3D printing certain materials or aiming for the best quality possible sometimes requires a 3D printer enclosure, along with a heater that is well-regulated. If you have been looking for a solid 3D printer enclosure heater, this article was made just for you.
The best 3D printer enclosure heater is either a car heater, PTC heater, light bulbs, a hair dryer, or even IR heating lamps. These generate enough heat to properly heat up an enclosure, and can work with a thermostat controller to turn off the heating element once a temperature is reached.
These heaters get the job done well as many people in the 3D printing community can attest to. There are cheaper options as well as options which produce more heat, so figure out your goal and choose a heater that fulfills it.
Keep reading to find out what makes a good 3D printer enclosure heater and for more key information behind these enclosure heaters.
What Makes a 3D Printer Enclosure Heater Good?
Having a 3D printer enclosure heater is necessary to enjoy a better printing experience and to print objects of high quality.
There are many things that should be considered while going for a 3D printer enclosure heater but below are the major factors that should be included in a good enclosure heater.
Nothing is more important than your safety. Make sure that the enclosure heater you are going to buy has advanced safety features that can help you from any harm or damage.
People say that their printer catches fire sometimes due to extreme heat or some other causes. Therefore, it is essential to choose a 3D printer enclosure heater that can provide you full safety against catching fire.
Keep your kids and pets in mind because having a risky enclosure heater can be harmful not only for the user but for the other people at home as well.
Power supply units (PSU), especially ones from cheap Chinese clones aren’t built to stand up to high heats in an enclosed space with no air circulation. It’s a good idea to put your PSU and other electronics outside the heated enclosure.
Temperature Control System
3D printer enclosure temperature control is a widely recommended feature. There should be an automatic control system equipped with heat sensors.
The control system should be designed and installed in such a way that it can adjust the heat according to the requirement automatically without any hassle.
Implementing a temperature control system can not only protect you from any harms but will improve your print quality as the temperature will be perfect for the print.
The Inkbird Temp Control Thermostat ITC-1000F from Amazon is a very worthy choice in this field. It is a 2-stage temperature controller which can heat and cool at the same time.
You can read temperatures in Celsius and Fahrenheit and works perfectly once set up.
The fan heater that I talk about further in this article is ready to setup with this heat controller, having the wires ready to insert straight into the correct slots.
Best 3D Printer Enclosure Heaters
There are many solutions that people use to heat up their 3D printer enclosures, depending on their specific needs, but they do have similar devices and elements.
The usual options that you’d find people using as 3D printer enclosure heaters include heat bulbs, heat guns, PTC heating elements, hairdryers, emergency car heaters, etc.
A good 3D printer enclosure is a great addition to decrease print imperfections, especially using certain materials like ABS and Nylon.
Some filament requires a uniform heat to form a particular shape and if the temperature in the enclosure is not enough then there are possibilities that the layers of the filament may not stick to each other adequately.
- Light Bulbs
- Car or Windshield Heater
- PTC Heating Elements
- IR Heating Lamps
- Hair Dryer
Space Heater (PTC Heater)
A PTC (Positive Temperature Coefficient) heating fan is a great choice for the 3D printing heating processes. PTC fan heaters are specially designed to focus on the airflow in compact spaces such as 3D printer enclosures as they require precise heating control. PTC fan heaters usually come in the range of 12V to 24V.
Installing PTC fan heaters in your 3D printer enclosure is much easier as the components of these heaters are pre-wired and ready to be installed. All you need is to fix it in the right place.
The Zerodis PTC Electric Fan Heater is a great addition that has the wiring ready to insert into a thermostat controller. It provides anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 hours of use and it heats up very quickly.
A normal space heater is a great addition to your 3D printer enclosure to provide that quick heat, getting the printing environment up to temperature. I’d have to recommend the Andily 750W/1500W Space Heater, a device loved by thousands of people.
It has a thermostat so you can adjust the heat settings with ease. Being a ceramic heater, they are very fast to heat up and are longer lasting. If you have a good airtight enclosure, the heat from the heated bed along with the heater should retain much heat.
In terms of safety, there is an automatic overheat system which shuts off the unit when parts of the heater overheat. The tip-over switch shuts off the unit if it’s tipped forwards or backwards.
The power indication light lets you know whether it’s plugged in. The Andily heater is also ETL certified.
Light bulbs are the cheapest and the simplest element that can be used as a 3D printer enclosure heater.
To keep the temperature accurate, use a temperature control mechanism with halogen light bulbs and add doors or some panels in the enclosure to radiate the heat. Keep the light bulbs fairly close to the 3D printer to get the maximum benefit from it.
There is no need to use any dimmers as these light bulbs are well known to supply plenty of heat consistently without any drafts. A dimmer is helpful though, as you can easily adjust the heat of your light bulbs.
They do have to be pretty close to the print to work well though.
You can go for the Simba Halogen Lightbulbs from Amazon, which is said to have to a lifespan of 2,000 hours, or 1.8 years with 3 hours daily use. 90-day warranty will seller is also provided.
IR Heating Lamp
Halogen bulbs are cheap heating sources but you have to keep them too close to get the right amount of heat while using heating lamps or devices that emit IR (Infrared) rays will bring better results with more heating capacity.
If you are going to print in a fairly cold environment with an extremely hard filament like ABS then you can use one at each side but usually, only one IR heating lamp will be enough to get the job done.
The Sterl Lighting Infrared 250W Light Bulbs are a good addition, providing plenty of heat and is even used in drying food.
Car or Windshield Heater
This is the second most used thing to heat the 3D printer enclosure. An emergency car heater is plugged into a 12V socket present in the car. This is considered one of the best choices because this voltage perfectly fits most of the 3D printers available.
These heaters usually work on PTC heating mechanisms and have a fan on the top or from the side that blows air over it.
It is highly recommended for you to use a temperature control system in every method you use as controlling the temperature is the basic part and reason for installing a 3D printer enclosure heater.
A hair dryer works surprisingly well for heating up an enclosure, which can even be connected to a right-angle PVC pipe so the air is properly directed inside the enclosure.
Insulated Styrofoam Walls or Extruded EPP Panels
This one doesn’t refer to a heater, but rather the enclosure having insulation to keep the heat radiating from your heated bed for longer.
Some people report being able to get anywhere from 30-40°C just from the heated bed, which is enough to significantly improve some of your prints.
What Are Ideal Enclosure Temperatures for 3D Printing Materials?
There are many things that affect the required temperature for the enclosure to print an object. Different filaments require different enclosure and bed temperatures depending upon their properties and chemical formation.
Try to provide the best suitable temperature to get ideal results. Below are the widely used printing materials and their enclosure temperature as well.
- PLA – Avoid using a heated enclosure
- ABS – 50-70°C
- PETG – Avoid using a heated enclosure
- Nylon – 45-60°C
- Polycarbonate – 40-60°C (70°C if you have a water-cooled extruder)