Transcript

Hello everybody and welcome to another video. In today’s review, we’ll be taking a closer look at the CR10 Smart PRO version by Creality and see what this machine has to offer. Full disclaimer, I purchased this machine with my own money in order to do this review, so everything you see here is based on my own opinion.

For those of you who follow this channel, you already know my opinion on the regular CR10 Smart and this was quite a different experience mixed is with some familiar ones. To start things off, I didn’t need to update the firmware in order to get the machine to function properly, which is always a good sign. If you need to update your machine, however, make sure to check out my other video since there’s quite a few things to be aware of when starting off. So while the update process is still quite finicky, it isn’t required to get a functioning machine.

Unlike previous machines, the company has decided to stop providing the source code and this will make future upgrades more difficult and can prevent newer features from becoming available. Like most budget friendly machines, most of these are notorious for not updating to the newer versions of marlin, which often limits their usability and can sometimes present safety issues. I did test thermal runaway protection, and I’m happy to report that the safeties are in place for the stock version of the firmware. One thing I would have liked to see, however, is a specific warning of was triggered to make it easier to troubleshoot later on. As is, there’s just a generic warning in place. Now, if this warning triggers’ when you first get your machine, I could be that you improperly installed the connection to the hot end assembly. So you’ll first want to reseed it, making sure that both ends are properly secured and held in place with both the clips and the bracket.

I’m happy to report that the automated bed levelling feature works quite well on this machine out of the box. With the inclusion of the adjustment knobs, is easily adjusted to ensure proper print adhesion. When you first get your machine, you’ll first want to manually adjust the bed levelling prior to doing an automatic one. Once completed, you can choose to include an auto bed levelling procedure in your G-Code commands or do so when needed. As long as your print bed is levelled, you should only need to do this periodically instead. I will have a separate video on how to level your print bed, but for now I do have the downloadable PDF for this machine if you need it right away.

This machine like so many others on the market has tinned wired connections which should replaced with ferrule one’s. This is unfortunately a pattern with most companies and I would like this to be changed in the future since it does pose a safety risk. I already have a video going over this process in more detail, so please feel free to check that out if you ensure what’s involved.

The hot end assembly has been updated to include the sprite extruder with the all metal upgrade. With this addition, you can now print with higher temperature materials right out of the box instead of having to add this feature yourself. There is still is a small Bowden tube connection that connects to the feeder, which I prefer to replace with a Capricorn one, but I wouldn’t say this is required unless you encounter issues. Both the entire Hot end is a custom design, so unfortunately it’ll be difficult to purchase replacements from any other vendors at this time, but it was designed so that key components can be easily swapped out. The remainder of the hot end assembly is quite difficult to take apart since all the components have been tightly integrated together. Luckily, it doesn’t seem like this should be needed unless you were doing any modification. They seem to have learned from the Ender 3 S1, and have added some additional support for the hot end assembly cable. The cable does still do a twisting motion when moving around, which could cause it to wear over time, and there isn’t currently a purchasable replacement cable. Some hot end connections use a non-standard connector, which could make alternative replacement parts more difficult to find. The heat break is also using a different length and threading size than what’s standard, which once again makes it difficult to find alternative versions of these parts. The machine which I purchased showed signs of pre-testing, so quality control may have improved in comparison to previous versions.

A great new feature is the integrated lighting which has been included with the machine out of the box and is something which I didn’t think I would even need until it was available. So far this has made it a lot easier to work on the machine and turns off automatically when the machine is powered off. Alternatively, you can turn off the light with the power switch as well, making this new feature quite convenient to use.

The bottom screws that attach the base of the machine are very easily striped, so be very careful when putting them in or taking them out. I will be replacing those since I don’t want to risk being unable to access the components of my machine. When you open up the machine, you’ll see the integrated Creality Wifi Box which I of course disconnected, so I could use the USB port to connect to my computer or raspberry pie directly. I have a previous video going through this process if you intend to do the same.

The build plate has been upgraded to a flex build plate, and they’ve added some indentations to make it easier to line it up during re-installation. I personally love this new feature because it makes it so much faster to swap the build plate in and out. If you have a printing farm, then having a series of build plates you swap out just became a lot faster with this machine.

