Our review is dedicated to the Ender 3 3D printer assembly kit from the Chinese brand Creality3D.
This model was released back in the summer of 2018, and in a matter of months it gained popularity among users around the world as a very budget and high-quality solution for amateur 3D printing.
Since the launch of the Ender 3 series on the market, subsequent printers have undergone an upgrade, the manufacturer has made certain improvements. An interesting feature of the printer – Creality3D made the Ender 3 fully open source.
Therefore, you should not be sorry if you did not have time to buy first-tier printers, now the Ender 3 model is much more perfect and more reliable.
There are 3 models in the Ender 3 series:
- Ender-3 Build Kit
- Ender-3 Pro Build Kit
The main differences between the Ender-3 Pro and the usual “three-wheel” are the presence of a magnetic sticker for better adhesion and a more powerful Meanwell power supply.
- The Ender-3S is a pre-assembled printer.
It corresponds to the Pro model in terms of characteristics, but comes pre-assembled. Suitable for users who do not want to spend time assembling the printer or are not entirely confident in their abilities.
In this review, we will consider the most budgetary and simplest model, or rather a set for assembly, the Ender 3.
Packaging and equipment
The Ender 3 comes in a compact box. All components are fixed with a foam seal, which ensures good safety during transportation.
The package is as follows:
In addition to printer parts, the kit also includes:
- set of hexagons
- small roll of PLA plastic (5 m.)
- nozzle cleaning wire
- spatula, nippers and screwdriver
- 8GB SD card and USB SD card adapter
- replaceable nozzle
- set of hardware and set of cable ties
- spare pneumatic fitting
- instructions in Russian in e-form (for assembly and quick start)
- warranty card
Among other things, the included SD card contains the firmware and test models to run the first print.
The package bundle was a pleasant surprise, such an abundance is not always found in more expensive models, there is even a replaceable nozzle, an adapter for an SD card and a spare fitting.
|Printing technology||FDM / FFF|
|Thread diameter||1.75 mm|
|Material type||ABS, PLA, others|
|Plot area size||235x235x250 mm|
|Number of extruders (printheads)||one|
|Site heating temperature||Max. 110 ℃|
|Layer thickness||0.1-0.4 mm|
|Nozzle diameter (mm)||0,4|
|Extruder operating temperature||Max. 255 ℃|
|Extruder travel speed||Max. 180 mm / s|
|Software||Repetier / CURA / Simplify 3D|
|OS||Linux, Mac OSX, Vista, Windows 7,10 XP|
|Supported file formats||STL, OBJ, G-code|
|power usage||115 / 230V, 50 / 60Hz, DC24V, 270W, 15A|
|Weight (without packaging)||6.6 kg|
|Printing error||± 0.1mm|
|Dimensions (without packaging)||410x420x465 mm|
|Country of Origin||China|
The Ender 3 prints ABS, PLA, TPU, PETG and other plastics, but given the open case for ABS printing, it is better to build something like a cap on the printer. It can also be a problem when printing with soft plastics due to the bowden feed. But there are some semi-rigid plastics (like the Ninja Cheetah) that won’t even have a problem with a bowden pitch.
Assembling the printer
For those new to 3D printing, assembling a printer may not be a trivial task. It took us about 50 minutes to assemble and calibrate. The user who does this for the first time will need about 1.5-2 hours.
The lower part of the frame with the table is supplied already assembled, which greatly simplifies the task. You also don’t have to assemble the extruder and the X-axis motor.
The printer comes with an electronic version of the Russian-language assembly instructions, consisting of 12 steps. Everything is described there in sufficient detail and clearly, but still there are several points that need additional explanations, we will talk about them below.
- The first step is to assemble the printer frame: vertical profiles, a power supply and a display are attached to the bottom.
Everything is simple here, further assembly steps will be somewhat more complicated.
- The next step is to install the stop and Z-axis motor.
It is very important here to set the Z-stop 32 mm from the base. Placing lower or higher can damage further calibration.
