Ender 3

Earlier entries see

Ender-3-02 2020-08-17 to 2021-02-17
Ender-3-01 2019-07 to 2020-08-17

2021-02-18 I ran into a situation where a customer from eBay purchased a set of upgraded bed springs and then wanted to return them because "they do not fit" … Well I was flabbergasted, I have sold scores of these upgraded spring sets and have installed them 5 or 6 times in my own equipment. It is pretty much a MUST DO for Creality owners as the original bed springs are so weak. Believe me, I have hundreds of sets of the OEM bed springs I'd love to sell if anyone wants to purchase them from me.

Meanwhile I sent several messages to the customer and am waiting for a reply as eBay holds the money I should have gotten for this sale. I am very frustrated with eBay changes to how they hold on to your money much too long as well but that is my fault for selling on that venue.

Here is the procedure for installing the upgraded bed springs in case you have not had the chance to do it yet. All of these steps will make a lot more sense once you've done it once and see what is going on.

My Procedure for installing upgrade bed springs

I will try to describe what has to be done in order to upgrade your hotbed springs. If you don't understand any part of this please contact me I will try to help.

Well it is normal to have to re-adjust your printer after replacing these springs. These are exactly the right springs for Ender 3 or CR-10. It is normal to have to re-adjust the Z-Axis limit switch.

This is the procedure I recommend and I have replaced many sets. Once you install the new springs, adjust the bed so the springs are neither too tight, or too loose.

If you look at the front of the machine, study the knobs, the position on the shaft shaft of the bed leveling screws. Try to adjust all 4 knobs (to match each other too) so that the springs are at about half their compression leaving plenty of adjustment on the screw to go up or down (by tightening or loosening.)

Then watching the nozzle bring the hotend down to barely touch the build plate. Once you do that then adjust the Z-Axis limit switch to match this new position. Watch when the limit switch is "made" (closed.) If you are careful you can get a great beginning point to now go ahead and adjust your bed level.

If you adjusted the Z-Axis limit switch properly you should not have to crank the bed leveling too tight or too loose to obtain the proper nozzle distance from the bed. If you have begun at a "middle" point by following my procedure then your springs will last longer because you did not have to crank them down so tightly as to cause premature failure.

I don't know how to make this more clear. Well some diagrams and pictures would help. I guess. Thanks for your business! I will try to help whenever I am contacted.

Oh yeah, if you want to purchase a set of upgraded bed springs, please see Upgraded Hotbed Leveling Spring 4-PCS Set of (4) Hotbed Leveling Springs Creality 3D Ender 3 / Ender 3 Pro CR-10, CR-20

Dusty Passsive Block
So earlier I was trying to make some documentation and I became a victim of "Dusty Passsive Block" I wanted to make a detailed image of the passive block and it looks like I did a decent job if it. I even captures how dirty my example printer is. If I am very motivated I will clean it and then include a before and after sequence to show you how diligent I was. Maybe not.

Creality-Dusty-Pasive-Block-01.png

2021-02-19 Today I was studying a Y-Axis Motor mount from an Ender 3 Pro I purchase early 2020 that was missing some parts (box damaged parts missing.) I bought several machines like this during the height of the shipping issues between US and China at the height of the pandemic PPE Madness because I was not able to get parts on a timely basis. I was being creative!

This was the first chance I had to start disassembling the little Ender 3 Pro. It turns out there is a much different design in use for the Y-Axis stepper motor mount. The Ender 3 V1 Y-Axis stepper motor mount is a side plate that uses T-Nuts (2) to attach the stepper motor to the side of the profile. While this is remarkably easy to adjust it leads to a point where it can become loose and cause issues. Additionally there might be some side-movement if the metal mounting plate is not secure or flexes in some manner.

Ender-Pro-Y-Axis-Stepper-Mount-01.png

As you can see this part is more similar to the CR-10 style of mounting which is much more sturdy. If you compare it to the Ender 3 V1 mount there is a major improvement in the Ender 3 Pro Y-Axis design.