This machine has a lot of new innovations, and I’m happy to see that they’ve been properly implemented. With this however we are looking at a much higher price point especially when comparing it to the regular CR 10 Smart. So is this worth the price? If you want something that works out of the box, then this gets a solid recommendation, but I would also consider how some of this has been locked down by the manufacturer. You see, without the source code files and easily purchasable components, this machine does have a limited life span in comparison to other machines. With a regular Ender 3 V2 for example, I can easily upgrade the hot end to whatever I feel like using and this means that I can replace par ts from a larger amount of suppliers, in turn increasing the lifespan of the machine. It’s for this reason that this machine gets a 7/10. It’s a good machine, but without additional support materials and the files it may not be as repairable in the future unless you’ve created an account with the company and signed this really shady contract. Ah, ya…. as a YouTuber, I’m not going to agree to that.




Transcript



Hello everybody and welcome to another review. Today we’ll be taking a closer look at the Ender 3 V2 and see where it stands in today’s market. Full disclaimer, I purchased this machine with my own money in order to do this review, so everything you see here is based on my own opinion. This is the updated version of the original Ender 3, and it does seem like the company may have implemented some customer recommendations. First off, this machine does use silent stepper drivers, which greatly reduces the amount of noise during operation. Very important to note, however, is that the stepper drivers are soldered to the board, making any future replacements or upgrades more difficult with this main board. Although the motors moving the machine are silent, the fans which cool all the various components are not, and this should be taken into consideration. A great addition to this machine is the fuse for the main power input that’s located on the motherboard. This is the first time I’ve seen a company implement this safety feature, and I certainly hope to see other companies do so as well. With the screen now fully enclosed, it also has a new modern interface which makes it easier for new users. The one downside with this interface is that some functionality is no longer available with more modern versions of marlin. In this model, the screen uses a knob to control the interface, which is perfectly functional if perhaps slightly outdated. There is an issue with the contrast levels on the screen, thereby making it difficult to see what’s been selected. This is especially prominent when looking at the screen from an angle which is to the side. While the original print bed was flexible, it has since been upgraded to a glass bed, which is far more durable. With a glass build plate, the prints will almost always release once the surface has cooled down, however if this isn’t the case you can use your filament cutter’s to help leverage the corner just enough to release the pressure or fit your spatula underneath. During my testing, I found that most prints released without any issues after the first couple of prints. In most cases, unless you’re filling up the bottom surface with a large print, this is rarely an issue. Like most machines which use a very basic hot end, this one uses one which is prone to heat creep at around the 230 degree. I highly recommend upgrading the standard Bowden tube with a Capricorn one to help prevent issues in the future. Because of the current mounting design, it is fully compatible with the Micro Swiss all metal hot end and doesn’t require any modifications other than a firmware changes. Creality has since released the Creality Sprite extruder upgrade, which is supposed to be compatible with this machine. Since I have yet to test that particular upgrade, I can not say whether it’s worthwhile. The cable for the hot end does tend to get caught if it isn’t properly secured. In my case, I simply used a zip tie to fix the issue by attaching it to the adjustment screw of the extruder feeder. The power supply is incorporated into the base of the machine, unlike the original Ender 3. It’s also been upgraded to a genuine Meanwell Power Supply, which makes it more reliable and safer. Unfortunately, this machine in particular uses tinned connections, which I would highly recommend you replace since they could pose a safety hazard. Like most of these companies machines, this one in particular does have properly functioning thermal runaway protection enabled. The only ventilation for the power supply is where the intake fan is located and is something that I would like to see revised in the future. All the components, although they are properly contained, are fairly segmented in their locations. For instance, the power supply has its own enclosure as well as the motherboard. While this isn’t really a problem, is can be inconvenient when doing repairs since you have to open up two different compartments within the base of the machine. This machine uses only 1 Z axis, which is fine with this particular set of features. If you’re looking to add a direct extruder, however, you will want to upgrade to a dual Z axis setup since the X carriage is very easy to move. Because this machine comes with a Bowden tube setup, most of the weight is taken off the X carriage, and this hasn’t been an issue for me as yet. So how would I rate this machine overall? Well I’ve used this exact model for both my contract work as well my own personal projects for well over a year now and can say that I’m very pleased with its operation. Other than some very minor tweaks, it’s been my go-to machine for anything that fit’s it’s build size. It’s for this reason that I give it a solid 8/10. For the price, it’s well worth the money, and I’ve actually been debating whether to pick up another. But is this the best that this machine has to offer? Well, I’m going to be doing a series of upgrades to see which one’s might be worth it and comparing it to the newer release, so keep an eye out for those videos. I’ve started creating downloadable support files and mods for the machines I’ve reviewed, so if you’re looking from some additional information, I would suggest you follow the link in the description below. Thank you for watching, and I hope to see you again soon. Thank you and take care.




