With 3D printing on the rise, 3D printers have begun to flood the market. Though they all do the same thing, that is to 3D print, each one offers slightly different features that change the way the 3D printing is done.
Whether a novice to 3D printing or a pro looking for an upgrade, you should always do the right amount of research before spending a lot on one of these machines as they often cost a few hundred dollars.
With that in mind, today we are going to be reviewing the Ender 3 3D printer. We will cover everything from the design to how well it can 3D print objects. We have also induced all of the important specifications. Read on to learn all about the Ender 3 printer.
For both beginners and budget-conscious builders, the Creality Ender 3 Pro is a popular filament-based 3D printer. The device comes unassembled and is built on an open-source platform that allows for easy customization.
This printer is straightforward to operate because of its excellent support and consistent output quality. The Creality Ender 3 Pro is one of the greatest 3D printers you can buy, whether you're looking to buy your first 3D printer or want to start a fleet for production.
OUR TOP PICK
- Build Volume - 8.7 x 8.7 x 9.8 inches (220mm x 220mm x 250mm)
- Build Platform - Removable Flexible Textured Sheet
- Machine Footprint - 17.5 x 17 x 18 inches (44.5cm x 43.2cm x 45.7cm)
- Interface - 3.25" LCD w/ Dial Button
- Material - 1.75mm PLA, ABS, PETG
- Connectivity - microSD, USB
- Nozzle - .4mm
The Ender 3 is a 3D printer that uses FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling) technology and has a 0.4mm nozzle that can extrude 1.75mm plastic filaments.
For such a low-cost machine, it boasts a wide printing surface of 220 x 220 x 250mm, allowing you to make large objects if you have the patience to wait for them to finish.
The printer can be controlled by a PC through USB or G-code files stored on a microSD card, and the minimum layer height of 100 microns allows for some detailed prints.
Most 3D printers come fully constructed or as a kit, but the Ender 3 is somewhere in the middle, requiring you to do most of the building yourself but still providing you with some pre-assembled parts.
Pre-assembled components include the hot end and base. These are some of the most complicated parts of the machine, so it makes the build process easier for you with them being pre-assembled.
However, the frame must be finished, the PSU must be fitted, the Y-axis must be attached, and the electronics cabling must be finished.
The building instructions are broken down into 12 very simple phases and are illustrated on a huge color instruction page. If you're meticulous and prefer to double-check everything as you go, it could take up to two hours to build.
Once the build is complete, take a few minutes to double-check that everything is square and moving freely in all directions.
In the printer's toolset, there's a Hex key set, a few small spanners, a screwdriver, and even some modeling snips. There are no more tools required, and there are even some spare parts included in the box.
In addition to the tools and spares, an 8GB microSD card with documentation, software, demo files, and a microSD card to USB converter is included. Hardly any filament is included though, so you will have to make sure you have some ready if you want to start 3D printing straight away.
In terms of 3D printer designs, the Ender 3 is a reworking of the same concept that Creality pioneered with the earlier Ender models and the CR-10 series machines.
It departs from previous Prusa designs in that it only has one Z-axis helical shaft, relying instead on angled bearings to keep the horizontal support arm at a 90-degree angle to the vertical.
Many people are concerned that this solution would cause oscillations in the Z location of the X-axis as it moves away from the pivot point, though the rigidity of the frame will alleviate this so it should not be a problem for you.
The Ender 3 Pro comes with a microSD card that contains a user manual, a troubleshooting guide, multiple USB drivers, and a variety of pre-sliced models in.g code format. These pre-sliced models can be printed simply by inserting the microSD card into the printer and selecting a model.
When printing small models, the files are usually sliced with three perimeters at a layer height of.1mm, and the model is printed hollow with 12 solid layers on the bottom and top. Because an inside infill structure can help support any material overhangs on the inside of the sculpture, this is an interesting solution for printing small models, and you may worry that it will not be enough to support the structure.
However, Aside from some stringing that occurred during printing, the finished model exhibited a lot of surface detail and no serious faults. The print is also very easy to get off the surface of the printer thanks to the flexible magnetic construction plate. This also means that you will rarely find any defects on the bottom of your model from removing it from the printer.
There are two printer settings on the Ender 3, Creality Slicer and PrusaSlicer.
- Platform Adhesion - None
- Profile - Fast (0.2mm)
- Material - Common PLA
When testing this product we used Creality Slicer's default 'Fast' profile for the Ender 3 Pro to try out the printer and see how much detail it could output.
The model printed wonderfully, except for the infamous 'hull line,' which occurs when the printer switches from sparsely filled layers to solid layers.
The layers bonded uniformly, with only a few noticeable bumps on the outermost contour caused by the toolpath's start and stop locations. For a part printed without any software modifications, we were very satisfied with the overall quality of the piece.
- Extruder Temperature- 205 degrees Celsius (401 degrees Fahrenheit)
- Print Speed - 40mm/second
- Heated Bed Temp - 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit)
- Layer Height - 0.2 mm
- Infill Percentage - 20%
To do the test print, we used PrusaSlicer, another popular slicer tool that includes a native printer profile for the Ender 3 Pro.
This print had significant banding towards the top of the print and seems to lack some of the detail found in the Creality Slicer model, in addition to the hull line artifact.
This print fell short of our benchmark print expectations, and some software tuning (print speed, retraction settings, etc.) would probably be required to bring this part up to standard.
Printing similar designs using this setting on other 3D printers produced a much higher quality object than the Ender 3 did. This may be down to the low cost of this printer, which is one of the cheapest on the market.
This would mean that the company would have to cut corners or use lower quality materials in the design, which has had a big impact on the print quality of some items.
The filament is easy to load. Using the injection molded extruder, we were able to swiftly feed filament into the white Bowden tube.
When loading the filament, you won’t have to wait for the bed to reach printing temperature once the nozzle was heated because the 350 Watt Meanwell power supply heated both the nozzle and the bed to loading temperature in under two minutes.
After putting filament into the printer, you can level the bed with the provided triangular piece of paper and adjust the nozzle height with the thumbscrews at the four corners of the bed. This technique is quite simple and easy to do.
If you level the bed correctly, you'll get prints that hold nicely to the build platform and aren't twisted. If the piece of paper is jammed in too tightly, it will become pinned; if it is pressed in too loosely, it will move freely.
This can be difficult if the glass isn't perfectly flat on a flat glass bed, but the combination of aluminum bed and textured sheet make it straightforward to level quickly and correctly.
Pros And Cons
- Perfect for beginners - because of its ease of use and low cost
- Quality printing - even at a low cost it is still able to print relatively well
- Loud - this printer has a lot in it that’s loud, including its cooling fans and stepper motor. This can be quite annoying if you are printing in your room or around people
Is it Worth it?
By including Creality Slicer with the Ender 3 Pro, Creality has simplified the printer experience for first-time users who want to get their printer up and running without spending a lot of time experimenting with third-party software.
The Creality Slicer software is super easy to install and use with the Ender 3 Pro, given that most printers in this price range do not include first-party software.
The basic print settings are moved to the front of the interface, and the included "expert" mode lets you fine-tune settings as you get more familiar with the printer.
There are a few downsides of this printer, such as the noise it makes when printing that may be enough to keep you awake if you have it in your room. There is also the heating issue, as there is no enclosure to retain the heat in the printer.
This means that printing with a higher temperature material like Polycarbonate may be a bit more difficult.
But in general, this printer has a lot to offer you, especially if you are new to the world of 3D printing and just want to give it a go.