Ender-V1-Y-Axis-Stepper-Mount-01.png

The Ender 3 V2 / Ender 3 Pro Y-Axis stepper motor plate mounts to the end of the profile using (3) screws. I much prefer the newer style mounting.

2021-02-25 I was making soime product images for the store and wanted to make use of them here for some documentation purposes.

Ender-3-Hotend-Carriage-Assy-Kit-Doc-02.pngEnder-3-Hotend-Carriage-Assy-Kit-Doc-01.png

So this is a close up look at the hotend carriage assembly. Besides the base metal construct, it is obviously comprised of a few other parts.

These are sourced from Shenzhen Creality 3D and I believe this assembly may now be available as a kit but we have been selling this on the store for quite some time.

As the image diagram shows two raised columns marked Point A that are threaded. That is where the hotend attaches using (2) M2 button head screws. Those screws are M3 X 16MM with lock washers.

The two other threaded holes marked Point B are where the fan conductor attaches and are (2) M3 X 6MM without lock washers, they are also button head. As you can see from the image Creality uses stainless hardware on this assembly.

2021-04-08 I have decided to stop selling power supplies on eBay. I jhave removed all listings of 12V and 24V supplies. I have had several bad experiences losing a lot of money because people either did not know how to install without damaging their new supply or were simply trying to defraud me.

So when you can't find any CR-10 or Ender 3 power supplies on eBay you will know why. eBay has really changed for worse for sellers. If you are a buyer you can steal my items, break them and return them, lie about anything and get your money back while the seller takes the loss. eBay wilL NEVER side with the seller so if you sell there like I do then you are stupid (like me.) It is really terrible now (for sellers.) Enough said I suppose :/

2021-04-10 Ender 3 Touchscreen Upgrade Kit

Ender_3_Touchscreen_Kit-01-small.png

I have decided to install the new Creality Ender 3 Touchscreen upgrade on my last remaining Ender 3 V1. This means I have to purchase a 32-bit motherboard for my Ender 3 V1 because the display unit will not work with 8-bit boards. I will go ahead and walk through the installation and try to cover some basic items BUT I cannot complete this project until I get a new motherboard for the Ender 3 V1.

Ender_3_Touchscreen_Kit-02-small.png

You get a manual and all the hardware needed to mount the new touchscreen onto your Ender 3.

Now you see just how many pins are used to communicate with the mainboard.

Ender_3_Touchscreen_Kit-03-small.png

So as we look at the screen it is very clean looking design. The idea to mount it on the side of the profile is ingenious and should prove to be sturdy.

I should go into some background. The target system is an Ender 3 V1 that I purchased in mid-2019. At the time it was my third Ender 3. It also blew up about 3 months after I got it. It lost the hotbed thermistor AND the mainboard. This was the machine that "inspired" me to create the Ender 3 Fuse. I was very unhappy, it was my newest machine yet it had failed so soon.

I replaced the hot bed thermistor and I replaced the destroyed mainboard with a used Ender 3 Pro Silent Mainboard, v1.1.5 that I found on eBay. It has seved wonderfully since then and I really love the "silent" operation. It is in great shape as I keep my printers well maintained and to be honest I did not use this printer that much as I used it's predecessors much much more!

So I have upgraded this printer with all the usual things, like upgraded hotbed springs, the new V2 acrylic extruder that has tensioning. I put some Capricorn tubing on it. I have kept it as close to stock as possible as I need a reference system for the Ender 3 V1 in order to keep supporting that unit at Hardware For Hackers. I believe these machines are going to be around for a long time, even the V1 units. I will always have an Ender 3 V1 but it will always be something of a "Frankenstein" system.

So that is the target machine, and I will begin by disconnecting mains power and I will remove the top cover from the CPU case.

Ender_3_Touchscreen_Kit-04-small.png

There we can access the ribbon cable that connects the current display to the mainboard. As you can see my display cable is rainbow colored but many are simply plain gray. So next remove the ribbon cable connector from the mainboard on the top side of the mainboard.

Ender_3_Touchscreen_Kit-05-small.png

Now we have to lay the unit on it's side gently and remove the single screw that holds the bottom of the case. This will allow you to slightly pull (but not bend) the case downward to allow you to gently extract the ribbon cable. Keep the cable safely stored with your old display screen in case you need to revert to the older display.

