As I was installing the new 3D printed feet on the MakerBot Replicator, the small hex-key included for service to the extruder slid to one corner of the printer’s base as I had left it resting below the build plate. The Makerbot’s plywood frame includes small triangular holes in the four corners of the baseplate for ventilation and cooling of the electronics below, and the small tool promptly fell down out of sight into the printer’s under-parts.
After minor disassembly of the electronics cover to recover the tool, I decided to find out if any other users had addressed this problem. I found several designs for 3D printable covers that were pre-mitered to fit into the corners and cover the holes while leaving room for the wiring to pass unimpeded.
I finally decided on the Fan Grill for Replicator design, as it allows air to pass through its hexagonal grid structure for proper ventilation while protecting against tools and other small objects that might fall into the protected electronics bay.
The compound mitering required to allow the grill to fit easily into the corner of a box would have taken some time and care with traditional manufacturing techniques, but the 3D printed version was ready to install as soon as it was removed from the build plate. I attached each using generic superglue left over from Pinewood derby vehicle construction.
Now, the MakerBot has four of these grill plates protecting its corners from small items that could foul or ruin the electronics. Another great self-fabricated improvement for the 3D printer!