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- One issue with 3D printing in garages is the temperature
- One Redditor recommended: you need to retain enough heat to keep the printer’s ambient temperature in the high 20s Celsiues / mid to high 70s in Farenheight, you’re going to be displeased with your results. And you’ll also want to minimize drafts.
- Weather changes will change the bed level
- Another Redditor prints in a cold shed- he uses insulation foam board, a space heater, a smartphone as a camera monitor, all managed by a WEMO remote power switch and it works great
One of the greatest features of 3D printing is the ability to create things in our own homes and even garages.
Whether you are creating toys for your kids or starting a 3D printing business, 3D printing has made it more affordable and accessible.
If you’re looking to set up your 3D printing workshop in your garage, we’ve got 9 great tips to get you started.
Your space may not look like this when you’re done, but we’re going to get you off the ground…
If your garage is set up correctly, it can be nearly as functional and safe as any dedicated 3D printing space.
Make sure you get yourself a 3D printer table or work stand to keep your printing area organized!
This post is going to show you 9 tips for setting up a 3d printer in the garage. In addition to making it safer and more functional, these tips will help your print quality by keeping airflow issues out of the equation.
How to set up your garage makerspace
9 ways to get your 3D printer up and running in your garage
#1) Find a spot in the garage to set up your printer
Give yourself enough space to put the printer and all of its components so you can move around and keep everything well organized and tidy. Make sure you work in an area free from drafts, air movement, and vibration.
Isolate your working place by storing things that could get into or interfere with the print. An excellent way to do this is using plastic boxes or cartons for small items. Keep larger stuff away from the area by putting them on sturdy shelves, hanging them high up on walls, etc.
#2) Get a 3D printer Ideal for garage conditions
A 3D printer that works well in the open, non-climate controlled garage needs to be sturdy, reliable and capable of running for extended periods unattended. If your prints need to be ABS or waterproof, then you’ll want one at the far right end of the scale – not that good for garage conditions as they tend to malfunction easily as a result of drafts and air movement.
The best option is somewhere around the middle as those printers can withstand constant low temperatures and humidity without any problems, provided you don’t leave it switched on 24/7. Check out some of our favorite 3D printers for beginners and some of the best budget 3D printers if you don’t have a ton of money to spend. The best 3D printers can be very costly!
#3) Keep an eye on temp and humidity
Temperature and humidity are probably the two most critical environmental conditions to watch in your garage. The 3D printing jobs and the filaments you use intensely respond to temperature and humidity.
If your home gets too hot in summer – think about investing in a cheap evaporative cooler with a water tank that is large enough for a printer, or preferably get it air-conditioned if you can afford it.
#4) Work on a clean desk
Most people don’t bother cleaning their workspace; they throw away any trash and keep going. This practice is not advisable when doing 3D printing indoors, especially when working out of doors.
Don’t store flammable objects in a place where they can easily catch fire when in contact with hot plastic, ether from the extruder drive or drops of molten material from freshly printed articles. Always stay alert when working with a 3d printer!
#5) Cover your floor
Once you start printing with ABS, PLA or any other material that smells like burned plastic when molten, you’ll notice the smell constantly lingering in the air. Always make sure to cover the floor with some carpeting or boards because there’s nothing worse than having melted material constantly dripping on the ground- it’s a definite safety hazard.
It might damage it permanently, and therefore it will be more expensive to repair once dry than just covering it with cheap stuff that can be moved away when needed anyway.
#6) Find a proper ventilation system
ABS gives off a nasty smell when printed. If you’re lucky enough to live in an apartment where you can keep windows open for most of the time, ventilating it with fresh air is not much of a problem – leave a window ajar, and all will be fine. But suppose your place is fully closed upon every window and door.
In that case, stuffy air starts getting old pretty fast because it’s impossible to have sunlight or any other kind of natural light indoors unless something is going on outside that shows through the windows.
#7) Get a proper workstation
You know the drill – 3D printer, monitor, keyboard, and mouse are not enough to feel like you’re working in front of a computer. A suitable desk is almost as important as the desktop itself because, after all, it’s where everything is happening.
There are plenty of options available at any furniture store or online marketplace but think about things before buying anything. Make it easy for yourself by checking some ergonomics tips to keep your body healthy while spending so much time with both hands on the keyboard and eyes fixed on the monitor screen.
Also, consider some space for storing necessary stuff like 3d printer filament, calibration tools, notepads, etc. If you want to be really portable, check out some of the best laptops for 3D printers.
#8) Use quality electricity
Nothing is worse than cheap power supply units (PSU) when dealing with desktops and laptops because they don’t provide enough power for the energy-hungry components like CPU and GPU.
The same applies to 3D printers, whose components also need a lot of juice to be supplied to work correctly. Cheap PSUs are often unstable and deliver poor voltage under load, which can cause damage to sensitive parts like micro-controllers and other electronic devices. Use something good, and you’ll never regret the extra costs of buying higher wattage PSUs.
#9) Have some patience
Last but not least, don’t expect to get an excellent result after your first prints – they’ll be full of errors and mistakes, so you might want to start with simpler models like Yoda’s head or an Eiffel tower model.
Once you figure out how everything works, it’ll be much easier for you to print anything. Remember that everyone started from the same place as you do now. Many people still feel confused about how 3d printing works because forums etc., are filled with questions about 100% infill settings, temperature fluctuations, warping etc.
Don’t worry if you feel stupid for asking essential questions because it’s the same as asking someone who has their driving license for years to explain how ABS works.
3D printing is one of the most exciting technologies to come out of the last 20 or so years. It’s a technology that has been slow to catch on due to high prices and limited availability of materials and other issues, but those barriers are falling like dominos.
3D printing is slowly becoming an integral part of our lives and I’m excited to learn more about it and the ways we can use it to make our lives better.
Remember, good things come with good work and time – 3d printing won’t be different in this aspect. Patience is something you must have when you’re into this kind of technology, especially when dealing with 3d printers since they can fail or jam entirely at least once during your first month of usage.
I’ve had my fair share of jams during the learning process, so try not to overthink about it by simply fixing problems as they appear.