Enclosing the Ender 3 V2 Part 1: Removing the Electronics

A few days ago, I posted about putting my new Creality Ender 3 V2 into a Creality tent enclosure. In that post, I noted that at first, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to move the electronics out of the enclosure. After testing some prints using ABS, I determine I probably should move the electronics out. The inside of the enclosure got quite warm. I don’t want to take out my power supply or motherboard with heat when I could easily prevent that by moving the electronics.

This article will be the first in a series of posts about the process I’m going through to get the electronics moved out of the enclosure. Plus, I will be lining the inside of the enclosure with LED strips. The LED strips and my Raspberry Pi 4b will be powered utilizing the printer’s power supply. All of the above steps will be included in this series of posts. I did not follow any guide that currently exists out on the Internet. I wanted to see how easy this whole process would be with no guidance. Hopefully, this post will help anyone who wishes to do the same with their Ender 3 V2.

Remove the easy stuff first.

Starting, I removed the easy stuff. I recommend removing the following:

  • Unplug the power cord.
  • Unplug the USB cable going to the Raspberry Pi 4b.
  • Eject the MicroSD card.
  • Unplug the ribbon cable from the back of the display.
  • Remove the display from its holder.

I also removed the display mount from the printer. An easy way to take it off is to remove the profile cover in front of the holder. Then the three screws can be loosened, and the whole display holder will slide right out. I put the display holder to the side, as it might be handy when designing an external case for the electronics.

I removed the display holder for later use outside of the enclosure.

Remove the motherboard cover.

The motherboard cover is under the printer’s chassis. Four screws must be removed from the motherboard housing to gain access to the motherboard. The first screw is on top of the motherboard housing underneath the bed.

One screw on top of the motherboard housing must be removed.

The cover has three screws holding it in place on the 3d printer’s bottom side. The single screw towards the rear of the printer is larger than the other two.

Three screws hold the motherboard cover on the printer’s bottom side.

The fan from the cover will need to be disconnected. Note where it plugs into the motherboard. It is labeled K-FAN2 on the board.

Motherboard fan needs to be unplugged from the motherboard.

At this time, I cut all the cable ties from wiring hooked up to the motherboard. They will do nothing at this point but get in the way.

Disconnecting wiring from the motherboard

I started to do this with the screws holding the motherboard in place. That worked OK… until it didn’t. The connectors come from the factory with a glob of hot glue. Removing that hot glue from my other two printers in the past was easy. This time around, they seemed to use a bit more hot glue. It was much easier to remove those globs of hot glue with the motherboard removed from the case.

First, disconnect the ribbon cable. Once the hot glue is off, it comes off quite easily.

Then remove the four stepper motor connectors. The cables and motherboard headers are all labeled with which motor they pair with: E, X, Y, or Z.

Remove the ribbon cable and stepper motor cables.

It was at this point I realized taking the motherboard out will make this much more manageable. I’ve marked with the four screws are in the picture below.

Locations for the motherboard screws.

I then removed the rest of the wires with connectors. Here is the order I cleared off the motherboard.

  • Disconnect the connector with the red/yellow wires. This is labeled K-FAN1 on the motherboard and connects to the parts cooling fan.
  • Disconnect the connector with two white wires. This is labeled TH on the motherboard and connects to the hotend thermistor.
  • Disconnect the connector with two black wires. This is labeled TB on the motherboard and connects to the heated bed thermistor.
  • Disconnect the limit switch connectors. These are all two black wire connectors and are labeled for which limit switch to which they connect. The motherboard is also labeled for which limit switch it connects: X, Y, and Z..
Connectors to be removed from the motherboard.

Now it is time to disconnect wires from the terminal block. To make this easier, I labeled each wire from 1 to six. Then I removed the two input wires from the two-pin terminal block.

Here is what each of the wires is in the six-pin terminal block going from right to left as pictured below:

  • 1 & 2 from the right goes to the hot end heater cartridge.
  • 3 & 4 from the right goes to the heated bed heater cartridge.
  • 5 from the right is black and goes to the hotend fan.
  • 6 from the right is red and goes to the hotend fan.

The red and black cables in the two-in terminal block go to the power supply. The motherboard does have positive and negative marks.

Wires to be removed from the terminal blocks.
Putting labels on wiring can help. Also, writing down what each wire goes to helps a lot.

The motherboard is now free. I put the motherboard in an anti-static bag I had laying around and put it to the side with the display taken off earlier.

Motherboard is free for now.

Clear cables out of the motherboard case

To clear the cables out of the motherboard case, you will have to open the case’s top cover just enough to get those wires through.

  • First, move the bed all the way forwards.
  • Then remove the screw that is now uncovered.
  • With that screw gone, there is enough room to pull the cables out carefully.
  • Put the screw back in.
Screw that has to be removed to get cables out of the motherboard case. It goes right back in after the cables are pulled.

At this point, the motherboard case should be empty. I chose to remove the fan from the motherboard cover to use in my external case. The fan doesn’t do any good without the motherboard there.

The motherboard fan can be removed now. It no longer has a purpose inside the printer.

Now the motherboard cover can be put back on. These screws were taken out earlier, and the pictures of those can be found towards the beginning of this post. There is one screw under the heated bed and three under the printer.

Remove the power supply.

All that is left of this teardown is to remove the power supply! There are four screws under the printer that must be removed. Be careful when taking these off. Once the screws are gone, the power supply is no longer connected, but there are wires still going through the power supply housing going back to the printer.

Four screws to disconnect the power supply from the printer.

Now you’ll want to remove two screws from the bottom of the power supply housing and one from the top. See pictures below. Doing so will allow the power supply cover to be removed.

Two screws need to be removed from the side of the power supply housing.
One screw has to be removed from the power supply housing bottom.

The power supply cover is now off.

Cover removed from the power supply housing.

Now remove the four screws from the top of the power supply housing.

Remove the four screws from the top of the power supply housing.

The power supply is no longer connected to the power supply housing. But there is still wiring going from the power supply to the chassis for the power cord and power switch. I left those connected so I could use the power supply housing outside of the enclosure. Any stepper motor or end stop cables can be removed from the power supply housing at this time.

Printer cables are free from the power supply housing now.

I used the four screws to hook the power supply back up to the power supply housing. I had only taken the power supply out to free printer cabling. Since I plan to use the housing outside of the enclosure I wanted to put it back together so I wouldn’t lose screws.

I also put the four screws that connected the power supply housing to the printer back into the printer. Some day I may want to hook this back up how it was, and having those screws there will be handy.

Teardown Completed!

Teardown completed!

The teardown has now been completed. Technically there are still some electronics left on the printer. There are the stepper motors, end stops, thermistors, heater cartridges, and hotend fans. Those parts should withstand the heating better. The only concern for heat now is the stepper motor. But later on, when this all gets connected back up, I will be putting heatsinks on each of the stepper motors.

I have to admit this process took longer than I thought it would. The overdone hot glue on the motherboard slowed me down. I think it took longer to remove the motherboard connections than it took to do the rest of the process.

Song of the day: Eve of Destruction

OK, this Barry McGuire song is more political than anything. But after tearing the printer apart, I couldn’t help but think of this song.

Bonus Song: Eight Miles High

Since I’m choosing classic songs that don’t have to do with the post, here is an excellent cover of The Byrd’s Eight Miles High by Golden Earring.

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