After a couple of posts appeared online about problems printing PLA inside an enclosure, we were contacted by a customer asking about temperature-related clogging problems.
If your experience with 3D printing is with a Prusa or Ender, then putting a box around it may seem unnatural, but expensive printers (some with the same E3D hot ends as the Prusa) are enclosed and often run at high temperatures with the NEMA steppers right in the hottest part of the enclosure with no issues. High-end printers also aren't known for clogs when printing PLA.
Our enclosures are designed to passively regulate temperature using a fan to expel VOCs and keep the interior the correct temperature. Using standard PLA temps of 215C hot end and a 50C bed, the interior temperature of the enclosure is no more than 33C after hours of printing. We've pushed the bed temps to 60C as well, and that only raises the temp to 34 or so.
For obvious reasons, we recommend always printing PLA with the fan on, and printing ABS with the fan off. Here are our tested interior temperatures for our Prusa MK3 enclosure in a 72F room:
The way it works is the fan on the outside pulls cool air from the outside through the enclosure, keeping the temperature inside the enclosure in the right range, AND pulling VOCS through the back. If you care about indoor air quality, you can then vent to the outside or filter the VOCs through our filter or any 3rd party air filter.
As far as clogs go, we've seen no association between PLA printing clogs and being enclosed because the design of the enclosure keeps the interior temperature within the safe range. All 3D printers clog sometimes, so we're not saying your printer would never clog inside an enclosure, only that we haven't seen any PLA printing issues in our lab.
"But I put on an enclosure and the printer clogged"
Yeah, 3D printer clogs are a pain. As best we can determine, 3D printers just clog sometimes, with and without enclosures. But if you think you've got an enclosure-related clogging problem just measure the interior temperature, and contact us and we'll see what we can do.