Transcript



Hello everybody and welcome to another video. In today’s review, we’ll be taking a closer look at the CR10 Smart by Creality and see what these machines have to offer. Full disclaimer, I purchased this machine with my own money in order to do this review, so everything you see here is based on my own opinion.

While I originally intended to release this review several months ago, I was surprised to discover quite a few hurdles in getting this machine ready for testing, as you’ll see shortly. So to start things off, I opened up the box to double-check all the components and put this machine together. The main change in the design is the incorporation of the electronics within the base of the machine. When I opened up the box, the spool holder was already broken where the ball bearings were located. This area should have been designed with a metal insert, however it simply had a screw which was supported by a thin plastic. In my case, I was able to substitute this, a similar attachment that I had left over from my Ender 3 V2. One great feature on this machine is that all the tools required to maintain it are located in a convenient shelf. This make it much easier when performing maintenance since everything is located and organized nearby.

After putting together the machine, I opened up the bottom panel to begin testing all the safety features. In order to properly test the thermal runaway, I had to actually create connection adapters. The company has created custom pin connections for all the components in the hot end assembly. This means that those portions are not so easily swapped out via the motherboard connection and instead have to be done via the connection hub that’s on the X gantry. After testing everything out, I was happy to discover that there was indeed proper thermal runaway protection enabled in both the stock version of the firmware and the updated version. Now this machine comes with a low quality Bowden tube and is one of the first recommendations I have for an upgrade since it can make a huge difference in prevent issues down the road. I have unfortunately found that on most of Creality’s machines, the stock hot end is prone to heat creep and therefore this is a good preventative measure.

Updating the firmware is not intuitive at all and has specific requirements in order to be successful. I personally believed I had bricked my machine until I discovered the usual requirements that it had. In order to do a proper update, you need to fulfill 3 main factors. You have to use the proper sized SD cards which has been formatted correctly, you must hold the power button on during the full update and the .bin file must use a different name every time an update is done. These were just some requirements, and once again I had to pause the review in order to make a video showing the proper procedure so that others would have an easier time doing this for themselves.

But why did I need to update the firmware, you ask? Well, everything time I attempted to print in vase mode, I ended up with something like this. As you can see, it didn’t quite print correctly and ended up taking 10x times the amount of time it was supposed to. To be clear, the company doesn’t recommend that you use anything but their skinned version of the Cura slicer, and I was using the most up-to-date version of Cura at the time, but this is the first machine that’s ever given me this results. While printing, I noticed that the machine was pausing continuously, which was leading to longer print times and this bubbled look. After quite a bit of troubleshooting which did include disabling the Creality Wifi Box that’s been integrated into the machine, I was finally able to solve the issue by updating the firmware. If you are using Cura I will include two Start Gcode options that I’ve tested and can confirm work correctly. The first will be the one provided by David Hart and the second one will the one that I’m currently using. Both of these will be in the download package on my website along with my custom Cura Profile.

One great feature of this machine is its ability to shut down vial the screen or after a 3d print has completed. This is a great feature to have and is something that I would like to see other companies implement in the future, however it does come with some tradeoffs that would need to be addressed in future versions. I suspect that the implementation of this feature is what makes updating the firmware less intuitive, since it requires that the user keep pressing the power button in order for it to fully complete.

This machine does indeed have tinned connections, and I would recommend replacing those for ferrule one’s. Once again, I have already created a specific video for this machine which can refer to. While opening up the machine to check for tinned wires, I also came across the device which was supposed to enable wifi connectivity. If any of you have seen my video on the Creality smart kit, you’ll be aware of my experiences regarding that device, and it’s implementation. Since that device has already been featured in another video, I will not be revisiting that portion in this review. I will say however that during my troubleshooting steps, I did have to disable the wifi box and re-enable the USB connection to the motherboard. I’ll include a link to that in the description below if you also want to do the same.

