New home for my printer

I’ve finally managed to re-arrange my garage to make new home for my printer which long ago outgrew the spare bedroom that I use as a study.

After a massive effort last winter, I managed to clear out 30 odd years of clutter and ended up with this, which just about gave me enough room to add a small milling machine at the end.

But to make room for my printer I had to make another effort to clear some space. I had to get rid of some of the racking which was 600mm deep and not very sturdy. So I decided replace it with different racking that was a bit more sturdy but was also only 450mm deep and at the same time, leave a gap in the middle for the printer. I had previously added insulation to all the other walls which are only single brick thickness, so it seemed like a good opportunity to insulate the remaining wall behind the racking, to keep the place a bit warmer in winter. Which means I had to do this:

After fitting the new racking, I made a “booth” out of 18mm MDF with a hardboard back. The idea being to create a reasonably dust proof enclosure because I use this garage space for woodworking and other “dust producing” jobs.

So it was out with the trusty self levelling cross line laser to get everything nice and square.

Then a couple of coats of paint.

For the doors, I used 24mm square aluminium tubing system to make the frames, then fixed 6mm thick solid polycarbonate sheet using silicone glazing sealant. Oh and I gave the floor another coat of paint too.

To make a dust proof seal, I added some cheap rubber draft proofing strip to the edges.

I’m currently waiting for some other wider draft (dust) proofing that I will attach the edge where the doors meet and the bottom edge.

It may be that I might need to add some ventilation to keep the inside ambient down in the summer with my big thick aluminium heated bed. I’ll have to wait and see. I don’t have any plans to print ABS so I don’t need this to be heated chamber. But on the hand it did occur to me that I’ll have the printer running unattended, inside a painted wooden box. So just in case, I fitted an automatic fire extinguisher. The more common type use dry powder but I really didn’t fancy the idea of squirting that stuff over the electronics so I went for what is known as “Clean Agent” or FE36. It is used in server rooms and such like. Basically, it’s an inert gas rather than a powder. Here it is installed.

There is nothing fancy about it. I just a cut a hole in the top of the booth, sat the extinguisher on top and secured it to an angle bracket with a cable tie. According to instructions, it will go off when the temperature reaches 79 deg C +_5 degrees.

Where possible, I prefer to use wired Ethernet rather than wireless and I had a spare Gigabit switch so I fitted that inside the booth as well.

Naturally that’s a printed shelf for the network switch (and so is the bezel around the socket). And while I’m on the subject of printed parts, I made a couple of door catches.

They just rotate to hold the doors closed.

I had some MDF and aluminium extrusion left over and I also found a set of cheap castors, so I bought few more fittings and made a little trolley that will hold a laptop and maybe a few tools.

It’s nothing fancy but it cost next to nothing to make. The booth is 1200 wide and base of the printer is only 600mm wide so there is room for that to sit alongside the printer, or it can be wheeled out. I might do something similar the other side to store some filament. As the booth is reasonably dust proof, it’s also reasonably air tight and I have one of those moisture traps that use Calcium Chloride. So that might provide a nice dry environment for storing hygroscopic filament.

One more thing to do is to add some sort of camera and I’m still thinking about the best way to do that. Other than that, it’s about finished.

Here is another couple of pictures. The reason for wanting to use less deep racking now becomes apparent. Those two blacks stacks of Dewalt tool boxes are on wheels and they nicely fit either side of the printer booth but can be easily moved to gain access to the racking.

…..and to round things off, this is the other side of the garage showing the bench (made from decking timber and fence posts), beyond that the small lathe, a roll cab full of hand tools, and the milling machine. (The band saw is further left, out of shot).

So that’s the new home for my printer. Now all I have to do is take it apart and get it downstairs………….

Ian

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