3D Printer Enclosure and Upgrades

Rusty Wed, 08/29/2018 - 10:17

I have had my Anet A8 for a little over a year now and haven't done anything to it really. A couple small upgrades in the beginning, but that was it. So now a year later and the table where it is set up is a mess, I need to replace the bed heater cable, as it is melted, and generally the quality of the 3D parts has declined some.

Replacing the Heater Bed Cable

The real reason for all this is that I noticed during one print that the bed temp was well below the Set point, and when I went to look at it i noticed arcing in the connector and the side of the plug was burned. When I felt the plug for heat, the side was very warm. The print was almost done so I just babysat the printer until it was finished.

This is a well documented flaw with the Anet A8, and with longer printer requiring higher bed temps, and more repeated movements, the plug can become loose and the contacts will arc. once that happens it goes downhill quick. Many people have melted the heated bed connector, melted the heater wires on the main board, and in worst case, fire. So not wanting any of that, particular the fire, some mods need to be made.

One recommended mod to protect the main board from burning is to install a MOSFET relay board for the bed heater so that the main board does not see the heating current. I have that, but it is not yet installed. To solve issues at the bed connector some will cut the connector off the wire and solder the power wires directly to the heater. This is a less than an elegant solution. What I did find on Amazon is a revised heater bed cable which now uses all four power connectors on the heat bed, and uses two wires, each, for positive and negative. The wires are a thinner than the original, but there are now two of each. It is a 120 Watt bed, and at 12V will draw 10 Amps, and the two wires are adequate for this. After cleaning the scorch marks off the negative terminal on the heated bed, the new connector just plugs right in. (I can say now, after about 20 hours of printing, it seems to be working fine).

Move it, and build enclosure.

Yeah, over time the mess around the printer builds up. Fine strings of filament, half completed parts (failed prints), filament spools, tools, spare parts can soon add up to an unwieldy mess. I had it set up on an old kitchen work table in the dining room, and honestly, the table was taking up too much room. So like in the big city, when you can't build out, you build up. i am planning on using what a lot of other users use, and that is Ikea "Lack side tables" I plan on doing a whole DIY on that in the near future, but for now the plan is to use three tables stacked on top of each other to build a cabinet of sorts. I plan on storing some filament there as well as having the printer enclosed and having a separate filament spool enclosure to keep them dry.

Quiet it down

Oh, and yeah, the Anet A8 is a little loud. Most of the noise seems to be coming from the vibrations resonating off the table it is on. I have tried thin sheets of packing foam, but it doesn't seem to help. What I did find, and it made a big difference, are these vibration dampers on Thingiverse. I printed up a set of these, and it is like night and day. Once printed you place them under the acrylic frame and it dampens the vibrations. It won't make it silent, but it's quiet enough now that I can print after 9PM without having to worry about the neighbors downstairs. (one of the pitfalls of condo life).



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