2. Be air tight and hold in heat. The whole point of the enclosure is to keep the printing area hot and at a consistant temperature. Fluctuations in air temperature, caused by cold air drafts, can cause bad prints and lower your actual printing temperature. This is increasingly an issue with my printer that has a max extruder temperature of 250deg C. For printing with PETG i am usually up near 240-250 and it can be difficult if the printer is by a cold window. The plywood would have been fine for this, but i also added some hard foam insulation to the inside. Also i do not print with ABS, because of the possible hazardous gas, but if i did i would always use an enclosure and fan powered vent the gasses to the outside. Also the insulated air tight box helped to cut down on any noise. 3. I wanted to be lighted. It would be nice if there were bright LED lights in the case. Then i wouldn't have to constantly hold up a flashlight to see how it was printing. 4. Organize my tools and supplies. Instead of having all my tweasers, pliers, spatulas, glue stick, tape, etc. just sitting in a pile, i thought i could make a tool rack on the side to keep everything in order. I wanted to make something that was cheap and compact. Also i wanted it to be lighted and organize my tools and materials. Also it would hopefully keep in some of the hazardous gasses and cut down on some noise while printing. The first step was to measure the MonoPrice Select Mini printer and come up with a design.

monoprice select mini 3d printer
I ended up with this final design.
3d printer enclosure, monoprice select mini
I looked at a lot of other peoples enclosures for ideas. I knew it was going go be some sort of box shaped, and i knew it was going to be made out of whatever scrap material i had in the basement. If you are going to do this yourself, it only makes sense if you use whatever you have lying around. If you have to buy the wood, insulation, plexiglass, hinges, etc. it might just be cheaper to buy some sort of ikea cabinet and modify that. Or buy something close to the size you need from Craigslist or the Salvation Army, and modify that. But the materials i used were: 5/8" plywood ----------- $20 for 4'x8' sheet. I used about half of the 4'x8' sheet. 3/4" hard insulation --- $12 for 4'x8' sheet. I had some leftover from remodeling our basement. At Lowe's they have all different sizes and you can get the hard green foam or the softer white foam with metal sheeting on one side. Lexan (Plexiglass) ----- $??. I had this leftover but you can buy a pannel from Lowe's and they can cut it for you. This is for a clear door so you can see how it is printing without opening the enclosure. Hinges ----------------- $5 two. Handle ----------------- $3. Magnets ---------------- $3 two. glue, screws, bolts, tools - table saw, drill press, nail gun & compressor, driver, jig saw, utility knife My early designs were to just put the whole printer in a box. It got kind of big.
how to build a 3d printer enclosure

Ready for paint.
monoprice select mini, mp select, enclosure

Test fitting the door, hinges and dry box.
monoprice select mini, mp select, enclosure, upgrade, version 2

Ready for paint, other side.
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The real inspiration came when i realized that the filament does not need to be in the enclosure. That saved me about 10" of space in the width of the enclosure. I could mount the filament anywhere, the top, side, back... I decided to put it on the side and make an airtight case for it. So i made the box just large enough for the printer, accounting for the 3/4" foam insulation, and 1" on the sites. Another trick i did to save space was to cut and remove some insulation in the sides for the arm and print bed. That way i was able to make the box a few inches smaller.
make the most compact enclosure possible

I cut out the plywood with the table saw, cut out the door opening with the jigsaw, then glued and nailed it all together.
clear lexan window

I cut the insulation with a utility knife, test fit everything, and removed portions of the insulation.

I knew with the tight fit that i was going to have an issue getting to the MicroSD card. So i bought a MicroSD cable extender on Amazon for like $3. That way i could take the card in and out easily from the front.

