Smart Hot Box

So a couple years ago, I was worried that my GlowForge (GF) laser cutter would get dangerously cold in the garage as we were heading into winter and the garage was poorly insulated. I ended up using the GF to make custom angle brackets to hold scrap wood together for a frame, then wrapped the frame in thermally reflective mylar, and “smartifyed” it with SmartThings (temp sensor + on/off switch). I wrote the whole thing up a while ago if you want to know more (story continues below):

Since then, we’ve upgraded from a home office + garage to 2,300 sq-ft of industrial space with a whole bunch of new pieces of equipment. One of the things we use heavily is a small print farm consisting of six dual-extrusion MakerGear printers. The problem is that the printers are open-air and we end up (1) wasting a ton of heat/electricity with the build plates and (2) lose consistency in the part quality. I took an IR photo of the build plate and you can see internal geometry & build plate radiating away:


Fortunately, with our handy GF + SmartThings, this is a solvable problem! I present to you, our GF-made SmartThings temperature control box:

The principle of operation is essentially the same as the hot box I made in the garage, but this is a far better version. Credit where credit’s due – Shawn, one of the engineers on staff did all the work here. I just suggested the idea and showed him the photos from the garage version. If you stare at the picture, you might notice there’s lots of nuts and bolts – that’s mainly because we were limited on the size of acrylic sheets we had available, so it got Frankensteined together (I personally like the industrial look). The fan on top is connected to a smart switch off-screen, which is then controlled by a SmartThings app:

And of course, the proof is in the pudding. Here’s an IR photo taken after the the box was operational:


The heat is well-contained, which will help keep our electricity bills under control and allow us to get better print quality as we head into the winter. The full write-up is on the company’s blog here:

Last thought for the readers who made it this far. I’ve done a number of home and work projects with SmartThings over the years but rarely have time to write the details up. For example, I think the Smart Shoe Cabinet and Data Mining were the two that I shared in this community (linked below for context). Nevertheless, SmartThings has definitely changed the way we live. My son, who will soon be 5, has lived his entire life in a “smart home” and barely uses wall on/off switches. Pretty much everything is voice or motion controlled and that’s the only life he’s ever known. I’m looking forward to the day he goes off into the “real world” and discovers he’s responsible for turning off the lights when he leaves a room! :slight_smile: Cheers to you all!

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