The build plate auto levelling is poorly implemented and has caused several issues for both me and others online. I personally had to add manual bed levelling in order to properly test the machine’s capabilities. As it turns out, I can say that there’s a small amount of levelling, however it is very inaccurate. I did follow Creality’s bed levelling guidelines prior to running my tests, with mixed results. It is very important to note that the print bed and hot end must be stable and not wobble in order to work correctly. There are tensioner nuts for ensuring this, and if you have any issues with your machine this should be the first thing that you check. In this case it’s far less critical that the pulley wheels have even tension, instead the stability is far more essential. After adding tensioner knobs to my printer, I was able to test whether bed levelling was fully functional, and unfortunately it seems like the machine has issues with accuracy. Even after using the start Gcode by David Hart there were still issues with bed levelling which made it unpredictable. Upon doing further research, I did come across an article by Sebastiaan Dammann which suggests that it could be electrical interference that’s causing the issue and that it could be fixed with a firmware update. Unfortunately the screen that comes with the CR10 Smart makes creating a community firmware difficult and since Creality has not yet released the source code for the machine this is likely to continue being an issue. I have already released the video for adding manual bed levelling to your printer, so if nothing else has worked, and you’ve already updated the firmware, you could try that as well.

The extruder on this machine is quite unique in itself in that I have a locking mechanism for the filament, which does indeed make it easier to feed the filament through. Now, although the machine does come with a transparent plastic that can fit into the gap that’s between the sensor and extruder, I would not recommend using it at all. If there’s a jam, you’ll find it difficult to remove the broken filament if you have this installed. The easiest way to tell if the extruder is in it’s locked state is to give the filament a simple tug and see if it moves back and forth. I personally drew a little padlock so that I would have more visual reference, so that may be something you wish to do as well.

This machine does come with quite a few quality life improvements such as belt tensioners, filament run out, silent stepper motors, dual Z axis motors, built in mosfets and thermal runaway. However, with all these elements, there’s still the glaring issues which a user will most likely have to address. This is unfortunate to say the least, since I really do like this machine now that those issues have been fixed. The out-of-the-box experience is quite bad and isn’t something I can not recommend to a new user at all. For someone who’s a tinkerer and is willing to put in the hours that’s needed to get a functional machine, I give it a 4/10 since the likelihood of the machine working correctly out of the box is very low. This machine is specifically marketed towards new users, and therefore I’m rating it as such. I’ve found this machine to be a missed opportunity and with the potential release of the CR10 Smart Pro I have serious concerns about that machine as well. If a company isn’t able to release a regular version which is fully functional, I have reservations regarding the pro version. It suggests to me that the company was using its user base as beta testers, which in today’s age is unacceptable. Perhaps once the company has release the source code or started providing upgrade kits which fix the current issues, this rating could potentially be revisited.






Transcript

Hello everybody and welcome to another video. Today we’ll be at taking a closer look at the CR30 by Creality and find out how this machine performs or who this might be designed for. Now, full disclaimer before we begin. I purchased this machine with my own money and was not paid to do this video, so everything you see here will be based on my own opinion. I bought this machine during the initial Kickstarter and received it a couple of months ago, however in order to properly test its performance I created a large scale project just for this machine. You will seem more about that project in a latter video.

Now, this machine is amongst the heaviest I’ve owned yet, so you’ll need to make sure that it’s on a solid surface when you set it up. This printer does require some additional setup because of the design, however, this process is made easier thanks to the included video tutorial. I did find that the tutorial was well-made and covered the assembly quite thoroughly, and this does seem to be a positive trend amongst more and more companies.

In order to use this machine, you’re going to need to use at least 1 of two options. The first is the “Creality Belt” software that comes with the printer. The second option is to use the Blackbelt printing software, which can be customized to fit this machine. All testing was done using the provided software in this case, since it has been custom designed with additional features. The biggest issue that I encountered was the performance of the software itself. In this case I had to disable some extra plugins to increase the performance, however, there were still significant delays when loading up files. In this particular case, I had created a large project which was designed to test the printing for an extended period of time. However, in order to load just one piece, it would take up to 30 mins and took even longer to properly slice the file. The same files loading in Cura took a fraction of the amount of time to load. The workaround I found was to slice the files individually and then recombined the G code to better leverage the printer’s ability to continuously print files. To do this, you open up the sliced files that you want to combine and copy and paste all the code above the end G-code text. You’ll repeat this process until you’ve combined all your files together. Once this is completed, you can then delete the extra End G-code that you don’t need. When printing identical pieces, I didn’t run into any issues using the integrated copy function.

