Hello everyone! I’m Jeff. I recently answered the call for technical writers for the Creality forums. After a brief email conversation with Kevin, he waved his magic wand and now I’m here! During our emails, we discussed a first article and the subject of my CR-10 came up. So, we’re going to take a look at my 2017 Creality CR-10 and what has been done to it over the years to date.
In 2017 I decided to use a small savings pot to do something outrageous. So, I bought a 3D printer. I did lots of research and it came down to two printers. The Prusa and the Creality CR-10. The CR-10, at the time, was making serious waves in the 3D printing community. Here was a good 3D printer at a consumable price point and decent quality in both its construction, size, and its output. Decision made; I went in search of the cheapest place I could get. That place, at the time, was Gearbest. Things have changed now of course, and you can get one directly from Creality, Amazon, and lots of other online retailers. The CR-10 was a game-changer in so many ways.
Then it arrived. Now I’m going to highlight something here that I hope I can help with for future articles. Manuals, and Chinese-English translations. Fortunately for me, I’d watched Joel on 3D Printing Nerd incessantly as well as Uncle Jessie and more, and my technical background meant that I was not scared of the thing. The translation in the manual was not the greatest and, in my view, this can be damaging to the product’s impression on the end-user. I hope that the Creality Forums will become the go-to place to address this.
Needless to say, I took some photos for my first 3D printed model. It is too precious.
Still had the film over the display look. Ah! Heady days 🙂 That filament though. It smelled like fudge! I never was able to get anymore but first impressions, and print, did not disappoint. For many people “Lucky Cat” will be their first print. Mine is in the cupboard now with the nice glasses. If you look carefully you can see some ghosting on the print. Most likely because I didn’t have things tight enough.
The Urge to Upgrade!
Upgrades. If you don’t own a 3D printer already and you’re just here for research then be aware. The need for upgrades might bite you hard
The original CR-10 had a couple of issues that have since been rolled into the latest versions. One of these was quite dangerous. The original had no cable strain cover where the cable supplying the bed heater was soldered to the heating element. The bed is in constant motion during a print and that would damage the connection resulting in the cable breaking at the solder joint. This led to bed heater failures and, even worse, electrical shorting. The community quickly responded and produced a cable strain that attached to the bed and held the cable properly. It was one of my first prints, and it’s still on there doing its job.
The original, yellow, ABS plastic extruder assembly was also prone to be eaten by the PLA. The extruder cog bites into the filament and gives it a saw edge. As the extruder advances and retracts the filament, the filament would cut through the extruder plastic. That’s now been replaced with a nice aluminium one. The new machines now have these as well, and they’re awesome!
Unless your printer is in a dedicated shed, garage, or room, there is one thing that you are not going to be able to escape. Noise. FDM (Fused Deposition Manufacturing) printers are noisy; unsurprisingly. There are three fans on the CR-10. Two in the control box and one on the hot end to supply cooling to the nozzle, and they are loud. To make things quieter I’ve replaced the hot end fan with a Noctua NF-A4x10 5v fan. The fans in the power supply have been replaced as well, but only because the bearings failed, and they sounded like a sick jet aircraft trying to take off.
The original levelling knobs were also poor. They’re tiny! So, I printed some wheels I got from thingiverse. I can’t find the actual ones I originally made, but here’s an updated wheel if you have the original tiny little knobs. It wasn’t a great experience, but the new machines now have the large wheels or even bed levelling! So, there may be another upgrade in the future. That might be a bit more extensive as it will likely require a new control board. I’ll be sure to document it.
The most intrusive upgrade was to add dampeners to the stepper motors. These are simple rubber dampeners that are usually from large photo-copying machines and required me to remove all the steppers and install the dampeners. Although I think that the dampeners are now being made properly, instead of being second-hand from an old machine. They made such a difference! The motion of the stepper motors became almost silent. It was lovely. These days better control modules on the mainboard allow for near-silent operation from the steppers. Things are moving incredibly quickly in this arena.
It’s the best because of You!
There’s a lot of good reasons the CR-10 became so popular. Not just price, but it’s a straight-up workhorse. Its simplicity made it reliable. More importantly though, perhaps the most important, is that Creality actually listened to the community. I know right? When I bought my printer it was a little bit before the argument about the use of the Marlin control firmware. Now? The CR-10 is fully Open Sourced. Almost all the companies building 3D printers in the Asian market have a clone of the CR-10 and the community is still building on the machine. It’s become a cornerstone of the 3D printing community, just as the Prusa and the Rep-Rap before it. The new CR-10’s have frame stiffeners, auto-bed leveling, a build-plate this is actually flat (I know right?!) We can get purpose-built enclosures to deal with draughts (I love mine) and they are very reliable. Some people reading this will refute that. I understand, and if I am able, I will write articles that are clear, precise and help everyone here to get their machines working as intended.
So thank you to Kevin for inviting me in. I've already been asked to sort out some decent instructions for installing a BL Touch bed leveling sensor. Most of my articles will be about my CR-10, but they will likely be applicable to the other printers in the line-up. Although I might have to borrow an Ender-3 from a friend if he wants his BL Touch installation manual.
Ending but will continue to
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