About 6 months ago I got a new 3-D Printer, a Replicator 2 from Makerbot. While the printer does a good job, it does have it’s flaws.
The first issue is sound. While the printer is is only a little louder than a normal ink jet printer, it can take more than 12 hours to do a single print. Over time, especially when sleeping, the noise can be more than a little bit annoying. Most 3-D Printer owners never do anything about the noise, other than locate it in a good part of the house, and it is never a problem. But this is me! Two of the more interesting flaws are not unique to this printer, but hinder almost all 3-D printers at the hobbyist level. Being the inventive type of person that I am, I set about solving some of these issues.
The second issue is one of temperature. When the plastic is extruded, layer by layer, it comes out of the nozzle at about 220 deg. C. It then starts to cool. If it doesn’t cool just right, the print can warp as different parts of the print cool and contract at different rates. With some practice, this can be managed, and warping kept to a minimum. But drafts and other things can also effect print warping. An open window near the printer could, in theory, cause problems should a cold breeze come in. Some of the better 3-D printers are somewhat enclosed to help minimize this issue. I thought I could do better.
My solution to both of these issues is to build a chamber for the printer. This chamber is basically a box that the printer goes into, and insulation makes it both soundproof and allows some elevated and consistent temperatures inside the box. Read the rest of this entry ?