Next i attached the plexiglass door to the front. I had to raise and recess the hinges so that the plexiglass fit tightly to the plywood.

wooden 3d printer enclosure

Another view in the process.
how to build a printer enclosure, case

Using something heavy to clamp down the hinge spacers.
123 blocks, weights, clamps

Prepping the plexiglass door to be attached.
easy lexan plexiglass door with hinges
To get the door to "lock" i decided to use magnets. My first test with ordinary magnets didn't work, they weren't strong enough. So i next used neodymium magnets and they were strong enough for the door to snap shut.
cheap thermometer with probe, china, amazon

I also cut some round feet for the bottom of the case. I attached them with a single screw in the center, which i counter-sunk.

rare earth magnets for door lock
Then i spent time drilling holes for the filament, power cord, and thermometer. Then i cut, drilled, and attached the tool holders on the side of the case. These were great for organizing everything.
hand tools used for 3d printing
Once i was pretty sure that the case itself was set, i used spray adhesive and glued in the foam insulation. Then i started working on the filament dry box. I was lucky to find a small tote that would fit the filament. It was approximately 10"x10"x12".
on board printer filament dry box, 3d printer
I measured and marked the center of the box sides. Then i cut out and attached wood mounts for the PVC pipe. I drilled and used small 1" screws to hold the mounts in place.

To hold the box in place i made triangular supports that also screwed into the bottom of the box and screwed into the enclosure. The tricky part was to line up the filament to the printer. But eventually i got it all aligned and attached. I also drilled a hole for the filament. I used a piece of clear plastic tubing for the filament to travel from the box to the enclosure.

The case wasn't completely sealed, there were some cracks in the joints. So i used some clear silicone caulk to seal everything. I also put the silicone caulk on the bottom of the round feet. That would help to lower the vibration and sound.

Not sure if i really needed it, but i also bought a small cheap thermometer with a probe. It only cost like $4 on Amazon, but took about a month to be shipped from China. I thought it would be nice to know how hot it was in the case. So i made a little metal mount for the thermometer under one of the tool holders.

simple thermometer mount

Here's the metal mount before everything was printed.
bend metal to make simple mount
I decided to paint the entire case white. I thought that would make it look the best while sitting on my desk. Black would have also been a good choice and made it blend in better.
painting the case

Another view of the paint job.
cool 3d print enclosure case

Here it is hanging for the paint on the outside.
best way to hang print cases

And down on the floor was to glue in the insulation and paint the inside.
insulated heated computer case, 3d printer case

In order to be able to see what i was doing while i was printing, i added LED strip lighting. There's lots to choose from on Amazon, i went for a cheap light strip that cost around $7. It was 16 feet long and ran off a 5V DC power supply. When i tested it, it was super bright.

cheap led strip lighting, lights, ledmo

This picture was dimmed way down to show detail.
how to wire led strip lights

This is more how it looks in real life.
super bright led light, case, double stick tape

Ya it's bright.
lighted led 3d printer case

Just simple peel and stick LED lights work pretty well.

easy to stick led strip lights
But a big problem was that there wasn't a good way to switch it on and off. So i ended up cutting one of the two power supply wires. Then i spliced in a light switch that i mounted to the case with some metal tabs.
simple light switch on battery case
The LED strip lights had double-stick tape on the back, which made it easy to attach. But i did have to plan out how i would run the path of the lights. It took a few trys to get it right were i wasn't overlapping the light path.
more case pictures

After i was all done i realized that there may be an issue with the circuit board inside of the printer getting too hot. There were vent holes on the bottom of the printer case to bring in cool air.

mp select mini case, vent

So i drilled a hole in the bottom of the enclosure and added a cloth mesh.

keep 3d printer cool
To make sure the air gets to the inside of the case, i gouged out the foam where the printer feet sat, that was the printer was flush with the foam and the cool air could only go into the case vent holes.
cutouts for bed extension

So far i've really liked using the enclosure. It's quiet and the LED lights are super bright, which helps to see everything printing.

simple plans for easy to build 3d printer case, enclosure

A few downsides are that it's a pain to have to take the printer in and out every time i want to work on it. I have to reach in and disconnect the filament, power, and SD cable. Also it's a little more difficult to reach in and get to the parts and turn the printer on and off. But overall i'm happy i made the case and think it looks good on my desk.

monoprice select mini enclosure case
One of the best parts is the super bright lights, no more having to grab a flashlight to see how it's printing. The downside, crampness and overheating.
mp select mini addons

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