Hello everybody and welcome to another video. Today we’ll be taking a look at all the upgrades which I’ve done to this machine and talk about which ones were worth it and which ones were not. I purchased all of these components for the purposes of this video, and no money has exchanged hands. Full disclaimer, I’m in no way responsible if any damages may occur, so do these mods at your own risk.
Over the past couple of weeks we’ve upgraded the build plate, the adjustment knobs, pulley wheels, springs, extruder, axis, Bowden tube and added a CR Touch for auto bed levelling. So while that’s a lot of different components, many of these only become a requirement for specific use cases. So to start things off, we’ll take a closer look at which hot end upgrades are actually worth doing.
First and foremost even though this may sound underwhelming, this is easily one of the most important upgrades I recommend, especially when it’s a Creality machine. Almost all the budget friendly printers I’ve bought have had issues with the stock Bowden tube at some point in time, and in most cases when it does decide to fail it’s awful. A simple replacement of the Bowden tube with a Capricorn one can save you countless hours of frustration, and it’s it’s the cheapest upgrade on the list.
Now because I know all of you want to know about the all metal hot end, I will say that it is definitely worth upgrading to a quality hot end by a known company with a good reputation. Generally speaking, the hot end that comes with most machines will be functional until you try to print with higher temperatures, especially when you begin creeping up to the 135 mark. Even if your machine is rated for a higher temperature, both the Bowden tube and the hot end my not be suitable for those temperatures. Very important to keep in mind is that you’ll need to modify your machine’s firmware to allow for the higher temperature settings once you’ve upgraded your machine. Quite a few all metal hot ends still require a Capricorn tubing inside, but most come with a Bowden tube, so make sure to swap that out before using it.
There can be quite a lot of debate whether upgrading the standard Bowden tube to a direct drive is worthwhile, but once again, that will depend on your specific use case. If you intend to print mostly flexible filaments, then this is something you may wish to take a closer look at, since there’s less chance of the filament compressing within the Bowden tube. If you don’t have money to upgrade to a direct extruder setup, simply upgrading to a Capricorn tubing could actually solve some of these issues because of the higher tolerances, but make sure to check that your tubing doesn’t have any defect’s prior to installing it. When using a direct extruder, you’ll want to keep in mind your retraction amounts and speeds will change. On almost all of my direct extruder machines, I have my retraction distance set to 0.6 with my retraction speed set to 20 and for the most part this has given me the best results thus far. Now if you do decide to install a direct extruder, the kit that I used is just one of many on the market today, but you should also upgrade your machine to have dual Z axis if this is the case. The additional weight that’s on the extruder can cause issues, so adding some stability will greatly improve the overall prints.
IF you decide to add another Z axis, you may also want to look at upgrading the pulley wheels. In this case, I have to say that unless you actually have flat spots on your wheels, this isn’t really a useful update. Another YouTuber made a great video testing this, and showed that material that you see coming off the wheels, goes away once they’ve worn in a bit. So unless it’s actually necessary, maybe just leave that mod alone for now.
Do you need a CR Touch? Well no but maybe a yes for convenience. So if you’re willing to update the firmware, then this can be useful in a scenario where you’re continuously changing between filament types. For this to be truly beneficial, you will need to run the bed levelling prior to starting a new print after the print bed it up to the correct temperature. This normally takes the form of adding the G29 command within your start G-code and while this will help with bed levelling accuracy it can increase your print time by quite a bit so just make sure to keep this in mind.
Upgrading the adjustment knobs and tensioning springs are not necessary unless you’re adding a flex build plate. So if you’re looking to add a flex build plate, make sure you install silicon columns instead of the springs. I found that I had to consistently adjust my print bed when I had the springs on, and this only started happening once I began using the flex build plate. I can only assume that the process of removing and placing the build plate causes the springs to loosen much more quickly, but the moment I added the silicone columns, this stopped being an issue.
This brings us to the final mod which we undertook for this machine. The flex build plate in all its glory. Now, in my case I didn’t find it necessary, but it was useful for larger prints that took up most of the surface. On smaller prints, however, I found this to have the opposite effect, and this was the complete reverse of a glass build plate. So if you’re planning on printing smaller objects, then the glass build plate will do just fine. However, if you plan on filling up your build plate, then the PEI flex build plate is a great choice. There are some things you’ll want to keep in mind, though. The build plate temperature in my case need to be raised, and it needs to be within a 5 degree difference, otherwise the print would simply peel right off. Before you start printing with the flex build plate, try cleaning it with soap and water first, since some people including me had issues with the build surface until it was cleaned off. After that, you can use isopropyl alcohol to clean it’s surface or continue using soap and water instead. I would try both and see what works best for you.
As you can see, not all the expensive mods provided all that much in return, so I would look at your use case to evaluate your needs instead. I am currently working on a comparison video for this machine and the Ender 3 S1 that just came out, so keep an eye out for that since I will be comparing which one was a better deal for your money.