Hello everybody and welcome to another video tutorial. Today we’ll be upgrading the machine to use an all metal hot end thanks to a couple of mods that I designed myself as well as installing the new CR Touch which is crealities BLTouch alternative. Full disclaimer, this is not a paid sponsorship, I was sent the CR Touch free of charge for testing purposes and the opinions that you will see here are my own. Furthermore, undertake this at your own risk, and I’m in no way responsible if damages may occur as a result.
Before starting to design anything, I first needed to see how the hot end was mounted to the machine. So this meant dissembling the unit and seeing which portions could be reused and which one needed to be changed. For the components that I’m building today, I did find it easier to do the test prints with PLA, so long as I monitored the temperatures. I then used my SLA printer to print with engineering materials.
I went with the E3D V6 direct kit since even with the exchange rates it came to almost the same amount as a knockoff and I knew the quality that I was getting. Another benefit was the online resources that they provided to the user. They had diagrams which included important measurements and even had the steps for modifying the firmware. So I knew I was going to have the proper thermistor settings enabled without having to do additional research.
With all of this information, I began designing the adapter for the hot end itself. Now in the stock version, the main cooling fan was attached to an outer case which made nozzle changes more difficult because of the lack of access. So I knew ahead of time that I would need to keep this area as clear as possible. What I ended up modelling was an adapter which fit into the stock gear section of the filament feed and used a Zip tie to help ensure that it remained in place. Although the zip tie wasn’t necessary, it was an additional precaution to make sure that everything held together.
While the finished part was printing on the machine, I began making the changes to the firmware. I changed the thermistor type to number 5 which was the 100k thermistor -ATC Semitec 104GT-2. With that portion changed, it was now time to set the maximum Temperatures for the hot end. Because this was a higher temperature hot end, it was important to take into account how the firmware worked. For safety reason, the firmware automatically reduces the max temperature reading by 15 degrees on the LCD screen. So to fully tighten the nozzle, we’ll first have to increase the max temperature by this amount and lower it back down. With this hot end, the maximum temperature is 285 degrees Celsius. So if you do this, you’ll want to make sure that you turn back down the maximum to 285 degrees after properly tightening the nozzle. I made a previous video showing how to do nozzle changes on this machine, which I’ll include a link in the description below.
By this point I had already decided that I would mount the cooling fan to the same screws as the CR Touch, therefore I modelled and began testing this portion together as soon as possible. With the mount for the CR Touch, there’s a little of play involved, therefore it’s important to keep this in mind when installing your part. In my first design I created only one cooling fan however the parts weren’t cooling properly in overhanging areas, so I redesigned this to a secondary output that ran onto the other side of the nozzle and although the designs don’t necessarily match they do however allow for minimal material use and a more streamlined path for the air to flow.
At this point, I began installing the finalized parts that I had 3d printed and replacing the BLTouch with the CR Touch. One thing I noticed was that in my case, I had to use trial and error to manually set the Z-Offset for the machine. To do this, I’m going to level the bed by going to “Prepare” + “Bed Levelling”. Afterwards, I went to “Prepare” + “Move Axis” and lowered the nozzle to the zero mark. Next, I went to “Control” + “Motion” + “Z-Offset” and began tweaking the value until I got a perfect first layer. Just make sure to save your settings otherwise it won’t be stored, so go back one menu after setting the Z-offset and choose “Store Settings”. This meant quite a few failed test prints, but was the best solution I found given the issues I encountered. For some reason, the nozzle would hit the bed whenever I used the proper method of calibration. The only difference was that I had compiled by own version of the firmware by using the source code which had been provided by Creality. In future, I would like to see them update this source code to reflect the changes which may have occurred as well as updating Marlin to one of it’s more recent releases. Other than that, I didn’t have any problems with the CR Touch, so I’m hoping that they’ve addressed the quality control issues which were present with the aftermarket BLTouch.
Now, to make things easier for any of you who may wish to try it out for yourselves, I’m making both the files and the firmware available for download on my ThingIverse Page. So would I say that the CR Touch and Hot End Upgrade was worth it in the end. I would say that yes, depending on how you intend to use this machine. I’m personally swapping out materials fairly constantly, so not having to worry about the bed levelling because of the temperatures changes makes the CR Touch Worth it in my case. As for the hot end upgrade, well that depends on the materials you intend to use. I do want to use some of my higher temperature materials, and I’ve been unable to utilize because of the limitations of the hot end, so once again in my case this does become relevant.
Also, for those of you who actually want to use this video as a guide, keep in mind that I will be posting the transcript on my main website to make it easier to follow along. Alternatively, please feel free to slow down the video by hitting the gear icon on the bottom right-hand corner of your screen and to changing the speed settings.
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