Top DIY 3D Printer Enclosure Heaters for 2023: Enhance Your Printing Environment

Top DIY 3D Printer Enclosure Heaters for 2023: Enhance Your Printing Environment

For someone just beginning to dabble with 3D printing, PLA is often the material of choice due to its user-friendly qualities, such as its low printing temperatures. While this makes it easy to print and excellent for larger prints that take longer to complete, it has significant downsides too; in particular, its lack of Flexibility and brittleness.  Therefore, many users opt for higher-temperature materials like PETG, ABS or nylon to benefit from enhanced mechanical properties that PLA can’t provide. 

However, working with materials like ABS and Polycarbonate can be tricky if you don’t have the right environment. These materials require consistently warm ambient temperatures in order to prevent quality issues such as warping or layer separation.  Even the slightest air draft can make a big difference in your print quality, pushing it from good to poor in an instant.  

Printer Enclosure Heaters

Using an enclosure is the number one recommended way of addressing issues related to temperature. Think of it as putting your printer in its own insulated container – this will keep all that heat generated when printing confined and prevents any drafty air from sneaking in. Unfortunately, enclosures may not provide enough protection for printers with large build volumes.

While using a 3D printer, it is not necessary to rely solely on the heat generated by the bed and nozzle; rather, an enclosure heater can be installed to warm the interior of the printer.  Enclosure heaters come in many different forms, ranging from complex space heater configurations to simpler infrared bulbs or halogen lamps. 

To ensure your printer operates efficiently and productively, consider the best heater for your needs. In this article, we’ll discuss specific heater types, including their benefits and disadvantages.  Regardless of which option you choose, your device will work optimally and produce quality results in no time.

Key Factors to Consider

As we make our way down the path of choosing the best enclosure heater for your needs, there are a few key factors that you should take into account. In the following paragraphs, we will discuss some of the factors that are considered to be the most significant.


First, It’s recommended to pick something with an ambient temperature of around 60 °C, but not every heater on the market is built for such extreme heat.  It’s also important to factor in the size difference between rooms and enclosures when looking at how powerful a heater should be; good insulation will keep enclosures warm with much less wattage than larger spaces would take. 


Second, It is important to consider the proper temperature threshold of your printer when deciding how to set up your enclosure. Not all maximum temperatures may be provided in the box itself, but as a general rule, it is wise to keep the enclosure’s ambient temperature below 80 degrees Celsius or within the manufacturer’s suggested specifications. This ensures that all elements, hardware and electronics included, will function without compromising their longevity and efficiency. 


Third, When selecting the perfect heater for your enclosure, remember to factor in how you can control the temperature it produces. Many heaters come with built-in mechanisms that automatically regulate their output. Such features are very beneficial and provide better temperature stability. However, if your desired model does not include such technology, you need to consider adding an external temperature controller to achieve precise thermal management. 


Fourth, If you’re replacing your printer’s heater, size does matter. Be sure to get one that can fit inside your existing enclosure. If it won’t quite fit, you can try using a tube or other insulative material to route the output directly into the enclosure. However, if you don’t currently have an enclosure or want something new, there are some great options out there for building enclosures specific to your printer. Take some time to look into what’s available and make an informed decision on which works best for you.


Lastly, When planning for an enclosure heater, safety should not be an afterthought. Since these heaters are encapsulated, it is easy to forget the potential of a fire and the dangers associated with enclosed environments. An automatic temperature shutoff system is your first line of defence against a heated catastrophe while having a fire extinguisher nearby will put you in great stead should disaster strike. 

Let’s move on to the heaters now.

PTC Space Heater

A positive temperature coefficient (PTC) space heater is a great choice for anyone looking to heat up their bedroom while on a budget. Unlike some larger heating sources, PTC space heaters are usually pretty inexpensive and can be found both online as well as in local department stores. 

With the versatile range of home space heaters available, you can easily find one that will produce enough heat to safely print high-temperature materials in an enclosure. However, it is important to keep in mind that many PTC space heaters don’t have temperature controllers. To be on the safe side, it is recommended to attach a thermistor to the heater so the device is better able to regulate and maintain the appropriate temperature within the enclosure. 

These heaters provide a great solution to issues with cold prints, however, they can be slightly tricky to set up. The process of setting them up is fairly simple and usually involves just plugging in the power cable into a wall outlet; yet before you make the purchase, it is important to check the heater’s dimensions as PTC heaters tend to be large and may not fit into traditional printer enclosures. This can sometimes require routing the hot air out through insulated tubes instead, as nobody wants their entire room heated. 

  • Price: ~$50
  • Temperature controller required: Yes
  • Assembly: Easy

All-In-One IncuKit Mini

The IncuKit Mini from Incubator Warehouse is sleek and efficient with its all-in-one design. Its small-footprint fan heater is enhanced by the added features of a built-in thermostat and temperature controller to keep things in perfect balance. Despite its stripped-down look, with no covering for the printed circuit boards (PCBs), this item is anything but basic – rather it’s quite sophisticated. 

