Ender 3 V2 – Direct Extruder Upgrade + CR Touch + Micro Swiss Install
In today’s article we’ll be covering how to upgrade the Ender 3 V2 to have a direct extruder, Micro Swiss all metal hot end and the CRTouch. I purchased this upgrade kit and all the other parts specifically for this video, so no money has changed hands. I’m in no way responsible if any damages may occur, so do this at your own risk.
Even if the direct extruder upgrade kit is complete as is, there are some portions which could use improvements, and this is what we’ll be taking a closer look at today. Before installing anything, we’ll first want to upgrade the direct extruder hot end assembly that we’ve ordered. In this case, I’m using a version which is sold by Creality themselves, but will be upgrading both the extruder feeder along with the hot end. If you’re doing this yourself, you’ll want to upgrade the extruder feeder first because it’ll be easier to reassemble afterwards. The extruder feeder components that come with this kit are made from plastic, so we’ll be swapping those out for metal one’s. Out of this kit, we’ll only be using these components, so you may be able to buy a cheaper version for this upgrade. In order to do this, we’ll first remove the original components and begin assembling the new one’s. I’ll be using the MK-8 feeder, but we’ll be replacing one of the screws with a M3 x 10 mm since we won’t be able to use the tension adjustment feature that’s included. We’ll be keeping the original extruder wheel since it’s the correct version and is already lined up. Also, important to note, is that we’ll need to trim the bracket that holds the motor into place so that it doesn’t interfere with the screw that’ll be holding the spring. It’s very important that the replacement screw head has a low profile, otherwise it’ll prevent the attachment screw from connecting to the motor. When re-attaching the extruder feeder to the bracket, you’ll find that it’s a little finicky, however it should fit as long as you line everything up properly while tightening the screws. Make sure that the motor shaft has enough space, otherwise its movement will be hindered.
Next we’ll take a look at upgrading the hot end itself by replacing it with a Micro Swiss all metal hot end kit. This version in particular is designed to work with Creality printers because of where the two top screws are located. After removing the hot end assembly cover, we’ll carefully remove the thermistor and heater cartridge, since we will be re-using these. We can now remove and attach the new hot end, followed by the original thermistor and heater cartridge. One important difference with the heater cartridge is that there are two screws to help distribute the pressure and heat more evenly. Although this hot end doesn’t have a Bowden tube near the nozzle, a Capricorn tubing isn’t necessary but will be something that we’ll be replacing because of it’s tighter tolerances. Although it’s rare, on some occasions the Capricorn tubing can have some internal defects, so make sure to test the filament’s ability to move freely prior to cutting it to the proper length. I used the original tubing to get a better idea of the proper length and simply trimmed small amounts off until it was correct. While re-installing the hot end assembly cover, we can then attach the CR-Touch as well using the provided mount. In my case I was able to use this adapter which lined up perfectly with the mounting plate.
Before beginning the installation of our direct extruder, we’ll first pre-heat the nozzle for the machine and remove any filament which in currently loaded within. To remove the hot end assembly that’s on the printer, we’ll remove the bottom screw. To do this, we first have to remove the hot end cover and use a wrench to hold the nut in place. Once it’s been loosened enough, you should be able to wiggle off the extruder assembly and replace it with the new one. For the direct extruder assembly, make sure to once again loosen the bottom screw and raise the Z axis, so you have enough space to work. Check to make sure that the hot end assembly is secured but moves freely before moving onto the next step. In certain cases, you may also have to adjust the eccentric nut if it’s not stable. I currently have PDF guide which goes through this process on my main website. When re-attaching the timing belts, loosen the belt tightener slightly so that you have a little more slack on the belt and re-tighten afterwards.
Since it has an open design, the original bowden extruder is fairly easy to remove, however you’ll want to make sure to hold onto the motor so that it doesn’t fall onto your build plate. After taking off the feeder knob off, there will be a couple of screws that you’ll need to remove in order to release the motor from the mount. There’s one screw for the adjustment arm and the two for the baseplate.
Making sure to turn off the machine, we’ll then begin to work on updating the wiring. We’ll first use the extension connector for the extruder motor, which attaches to the original cable. With that connected, we can then prepare the remaining wires for their own connections. In this case the kit has tinned wires which we’ll remove and replace with ferrules ones for additional safety. There are 4 screws holding the cover in place, so you’ll want to remove all of these to get to the motherboard. One of the screws is located on the two other side of the machine, so make sure to remove all of these before opening the cover. We’ll first slide the wires through the sleeve, since this will be difficult to do after the wiring is completed. Removing one connection at a time, you can match the wires to their proper connection points. I generally like to have a wiring diagram handy so that I can double-check everything one last time before closing the machine. These are all the connections that you’ll need to update with this particular modification. If you have the PDF Survival kit that on my website, I have this diagram which shows you where to connect the BLTouch or CR-Touch on the motherboard page. The CR-Touch will connect to this port here and if you’re able to feed the wire through you’ll want to do this prior to connecting it to the motherboard. In my case, I opted to use some additional cable management afterwards. When connecting the CR-Touch connection, make sure to check where the pins are oriented, since it can require quite a bit of pressure to connect it properly. I ended up using a pair of pliers to help push it down into place.
After some quick cable management, the printer was ready for operation and I began my first test prints. Now I will be making a full review of all the parts of this modification and other’s on the Ender 3 V2, so make sure to keep an eye out to find out which ones were worth the money and which ones were a waste. The next article, we’ll be updating the build plate and the surrounding components, and you’ll be able to see that one HERE.
What you’ll need
- Creality CR Touch Upgrade Kit
- Creality Direct Extruder Upgrade kit
- MK-8 Feeder (full metal extruder)
- Micro Swiss Full Metal Extruder
Yasmeen completed both the 2D and 3D animation course at Algonquin College and worked in the animation industry as a freelancer for a number of years before being hired to manage the 3D printing services at ItsYeBoi. While using the Alias of "Jenny" during her services, she was responsible for the testing, maintenance and upgrading of the machine while also filming and developing 3D printable assets for various projects.