No longer in its infancy, 3D printing is becoming more popular than ever before! Many of us are now familiar with 3D printers, whether at work or have treated ourselves to one at home.
It will come as no surprise to you then that a heated enclosure is often the best way to achieve a successful print!
Finding the best way to heat your enclosure for a 3D printer can be challenging, though.
With so many safety considerations to consider, the fear of burning our homes or garages down attempting to print our latest designs can haunt our dreams!
Especially with so many heaters on the market, finding the best solution for your enclosure can feel like a never-ending battle.
But it doesn’t need to be! For we are here to save the day! We have the best 3D printer enclosure heaters and included helpful things to consider in the section to bring you everything you need to know and save your 3D printer enclosure!
Things to Consider
When it comes to a 3D printer enclosure heater, there are some key areas that you will need to be aware of!
After all, there’s no point in having a sub-par heating enclosure, is there? Let’s take a closer look at these critical aspects now:
We don’t mean to sound boring, but your safety should be the most crucial factor that you consider. You will need to ensure that your purchase’s enclosure has advanced safety features to avoid any harm coming to you or the printer.
There have been some cases where 3D printers have caught fire due to overheating or electrical issues. You will be grateful for an enclosure that is fire-proof or resistant to keep any fires contained in these cases.
Another factor to consider is any children or animals, especially if the 3D printer is kept in your home. An enclosure heater can be harmful, especially if they get quite warm in use.
It's best to keep it out of sight and reach of children and animals. It’s worth warning others in your home of any risks or potential dangers, too, so that everyone’s safety is ensured.
The final factor we would consider when it comes to safety is your power supply unit (PSU). Cheap PSUs aren’t built to withstand high heat in enclosed spaces with little to no air circulation.
In these cases, it’s best to place the PSU and other electronics outside of the heated enclosure to avoid any overheating issues.
How hot can it go?
You will need to ensure that you can accurately control the temperature in the enclosure too. An automatic system with heat sensors is an advantageous enclosure to opt for!
Ideally, when it comes to the control system, you should look for one that can adjust the heat without any hassle.
A temperature control system protects you from any overheating dangers and ensures that your printing quality is not compromised. You can keep the enclosure at the perfect temperature for your printing task at hand!
When looking for a temperature control system, 2-way controllers are handy, allowing you to heat or cool an area depending on your needs.
It’s also worth considering what measurement the temperature will be read; many users opt for displays in Celsius and Fahrenheit. It saves you needing to convert the readings and allows you to assess the temperature quickly.
Best 3D Printer Enclosure Heaters:
As we have mentioned, you can use a range of methods to heat your 3D printer enclosure. You can tailor these to your needs, but there are similarities across the field.
The most popular methods are heat bulbs, heat guns, hairdryers, car heaters, and PTC heating elements. We will take a closer look at these methods to help you find the enclosure heater that will best suit you and your 3D printer needs!
Space Heater (PTC Heater)
A PTC (Positive temperature coefficient) heating fan is a fantastic and popular choice for your 3D printer and its heating process. PTC fan heaters were made for small, compact spaces where they can control airflow, such as your 3D printer enclosures, making them an excellent choice!
PTC fan heaters work with precise heating control and range from 12V to 24V. PTC fan heaters are incredibly easy to install too! They arrive pre-wired and ready to go, allowing your 3D printer enclosure to be up and running in no time; simply fix the heater to the correct place!
Fan heaters are excellent choices, especially those that come pre-wired and with a thermostat controller, as you will have an easy installation and precise temperatures guaranteed!
However, space heaters are fantastic options and loved by thousands of people across the country. They provide heat quickly, getting your printing enclosure ready for action with minimal fuss! If you want our opinion, you can’t go wrong with the Andily Space Heater.
Users adore it, and we can see why! The ceramic heater heats up quickly and has fantastic durability. It's best suited to airtight enclosures as it allows the heater to work quickly and maintain the heat it is generating!
Safety-wise, you are good to go too! Andily’s heater features a power indicator light that lets you know when it’s plugged in. it is also ETL certified, allowing for peace of mind while you use it!
That’s right, light bulbs. Light bulbs are a cheap and cheerful way to provide heat to your 3D printer enclosure. To ensure that the temperature is accurate, you will need to purchase a temperature controller, too, driving up the cost of your purchase.
