I recently picked up my first 3D Printer, the Creality Ender 3. For those who don’t know, the Creality Ender 3 is a very popular 3D printer because it is a low-cost printer with a decent build volume and high quality prints out of the box. There’s a large community around this printer and with it, lots of support and upgrades available. Instead of writing another guide for assembly and upgrades to the Ender 3 3D Printer, I decided to provide links to the articles and videos I actually used for assembly and printable upgrades for the Creality Ender 3 3D Printer.
Creality Ender 3 Assembly
The Ender 3 comes partially assembled. It very well packaged, and comes with the main tools you’ll need to put the Ender 3 together but does require some assembly. There are instructions provided, but they are pretty high level and reminiscent of IKEA pictogram, with no written instructions. While there’s lots of detailed articles for building the Ender 3, I found the CHEP Creality Ender 3 Assembly Guide For Beginners video pretty helpful.
The video show some steps that are in a different order than the Creality’s instructions, but the extra tips help assemble the Ender 3 so it is square, reducing problems later and improving print quality.
My suggestion is to take your time assembling your Ender 3. Watch the video before you open the box. Check to make sure you have all the parts in the parts list. Then watch the video again, pausing as you follow the steps. The more care you take in assembly now will pay off when you use the printer with more accuracy and precision in your prints.
One area that I differed from the video was the type of clamps used. In the video, multiple bar clamps are used with a carpenter’s square to make sure all the members are square. Instead, I used a 90 degree corner clamp I normally use for woodworking. This simplified the setup to one clamp while keeping everything square in different planes.
Most Useful Printable Upgrades for the Creality Ender 3
One of the great things about this 3D printer is that there are so many printable upgrades for the Ender 3. Search in Thingiverse and you’ll find an overwhelming number of upgrades available. That’s why I’ve created a shortlist of printable upgrades that improve print quality and functionality for your Ender 3 3D Printer.
Ender 3 Fan Cover
The Ender 3 has a fan just under the build plate and can easily have small debris such as bits of filament fall in. This fan cover gives some protection while not obstructing air flow too much.
This design also has a nice reminder for which way to turn the screws when bed levelling. While the design is suppose to reuse the stock screws, I couldn’t get it to work and had to find longer screws.
Download the model at: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3505548
These clips help keep the cables out of the way and avoid snags from the build plate. This design works for both the ribbon cable and the power cable.
Download the model at: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2960375/files
A filament guide is highly recommended upgrade for the stock Ender 3. It helps make sure the filament doesn’t bind or touch the z-axis screw while printing. The filament guides I chose uses roller bearings for better wear resistance and less friction. There’s an upper guide close to the filament holder and another one that fits beside the extruder.
Instead of using 608 roller skate bearings as the design calls for, I used grooved bearings, so I didn’t need to print the spacers or the roller.
Upper filament guide:
Download the model at: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3428924
Lower Filament Guide:
Download the model at: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3052488
I like this tool holder as it stays out of the way, and holds the included cutters securely. There’s also a small slot in the front that I use to hold some post-it notes (for bed levelling).
Download the model at: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4527262
LED Light clips
Proper light makes a big quality of life improvement when using the 3D printer. It’s very helpful for inspecting the first few layers of a print or checking the progress mid way.
I designed these LED light clips for the IKEA Dioder led light strips. You can use a set of 2 for one strip or double up to have lights on both sides. I soldered a small ON/OFF switch for easy control.
Z Axis Screw Knob
This knob helps raise the z-axis quick. This particular design is threaded onto the existing lead screw instead of press-fit.
Download the model at: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3978825
This other knob fits onto the extruder that helps when changing filaments. I find the octagonal design makes it easy to see the extruder turn during printing.
Download the model at: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3519731
Console PCB Cover
The circuit board for the console on the Ender 3 is exposed. This cover helps keep the electronics from getting damaged.
Download the model at: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2858209
Do you have any other mods or upgrades to the Ender 3 3D Printer? Add them to the comments below!