Getting my Prusa Mini 3D printer IKEA Lack enclosure setup, and making some minor modifications to the printer.
I had ordered my Prusa Mini 3D printer in early November 2019 and was not expecting for it to arrive before February 2020. That gave me some time to plan out where I wanted to station the new printer when it arrived. Due to some production issues at the factory and then the COVID-19 pandemic I finally received the printer mid April 2020.
I had already ordered three IKEA Lack tables for my printer enclosure and 3D printed 17 individual parts at my local Makerspace. Most of the enclosure parts were printed on a Prusa I3 MK3S using orange Prusament PETG filiment.
After some assembly and making sure everything went together properly I ordered some pre-cut clear acrylic panels for the sides from Printed Solid, which ended up being less expensive even with shipping than what I could find locally.
I used the enclosure design for the original V1 enclosure, as I did not need the extra height afforded by the V2 design for units with the MMU2S attachment on top.
After much research I knew that I wanted to setup an OctoPrint server using a Raspberry Pi model 3 B+ for remote monitoring and control.
Setup was fairly easy using OctoPi, which is a SD card image based on Raspbian Linux for the Raspberry Pi.
Using my new 3D printer, I printed an enclosure using red PETG filament for the Raspberry Pi board which worked great.
I decided on feeding the filament to the printer from the table located below the printer, and needed a way to get it up thru the table with the least amount of drag. I found a project on Thingiverse.com, named “Filament Guide for IKEA LACK Table (with roller guides)” which was well designed and had a version that utilized a 4mm PTFE tube to reduce friction even further. So far it has been a great addition to my setup.
I had an old Logitech C500 webcam which works with the OctoPrint server for monitoring the print, and for making time-lapse videos of the print process. I fount another useful project on Thingiverse.com, a stand for the Logitech S5500 eyeball camera which utilizes the same attachment pin as the C500 camera. I printed this part using Prusament “Galaxy Black” PLA filament. I did end up using a brim when printing this as it is very narrow and tall.
I had noticed that the Z‑axis stepper motor was running hotter than the rest of the motors on the Prusa Mini while printing some PETG parts with the doors partly closed. This most likely would not be an issue printing in free air, outside of an enclosure.
It wasn’t extremely hot, but out of an abundance of caution, I added a 40mm heatsink to the top of the stepper motor. The heatsink was attached using a 3M 35 X 35mm 8810 thermal pad with adhesive on both sides.
This made a small difference in temperature, but it was still warmer than the rest of the motors.
I then added a Noctua NF-A40x10 5V fan to the top of the heatsink blowing down into the heatsink fins. For power I plugged the fan into the unused filament sensor connector on the Mini’s Buddy board 3 pin connector J9, using pins 1 (5v) and 3 (Gnd). The fan uses less than 50 mA at 5 volts and keeps the Z‑axis motor much cooler than the other motors now.
My next project was to insulate the bottom of the heated print bed.
I has some extra roVa Flex Plus aerogel insulation tape left over from a previous project, and thought that this would be the perfect application for this material. The existing heated bed worked fine as is, and the only benefit to me would be a small savings in power usage.
The bottom of the bed is mostly flat with areas that project out such as the magnets, thermistor and attaching cable.
I cut out areas for the attachment standoffs and thicker parts of the thermistor assembly using a sharp exacto knife, then made a test fit on the carriage standoffs then some small adjustments before removing the protective film and applying the sticky side of the sheet to the bottom of the bed.
The 0.04″ thick tape conformed well around the magnets and smaller thermistor leads and I then added an additional patch over the thermistor bead cutout and cable. I only had enough material for a single layer, but that should be enough for my needs.
After reattaching the heated bed to the carriage assembly I performed a quick test using my Fluke 62 IR-thermometer. With the bed heated to 60 °C, I measured an average temperature difference of 10 °C between the top and bottom of the bed with the PEI spring steel sheet installed. I was impressed by the performance of this thin 0.04″ (1mm) material and consider it worth the effort.
My next modification to the enclosure was adding a small fan and LED strip light. They are both powered from an external 12 volt supply thru a small control panel with round rocker switches.
So far I am really enjoying the Prusa Mini and still learning about it’s capabilities. It is a great entry class 3D printer that is perfect for my usage.
I have already 3D printed some parts for an upcoming electronics project this summer.
Link to the Prusa Research “Mini” website