Does an enclosure need a roof to print ABS?


I have an Ender 5 printer, which is a frame-based printer with no enclosure. However, I want to print ABS. Some experiments with a massive cardboard box have shown me I need an enclosure.

Because the printer has a box frame, fitting some perspex sheets will be easy. The bit that won't be easy is the top - the filament tube projects fairly high.

Will I need to cover the top for ABS though? I read somewhere that drafts are a killer for ABS, which perspex around the sides should prevent. I guess most of the heat from the heat bed will be lost out of the top, so will this be a problem for layer adhesion?


Posted 2020-02-07T21:08:28.057

Reputation: 119

I'm going to do the same and would suggest checking this link out for adding a top to Ender 5 It has a top and mitigates the X/Y movement issues.

– JCJ – 2020-03-11T12:10:16.667

Interesting, thanks for the link. I'm using a spare cupboard I've found. – marcellothearcane – 2020-03-11T12:22:22.927



Sides without a top will help.

Sides with a top will help more.

Do you need either? That depends. How warm, how dry, how drafty is your printing room?


Posted 2020-02-07T21:08:28.057

Reputation: 2 113

The room is not particularly warm, but it isn't damp or drafty either. It's a box room. – marcellothearcane – 2020-02-08T04:56:28.897


From experience I can tell you that boxing it up completely is not always a good thing to do. I have covered the front and top of an Ultimaker 3E printer to find out after some printing time that the cold ends weren't getting enough cooling, so I ended up clogging the nozzle assembly, preventing finishing the print. If you need to box it up to create a higher enclosure temperature, you better be sure the electronics, steppers and nozzles (that are in the enclosure) are cooled properly or do not get too hot, or alternatively you need to regulate the enclosure temperature.


Posted 2020-02-07T21:08:28.057

Reputation: 25 570

1Okay that's interesting. I think I'll try boxing the sides first and see what that does. It is quite a cold room (not centrally heated so about 14-16 °C this time of year), but I can try setting the build plate to 100 °C. – marcellothearcane – 2020-02-08T05:00:03.530


If ambient temp gets under 70°F, layer adhesion becomes a real problem. I have found that enclosing the space and adding heat makes the printing more reliable.

This answer is based on a few years of solely printing ABS. I've got my printer on a tool cart and the spool holder is above on a post. The first time winter ruined a print, I threw a pallet covering plastic bag over all of it and put a small, low powered, forced air heater more or less pointing at the printing area. It wasn't air tight, but I made effort to close it up pretty well.

The current location of the 3D printer is on the bottom tier of the cart with a temperature controlled heater pointing at it. I opened up a large amazon box and set it against the cart, forming walls on 3 sides. There is poor sealing but the print quality stayed good.

Oh and obviously it is very dangerous and have burned down my workplace and home several times, so don't do it.

Chris K

Posted 2020-02-07T21:08:28.057

Reputation: 111

2I can't tell if you're saying that an enclosure is needed or not. Please clarify. And welcome. – Davo – 2020-02-12T14:12:28.110

If ambient temp gets under 70°F, layer adhesion becomes a real problem. I have found that enclosing the space and adding heat makes the printing more reliable. – Chris K – 2020-02-12T19:43:50.083

2You might want to edit that into your answer, as an opening summary. – Davo – 2020-02-12T19:56:01.817

What is your last sentence saying? I can't tell if you are being sarcastic – marcellothearcane – 2020-02-19T14:55:27.243

@marcellothearcane 3D printing communities across the internet are very much safety police now. I guess there is not any more common sense. Yes, much sarcasm. – Chris K – 2020-02-20T20:09:51.767