Here we are with a new appointment for a new review, today we talk about the famous Creality Ender 3.
This printer was born on the technical assumptions that made Creality one of the most famous and appreciated brands of 3D printers.
The Creality in its drawings has made a substantial change, which we find in all its printers. This was to bring the sliding axis X to the front of the frame. This change allow to the X-axis more movement, which translated into utility allows to have larger printing plates with the same frame. Take for example an Anet A2 and printers of that size… They have the same size X and Y as a CR-10, although it has a double printing surface! (about 484 cm2 against the 961 cm2 of the CR-10).
This particular innovation, then obviously copied by all the other manufacturers, allowed Creality to create a 41 cm wide machine with a 23.5 cm wide plate. Practically a very strong compactness, without revising the designs or the shape, which remains the classic one.
Beyond this introduction Ender 3 is very loved for several reasons. I bought it, mounted it and would like to share my impressions with all of you in this review.
Ender 3: Let’s start with a few numbers
Even if it is not the pure numbers that give us the good or bad feelings it is right to mention them, even briefly.
- Printing area – 23,5 x 23,5 x 25 cm
- Printer size – 44 x 41 x 46,5 cm (See how compact it is?)
- Supported filaments – All except TPE, which requires direct extruder.
- Nozzle diameter – 0,4 mm
- Ports – USB and Micro-SD
- Maximum extruder temperature – 255° C
- Maximum printing bed temperature – 110° C
Ender 3: Installation
I have to be honest, after the experience Creality CR-10 I expected a printer fully mounted, maybe divided into 2. The fact that I found it up to 60% kind of threw me off guard. Not that the assembly is problematic, I simply took for granted, as usually, only to use the 4 screws.
To counterbalance this feeling, however, there is the wide range of tools that Creality provides for assembly. On second thought, the idea of not receiving it already mounted, makes me want to tweak immediately!
The equipment I mentioned includes:
- Spatula (useful to detach the prints from the plate, especially if you use a glass one)
- Mini flat screwdriver
- 2 wrench sizes 10/8 e 7
- Allen key set (they also have the tip of the long part as ball shape, so you can also use them not perpendicular to the screw!)
- SD card with USB adapter
- Wall charger adapter (American, German, French and other small Italian one)
- Pliers (perhaps one of the most useful things)
Having already all these tools, some (e.g. the screwdriver) not even used during the assembly, will save us a few euros/dollars. If you then join this to the already quite low cost of the printer we can say we are very lucky!
But let’s go back to assembly… The printer has already all the lower part previously mounted. We just have to mount everything that rises above the level of the plate. The operation for me lasted about 1 hour, but I made in hurry and might even last a little longer. One thing that puzzled me is that at the end of the assembly I noticed that I did not use all the screws present inside the box. They are stock screws, that are welcome, but I would prefer them to be classified as such.
The idea of finishing an assembly and having the doubt of not having put all the screws is not great.
I double-checked the manual and also given the amount of screws I convinced myself that they are in reserve, but it’s not a good feeling.
Ender 3: First impressions
Tighten the last screw and put on the suitable shelf just have to try it. The first consideration concerns the fact that the aluminium plate has an over-plate, made of porous and flexible material. Porous to increase adhesion, and flexible to facilitate detachment. In order not to dirty it (I do not want to mess up the printers) I immediately placed some scotch paper.
The frame is unmovable, does not give the slightest sign and even trying hard to move it remains very compact, great for any problems of Ghosting and Wobble. The extruder and the hotend are basically those of the CR-10. Good news because I have been able to test its goodness over the years. The Creality Ender 3 also has a thin radial layer.
Another great upgrade, which I’ve never seen around before, is the platter adjustment wheel. They’re great for two reasons. The fact that they are really big makes the movement light, but also precise!
The electronic compartment is placed under the plate, great as space-saving but you will have to be careful that the printing waste does not end up on the vent of the fan. Even the screen placed on the side is an excellent solution, although it has 2 problems. The first is the cable that connects the electronics to the screen, which is likely to hinder the movement of the plate. The second is definitely less serious, in particular the electronic screen board without a back cover.
Fortunately, the instant explosion in the sales of this printer produced a solid community that immediately created the required upgrades. You can download cable clips from HERE to prevent damage caused by the flat screen and HERE a cover for the electronic screen card.
Ender 3: First print
As a second print I chose a Benchy (read the reason in this article), famous test for printers that presents all the problem parts summarized. The keel has been printed perfectly, so we have proper ventilation, round circles, and trouble-free openings. Only the writing is not readable, due to the fact of a 0.2 mm print. But I can tell you that the layers, even with a consistent thickness were practically invisible! As print quality what can we say? Creality seems once again to have pulled out a real gem!
What I did not like
Let’s say that given the selling price and the quality of printing wanting to find defects means forcing. But I am a perfect little, and I would like to write what I no longer liked for the Creality, to be able to improve with feedback for a next model more than for users, who objectively find a printer unmatched compared to the price.
- I do not like the idea of having remaining screws, I would put the spare parts in a special bag.
The instructions are generally clear and narrow, but to help those who start would work to clarify them even more. Some obvious steps for those who know printers might not be obvious for newbies.
- I had to temporarily fix the monitor cable with cable ties, it would be easy to put the cable clips in the package, or even as G-code ready for printing in the SD card.
I don’t like the idea of having micro SD cards. Especially in this case the insertion is also quite uncomfortable. In my opinion, they should all comply with USB cards.
- In the era of color and touch I would have expected a more modern screen.
What I Liked
This list is longer than the previous one, despite having narrowed it down on purpose!
The rough, flexible and movable printing bed is a great idea! The prints adhere perfectly, it is easy to remove them and it is easy to clean the surface! Great idea!
The solidity of the aluminium frame should certainly be mentioned. To which is added the choice of V-profiles. These make more precise, smooth and silent the sliding of the wheels movement. We are not yet at a linear movement but it is the sliding on wheels that comes closest.
- The electronics disappears to be integrated into the frame, great choice saves space.
- Shooting function after power failure, very useful for long-lasting prints.
- Extruder, although plastic, and hotend are great.
- Integrated cable holder, usable thanks to the rigidity of the frame! Putting a cable holder like that on a fragile frame could lead to disastrous results. Not here!
- The plate adjustment wheel, precise and easy to move!
- The printing results.
Ender 3: The Pro version
The Ender 3 (HERE) is also sold in a PRO version. The difference between the two versions is summarized here:
- Shooting function after power failure, very useful for long-lasting prints.
- Moving bar of the 2×4 profile plate instead of 2×2, an upgrade? Maybe!
- Upper part of the plate is magnetic .
- More powerful power supply.
The Creality Ender 3 is an excellent printer, both for an expert and for someone who wants to jump into the 3D printing world. The 23 cm plate is little larger than the old-generation printers (20 x 20 cm), but does not reach 30 x 30 of the large-format printers. With a 23 x 23 plate you will be able to do almost anything, having a printer that can easily fit in most desks (it takes about the place of a laptop). Another plus is the huge community that improves it, ready to help you in case of problems and to provide many upgrades for free!
Beyond the style is a machine that works well, does it without the need for large adjustments and does it right away. The best way to start with 3D printing, or change your mind if you started with an Anet 8, or maybe other models, and thought it doesn’t fit you.
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