You should use a temperature control mechanism with halogen light bulbs for the best results. Adding doors or panels to the enclosure that radiate heat is also a good idea. We would also recommend placing the light bulbs close to the 3D printer, ensuring as much heat as possible is directed to the printer.
Dimmers can be helpful when using light bulbs to heat your enclosure, although it is not essential. Halogen bulbs are capable of supplying plenty of heat without any drafts. Some users will still use dimmers, though, as they allow you to adjust your bulbs’ heat easily.
With dimmers, though, they will need to be very close to the printer to see good results!
Sounds like the method for you? You can’t go wrong with Simba Halogen Light Bulbs! They have a great lifespan of roughly 2,000 hours! There is also a 90-day warranty, providing you with peace of mind while you use the bulbs. Simba’s bulbs are well suited to daily use, making them a fantastic choice for those using their 3D printer daily.
It is worth mentioning that Halogen light bulbs have been banned by the European Union, with a phasing out of these bulbs being seen globally. While they are currently still available, they could be subjected to change if the states follow suit and ban the bulbs.
Remember that your halogen bulbs will need to be placed close to the printer for successful heating of the enclosure! The precision required can be off-putting for some users, but that doesn’t mean lightbulbs need to be excluded.
IR Heating Lamp:
Another excellent option is an IR Heating Lamp. These bulbs emit Infrared (IR) rays to bring better performance and a higher heating capacity than halogen bulbs.
If you are setting up your enclosure in a cold environment with ABS used as your filament, one bulb on each side would be what you usually need. But thanks to IR bulbs, one heating lamp for the whole enclosure will be sufficient to get the heat you need.
An excellent choice for those interested in IR heating lamps is the Sterl Lighting Lamps. The twin pack provided excellent heat levels and is designed to last up to 10 times longer than competing bulbs!
These bulbs are even used for drying food, so you won’t need to question their power at heating your 3D printer enclosure!
Windshield and Car Heaters:
Emergency car heaters are some of the most popular options used in 3D printing enclosures, and it’s no wonder why!
The car heater offers excellent compatibility. Usually used in your car’s 12V socket, the voltage works perfectly with most 3D printers on the market!
Car or windshield heaters tend to use PTC heating mechanisms, featuring a fan on the top or side that will blow air over it. While their compatibility is virtually unrivaled, we would strongly recommend a temperature control method being included in your enclosure.
It will ensure that the heat is accurately controlled and that your enclosure and heater performs as it should! You get a lot of flexibility with the heater you use here; just check the voltage is compatible before firing the heater up!
We admit it can sound unusual, but a hairdryer works quite well at heating an enclosure. You can even connect the hairdryer to a right-angle PVC pipe, directing the warm air directly into your 3D printer enclosure.
Some hair dryers tend to overheat when used continuously, especially if hair or dust has been trapped in the fan. Be sure to clean the fan area regularly to avoid this happening if you will use a hairdryer to heat your 3D printer enclosure.
Insulated Styrofoam Walls and EPP Panels
Alright, technically, this isn’t a heater, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to talk about the difference your walls make to heat retention!
Insulated styrofoam walls or Extruded EPP panels are fitted with insulation that keeps the heat radiating from your heated bed for longer, as opposed to needing to add a heating system in place.
It works for some users, where they get 30-40 degrees celsius from a heated bed! That’s more than enough to improve your prints! If you don’t want to use a heating system, it’s worth considering insulating your enclosure for better heat retention.
What temperatures are best for 3D printing?
Now that we have covered the best 3D printer enclosure heaters let’s take a quick look at the best temperatures depending on the materials your printer will be using.
As crucial as ensuring that your enclosure is heated, the wrong temperature for specific materials can lead to complications down the line!
We are going to cover the most popular printing materials used and the temperatures they will need. For other materials, check the labels or with manufacturers for advice regarding the temperature to use!
- PLA - avoid using a heated enclosure entirely
- PETG - avoid using a heated enclosure entirely
- ABS - heated to 50-70 degrees celsius
- Nylon - heated to 45-60 degrees celsius
- Polycarbonate - heated to 40-60 degrees celsius. It can be heated to 70 degrees celsius if you have a water-cooled extruder.
And just like that, we have reached the end of the line! As you will have seen, there are some fantastic methods that you can use to heat a 3D printer enclosure without breaking the bank!
Remember to consider the safety features your heater comes with and how you will control the enclosure’s temperature to ensure that the materials receive the correct heat with minimal complications.
Whichever method you choose, we are confident you are going to love it! Happy printing!