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Assembly and Calibration of the Creality Ender-3

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:

Assembly and Calibration of the Creality Ender-3
Assembly and Calibration of the Creality Ender-3

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.

3D Printer Comparison
3D Printer Comparison

Pros and Cons of the Creality Ender-3

PROSCONS
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.

Introduction

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.

Sample filament that comes with the Ender-3
Sample filament that comes with the Ender-3
Memory stick that comes with the Ender-3
Memory stick that comes with the Ender-3
tools that come with the Creality Ender-3
Tools that come with the Creality Ender-3

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.

Box package where the 3D printer comes
Box package where the 3D printer comes
The content inside the box
The content inside the box

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.
Instructions and documentation of the Ender-3
Documentation of the Ender-3

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.

Creality Ender-3 QR code
Creality Ender-3 QR Code

Then there is the display that has a potentiometer which will allow us to navigate through the 3D printer settings menu.

Package of the Display of the Ender-3
Package of the Display of the Ender-3
Display of the Ender-3
Display of the Ender-3

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.  

20x20 Aluminium profiles
Alluminium Profiles

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. 

Printing Bed of the Ender-3
Printing Bed of the Ender-3
Printing Bed of the Ender-3
Printing Bed of the Ender-3
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.

Creality Ender-3 Extruder head
Creality Ender-3 Extruder

The platform already has the entire Y-axis assembled and will be the starting piece where the other components are coupled.

Content of the box of the Ender 3
Box Content

We also find the power source or PSU. It is a 24VDC unit with a single connector which makes it easy to connect.

Creality Ender 3 Power Source
Ender-3 Power Source

So, we removed everything in the first level of the box, then let’s move on to the second level.

Second level of the box of the Ender-3
Second level of the box of the Ender-3

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.

metal profiles
Metal profiles
8mm trapezoidal screw
8mm trapezoidal screw

Then there is the Z-axis motor with a coupling for the trapezoidal screw.

Z-Axis Motor of the Ender-3
Z-Axis Motor of the Ender-3
Z-Axis motor coupled with the 8mm trapezoidal screw
Z-Axis motor coupled with the 8mm 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.

Ender-3 X-axis
Ender-3 X-axis
Ender-3 X-axis
Ender-3 X-axis

The following pieces are part of the filament support that goes on top of the 3D printer.

Filament Support of the Ender-3
Ender-3 Filament Support
Filament Support of the Ender-3
Ender-3 Filament Support

This is how the filament support will look after assembled.

Creality Ender-3 filament support
Ender-3 Filament Support

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.

Creality Ender-3 Unassembled
Creality Ender-3 Unassembled

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.

3D Printer Supports
3D Printer Supports
Installing the Ender-3 profiles
Installing the Ender-3 profiles

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.

Creality Ender-3 Assembly
Creality Ender-3 Assembly
Installing the profiles of the Ender-3
Installing the profiles of the Ender-3
Profiles installed
Profiles installed
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.

Instalation of the display of the Ender 3
m5x8 screws

The following images show how the display is installed on the base.

Creality Ender-3 Display Installation
Creality Ender-3 Display Installation

We adjust the display to the base as seen in the image.

Creality Ender-3 Display Installation
Creality Ender-3 Display Installation

Step 3: Power Source Installation

Next, we install the power source with m4x20 screws in the holes shown in the following image:

Ender-3 Power Source Installation
Ender-3 Power Source Installation
Ender-3 Power Source Installation
Ender-3 Power Source Installation

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.

Creality Ender-3 Z-axis limit switch
Ender-3 Limit Switch

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.

Ender-3 Z-Axis Limit Switch Installation
Ender-3 Z-Axis Limit Switch Installation

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.

Ender-3 Z-Axis Limit Switch Installation
Ender-3 Z-Axis Limit Switch Installation

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.

Z-Axis motor installation of the Ender-3
Z-Axis motor installation of the Ender-3
Z-Axis motor installation of the Creality Ender 3
Creality Ender-3 Z-Axis motor installation
Z-Axis motor installation
Creality Ender-3 Z-Axis motor installation

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.

Ender-3 X-Axis Assembly
Ender-3 X-Axis Assembly

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.

Creality Ender-3 X-Axis Assembly
Creality Ender-3 X-Axis Assembly
Creality Ender-3 X-Axis Assembly
Creality Ender-3 X-Axis Assembly
Creality Ender-3 X-Axis Assembly
Creality Ender-3 X-Axis Assembly

And the fitting is tightened with the tool that comes with the 3D printer.

Creality Ender-3 X-Axis Assembly
Creality Ender-3 X-Axis Assembly

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.

Creality Ender-3 Extruder Head Installation
Creality Ender-3 Extruder Head Installation
Creality Ender-3 Extruder Head Installation
Creality Ender-3 Extruder Head Installation
Creality Ender-3 Extruder Head Installation
Creality Ender-3 Extruder Head Installation

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.

