Nov 30, 2017 | By Tess

As desktop 3D printing technologies become more and more accessible, they are becoming more common within offices, homes, and schools. This, of course, is a positive thing, but there are some growing concerns about the effects 3D printing can have in the machine's immediate environment.

In fact, studies have shown that non-enclosed desktop FDM 3D printers can emit Volatile Organic Carbons (VOCs) into the environment as filaments are melted and processed at high temperatures.

Fortunately, it's not all doom and gloom, as there is a remarkably easy solution to keeping your 3D printing space free from VOCs and other emissions: a 3D printer enclosure.

Netherlands-based company box3d is one company that is producing 3D printer enclosures, which it says not only protect makers from potentially harmful particles, but also offer a number of printing benefits, such as temperature control and noise-reduction.

The company's 3D printer enclosure is currently designed specifically for Ultimaker 3D printers, but the company says models for other popular printer brands will be available soon. The box3d enclosures can be shipped as a kit, or fully assembled.

Let's take a look at what benefits users seek to gain if they integrate an enclosure into their 3D printing work space.

First off, by simply closing in the 3D printer's build chamber, the box3d enclosure produces a controlled printing environment, in which temperatures are more stable and conducive to 3D printing high quality parts. More specifically, the company says that by increasing the build chamber's ambient temperature, the enclosure also allows finished 3D printed parts to cool at less extreme temperatures, which helps prevent warping and cracking.

The box3d 3D printer enclosure also helps to reduce the noise emitted from 3D printers, as it integrates a sound-absorbing foam material and flexible rubber seals in its construction. This means that when your 3D printer is operational, the enclosure will provide sound insulation, resulting in an overall quieter printing environment.

Additionally, the same sealed door that will ensure a quieter printing space is also transparent, which lets users see their 3D prints and visualize their progress. For ease of use, the door can easily be opened, or users can simply opt to lift the box3d enclosure off the 3D printer. This could come in handy if you need to swap out a roll of filament or do maintenance on your printer. The filament roll can also be placed outside box3d with an additional reel holder, enabling easier filament changes.

Perhaps the most important element of box3d's 3D printer enclosure, however, is its gas extraction feature. box3d is equipped with a system that extracts the gases produced by 3D printers and directs them outside using an air tube. box3d says this feature ensures a safer printing environment, as harmful VOCs produced by melting and processing thermoplastics such as ABS and (to a lesser degree) PLA are removed from the immediate environment.

Currently, box3d has a number of Netherlands-based resellers for its 3D printer enclosures, but interested clients can also peruse its product offering on its webstore. When purchased, box3d promises an easy assembly process which it likens to IKEA-style packaging. "The process is intuitive and clear instructions are provided," says the company. "The assembly process takes about one hour to complete." Customers can also opt for the fully assembled version of the box3d enclosure.

In terms of compatibility, the company has designed a box3d enclosure specifically for Ultimaker 3D printers (another Dutch 3D printing company), but also plans to make a box3d model available for other popular 3D printers, such as the Zortrax M200 and Prusa I2 MK2. Prices for the box3d 3D printer enclosures vary between €409.09 for the kit and €491.74 fully assembled.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printer Accessories

 

 

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