Once buying a 3D printer for home, work, or school, the thought of where to store and keep it is often overlooked. Storage of your 3D printer and its components is just as important as the 3D printing process itself. After all, it determines the functionality of the printer and the safety of operating it.
With that said, how and where should you store your 3D printer at school and home? 3D printers used for educational or personal use are different from the ones used for industrial manufacturing. So, we will be looking at the storage of FDM printers.
A 3D printer at home is best kept enclosed in the garage, basement, empty closet, or home office. At school, 3d printer is better kept in special 3D printing labs or in a classroom closet. This is required from a safety perspective and to preserve the life span of the printer and printing quality.
For long-term usage, FDM printers are better stored in special workstation cabinets. They should be cleaned regularly when unused for long periods to prevent dust collection. For short-term usage
We also recommend that you check our post “How Long Can a 3D Printer Run? Fire Risk and What to Do About It!“
- Where Not to Store 3D Printers at Home or School?
- How to Store 3D Printers at Homes or Schools?
- Why Should You Keep Your 3D Printer in an Enclosure?
- 3D Printer Storage Cases
- Related Questions
Where Not to Store 3D Printers at Home or School?
It is normal to wonder if you can keep your 3D printer in a designated corner of your bedroom since you would be able to keep an eye on it at all times.
Instead, you should place your FDM printer in your home office, basement, workshop, garage, studio or empty closet space. Your 3D printer can be placed in a room, so long as it is not occupied by anyone during printing. It needs to have proper ventilation in about four-square feet of space.
What about in a school? Should you keep a 3D printer in the classroom or somewhere else? Well, the ideal place for it at school would be a 3D printing lab. Where all 3D printers are in a controlled environment, whether being used currently or not.
Otherwise, it can be dangerous to leave it around in the open since teachers and children would make use of the room almost daily.
3D printers for specific classrooms can be stored short-term in the classroom closet space, but only if the area is cleared. And if there are no obstructions surrounding the printer such as clothes, paintings, bags, school supplies etc.
If you do not have any current projects that you are working on or you do not have a use for your 3D printer until in the future, your 3D printer can remain in its enclosure for the long term.
You could also stow it away in a special workstation cabinet with shelves, such as the cabinet for the printer on Thingiverse, which can hold the filament spools and the power supply.
As an added measure, you should never place your 3D printer on the floor for the potential of bumping into it and knocking it over.
Also Noise is one main issue with 3d printers. Check out How To Reduce 3D Printers Noise Hacks! Best Sound Absorbing Filament
How to Store 3D Printers at Homes or Schools?
A 3D printer can become clogged if left dormant for months without any maintenance and cleaning. This could cause print heads and nozzles to collect dust.
So, it is important to clean it weekly or bi-weekly to ensure no dust clogs up the printer parts.
The most common way to store 3D printers is by keeping them in a sealed enclosure. With ventilation and a smoke detector, and placing them in designated closet space for future use.
As an article by All3DP, 3D Printer Enclosure: 6 Cheap & Easy Solutions suggests, these enclosures can be made from a cardboard box, a photo studio tent, Tupperware, old cabinets, the popular Ikea Lack table, or a purpose-built enclosure.
The “Creality Fireproof and Dustproof 3D Printer Warm Enclosure” is a popular and recommended ready-made option (Amazon Link)
For extra safety, you may want to opt to add a smoke detector to the enclosure. It cost only from 20 to 50$ USD but will buy you a great deal of peace of mind. Check out the “First Alert” (Amazon Link) Powered Alarm SCO5CN which detects both, Smoke and Carbon Monoxide and it is Battery Operated
When you are not going to use your printer for a long time, you should make sure that the filament is not left in the extruder for a prolonged period of time. As leaving it in and not cleaning it out may lead to it clogging up.
Keep your printing filaments stored in sealed boxes. If not, the filament can absorb the moisture in the air which can greatly reduce the print quality. Particularly with filaments such as Nylon and PLA. The same can happen with your printed items if kept out on a humid day.
Why Should You Keep Your 3D Printer in an Enclosure?
There are many advantages to putting your 3D printer in an enclosure. For starters, it is important to consider the surrounding environment as FDM printers are sensitive to changing temperatures.
So, keeping an FDM printer in an enclosed metal or glass box regulates the temperature for printing. Keeping it in an enclosure also prevents the printed item from warping and cracking, which is caused by irregular temperature.
The risk of poor storage or not enclosing your 3D printers at all involves the inhalation of any toxic emission extruded from the melted filament. Keeping the printer away in a box and in a separate room, preferably, will reduce the toxic fumes and the unpleasant smell.
For more information on harmful 3D printer fumes and safety tips, check out our article: Is 3D Printing Poisonous? What you need to know!
Since children can be unpredictable, you can never tell when one will suddenly put their hand inside the printer, or touch the hot nozzle, or interfere with the printing process, or use it without guidance, etc. A well-stored 3D printer will prevent such accidents from happening in a school.
Lastly, the storage box for the printer can also help in reducing some noise, prevent dust from collecting on the printer which can lead to getting the printer nozzle clogged, which can be troublesome to clean and replace.
3D Printer Storage Cases
- PVC and Plastic Enclosure – For a cheap cost and a quick setup, you can make this case with PVC, a plastic cover, and some 3D printed parts. Since it does not have proper ventilation and thermal insulation, this may only be used for storage and not for printing in it.
- DIY Metal Enclosure – Jay Doscher reveals his impressive design for a 3D printer enclosure, made with aluminum side panels. If you need to modify and adapt the design for your printer, the design specifics are easily available.
- DIY Smart 3D Printer Enclosure files – For around $12, you can download digital enclosure files. With specific dimensions and design, there is still room for creative modifications you can make according to your interests. Perfect for home projects.
- Enclosure for The Snapmaker 3-in-1 – This pre-made enclosure costs around $232. It is a little expensive but perfectly tailored for the Snapmaker 3D printer, made with aluminum alloys and sturdy acrylic.
- box3d 500 – Though expensive, falling around $540, this enclosure has thermal insulation. It can fit printers such as the Ultimaker 2, Lulzbot Mini, Original Prusa MK2, and others. You can include HEPA and carbon filters for an additional price of around $58.
How to maintain and clean your 3D printer?
According to an All3DP printer maintenance article, you should have a basic toolkit on hand, and clean the nozzle frequently with a wire brush when the printer is turned off. You need to also thoroughly clean fans and electric boards to prevent dust, especially when the printer is put off as storage and is not used often.
What are the safety recommendations for using 3D printers in school?
Enclosed printers are the top priority, just as they are for storage. To prevent children from touching the hot extruders, you can install printers such as the Afinia H800 and Up Box. These printers automatically stop printing when the doors are opened, decreasing the risks of accidents.
How to store filament spools?
Along with the 3D printer, it is vital to store your filaments in a sealed box. Such as a gasket box, vacuum bags, and storage boxes with sealed lids. Absorb any remaining moisture inside the boxes with a cheap renewable dehumidifier. Silica gel desiccants packets are also great for absorbing moisture.
For storing long-term and short-term, make sure to regularly clean the 3D printer even if it is left unused for months. This clears out any dust collecting in the printer parts.
The printer enclosure is a must since it helps you with thermal insulation and warping. But it also helps with storage since it gives a protective layer and prevents dust from settling in and on the printer.
For where to keep it, you can place your 3D printer somewhere where there are not many people frequenting in schools, such as in an empty classroom closet if there is no special 3D printing lab. At homes, you can keep your printer in a separate, clean room or in the basement or home office.