Hello Machine Bros!
In this article, we will show in detail and step-by-step the assembly, setting-up, and calibration of the famous 3D printer Creality Ender-3.
Once you complete the different steps of the assembly, your Ender-3 should look like this:
To Whom It Is Addressed:
The target of this article is to help beginners in the world of 3D printing, hobbyists, students, creators, small entrepreneurs, and curious ones, interested in the 3D printer Creality Ender-3.
Technical Specifications of the Creality Ender-3
Modeling Technology： FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling)
Print size (xyz): 220 x 220 x 250 mm ( 8.6 x 8.6 x 9.4 inches)
Machine size: 440 x 410 x 465 mm ( 22.0 x 23.6 x 24.4 inches)
Packing dimensions: 510 * 400 * 190mm (20.1 x 15.7 x 7.5 inches)
Packing weight：8.6kg (17.1Lb)
Maximum travel speed: 180mm/s
Filament Diameter: 1.75mm
Types of filament: ABS, PLA, TPU, WOOD, FLEXIBLE, carbon fiber, TPE, NYLON, PTEG
Input voltage: AC 100-265V, 50-60Hz
Operating voltage： DC 24V, 15A, 360W
Extruder Type: Bowden
Layer Thickness: 0.1-0.4mm
Nozzle Diameter： 0.4mm
Accuracy: ± 0.1mm
File format： STL, OBJ, G-Code
Working modes: Connected to PC via USB or micro SD memory
Maximum extruder temperature： 255 ℃ (491 °F)
Maximum bed temperature： 110 ℃ (230 °F )
Assembly time: 1 to 2 hours
If you want to compare the Creality Ender-3 with other 3D printers you can check out our 3D Printer Comparison Tool.
Pros and Cons of the Creality Ender-3
|Its structure in aluminium profile gives an exceptional firmness to the 3D printer, this characteristic is very important depending on the time of use since other printers tend to get loose more easily.||Bearings that move on the V-slot profiles have problems losing firmness over time, it is important to constantly monitor them to control print quality.|
|When working at 24V it takes less time to reach the desired temperature, both for the extruder and for the platform, considering that the 12V models take a longer time to reach the desired temperature.||The Bowden type extrusion system also has disadvantages functioning with certain types of filaments, like the flexible and abrasive.|
|It has a flexible printing sheet, which makes it much easier to take off the finished model.|
|It is a relatively light 3D printer and very easy to transport.|
|Very good cost-benefit ratio.|
Let’s start with this question, is the Creality Ender 3 the best printer in the market for budget 3D printers?
Obviously, this assertion goes against a market that is emerging by leaps and bounds, where new brands and models appear every month and where competition becomes stronger.
We could say that it is a 3D Printer that maximizes the cost-benefit ratio since it is built with very good quality materials and has a high printing volume (220x220x250) compared to its competitors.
Many websites consider the Ender-3 a revolution within the budget 3D printers and it became a role model for other manufacturers since it is a 3D printer with good printing dimensions, easy to handle, robust in structural terms, and at a very good price.
We could conclude without a doubt that this is a sure step to start in the world of 3D printing.
Accessories That Come With the 3D Printer
- Sample of PLA filament: Enough to 3D print the samples that come with the Ender-3.
- SD Card: It has 3 STL models ready to print and test your 3D printer.
- Tools: Necessary to assemble the Ender-3
Later in the article, we will talk about the contents of the SD Memory.
Unboxing the Creality Ender-3
The box of the 3D printer came in mint condition and was well treated during the shipping.
The first thing that we can find is a thick foam that protects the product from any fall or accident during shipping.
The box consists of two levels. It is important to take out piece by piece carefully to not spoil any of them.
On the first level, we initially find a bag that contains the warranty certificates and instructions.
|TIP: It should be noted that the instructions and the step-by-step assembly of the Creality Ender 3 are incomplete and miss some details. |
Then, for someone without knowledge of 3d printing, it would be a problem. But in this article, we will discuss each step in detail. If you have any doubts about the assembly, let us know in a comment at the end of this article and we will answer as soon as possible.
The first parts that we are going to find are two motors attached to a metal sheet. These motors are for the extruder and X-axis respectively.
The QR code that we can find here is a link to the official page of Creality.
Then there is the display that has a potentiometer which will allow us to navigate through the 3D printer settings menu.
There are two aluminium profiles of 20x20mm V-slot type, one to hold the X-axis and the other to secure the chassis at the top.
Then there is the platform sheet which is fixed with four clips.
