Today the Creality Ender-3 arrived. This was originally purchased as a potential frame to replace the ANet A8 acrylic frame. As of this weekend I have the printer formally known as my A8 working nicely again. The key word is again. If the Ender-3 does well the next time it starts demanding my attention may be it’s last one way or another. But this post is about the Ender-3, not my old printer.
The Ender-3 comes in at less than $200. For that you have only one Z axis motor and that does not include bed leveling. However, it does have a 24V heated bed which is a big plus.
As far as I am concerned the jury is still out on auto-bed leveling vs manual. They both have pros and cons so it depends on the printer and it is something you can add.
I’m not sure about only one Z motor but on the smaller format it doesn’t sound like it is an issue from what I’ve read. And again, if it is a problem I suspect it is possible to add a second motor.
While based on the Prusa i3 design it doesn’t use linear rails. This doesn’t seem bad to me since the majority of issues I had with my printer formally known as an A8 were related to the smooth rods and bearings. I am interested in seeing how rollers in a V-Track compare.
In addition to 24V on the heated bed there is textured coated PEI. I’ve read that you can mess with the bed leveling trying to remove a print but if so I’ll clamp a piece of glass on it. I’d rather have the coating than not.
To date I’ve put together three kits. The ANet A8, which arrived in November of 2017. It was my first and I found my background in electronics was called into play. The experience was a box of parts with some instructions and enough You-Tube videos to walk me through it. At least it got me started and I had become familiar with 3D printing using it. There was a short period of time it was stable but then it started demanding more and more of my attention. It got to where I was spending more time working to get the printer functional than I was printing.
When the Original Prusa MK3 kit that I ordered in January arrived in May I had a completely different kit experience. The documentation was very good and the quality of the kit top notch. Seeing how smoothly the X and Y axis operated focused my attention on detecting binding of any kind. Prior to seeing how smoothly the MK3 operated I didn’t know what I should expect.
Looking to see what different frames offered as well as getting a printer with a larger format I opted to purchase an FLSun Cube. There were some instructions but they were not even as good as the ANet instructions. I didn’t mind and took my time making sure the motion was smooth. It wasn’t! One of the Z axis rods had spots that were more than 8mm in diameter and the bearings were binding. One of the Y axis rods was so bent despite only being a drive shaft caused binding in the corner bearing. After working with customer service for a month I received parts. The Z axis rod was slightly bent but within tolerance otherwise and addressed the binding issue I was concerned about. The Y axis rod was bent almost as bad as the original and might have worked but I had ordered the same parts while waiting so I had a straight rod. My point is that quality of the smooth rods seems to be an issue. It took me over a month to get the printer functional.
After my experience with kits it will be interesting to see what I think of Creality’s kits. So far I’m impressed. The box arrived ahead of schedule and is very compact. I’ll try to video the build but I found with the FLSun Cube that only works if it goes well.
Next will be my take on the build. Creality is gaining a reputation and I will see first hand how their instructions compare with what I consider to be the ‘Gold standard’ for kits and DIY printers, the Original Prusa MK3.