Extruder head in the V-slot profile Ender-3
Installing the Extruder Head

The bearings shown below are the ones that will then be attached to the 20×40 profiles already placed on the base.

Installation of the bearings insider the 20x40 profiles of the Ender-3
Installing the Extruder Head

Step 8: Belt Tensioner

We proceed to install the belt tensioner. 

Belt Tensioner Installation
Belt Tensioner Installation
REMEMBER to check before assembling, the direction of the tensioner nuts that go in the profile.
Belt Tensioner Installation
Belt Tensioner Installation

The tensioner slides until it touches the end of the profile. Then, adjust it with the wrench.

Screwing the Belt tensioner of the Ender-3
Installing the belt tensioner

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.

Ender-3 GT2 Belt Installation
Ender-3 GT2 Belt Installation
Ender-3 GT2 Belt Installation
Ender-3 GT2 Belt Installation

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.

Ender-3 GT2 Belt Installation
Ender-3 GT2 Belt Installation
Ender-3 GT2 Belt Installation
Ender-3 GT2 Belt Installation

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.
Creality Ender-3 structure
Creality Ender-3 Structure

We installed the X-axis with everything that we had previously assembled.

Ender-3 X-Axis Installation
Ender-3 X-Axis Installation
Ender-3 X-Axis Installation
Ender-3 X-Axis Installation

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.  

V-Slot profile of the Creality Ender 3
V-slot Profile

We proceed to install the profile.

Ender-3 V-Slot Profile Installation
Ender-3 V-Slot Profile Installation
Ender-3 V-Slot Profile Installation
Ender-3 V-Slot Profile Installation

Step 12: Filament Support Installation

The filament support is attached using m5x8 screws and type T nuts.

Filament support of the Creality Ender 3
Ender-3 Filament Support

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.

Filament Support Installation
Filament Support Installation
Filament Support Installation
Filament Support Installation
Filament Support Installation
Filament Support Installation

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.

Installation of profile caps
Installation of profile caps
Installation of fittings
Installation of fittings
Installation of fittings
Installation of fittings

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
  • Display
 Z-Axis Limit Switch Connection
Z-Axis Limit Switch Connection
 Z-Axis Motor Connection
Z-Axis Motor Connection
Extruder motor electrical conection of the Creality Ender-3
Extruder Motor Connection
X-Axis motor electrical connection of the Creality Ender-3
X-Axis Motor Connection
X-Axis limit switch electrical connection of the Creality Ender-3
X-Axis Limit Switch Connection
electrical connection of the Power supply of the Creality Ender-3
Power Supply Connection

For the display, it must be taken into account that it is connected to the last connector called EXP3.

Display electrical connection of the Creality Ender 3
Electronics Connection

Do you remember that we disconnected the screw from the Z-axis before? Now we connect it again.

Z-Axis screw of the Creality Ender-3
Connection of the Z-Axis

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.

Z-Axis Calibration of the Ender-3
Creality Ender-3 Calibration

Now, we access the menu of the machine’s LCD screen.

Ender-3 Z-Axis Calibration
Ender-3 Z-Axis Calibration
Ender-3 Z-Axis Calibration
Ender-3 Z-Axis Calibration

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.

Calibrating the Z-axis of the Ender-3
Ender-3 Auto Home

Now we will focus on the Z-axis, as seen in the following image:

Calibrating the Z-axis of the Ender 3
Ender-3 Nozzel

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.
Disable steppers of the Ender-3
Ender 3 – Disable steppers

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.

Calibrating the Z-axis of the Ender 3
Ender-3 Calibration

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.

Creality Ender 3 calibration
Ender-3 Calibration

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.

3D Printing Filament
3D Printing Filament

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.

Cut the tip of the filament
Filament preparation

Now that the filament is ready, it is positioned in its respective support.

Creality Ender 3 Filament Support
Filament installation

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.

Setting-up the fillament
Filament set-up in the Ender-3

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.

Preheat PLA Ender 3
Ender-3 – Preheat PLA

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.

Move 1mm Extruder Ender-3
Ender 3 – Extruder Set-up

With the potentiometer, we begin to advance the filament and at any moment it begins to exit through the nozzle.

Filament going through the Ender-3 Nozzle
Filament going through the Ender-3 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.

Instert the SD memory in the Ender 3
Ender-3 – SD Memory

Access the menu of the control panel of the Ender 3 and select “Print from TF”.

Print from TF
Ender 3 – Print from TF

Select one of the three available files.

Next to the name of each file, the approximate printing times are specified.

Selecting the gcode
G-code selection

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:

Commissions earned

We hope this article, Assembly and Calibration of the Creality Ender 3 was useful to you.

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Until the next one!

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3 COMMENTS

  1. What a great article. Thanks. It was very helpful!!!!!

    When are you gonna have more articles, I’ve been looking for painting 3D printed pieces.

    Tks…..

    • Thank you Carlos! We invite you you to check our other guides and articles, and if you want to know about something special let us know!

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