This sheet has some flexibility which allows the finished 3D prints to be easily peeled off.
|ATTENTION: For the next two pieces you have to be very careful as they are connected, for which you must initially remove the extruder and then the heatbed.|
The following image shows an “all-metal” extruder, very compact and robust, with two fans, one that cools the extruder head and the other one used to cool the printing layers, depending on the configuration given by the Slicer.
The extruder has a 0.4mm mk8 nozzle, a standard diameter in most printers.
The platform already has the entire Y-axis assembled and will be the starting piece where the other components are coupled.
We also find the power source or PSU. It is a 24VDC unit with a single connector which makes it easy to connect.
So, we removed everything in the first level of the box, then let’s move on to the second level.
Find the two profiles 20×40 type V-slot that will support the entire structure of the extruder and the 8mm trapezoidal screw that will transmit the movement on the Z-axis.
Then there is the Z-axis motor with a coupling for the trapezoidal screw.
We also find a support for the X-axis, where the GT2 belt tensioner will be attached (which we will talk about later) and on the other side, it will be attached to the 20×40 profile.
The following pieces are part of the filament support that goes on top of the 3D printer.
This is how the filament support will look after assembled.
Finally, there are several bags with screws, tools, power cable, GT2 belt for the X-axis, a sample of PLA filament, and accessories needed for assembly and operation.
Here you can see all the different parts and tools that come in the box.
After finishing the Unboxing, we proceed with the assembly of the Creality Ender-3.
Assembly of the Creality Ender-3
Note: For better detail and understanding of how to assemble the Creality Ender 3, we recommend you to watch the video that you can find at the beginning of the article.
Step 1: Assemble the 20×40 Profiles to the Base
This requires four M5x45 screws, the two V-slot 20×40 profiles, and the base.
We start with the profile that goes on the left side, to identify it, just look for two holes as shown in the image.
To identify the proper side of the profile on the right it is important to put the two holes towards the inside of the printer, as these will serve to fix the power source.
|ATTENTION: Ensure that the profiles are well aligned, otherwise, you will have difficulties when assembling the X-axis on the profiles.|
Step 2: Ender-3 Display Connection
To attach the display to the chassis, the m5x8 screws are used in the holes shown in the photo.
The following images show how the display is installed on the base.
We adjust the display to the base as seen in the image.
Step 3: Power Source Installation
Next, we install the power source with m4x20 screws in the holes shown in the following image:
Step 4: Z-Axis Installation
The Z-axis limit switch is coupled to the 20×40 profile on the left.
The Z-axis limit switch is a plate with a micro switch that will be used to indicate when the Z-axis reached its origin.
Take into account that the limit switch must be installed from the top with the nuts as shown in the image, then slide it down.
The two screws shown below are used for the calibration of the Z-axis of the Ender-3, which we will discuss in more detail later.
Step 5: Z-Axis Motor Installation
Then the motor and the Z-axis screw are attached to the profile on the left, for this, we use two m4x18 screws to fix the motor.
We will leave this assembly aside and continue with the X-axis installation with the filament extruder.
Step 6: X-Axis Assembly of the Ender-3
Now we are going to attach the support of the two motors a 20×20 profile, in this case, the profile with four perforations.
For this, we will use the m4x16 screws and a fitting that will be connected to the PTFE hose.
The Bowden-type extruder has a motor that pushes the plastic filament to the extruder through a hose. The Teflon hose meets the mechanical requirements to carry the filament from one end to the other.
To facilitate the assembly of this step it is recommended to fully insert the screws and hold them firmly as shown in the following image.
And the fitting is tightened with the tool that comes with the 3D printer.
Step 7: Ender-3 Extruder Head Installation
With one end of the X-axis ready, now we proceed with the other end.
We put the head of the extruder and then connect the tensioner of the GT2 belt with the m4x16 screws.
After verifying that the extruder head moves freely on the V-slot profile, we proceed with the assembly of the X and Z-Axis support, at the other end of the profile.
The bearings shown below are the ones that will then be attached to the 20×40 profiles already placed on the base.
Step 8: Belt Tensioner
We proceed to install the belt tensioner.
|REMEMBER to check before assembling, the direction of the tensioner nuts that go in the profile.|
The tensioner slides until it touches the end of the profile. Then, adjust it with the wrench.
Step 9: GT2 Belt Installation
Next, we will show the connection of the GT2 belt around the extruder and the X-axis.
First, you must pass the belt between the grooves of the profile and the bearings of the extruder head.
We can use a screwdriver or a wrench to do it.
It should be taken into account that the ends of the strap should be facing down, as shown in the images.
It is likely that in this step you have to loosen the belt tensioner a little bit so that it is easy to insert the ends through the grooves of the extruder head.
