When 3D printer filament is exposed to normal ambient humidity, the material gets brittle and hard – if not impossible – to print. Depending on the filament and ambient humidity, it may take several hours to days, until an effect may be noticed. To avoid – or at least extend the time – until printing get’s affected, filament should be stored in dry conditions.
One proposed way is, to re-pack the filament as soon as printing has finished. This method may be adequate for occasional printer habits. But still, after several uses, the filament shows negative influence caused by humidity.
A far more practical way (in my opinion) is, to install the filament in a dry-box, from which the printer is fed the material without unpacking. Therefore, an air-tight container, sufficiently large enough, is required. There are some types of dry-boxes commercially available. Some have included heating, to even better keep the filament in optimum conditions. But most of them bare a rather steep price tag (70-100 EUR).
So, why not build one yourself? Even better, if it costs less than 20 EUR? Thanks to IKEA, one of the recent additions to their kitchen supplies is the 10.6L 365+ food container. The container is air-tight, which is perfect for a dry-box. This container is large enough to fit 2x 1kg spools of filament. And the best part is, it costs 8 EUR at the time of writing.
To create a perfect dry-box, a few 3D printed parts as well as a short piece of 40mm water pipe complete the construction. The connection to the printer is established by a PTFE tube, which is fixed in a PC4-6 quick lock. To ensure a long lasting performance of my filament, I toss in 3-4 bags of silica gel (or silica based cat litter granulate) with 200-300g in total. Now, I may leave my filament installed for weeks without any issues.
During refurbishing my office, I ditched the cupboard, where I had my 3D printer set up with some dust protection. The dust protection was a simple transparent table foil. It was sufficient enough to have the printer running. But it was by no means a proper enclosure. Temperature changes as well as air currents could still influence prints. Now, I wanted to enclose my printer properly. First off, I thought of constructing something entirely from scratch. But upon searching through web pages and blogs, I found several enclosures incorporating IKEA LACK tables. The LACK tables are really cheap and fit almost perfectly the size of my Prusa i3 clone printer.
Upon the next opportunity, I stopped by IKEA and a hardware store to purchase all parts required: 2x IKEA LACK table 3x 50x55cm HDF furniture backing (5mm HDF wood with one side in white foil coating) 1x 45x35cm plywood board, 10-14mm (to mount power supply and Raspberry-Pi) 1x 50x50cm acrylic sheet (4mm strength) 2x hinges 1x door knob 1x magnetic furniture lock
further parts from electronics store or internet order: 2x 50cm LED strips 1x 80mm fan plus cover 2x PC4-6 quicklock tube fixtures 200cm PTFE tube with 2mm inside diameter 1x Mains power connector with switch and fuse 1x RJ45 network connector 1x 12V to USB power adapter with 4A
3D printed parts: 4x IKEA LACK table – leg extender 2x printer mount 1x PC4-6 mounting bracket for print-head 1x case for 12V to USB power adapter 1x mounting brackets for Raspberry-Pi 6x LED strip mounting brackets 1x Web-Cam mount
Cut the legs to length My enclosure needs to be 50cm in height, inside. The IKEA LACK table legs are 40cm in height. therefore another 10cm legs are required. Use a wood saw to cut 4 legs. As they are hollow, this is done in a moment. The other 4 legs are left as they are. Hint: the legs have 2 layers of wood on the pre-drilled end. The other end has no second layer.
Drill holes to the 40cm legs lower end Mark the center of the legs and drill a 4mm hole to each of them.
Drill holes to one of the tables top part You may drill through the already existing holes, or mark the position on the top side, where the legs will be mounted
Prepare sides Use a medium grid sanding paper to chamfer the edges of the HDF sheets, so they fit perfectly.
Prepare connectors and electronics The left side is enforced with the plywood board, so that connectors and electronics may be mounted properly. Mark the position of the plywood board, so that it fits between the 2 legs. Screw-mount the board with at least 6 screws. Drill (or cut) a hole for the 80mm fan at the rear top position. Don’t forget the 4 mounting holes! Then, mark the positions of power and network connectors. Drill and file the holes to size. When the holes fit, mount the connectors. Next, mount power supply, power adapter and Raspberry. Pay attention to not have your printer collide with one of the parts!
Add PC4-6 connector On the left side pane, I have the material feed through on the upper front part. Here, the PTFE tube may flex freely, when the print head moves
Build the LACK tables
Attach LED strips to the upper LACK table
Place 3D printer on lower part
Stack the second LACK table with leg extenders on top of the other
Screw mount the left side You may pre-drill 2-3mm holes for the screws, if you like. But the material is soft enough to go without.
Connect all cables to printer, power supply, LED, …
Attach web-cam mount to rear side The web cam is best placed approximately 10cm from top
Screw mount rear and right side
Prepare door Center the hinges on either left or right front leg. Mark required holes to leg as well as acrylic sheet. Mark door knob position on acrylic sheet and opposite leg. Drill holes in acrylic sheet with sharp drill bit and low pressure.
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