MPCNC Enclosure Cooling

Recently I finished my enclosure for my MPCNC (photos at the bottom of the post) to deal with the dust flying all around my garage and to cut down the noise from the Dewalt 660 I’m using. Barring some incorrect measurements and bad cuts, it turned out pretty good and it’s doing it’s job phenomenally well. No more dust in my garage and I can comfortably use the machine with no hearing protection though I do still put in earbuds to have the music drown out the remaining higher frequencies.

However, and rather predictably, building an enclosure that is almost entirely air tight results in trapping all the heat inside and I’ve only made matters worse for myself by putting two massively overpowered 20W LED light bars in there… After only about 30-45 minutes of usage with the lights on, it gets uncomfortably warm inside and I’m starting to get concerned for the router.

My first plan of action is to replace the LED’s as they truly are overpowered for this enclosure so that will save me a significant amount of heat build up but for longer jobs, I suspect this won’t be enough. I feel like the “right” way of handling this kind of problem is to switch to a water cooled spindle which is definitely an option for me. My only concern there is finding one that is both of respectable quality and relatively affordable. I’ve seen posts and videos of the cheaper Chinese offerings as well as the head aches they bring so I’d prefer to stay away from them if possible.

So I’ve got a few questions:

  1. Is my concern for over heating the 660 here valid? Unless I’m missing something, I can’t find a spec sheet that gives safe operating temperatures for it.
  2. Is there anything I can do to cut down on heat without switching to water cooling?
  3. If water cooling is my only way out, does anyone have any recommendations for water cooled spindles they’ve used?

Thanks in advance!

MPCNC Specs
  • Table Dimensions:

    • 36 in. wide
    • 36 in. deep
    • 34.75 in. high
  • Machine Dimensions:

    • 35 in. wide
    • 35 in. deep
    • 6 in. high (top of leg)
    • 8.75 in. high (top of XY gantry)
  • Working Surface Dimensions:

    • 500 mm wide
    • 500 mm deep
    • 60 mm high
Photos of my MPCNC and its enclosure




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Are you collecting/removing the dust in any way, or just using the enclosure to contain it? I’d think having a vacuum/dust collector pulling air through the enclosure would be one way to mitigate temperature build-up. You’ll need to allow inbound air (vents/louvers/slats) equal to the air you suck out, carrying the dust with it.

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Ah that’s a good point. As of right now, it’s just for containing the dust and the next thing I was going to add was dust removal before being derailed by this heat issue.

I suppose if I build it correctly, a dust removal system could potentially kill two birds with one stone. Only problem with that is doing it in such a way as to keep the noise down. Any recommendations for a quieter shop vac?

I built my enclosure and used insulation board like you’ve done. My Primo is in an unheated space that takes on outdoor temps. I ran a longish job on a hot-ish day (low 90 degrees), and found the belts loose when I open up the enclosure. On close examination, the trucks had deformed a bit where the stepper motors rest on the cantilevered mounts. No issues with the router. So, you are probably okay with the router, but your plastic might have issues. I don’t remember if the vacuum was running at the time of “the melt,” but I doubt it. I’ve never done anything to address the situation. If the temps are above 70 degrees, I leave the front open and live with the noise.

I’ve got a dust collector in my shop. Not exactly quiet, but not the screamer that is the shop vac.

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For my motors, I’ve attached heatsinks with thermal pads and have fans blowing down on them which does a fantastic job of keeping them cool. They do still get warm to the touch but nowhere near the point where I’d be concerned about the PLA parts deforming/melting.

That said, if I don’t get the enclosures’ internal temps in check, things will definitely get melty at some point lol

I’d love to have a dust collector but that’s unfortunately not something I can do in my garage lol

I’ll do some digging on quieter shop vacs and see if there’s anything that fits the bill here though I suspect I won’t find much. Worst comes to worst, I’ll just add some fans where I don’t have that insulation with thicker air filters and deal with the (hopefully) slight increase in noise while I work on a dust removal system.

One of those horrible freight dust collectors. I had one, it’s much quieter than a shop vac. I did make the mistake of mounting the motor to a wall though. They vibrate quite a bit, so all the tools on the wall rattled.
Ahh. Kept reading, can’t do a dust collector.

Yeah in another year or two when I get a new place, a central dust collection system will definitely be the first thing I set up but for now, it’s just a pipe dream lol

As for my issue, it looks like I’ll be building an enclosure with a baffle for a shop vac. I came across this video by Samcraft (https://youtu.be/z0dzuZWAFbc) where he was able to cut his shop vac’s noise from about 80 db down to about 40 db which is crazy impressive. He was using the same smartphone app I was using to measure my machine (95 db without enclosure, 70 db with enclosure) so while it’s probably not at all a reliable measurement, I’m hoping those readings are somewhere in the ballpark of what they truly are.

As for letting air in, I still have to work through that. I’ve got enough space under my table to hold the dust collection system (whatever new shop vac I get and a cyclone separator + bucket) and the sides are recessed about 4 inches from the edge of the table so I’m thinking I can make an intake baffle of sorts and then, wire in 4 PC case fans to pull fresh air through into the enclosure. That way, the air has a clear path into the machine and the noise is obstructed as much as possible. I still have to model all this up and, if I can figure out how, maybe run some simulations to visualize the air flow and sound waves.

I know you say you don’t have room for a dust collector, but the smaller single stage dust collectors are the same size as a shop vac. They just turn a larger fan at lower RPMs for more of a droning sound than the shop vacs. The bags collapse for smaller storage. I’d take a look at one before completely ruling it out.

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^^^
This. The portable version is on wheels and not really suitable for central systems anyway, but it pulls a lot more air and is definitely less noisy than my shop vac. Significantly cheaper than the big collector, too.

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@niget2002 @turbomacncheese Oh I didn’t even consider the portable ones! As for the droning sound, that’s totally fine for me as it’s really the high frequency screeching of the router that annoys me the most lol

Any collectors you recommend? The ones I’m finding on Amazon are either $600+ which seems a bit excessive to me or are < $300 and have a good number of bad reviews. Or maybe I’m just expecting too much for too little, idk :laughing:

I don’t think there is a huge difference between them. I’ve got a HF and after 2 years the motor is starting to squeak a little on spindown.
Most of the poor reviews I saw seemed to be related to folks expecting a “real” dust collector than can run through tons of pipe or not understanding that you can’t reduce them down to 2 inches through a chip separator and expect any performance.
I will say the bags aren’t great, but after running for a while, i don’t see much dust on the light test.

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^ What he said. Most people expect the power of a big machine from the small package and that just won’t happen.

I’ve never personally owned a smaller one. I went straight to a highly modified big HF one. But I was considering a smaller single stage when I didn’t have my shop. When I was looking, I was going to get the HF one.

I have a thread somewhere on here about my shop with pictures of mine in it.


This was mine. Slightly modified.

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Here’s mine… Also slightly modified.

I have to own up to mine being more than slightly modified.

That’s a Wynn filter, and there’s a Thien baffle in the fiber drum that pops out when it’s time to empty the sawdust. .

That looks familiar.

I don’t have the filter. I just vent it outside. The chip separator collects most of the stuff.

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My shop’s in the basement, so a bit tougher to vent outside. And being in WI I don’t want to exhaust air I’ve already spent $$ to heat if I don’t have to. The laser engraver actually vents out through a whole-house air filter with a heat exchanger in it.

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Makes perfect sense. My shed is not heated.

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