Step 10: Structure of the Creality Ender-3
With the X-axis subassembly ready, we proceed to connect it with the structure we were working on at the beginning.
|TIP: In this step, we recommend removing the screw from the Z-axis as it facilitates assembly, then at the end, it can be installed again.|
We installed the X-axis with everything that we had previously assembled.
Step 11: V-Slot Profile
The V-slot 20×20 profile will close the entire frame and give it the characteristic firmness of this model. For this, we will use the m5x25 screws.
We proceed to install the profile.
Step 12: Filament Support Installation
The filament support is attached using m5x8 screws and type T nuts.
Always remember the correct direction of the nuts, as shown in the following image. This is important so that the screws are fixed well to the profile and an accident does not occur as the filament spool falls while printing.
Step 13: Last Adjustments
To finish the assembly of the structure of the Ender-3, the caps for the profiles and the pins are put in place to block the fittings. They are important so that the hose is not disengaged while printing.
Then we proceed to connect the wiring to the different elements:
- Z-axis limit switch
- Z-axis motor
- Extruder motor
- X-axis motor
- X-axis limit switch
- Power source
For the display, it must be taken into account that it is connected to the last connector called EXP3.
Do you remember that we disconnected the screw from the Z-axis before? Now we connect it again.
Creality Ender-3 Z-Axis Calibration
As it is a DIY 3D printer where the X and Y-axes already come with the pre-installed limit switches, only the Z-axis calibration is necessary.
Therefore, we verify that the end of the stroke of the said axis is at the minimum limit of the profile that supports it, as seen in the image.
Now, we access the menu of the machine’s LCD screen.
Pressing and rotating the potentiometer, we enter the “Prepare” menu
Already within the submenu, we choose the option “Auto Home”, which will take the X, Y, and Z-axis, to its origin.
Now we will focus on the Z-axis, as seen in the following image:
The idea of this calibration is that the nozzle of the extruder arrives as close as possible to the heatbed, for which we will use the screws found in each corner of the heatbed.
But before doing so, we must deactivate the motors, since after marking the origin of each axis, the motors remain blocked.
To do this there are two options:
- The first is simply to turn off the 3D printer and perform the calibration with the printer turned off.
- The second option, the one we will use, is to deactivate the motors through the “Prepare” menu and select the “Disable steppers” option as shown in the image.
At this time we can move the extruder head without any issue.
The next step will be to locate the nozzle in each corner of the heatbed and using the end screws we move the heatbed to the tip of the nozzle, as shown in the image.
To finish the adjustment, a sheet of bond paper must be put.
We choose this paper, especially because its weight and thickness are perfect for the correct calibration of a 0.4mm nozzle.
We place it between the bed and the nozzle, the adjustment must be such that the sheet of paper feels the friction of both the nozzle and the heatbed, neither so tight that it cannot move nor so loose that the sheet has no resistance from any element.
This process should be repeated at each corner of the heatbed.
After leveling the entire platform we proceed to install our first filament.
Generally, the filament is inside a bag to which vacuum is applied so that the air and humidity do not change its composition and physical characteristics.
The first thing that must be taken into account when removing the tip of the filament is that it must be completely straight when passing through the extruder motor, for which we cut the initial stretch of the filament that is generally crooked.
Now that the filament is ready, it is positioned in its respective support.
Then the tip of the filament is passed through the extruder motor, for which we press the spring arm while pushing the filament.
If the filament is as straight as possible, this step won’t have any problems.
To ensure that the filament is installed correctly, we turn on the extruder using the 3D printer menu.
Access the “Prepare” submenu and activate the “Preheat PLA” option, as shown in the image.
Having the extruder with the desired temperature, we will move the extruder motor until the filament comes out of the nozzle. For this, we enter the menu “Prepare”, “Move Axis”, select “Extruder”, we give the option to advance to 1mm.
With the potentiometer, we begin to advance the filament and at any moment it begins to exit through the nozzle.
After finishing this step the Ender-3 is ready to print.
As we still do not know about suitable 3D printing configurations, we can use one of the three sample files that are inside the SD memory that comes with the Ender-3.
To do this then we introduce the microSD in the memory slot of the 3D Printer.
Access the menu of the control panel of the Ender 3 and select “Print from TF”.
Select one of the three available files.
Next to the name of each file, the approximate printing times are specified.
And that’s it! This is the end of the assembly and calibration of your Creality Ender-3 and your 3D printer is ready to use.
We hope it was useful to you and if you have any questions about the Ender-3, let us know in the comment section and we’ll try to help you out!
Where to Buy the Creality Ender-3
On the Internet we find hundreds of portals where to buy the Creality Ender 3, however, we recommend the following stores:
We hope this article, Assembly and Calibration of the Creality Ender 3 was useful to you.
Until the next one!