The Z-axis motor needs to be adjusted in height for normal movement of the profile on which the extruder is mounted. A standard plastic card is ideal for these purposes:
- Next, we proceed to the assembly of the X axis. The extruder motor, the extruder itself on rollers, the belt, the belt tensioner and the idler pulley are attached to the aluminum profile. Some users in their reviews noted that the X-axis belt was in fact a little longer and had to arrange dances with a tambourine to achieve the desired tension. Fortunately, we did not have such a problem, maybe it was a shortage of the first batch of printers.
- And there is little left to do …
Secure the top profile.
- Install the spool holder, connect all tubing and electronics and … the printer is completely assembled.
Another important point: although the table and the bottom frame are assembled at the factory, it is better to tighten the fastener screws for high-quality printing. In any case, you should definitely check them before starting the printer.
The platform is calibrated using giant nuts placed at each corner of the print bed. Due to their large size, they are easy to rotate, making calibration very easy (as much as possible).
Calibration is performed in a standard way at the four extreme points of the table using a sheet of paper folded in half.
If in doubt that the calibration was successful, it is best to repeat the procedure until you achieve the desired result.
Design and construction features
The assembled printer is simple and concise. The design is standard for budget FDM printers – “spongy” kinematics with an open body. Trapezoidal screws are installed along the Z axis. All electrics are located inside the lower frame.
The Ender 3 is equipped with an omnivorous MK10 extruder with a bowden feed, which means that printing with soft plastics will be problematic, but such a feed, in theory, will allow you to develop a high printing speed without losing quality.
The small display is mounted directly on the base of the printer, in contrast to the newer and more expensive model Creality3D CR-10, where the control unit comes separately with the screen. On the one hand, this is a plus, especially if you plan to periodically move the printer from one place to another. On the other hand, if you close the printer with a housing, then the electronics will also be under it and additional heating cannot be avoided.
The display is the simplest and displays basic information such as the set and current temperatures of the nozzle and table, printing time, progress bar, etc. It is controlled using a standard rotary knob.
The Ender 3’s printing table has a size of 235×235 mm and its surface resembles good old Wanhao. In principle, there were no problems with adhesion, sometimes even additional efforts were required to remove the model from the platform. The Ender 3 Pro comes with a more comfortable magnetic sticker that improves adhesion and makes removal easier.
Creality3D has its own slicer, which looks like a slightly modernized CURA. Installation files are supplied with the printer, and advanced users can download software and firmware from the manufacturer’s website.
Now let’s move on to our Ender-3 print results. We used several different types of plastic, and the printer coped with all the tasks with dignity. There was one unsuccessful model with uneven layers, but after adjusting the print settings, there were no more quality problems.
This is a waiting from the gray PLA Esun (although the trunk suffered a slight fiasco and was not printed a little to the end):
The little skull also worked well:
As it turns out, the printer does a good job with both small objects and larger models.
Next, we tried PLA-txt 8.2 Magic from North Bridge. It turned out very well.
Polimaker’s Esilk PLA pig is not the best, but quite worthy for such a budget printer.
In conclusion, we can say that the Ender 3 3D printer proved to be very worthy in terms of printing results, especially for its money. The printed models turned out to be no worse than those created on the most expensive printers. The reliability of the design and the quality of the printer parts also pleasantly surprised us, we expected that it would be a flimsy device with cheaper components.
True, there is one “but” – “right out of the box” the printer will not work, it requires some enthusiasm, understanding of the process and skills in working with technology.
The Ender 3 can be recommended to people who already have experience in 3D printing, or, well, beginners and enthusiasts. When assembling the Ender 3, you will have to spend time solving some problems and taking into account certain nuances. If you don’t really want to spend time on this, then it is better to buy an already assembled Ender-3S printer.
The scope of the printer is very wide: from use as a home toy and assistant, to artistic modeling and even printing prototypes of parts and functional elements.
For its price and in the right hands – an excellent choice!