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Ender 3 Enclosure: 5 Easy Ways to Build or Buy One

Picture of Brian Obudho
by Brian Obudho
Apr 16, 2019
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Improve the quality of your 3D prints with an Ender 3 enclosure. Whether it's building or buying, we've provided you with the easiest options.

Ender 3 Enclosure

Want Better Prints with the Ender 3?

Assembling the Ender 3.
Assembling the Ender 3. Source: All3DP

The Ender 3 comes with a print volume of 220 x 220 x 250 mm and a machine volume of 440 x 410 x 465 mm. That means it needs an impressively sized enclosure if you want to maintain a constant print temperature. 

If you decide to print with ABS, for example, the printed parts will be susceptible to splits and cracks, and may warp away from the print bed. Getting the best of this material almost certainly requires a regulated space.

Besides noise reduction and keeping the printing temperature stable, enclosures contain and reduce the unpleasant fumes from printers and prevent dust from getting into the build space.

In this article, we’ll take a look at five of the easiest ways to build or buy an enclosure for your Ender 3.

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Ender 3 Enclosure

Ikea Lack (To Build)

One rendition of Threedee_Bus_Driver's design.
One rendition of Threedee_Bus_Driver's design. Source: _Timberwolf_ / Thingiverse

The Ikea Lack enclosure is one of the most popular and budget-friendly choices in the 3D printing community. Indeed, if you go to Thingiverse, you’ll find dozens of Lack enclosure designs for the Ender 3, even though the original was designed by Prusa Research.

Your typical Ikea Lack enclosure is made of two tables – or sometimes three – stacked on top of each other. The bottom table is usually the flat surface where your printer rests while the top table is fitted with acrylic sheets and is modified to hold the spool. The assembly process for the Ikea lack enclosure varies and will normally depend on how you want your enclosure system.

Requirements & Assembly

Let’s take Threedee_Bus_Driver’s design as an example. For this particular enclosure, you’ll need two Ikea Lack tables, plexiglass, an LED light strip, eight wood screws, and six magnets.

Assembly is simple enough. It begins with stacking the tables, installing the lights, and attaching the Ender 3 spool holder. You’ll then need to test if the printer has sufficient printing space. In case that’s not true, consider printing four of the Ikea Lack risers.

Note that, since the spool will be outside, the filament should be moved to the extruder via a filament guide. Here is a simple filament guide, but you’ll need a filament guide with a slit profile if you want to print tall objects.

To make sure parts fit perfectly, expect tons of post-print adjustments (sanding, cutting, and drilling).

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Ender 3 Enclosure

Plastic Sheet (To Build)

Sideburns not required.
Sideburns not required. Source: MatterHackers / YouTube

The plastic sheet enclosure, by MatterHackers, consists of a PVC frame and plastic sheeting. The only trick here is that the PVC must be cut to the right size before the plastic sheet is wrapped around it and held in place with duct tape. According to MatterHackers, this enclosure should cost around $25.

Requirements & Assembly

Naturally, you’ll need some PVC pipes and a roll of plastic sheeting. In addition to that, get yourself some threaded PVC elbows, PVC adapters, duct tape, and Velcro (optional). For the tools, you only require a tape measure and a PVC cutter.

Normally, the process starts with measuring the Ender 3’s dimensions to determine the length of the PVC pipes you to need, but we’ve got you covered: 440 x 410 x 465 mm (17.3 x 16.1 x 18.3 in). Make sure to add a few extra inches to your measurements and record everything on a cut sheet. The sheet should guide your cutting process while making sure you leave minimal waste.

The assembly process will mainly involve friction-fitting the PVC pipes to the adapters and elbows. Of course, you’ll also need to measure the sides of the assembled frame to determine how much plastic sheeting you need. (The plastic sheeting is meant to cover the top, left, right, and back sides.)

The Velcro is meant to be used on whichever side you want the “door” to be one. This a much nicer alternative to removing the entire sheet every time you want to access the build space.

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Ender 3 Enclosure

TH3D – Laser Cut Chamber (To Buy)

Simple and clean.
Simple and clean. Source: Printed Solid

The Creality Ender 3 enclosure from TH3D studio ranges from $195 to $225. It’s an enclosed build chamber with hinged front doors, and it comes with mounting points for a Raspberry Pi. The spool holder is mounted on its side and the enclosure can be easily disassembled in case you want to move or to replace the panels.

The kit is 23” x 21” x 21” and has the option to add a BOFA Print Pro 3 HEPA filter system, which is an industry leader in filtration. In your package, you’ll find an instruction sheet (for easy assembly), fasteners, door hinges, and laser cut panels

If you’re based in the US, you’ll also get free shipping, a warranty, and product support.

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Ender 3 Enclosure

3DUpfitters – Acrylic Box (To Buy)

No hidden parts!
No hidden parts! Source: 3DUpfitters

This acrylic enclosure is sold by 3DUpfitters, which has made some of its DIY enclosure designs open to the public.

Apart from being entirely transparent, one notable feature of this product is that the power supply unit is moved outside so that it remains cool while the interior heats up. As such, if you feel the heat is not high enough for your ABS prints, you’re free to wrap this Ender 3 enclosure with the included cover.

If you like, you can install a fume filter, though you have to purchase it separately. Alternatively, you can vent to the outdoors using a hose.

The enclosure is 21” x 19” x 19” and comes with an acrylic spool holder. Note, however, that the enclosure has no bottom, only a set of 6-mm acrylic swinging doors to make it easier to access the extruder.

Whatever custom modifications you want for this enclosure, 3DUpfitters has you covered. You can even put your logo on the acrylic sides!

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Ender 3 Enclosure

Photo Studio Tent (To Buy)

Taking product photos using a photo tent.
Taking product photos using a photo tent. Source: CreativeLive / YouTube

It’s not unusual to have an enclosure made from something intended for a completely different purpose.

Purchase a photo tent from Amazon
, and turn it into your hassle-free Ender 3 enclosure. Since the material is porous, you can keep your power supply unit inside. Just keep in mind that the material is highly flammable, so it’s probably a good idea to be around when your printer is working.

This studio tent is a perfect choice when you’re working on a low budget and don’t want to get your hands dirty with all the screwing and gluing.

An added bonus is, you can use the tent for its intended purpose! Just remove the front opening, which has a slot for a camera lens. The translucent light-diffusing nylon fabric will evenly illuminate your prints and give you the best shots.

Feature image source: Threedee_Bus_Driver / Thingiverse

License: The text of "Ender 3 Enclosure: 5 Easy Ways to Build or Buy One" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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