3D Printer Enclosure

Open Access
Author:
Petrakis, Dimitri
Area of Honors:
Mechanical Engineering
Degree:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • John Gershenson, Thesis Supervisor
  • Hosam Kadry Fathy, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • 3D Printing
Abstract:
3D printing is a vastly growing industry with huge potential to disrupt traditional manufacturing processes. 3D printing uses much less material, allows for rapid prototyping and is much cheaper as opposed to established methods. However, 3D printing requires controlled environments in order to print high quality parts which could prove difficult in areas with limited control of the environment with high temperature, humidity, and ambient exposure to dust particles like in developing nations in Africa. At Penn State University, the goal of the Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship program (HESE) is to design and build a portable and collapsible 3D printer to help 3D print medical equipment for doctors in developing nations in Africa where part shipments are costly and limited. In conjunction with the HESE program, this paper illustrates and designing and building of a collapsible enclosure for the Relief Bot printer to regulate temperature, humidity, and pressure to maintain an optimal 3D printer environment while in harsh conditions. Airflow experiments are performed to measure and test the ability of the enclosure to maintain a positive pressure environment as well as testing different filter materials to see which material is most able to keep out dust while maximizing the efficiency of the fan. The results of the experiments show that the positive pressure system is effective at keeping out dust while a filter made of pantyhose chosen for its availability and low cost effectively filtered out dust particles. The experiments validate the final design and merit the created enclosure for further temperature and humidity testing in conjunction with the Relief Bot printer.