In articles describing the specifics of working with 3D printers of the FDM / FFF type, we have repeatedly mentioned that one of the biggest challenges facing the user is the problem of shrinkage of specialized thermoplastic materials. What’s more, this problem increases with the size of the device’s workspace. On 3D printer tables with an area exceeding 30 cm in XY axes, even low-shrink PLA printing is becoming difficult to control. The solution is closed working chambers that separate the printed detail from external conditions and create a more friendly working environment.
Unfortunately, 3D printers with closed and heated working chambers stand at an incomparably higher level than the prices of desktop class devices and not every company can afford such a high expense – especially if it is its first investment in an additive machine. For some time, the use of additional chambers for open or semi-open 3D printers has been a popular solution – of course, they cannot be placed at the same level as the above-mentioned industrial class devices, however, this helps in working with materials with a high degree of shrinkage.
In January last year we described the assembly and work with this type of chamber in the Zortrax M200 Plus 3D printer – now I will present an analogous product installed on the device of the Spanish manufacturer BCN3D – Sigmax R19. Recently, we presented unboxing and the first start-up of the device – today we will mount a dedicated working chamber to it.
The BCN3D Sigmax R19 is a two-head 3D printer equipped with a very large working area of 420 x 297 x 210 mm. Despite the fairly massive design, it is an “open” device – it is generally shielded at the back and sides, but in practice with such a large table, the exposure of the printed detail to external conditions is quite high. Until now, we used PLA to work with the device and did not experience any major problems, however, wanting to try on more advanced materials such as ABS, ASA or nylon we needed something more. The solution may be an additional work chamber?
The chamber for Sigmax R19 was designed and made by the French company Accante, which specializes in the production of such solutions – the offer includes chambers for Zortrax and Ultimaker. They are offered in self-assembly kits, which is quite understandable given the dimensions of our BCN3D, for example.
The chamber comes to us in a large cardboard box. It is very solid and safe – ours was slightly crushed in transport, but this did not affect the inside components.
After unpacking, we get: a set of six plexiglass plates forming the chamber, a dozen or so mounting elements printed on a 3D printer, a set of screws, a fan, power supply and HEPA filter.
For assembly you need four own keys – two Allen (2 and 4 mm) and two screwdrivers.
We also get instructions – unfortunately it is very poor; consists of ordinary sheets of paper printed on a regular inkjet printer. Pictures showing the next stages of work are quite illegible and many things you have to guess. Two or three times I had to improve the assembly of certain elements just because the first time I misinterpreted the image. In general, I encourage you to use the electronic version, which is available here. You’ll see a little more on it than on the attached pages…
Installation begins with the release of protective foils from plates.
Then put the nuts in the black mounting elements and screw them to the side walls of the chamber. Plus for the construction is that each of them is marked with the letter of the alphabet and the instructions describe where to install it – mistakes can only happen at the most when the detail is oriented towards the wall. I discovered my mistakes only when I attached the next elements together…
We attach the fan to the back panel.
Then we tighten the remaining walls of the chamber.
When the main structure is ready, we can try it on to the 3D printer. It fits perfectly and easily sticks to the device. The last stage for the assembly of the front door and latches.
This is the finished chamber. Although describing the assembly took as short as reading the accounts, do not be fooled – get ready for a minimum of one hour of work (it took less than a few, but the work was interrupted by answering phone calls and replying to current emails).
The chamber has two interesting solutions – one is the bottom locks that keep the chamber door closed, and the other is the possibility of attaching the door to the felt handle.
Finally, quite important information – Accante, the chamber manufacturer, does not recommend using it in 3D printing with PLA. We haven’t tried it yet, but I suspect that this is due to the fact that the filaments are inside the 3D printer, as well as the entire system leading the material to the heads. If the temperature inside the chamber is too high (i.e. around 60°C), PLA may start to become localized before entering the head and block in the system. For comparison, in a much larger 3D BCN3D Epsilon 3D printer, the PLA profile has the working table temperature set at 40°C and its increase may result in problems with the correct flow of PLA filament in the system.
We will soon start testing with engineering materials and determine the actual usability of the chamber.