Now, this machine does have a couple of important things you need to do prior to actually printing with the device. The first thing we’ll do is condition the belt. I didn’t know this was an issue until I was getting continuously failed prints when fully utilizing the build plate. To do this, you’ll turn on the machine, and raise the hot end up so that you have full access to the belt. You’ll then take a rag and rub some isopropyl alcohol into the surface while moving the Z-height forwards. This helps to remove the coating which is on the belt when it first comes with the printer. The second thing we’ll do is replace bowden tube with a Capricorn one, since heat creep is a very serious issue with this particular device. To do this, you’ll remove the spacer holding the pneumatic connectors in a locked position and press down on the locking mechanism to release the tubing. This can sometimes be difficult to remove, so be careful not to damage the teeth inside. Now I did test the thermal runaway protection on this machine, so I can confirm that it’s functioning properly, however I did find out that the terminals have tinned connections which will need to be replaced. I will go through that process in more detail in a follow-up video.

I did find that this machine required the filament be heated above 210 degrees, otherwise I would often have adhesion issues. For my machine I set the fan speeds to 100 % making sure to set the second one to the same value. The initial fan speed was set to 0 to ensure a better, successful first layer. Now, although my very first prints looked promising, I soon began running into issues once I reached around 2 weeks of continuous operation. My prints started going from a nice, clean print to a very rough surface. In my case, this was due to the bowden tube experiencing heat creep, which in turn caused the opening to shrink and prevented a consistent flow of filament. It was at this stage that I had to switch to a Capricorn tubing. It was also during this time that I began experiencing issues with prints not sticking to the bed, which is when I decided to a thorough cleaning to remove any residue that might be on the belt.

This printer came with a steel feeler gauge, which I highly recommend you use when levelling the print bed. This provided me which a much higher accuracy and is what I’ve since switched to for all my printers. When you do this, however, you need to make sure to raise the print head the same value as the thickness of the measuring tool, otherwise it will create an excess distance which can cause print failures. When levelling the bed I would bring the front build plate all the way down first followed by levelling the back of the build plate which was right underneath the hot end. Afterwards, I would raise the front up slightly, ensuring that I had even tension across the build plate. I would finish this up with a last calibration of the back potion to make sure that everything was still levelled closer to the hot end.

Something to keep in mind is that I had to play around with the filament run out detector to get it so that it was aligned more to the extruder. I ended up tilting it slightly upwards, which relived quite a bit of the pressure on the filament when travelling through the extruder. Likewise, I had to adjust the bowden tube since it was getting caught onto the machine. For this, I used a simple zip tie to help hold it in a better location.

With the test prints completed, these were my results. Now it has been mentioned by other users and other 3d printing channels that the stepper motors on the top have very little support, and I’ve since ordered a replacement kit from Repcord to address this issue. When I first assembled this printer, I can say that it was a large concern to me and when doing some research, my concerns did seem warranted. For the testing of this machine, however, I did not use this modification as yet but will be following this up with another video tutorial.

So what is my verdict in the end? Well, it’s going to depend on what you are doing. If you are producing large parts on a consistent basis then this is a great machine to add to your collection of tools, however it does require more work and experience to become familiar with it. I will definitely say that this isn’t a beginner machine. Levelling in itself is far more complicated than your standard machine, and there are quite a few upgrades which I would consider mandatory out of the box. So for a beginner I would rate this machine as a 4/10 since they are less likely to want to do any of the necessary changes. From a production standpoint this is a great asset to have, and the rating is quite different with an 8/10 rating. The main thing that hurts this machine most is the lack of support for the stepper motors and the bowden tube, which really should have come with a Capricorn one instead. The software is currently quite limiting, and I highly recommend that Cura actually begins supporting this style of printer, since I do expect this type of machine to become more common in small manufacturing scenarios. So although I still think that this machine does require some well needed improvements, I do believe that they’re on the right track, and I’m looking forwards to a future alteration of this design.