It can quickly and efficiently heat containers to temperatures over 37°C (over 100°F), enabling filaments to work better and makers to get the most out of their 3D printers. The printer itself will also produce some heat but with this extra boost, it should help create better results. 

Installing this heater is simple. Try to put the fan away from your printer’s build space. This reduces any interference that could potentially impact the printing process. Moreover, you can power this heater quickly with any regular wall outlet, and controlling it is as simple as clicking a few buttons.

  • Price: ~$65
  • Temperature controller required: No (integrated)
  • Assembly: Easy

Car Heater

Car heaters are another excellent choice for those looking for a powerful yet small-sized heater to fit in their 3D printer enclosure. Not only do car heaters provide the same PTC heating option as larger space heaters, but they also generally come with a radiator to help you regulate air temperature. Reviews suggest that car heaters are great at bringing the perfect printing temperature, no matter what materials you prefer to work with – making them perfect for those seeking a convenient and affordable way to get that higher-temperature printing experience. 

Typically these devices did not come with an adjustable temperature controller, however, they can be easily added on. In terms of powering up the heater in your enclosure, it is possible to do this by attaching it directly to your mainboard if desired (that is, provided it is compatible) or alternatively via an adapter that converts the power requirements for use in normal wall sockets. 

  • Price: ~$30
  • Temperature controller required: Yes
  • Assembly: Medium

Infrared Bulb

An infrared bulb is a great heating option for enclosures, as it is effective at emitting infrared radiation to make heat with minimal electricity usage. The absence of fans also means that air drafts won’t be a problem, which can be extremely beneficial during printing. For anyone looking for an energy-efficient way to create warmth in small spaces, an IR bulb should do the trick. Using this type of light bulb allows you to keep your prints and other important items warm regardless of room temperature.

This type of heater typically produces more heat the longer it’s left on, so it can be hard to pinpoint a maximum temperature setting. To combat this issue, one should ensure that the heater is powered up before every printing job. As for powering the device itself, using directly plugging into the printer itself could be a tricky endeavour – using an external compatible lamp might be your easiest option then. In this case, make sure to properly place the bulb in such a way that ensures that heat stays concentrated around your printer rather than dispersing away from it.

  • Price: ~$10
  • Temperature controller required: Yes
  • Assembly: Medium-hard

Halogen Lamp

Halogen lamps are an efficient and economical way to provide heat and light. They work by sending an electric current through a tungsten wire strand, which produces both heat and light. While they give off less heat than traditional incandescent bulbs, halogen lamps are still very effective in generating warmth and can be used in place of infrared lamps to provide a comfortable heating option. 

 Halogen lamps offer distinct advantages for 3D printing. Like IR bulbs, halogen lamps do not require the flow of air to generate heat, meaning less disruption to your print job! When shopping for these lamps, it’s essential to look at wattage; a higher wattage usually generates more heat and power, making your prints come out crisper and cleaner. To get the most out of your halogen lamp purchase, be sure to use a compatible lamp with it and place the bulb (at least) inside your printer’s casing. This will ensure that all of the generated heat is directed towards your 3D Printed object with no loss.

  • Price: ~$1 per light ($10 for a ten-pack)
  • Temperature controller required: Yes
  • Assembly: Medium-hard

Building Your Own 3D Printer Enclosure Heater: A DIY Guide

DIY enclosure heater is an ingenious device that has already been tested and proven to work effectively. It provides a great way to contain heat, allowing your enclosure to reach up to 50 °C reliably. Not only is this the ideal temperature for printing ABS materials, but it’s also efficient for melting plenty of other types of plastic as well. 

Making a custom heater for your enclosure just got a lot easier. With the helpful post from the maker on Hackaday, you are now able to build your own DIY enclosure heater with just a few simple parts including a 500-W 120-V heating component, 100-K thermistor, and a 24-V fan. Even though no assembly instructions were provided, it should be relatively straightforward given that it’s essentially a heater stacked on top of a fan with no real frame. 

Also, by connecting a thermistor to your printer’s mainboard, an open-source device with PID (proportional integral derivative) algorithm can enable the successful monitoring and control of temperatures. Alternatively, if your printer’s mainboard isn’t open-source or the ports don’t support extra heaters and thermistors, you should consider using an external temperature controller that actually plugs into a wall outlet to maintain accurate heating levels.

  • Price: ~$80
  • Temperature controller required: Yes
  • Assembly: Medium
Ganesh Divte

I am Ganesh Divte. I work as a Quality Assurance Engineer at Dhruvtara WireTech PVT LTD. I have experience in SLS, DMSL, FDM, and SLA additive manufacturing processes. I am very enthusiastic about additive manufacturing and its potential to change the way we manufacture products. I believe that Additive Manufacturing has the potential to revolutionize the manufacturing industry and make it more efficient and sustainable.

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