To my surprise a few weeks later I received an email from Banggood stating that I had won and to email over my address, at first i thought that it was just a spam email.
After a few weeks of waiting the printer arrived, I couldn’t believe it, I just got a £300 printer for FREE!
On with the build!
I then unboxed and went through building the printer. I followed the instructions which were very comprehensive (other than a few confusing sentences).
It took me roughly 2 hours to build the printer.
I ran through a test print, printing out a benchy to make sure that everything was working as expected. It looked perfect so ordered some more filament for future projects.
The addiction begins…
So now it starts, I spend the rest of my time glued to thingiverse deciding what to print! Although my son made this easier by constantly bugging me to print him a mini combine harvester. This was a difficult print, the thing prints as one, but the combine kept on fusing to the harvester so it wouldnt spin. After a lot of calibration I finally made it work and he was delighted to get a new toy for free!
Now I have the printer running, and have printed multiple useful prints, Laptop wall mount, Google Home wall mount, Microphone stand for my large desk etc. (and more toys)
Time for the upgrades!
The Ender3 is a brilliant little printer for the price, however it does have some issues that can be easily resolved with a few upgrades.
Upper Filament Guide – Unfortunately not a great upgrade, and one that I scrapped. I have put this here to recommend avoiding this. (I have better options below) It is supposed to keep the filament further away from the printer and stop it wearing the extruder arm. However I found that it made horrible squeaking noises so that was out.
Lower Filament Guide – This brilliant little print stops the filament from rubbing against Z Screw and getting grease on it which ruins prints. I recommend the linked guide as it doesn’t curl over the filament, again I found any that curled over the top would rub and cause a horrible squeak.
Fan Cover – I found that little bits of filament would drop from the hot end into the fan that was open on the ender 3 case, this covers that up and also puts the directions for bed up and down.
Hero Me Gen3 remix – Parts don’t get cooled fast enough with the standard cooler, therefore I printed this one, it focuses the air perfectly under the nozzle for really good cooling.
This version is for the new Ender3’s as they have smaller screws than the older models.
Extruder Knob – This print was one I didn’t know I needed until I printed it, this allows for easier retraction and extrusion by twisting the knob it will move the gear to easily feed filament.
If you plan to upgrade to the MK8 Dual Gear Extruder Arm this part wont fit due to larger gears.
Side Spool Holder – I had issues with the filament dragging and getting stuck due to the sharp angle that it was pulling at, this causes unnecessary wear on the extruder arm and gears. I found this side spool holder which moves the spool to the side of the printer, next to the extruder arm causing much less force to be required when extruding and less rubbing on the extruder arm.
Spool Holder – This spool holder uses bearings to allow the filament to roll around much easier, reducing the drag on the extruder and in turn reducing the wear on the stepper motor.
SKR 1.3 - A great upgrade to silence those stepper motors, not only that the SKR has a 32bit chip which means more space for new features and faster gcode processing. The TMC2209 Stepper Motor Drivers really do make a massive difference when it comes to the noise of the printer.
Now the only annoying thing are the fans… still on my to do list.
Capricorn Bowden Tube – This Bowden Tube appears to be much better than the one shipped with the Ender 3, it is much more slick to the touch and a little more sturdy, this means the filament passes through it with ease, also the tight diameter means the filament has little room to flex and cause retraction issues. I found that the shipped bowden tube had also melted at the end and had filament stuck to it which leads me to believe it wasn’t installed very well at the factory.
MK8 Dual Gear Extruder Arm – My extruder arm broke within a few months of use, I didn’t notice until I was having bad under extrusion and also seeing slippage on the extruder gear. I took the arm apart to clean the gear and found a tiny crack near the screw for the idler wheel, this was enough to stop the arm working at all due to the flex it added. This can be combated by printing a new extruder arm but I decided to upgrade to a dual gear option which results in:
- Even less potential slippage
- Stronger spring for the extruder arm
- Metal body stops wear from filament rub
PEI Magnetic Bed – This is an excellent upgrade from the stock bed, makes prints super smooth on the bed and sticks really well. I haven’t had a single failed print due to adhesion on this surface, also you can easily take stuff off once cooled without much effort or by flexing the magnetic plate for larger prints.
All in I think I have spent no more than £100 on upgrades and have a brilliant printer, the prints that I get out now are near perfect bed adhesion is excellent with the stock bed, however I ripped mine by overheating a print during testing and am awaiting a new PEI Magnetic build plate which I think will be my last upgrade for a little while!
It would also be great to hear about anyone else experience with this printer.