The Ender3 is seemingly a fantastic, inexpensive, entry level machine to get you started in the wondrous world of 3D printing. I would hardly call it the most quality, feature-rich machines out there but the incredible affordability is what makes is a great starting place. This wasn’t the first 3D printer I became familiar with but it might be my favorite.
The Ender3, really, is a rather flawed machine with several shortcomings but that is also an endearing quality and perhaps its greatest strength. As it sits, from factory, it can do the job and really does the job quite well, the problem is, when you want to start pushing it or want higher quality prints, it will require upgrades and that is what I love about the Ender3. It allows you to take your own path on your 3D printing journey.
The biggest issue I have with the Ender3, as it is fully assembled, is that it has no enclosure to control the air around the machine’s print bed. This can be a problem with larger prints as they end up curling due to cooling to quickly. This is more pronounced with more sensitive plastics, like ABS. The easy thing to do is take some cardboard and make a surround out of that to better control the print environment but it isn’t a very elegant solution. It is what I used initially but I was searching for something better.
I was recommended to check out this enclosure designed for the Prusa i3 MK3, specifically the design made out of Ikea Lack Tables. At first look, I thought it was fantastic, at second look, I was ecstatic but I also knew that the Ender3 was taller than the Prusa so the design as it was would not work without making a few additions to accommodate the increased height.
After purchasing the Lack Tables, I started to take measurements and determined the ideal height I had to add to the legs for the surround to work. I had no intention of reinventing anything so I just made a block that would neatly nest with the existing pieces.
These are nothing more than extensions for the existing Prusa MK3 design that would look appropriate aesthetic of the table, at least, in my eyes. This meant I had to also change the size of each of the panes of acrylic to fit and the length of the screw to hold the printed parts to the bottom of the Lack Table.
Since I also wanted this to be a free standing unit, where the 3D printer was sitting at “workbench height,” I used a total of three tables. The original implementation only used two tables which was too short. The middle table required another custom piece to allow for a nice clean, non-destructive fit.
Since all four corners have a tab on two sides, it captures the lower table quite firmly and the legs of the table are slightly toed inward so it makes for a secure interference fit. I have no concern about the top two portions sliding off of the lower table.
The bottom table didn’t really need anything but I had some bins that were mistakenly sent to me but made for great 3D printer filament containers because they are sealed. I wanted to be able to roll these conveniently below the enclosure stack. Using the similar feature I used previously, this tab helps to orient the leg extension to the leg and I, frankly, like how it looks too. This part is screwed into the bottom of the leg, similar to the bottom corners of the Prusa enclosure.
The final result of these modifications to the original, already fantastic Prusa i3 MK3 enclosure is a rather inexpensive, and very pleasant station for your Ender3. It’s almost like a 3D printing appliance. I don’t want to say professional or commercial grade because it is not. It is very much Ikea furniture and although well made, isn’t going to get a lot of points in the heavy duty department.
I would probably say that this could meet the “office grade” at the most but it might be a stretch. It is sturdy, quite stable and I am absolutely pleased with the final result.
It this is something that interests you, the original Prusa MK3 enclosure can be found here:
If you find this useful, let me know. It is most certainly worth knowing that something you do is helpful to others. I hope it inspires you to adapt this concept for even more use cases.
Further organization of this station is sorely needed. It’s not horrible right now but there is much to be desired as far as how my little supplies and tools are being stored. There is a need for some increased convenience and accessibility. The good news is, I am working on it! More on that in the future.