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  • Ambient Temperature for 3D Printing

    Hello,

    I am getting very close to buying my first 3D printer (Creality Ender 3 V2). The area in my house where I'm thinking of putting it is in my basement in an unfinished room. The outer walls are not insulated and are bare concrete block. In the winter months, that room can get rather chilly. And what I'm wondering is how that will affect the printers ability's to print well. So my question is, how important is ambient temperature in 3D printing? Should I find another location for it?

    I've been watching a ton of videos lately about 3d printing, 3d machines, modelling, etc. But I've never had my hands on a 3d printer before. So I'm familiar with a lot of the terminology. But have zero practical experience.

    Thank you for any input,

    Ken

  • #2
    From what I've seen & read, ambient temperature is quite important. It's 1 of the reasons higher end printers come in their own enclosure. Of course, you have the option of building your own enclosure, or buying a printer that already has 1.

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    • #3
      Does the room temperature need to be between certain limits? Or does it just need to be stable? Or both?

      If it needs to be between certain limits, I would imagine those values would be printer specific? Do printer manufacturers list their ambient temperature specs?

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      • #4
        At least when printing PLA, the room temperature has a huge impact on the bed adhesion. The print bed is heating the air above, which will rise and cold air from the side is streaming towards the print.

        During the winter time I have to turn on room heating or the air flow in the room, will cause the print to get loose. Even a huge brim won´t work properly, as the brim starts curling from the inside up, while printing. When printing e.g. a benchy the brim will look like watery waves around. Well, when the adhesion fails it looks like the benchy sunk.

        In my experience the room temperature should be around 20-22°C at least. The warmer, the better.

        Other materials like ABS need a constant temperature to cool down slowly or layers start splitting. The closer the temperature of the print bed is to the tool head temperature, the better. That's why 100°C is suggested as bed temperature, when printing ABS. To ensure the part is not warping or splitting the part needs to be cooled down slowly, which does not work, when the room temperature is around 20°C. This is when an enclosure comes into play.

        It is not a problem of the printers manufacturer. The printer itself has no issue to work in a wide temperature range.

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        • #5
          Thanks for the responses. I've decided to bite the bullet and buy an enclosure with the printer. I'm getting the Creality enclosure. I thought about getting a heater for the room. But I don't like leaving portable heaters running alone. So my only real option is the enclosure.

          Ken

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          • #6
            I would advise that you MAKE your enclosure. you can do it with a simple wooden frame and some plastic to begin with. that will leave you more money for materials
            just a thought.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by NeinIron View Post
              I would advise that you MAKE your enclosure. you can do it with a simple wooden frame and some plastic to begin with. that will leave you more money for materials
              just a thought.
              Yeah, for most type of prints a simple box is enough as the printer is heating the inside. Even a cheap kitchen cabinet is far enough. I have my ABS printer inside a home office cabinet I found in the street trash.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Geit View Post
                I have my ABS printer inside a home office cabinet I found in the street trash.
                So I guess you could say you're making silk purses out of sow's ears 😄

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                • #9
                  The ambient temperature in my printer room hovers around 15 C which is really a little cool but that only means that the machines have to work a little harder to keep things running as they should. The only time that's caused me any problems was with utlra-nasty PLA meant for a 3D pen (the sort of stuff that doesn't need fast cooling) and unless I turned the fans OFF they stuff just fell apart at the layer lines.

                  This raises another issue entirely which is to do with part and hotend cooling but that's for a different thread.

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                  • #10
                    Now that we're moving towards summer months in some parts of the world, also consider how warm your unconditioned space gets. The E3D V6 hotend -- one of the most common types -- is an air-cooled design rated to work at 40C/104F ambient temps. If you exceed this temperature, be it your room temperature or temperature inside your enclosure, the cooling efficiency is reduced. At some point, you can get heat creep as heat moves up into the cold zone of the hotend, leading to jams and extruder skips in the hotend. You might also experience heat accumulation in the extruder, particularly if your print has a lot of retraction or other extruder movements. This can result in jams either before or after the extruder gears. Heat creep is mostly a problem with PLA that has a relatively low glass transition temperature and is prone to deforming inside the printer. I put together some notes on dealing with this problem with the Prusa i3 Mk3. Most of the notes apply to other printers as well.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by bobstro View Post
                      Now that we're moving towards summer months in some parts of the world, also consider how warm your unconditioned space gets. The E3D V6 hotend -- one of the most common types -- is an air-cooled design rated to work at 40C/104F ambient temps..[/URL] Most of the notes apply to other printers as well.
                      To be fair, at ambient temperatures of +40C, most printers would start having problems, never mind humans unless the air is fairly dry and/or we're already acclimated.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by marcdraco View Post
                        To be fair, at ambient temperatures of +40C, most printers would start having problems, never mind humans unless the air is fairly dry and/or we're already acclimated.
                        Definitely true indoors in most locations. Having lived in Phoenix, Arizona in the past, it was common for garage or poorly cooled rooms to get up to those temperatures routinely. The record while I lived there was 126F/52.2C. One poor guy reported routinely putting up with 40C indoor room temperatures in his country. Anybody living in areas with extreme weather should keep this in mind if the printer will be operating in extremes.

                        Prusa put out plans for a 3D printer enclosure in spring of 2018 (IIRC). Lots of people ran out and built all sorts of wonderful-looking enclosures, only to find that they could no longer print as they moved into summer. We spent a lot of time helping folks diagnose "heat creep" problems only to have the enclosure casually mentioned only after several posts. They just needed to open the enclosure doors when printing PLA in a most cases. A hot enclosure isn't good for electronics either.

                        It's something that makes perfect sense, but a lot of new users aren't aware of the temperature limitations for proper cooling. I just like to mention it to eliminate the basics.

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                        • #13
                          I always noticed a correlation between high ambient room temperatures and heat creep on my ender 3 pro printing pla.

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                          • #14
                            Holy cow bobstro ! 52 C! That's mad hot. I only know this from designing Hotstuff (shameles plug there) probably the most advanced temperature/humidity monitor ever made for an 8-bit MCU. When I was designing it, I came across the temperatures at which humans started to "break down" (for want of a better word) and it has displays for all of that - plus a graph of how your humidity and temperature changes over time. I've set mine to run for about 5 hours. Temperatures like those, particularly in high humidity, are known to kill people and animals if they don't get into shelter and cool down.

                            Interesting you mention the problem of enclosures - that's Occam's Razor again, the simplest explanation is usually the right one!

                            In the absence of evidence (using an enclosure) they confused everyone by forgetting that rather important detail. Hotstuff or something similar could alleviate that sort of issue quite simply by opening a "hatch" on the upper part of the box (start a fan, or both) if the temperature exceeded a preset limit and then return it when things settle. That idea isn't new and has been used in commercial greenhouses for decades so that plants don't cook.

                            If anyone wants to use it for that purpose, modifying the code should be fairly simple although things are quite tight (the Arduino Uno MCU has a tiny program space and most of it is used to drive the HAT screen) so that might solve the problem for those who have it. I'm nearer to Iceland in real terms so it's kinda chilly up here most of the year round. A hot day might tip the dial at 18C or 22 in the sun!

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by marcdraco View Post
                              Holy cow bobstro ! 52 C! That's mad hot. [...] Temperatures like those, particularly in high humidity, are known to kill people and animals if they don't get into shelter and cool down.
                              Fortunately, Phoenix is known for "dry heat" but you sure felt it. I really felt for some of the users living in tropical areas with both heat and high humidity.

                              The big takeaway for me was to make sure any enclosure can be opened for cooling and to open it up for printing PLA.


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