Hot boxing your 3d printer (How to prevent warping when 3d printing with ABS)

If you’ve followed my pasts post you’ll probably already know that I really like printing in ABS. The prints come out sharp, crisp and the details in the resulting model are incredible. The good news ends however when you switch to larger models, even with a fully heated print bed the dreaded warping is difficult to prevent. When printing precision components the warping can cause problems including but not limited to making components not fit or even fail the print entirely.

I have a now aging Afinia-H series printer. With a 5 X 5 heated print bed it’s a awesome little work horse. Though as I get more serious with my prints I found that the warping becomes a huge issue for the reasons explained above. I almost can hear you say ” well, why not use PLA” , the answer is a bit complicated. Yes, PLA doesn’t warp but the prints are nowhere in quality with ABS. Any model with protruding or difficult shapes you can generally end up with the gooey PLA streaks everywhere.

After running around online reading what’s the best way to prevent warping without the use of support structures. The easiest way seemed to be to simply hot box your printer.

What you’ll need:
1. 13 X 13 acrylic panel (roof)
4. 13 X 15 inch acrylic panel
6. 1 inch hinges
1 simple latch

I was able to obtain large clear 3m acrylic panels from Canal plastics where they were cut in the sizes I needed. Hinges and latch I got from Home Depot.

WP_20140906_22_58_56_Pro

And some hinges from home depot. After 30 minutes of some heavy drilling, You could skip the drilling and imply use duct tape as well thought I wanted something that I could fold and put away at times.

The end product turned out to look like this

WP_20140926_12_22_49_Pro

WP_20140926_12_22_57_Pro

The prints as a result have dramatically improved. You can definitely feel the heat building up when you preheat your bed and this is still certainly a requirement. I added some painters tape to the upper corners to prevent heat from escaping through the cracks. The result is large ABS prints with almost

Happy prototyping.
Alp

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