Enclosing the Ender 3 V2 part 4: Installing the new electronics case

*** Updated 4/4/21 to add link to case STL.

Enclosing my new Ender 3 V2 in the Creality tent continues. During the last post, I moved all electronics to outside the enclosure and got it all hooked up temporarily. Well, temporarily for a few days of printing while I fought Fusion 360 over designing a new case for the electronics. This post will briefly go through the steps I took to put the electronics into my new case, and getting power ran to the Raspberry Pi and LED strip.

Fighting with Fusion 360

First, let me say that I love designing things in Fusion 360. Second, let me say that I hate designing in Fusion 360. Fusion 360 is an excellent program for parametric design. That is essential for engineering a case. But, I’m still learning to use constraints, so doing things can take much longer than they would with an experienced Fusion 360 veteran.

Below is a screenshot of version 7 of the case I designed. Luckily I only had to print two of them, so not much filament was wasted trying to get a workable case. There are still a few changes I plan to make. Most notably, I need to move the current location for the fan and add a second fan. Plus, I need to change the mount for my Pi buck converter, as I decided at the last minute to adjust to style. Plus, I would like to bevel the switches at an angle. Overall, this design is the size I wanted and gives me plenty of room to work with wiring.

Fusion 360 design for my case.

It will probably be a few weeks at least before I try designing a change. So, for now, this design will have to work. Future revisions of this case should go much quicker now that I understand the constraints that were slowing me down on this attempt.

The STL can be downloaded from Thangs. When/if I eventually update the design I will also upload that to Thangs.com

Connecting up the power

I planned to have the printer, a Raspberry Pi 4B, and an LED strip powered by the power supply. Of course, all three of these items have different voltage requirements. The power supply has three DC outputs. I used an output for each of the three devices as follows:

  • 3D printer. The power running to the 3D printer’s motherboard will continue as it has before. The only addition is a rocker switch on the positive lead. This will allow me to shut off the printer without worrying about shutting down the Raspberry Pi.
  • Raspberry Pi 4B. The power leads coming from the power supply for the Raspberry Pi are going into a buck converter. This buck converter has a USB-C output carrying 5.1 volts DC. Initially, I planned to use a different buck converter, but then I remembered the pain it is to find and cut up a good USB-C cable. The positive lead from the power supply goes through a rocker switch before entering the buck converter.
  • LED strip. The power going to the LED strip is going to a standard LM2596 DC-DC buck converter. Initially, I had a more robust buck converter planned, but I also reduced to this buck converter when I downsized my LED strip plan. The positive lead from the power supply is also going through a rocker switch. Before hooking up the LEDs, I powered up the buck converter and set the output to 12 volts DC.

Below is a look at the power supply with all three devices hooked up. I used some wire management cover I bought at the local hardware store to make it more presentable. Plus, I used wire connectors and 14 AWG wire to make the jumpers going to the case.

The 3D printer, Raspberry Pi 4B, and LED strip are all hooked up separately to the power supply.

I then ran the wires to the rocker switches, motherboard, and buck converters. At this point, I powered up the 3D printer, LEDs, and Raspberry Pi to ensure my wiring was OK. The power lights turned on, and there was no smoke, so I was pleased. I also plugged in the case fan. My next version of this case will have two fans. But for now, one fan is sufficient. The only electronic device in the case not secured down is the buck converter for the Raspberry Pi. But in the next revision, I will have mounting points for that as well.

Power ran throughout the case. Rocker switches are connected in series with the motherboard and the two buck converters.

Running the rest of the wiring into the case.

Running the remaining wiring into the case was fairly straight forward. I already had the wiring hooked up on the motherboard before mounting it in this case. I had systematically hooked up every wire back up to where it was before. The below picture shows the wiring going into the case.

All wiring is connected inside the case.

I still have some wire management and other finishing touches to do. But I wanted to test the printer for a couple of days before making the current setup more permanent. I was quite pleased with how much room I gave myself in this case.

Closing the case up and testing the printer

I put the lid on the case after making sure none of the wiring was close to the buck converter (those things can run hot). I also added labels to the rocker switches at this time.

The longer display ribbon cable I ordered had come in and was too short. The way it was listed on Amazon made it sound like there were two long cables, but instead, the order had two ribbon cables the exact size as what is currently installed. So, I have another one on the way and should be here today or tomorrow. I’m amazed at how quickly Amazon can still get most things to me during the holiday season.

My first print was a temp tower. I used Octopi to do the print. That way, both the printer and Raspberry Pi were being tested at the same time. The display shown below will be mounted in a better location once I get the new ribbon cable.

Running a test print after swapping cases and running power all over.

I suppose the best way to show the printer works after moving to the new case is to show a time-lapse from Octoprint. Here is a temp tower I just printed to test a roll of Duramic Grey PETG. The temp tower came out great. I noticed that my temp has to come down about five degrees from what I had to print PETG on this printer before the enclosure. I’ll test more to see if it is just this particular roll of PETG or if that will be true overall.

Temp tower being printed to test the printer still functions correctly.

Final steps up next

At this point, I wanted to run the printer a couple of days before doing any finalizing of the current setup. I am coming into my busy season at work, so I know it could be weeks before I get around to putting a new case together. That means I need to know now if this setup won’t work for some reason.

My next post about the enclosure will finish off this series of posts. I will highlight the finish steps taken to control temperature and manage cabling. Cable management seems to always an issue with Creality printers!

Song of the day: Electric Avenue

I seem to be stuck in the 80s for the past few posts. I guess I’ll let Eddy Grant keep me there. Running wiring is just like running traffic, right? Like an electric avenue…

Bonus Song: Funkytown

And to where does Electric Avenue lead? Well, I know where the Shrek version probably arrives.

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