As a 3D printing enthusiast, I have done an extensive research to find the best and most affordable 3D printer on the market, and I am excited to share my personal experience with the Creality Ender 3.
In this blog post, I will guide you through the unboxing and assembly process of the Creality Ender 3, and provide my honest opinion on its performance and features. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned 3D printing expert, this post will give you valuable insights into the capabilities of the Ender 3 and help you decide if it is the right 3D printer for your needs.
So, sit back and relax as we dive into the world of 3D printing with the Creality Ender 3 – a powerful and affordable 3D printer that offers exceptional quality and performance.
Unboxing the Ender 3.
I was excited to get my hands on the Creality Ender 3, and after searching for an affordable option, I ordered mine from Amazon India for ₹12,500 (around $162 US). It’s currently one of the most budget-friendly 3D printers available in the market, and you can still get it for a good price during sales.
When the printer arrived after just four days, I was a bit disappointed with the packaging. It didn’t match the expectations set by the unboxing videos I had watched on Youtube. But, that didn’t dampen my spirits, and I was eager to dive into the assembly and start printing.
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What I received was a box by WOL3D. Nonetheless, after unboxing I did get the following:
Upon opening the box, I found everything necessary to assemble the Ender 3, along with a detailed manual. While the manual was helpful, I found the video instructions to be more precise and easier to follow.
To my pleasant surprise, I also discovered an SD card reader and an 8GB SD card inside the package, which included a detailed assembly video. Although I found out about this resource towards the end of my own assembly process, I want to make sure you’re aware of it from the start!
Assembling the Ender 3.
I don’t want to dwell on assembly details that you can easily find in the manual or online videos. Instead, I’d like to share my personal experience and insights, hoping you can learn from them.
I must admit that I needed a friend’s help to assemble it, and it wasn’t as effortless as some may suggest, especially for beginners. However, with some assistance, the process became smoother, and now I can set it up by myself in under an hour.
We spent close to 2 hours assembling it and encountered a few issues along the way. Here’s how you can avoid them:
- Ensuring that the two vertical bars are straight is crucial for proper assembly. These extrusions must be positioned at a 90-degree angle to ensure that the power supply fits perfectly. However, during the initial assembly, we encountered a small issue as the extrusion on the right was slightly tilted, causing a misfit of the power supply. After some adjustments, we managed to align it correctly, and everything fell into place.
- Ensuring that the X-axis is set correctly is very crucial for optimal performance. However, I found this step to be the most time-consuming and confusing. Based on my experience, I recommend referring to videos rather than manuals to get a better understanding of this process.
- Once everything was assembled, I carefully inspected the printer to ensure that all zip ties were removed and that all components were moving smoothly. During this inspection, I discovered two zip ties that were holding the bed in place. Luckily, I spotted this before powering on the printer. It’s important to make sure that all zip ties are removed before using the printer to avoid any potential damage.
After ensuring everything was properly assembled, I moved on to making the connections, which turned out to be straightforward. The connections were labelled, and each wire was marked with a matching tag, making it easy to plug everything in. With the connections in place, the printer was ready to go.
My First 3D Print.
After completing the assembly, the final step is to plug in the cord and turn on the power switch on the SMPS. The printer will begin to boot up, which takes approximately one minute. Once it’s up and running, the display will show all the essential information you need to start using the printer.
The printer’s display provides important information such as the temperature of the hotend and bed, as well as the X, Y, and Z coordinates. Additionally, it shows a timeline of the print’s progress, displaying how much of the print has been completed and how much time it has taken so far. At the bottom of the screen, a crucial message “Ender-3 is ready” appears, letting you know that everything is set up and ready to go. In case you don’t see this message on the first boot, simply try restarting the printer, as I encountered a similar issue that was resolved by doing so.
To test the 3D printer, I chose to print a calibration cube created by CHEP. This 20x20x20 mm cube is perfect for identifying any adjustments needed in the 3D printer. For slicing the STL file, I opted for Ultimaker Cura, a widely-used slicer recommended by many tutorial videos I watched.
First Failed Print.
Although the print was decent for a beginner, it lacked accuracy. Upon measuring the cube with callipers, I noticed that the Z-axis was off by approximately 2mm. I spent almost a day troubleshooting the issue and eventually determined that the bed was warped in the middle. As a result, the nozzle was too close to the bed, causing an “Elephant’s foot” effect at the base of the print.
So, it became clear that the bed was warped in the centre, and I tried everything in my power to fix it, but unfortunately, nothing seemed to work. After doing some thorough online research, I found two potential solutions to the problem.
- Getting a BL touch module.
- Getting a better print bed (Magnetic or Glass).
The second option was my choice as it was simple, cost-effective and required minimal effort. I opted for an official magnetic bed made specifically for the Creality Ender 3. Here are the results:
After replacing the bed and acquiring a new e-PLA roll, I printed a calibration cube which turned out to be highly precise, except for a minor bulge at the bottom which was due to my nozzle being too close to the bed. Additionally, I want to acknowledge the assistance I received from a Facebook group, which was extremely helpful in overcoming the challenges I faced during the setup and improving the quality of my prints.
Final Review of Creality Ender 3.
Having used the Ender 3 for more than a year now, I think it’s time to share my experience with it. I have compiled a list of the advantages and disadvantages of this 3D printer.
- As a beginner with no prior experience with 3D printing, I found the setup of the Ender 3 printer to be fairly easy.
- The print quality of the Ender 3 is exceptional. I have compared the prints I made with the ones I ordered from printing factories, and it was difficult to distinguish between them.
- The vast and active Ender 3 community makes it effortless for beginners to get involved in the hobby, as they are always ready to offer assistance.
- I have explored various 3D-printed modifications that one can make to the Ender 3, and I have tested some of them. The best part is that these modifications are relatively inexpensive, which allows for continual improvement of the printer.
- The primary drawback of the Ender 3 is its print bed. The default bed has issues with warping, adhesion, and an uneven texture. To address this, I highly recommend getting a better print bed, such as a glass or magnetic bed, as one of your first upgrades.
- The printer’s noise was also a minor issue that bothered me. While the stepper motors were quiet and efficient, the cooling fans were loud. Although it wasn’t a significant problem during the day, it was quite noticeable at night, like the sound of a jet engine.
- This printer may not be the best option for those who are looking for a plug-and-play experience without any prior experience in assembling kits or working on DIY projects. Assembling the printer can be a time-consuming and tedious process, making it more suitable for tinkerers and makers.
That concludes my review of the Creality Ender 3. This article is a must-read for beginners looking to get into 3D printing. I share my experience with the Creality Ender 3, my first 3D printer, discussing its pros and cons, my struggles with setting it up, and the amazing prints I was able to achieve.
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