At this point you need to install the new ribbon cable that connects the new touchscreen display. Since it is keyed on the mainboard you can simply attach it the only way it fits. Then you route it back through the corner where you repeat the above procedure this time gently threading the cable through.

Now you can attach the new touchscreen to your Ender 3. Simply install the three T-Nuts and attach it to your profile near where the old display screen was installed.

Attach the ribbon cablefrom the mainboard to the socket in the back of the new touchscreen display.
I wonder how Creality expects non-engineers to upgrade their Ender 3 and Ender 3 Pro to touchscreens? I don't see it happening.

I will update this when I successfully get a 32-bit motherboard.

I can tell you one thing right now. Not many end users will be successful in upgrading their Ender 3 to touchscreen. Creality needs to do better than this if they want to sell a lot of touchscreen upgrades. MY SUGGESTION TO cREALITY is to offer a turnkey kit with a new 32-bit motherboard already updated to work with the touchscreen, include the touchscreen itself and cables. Then it will rock!

When I get all the parts together I guess I will be upgrading my Ender 3 V1 "Frankenstein" unit to 32-bit with a touchscreen. I really did not want todo all of that. I like my Ender 3 Pro Silent motherboard even if it is 8-bit. Now it would be a great idea for Hardware For Hackers to build such a kit and sell it as a value-added product but honestly this is the kind of thing Creality could do with ease and it would move the customer base onto the newest software trains in the 32-bit series.

There is also one other small thing. The Ender 3 original display mounted on the end of the 4040 profile. When you install your new touchscreen you are going to need a profile cover as Creality does not include one.

I am including a link to the assembled (.bin) firmware for Ender 3 and Ender 3 Pro 32-bit boards. Ideally you download the files from Creality and using a development system, assemble and build your image but many people may not be able to get a development system working to do this.

There are so many people now who absolutely are experts in working with flashing firmware, installing bootloaders, hacking features into their Creality operating code. I have not yet had a chance to explore this area and frankly since I am trying to start a parts depot business I cannot dwell on it that much. I need all the sleep I can ger as I am still recovering from a major health issue (2018.)

So you can laugh at me (and rightfully so) because in my typical arrogance I thought I could just do it when I should have done some research and realized I did not have the requisite parts to upgrade this printer. I certainly did not posess the requisite knowledge! I usually just figure it out as I go any way but this time I embarassed myself. I will do better next time.

Meanwhile I have a few of these excellent touchscreen upgrade kits for sale on Hardware For Hackers and since unlike me you have done all your research and gathered all the resources you need to actually install one of these. If you need the firmware and some extra instructions I found a 152M zip file with a video, the binary firmware and a useful document (pdf) on updating all the firmware you will need even if you have a 32-bit board.

I tried to upload it here but it violates the maximum file size so I put it on a Google Drive location. I will give that link to customers of course.

If someone wants a copy contact me at the store support email and I will help you get it.

The next link may not last long, I found it on eBay of all places. See https://onedrive.live.com/?authkey=%21AG1jjwkT45NOJ78&id=90540A736A1703FC%21144&cid=90540A736A1703FC I do not know the origin of all that either. Maybe it will be useful to someone. If it happens to not work when you try so, please let me know and I will remove this as to not mislead any one later.

Once you read all rhe documentation and evaluate the scope of this upgrade project you will (I bet!) agree with me that Creality needs to offer this with an already flashed mainboard that simply works. That would be so cool.

Enough about this damned touchscreen. Now I get to see why the highlight thing on the Ender 3 V2 is so dim. For those with poor eyesight (I have joined that group) I tell you it is damned hard to see. This rant belongs on a different page though so enough about that.

I have a lot of great parts you may need now or someday and you know how important a decent spares kit can be. Oh well! Please visit Hardware For Hackers! for Creality parts. I am trying to be the best resource in North America.

Oh one last thing, there was a silver lining with all this chaos that I reverts everything. I realized my cpu case fan had died. Now I will replace that and save an 8-bit mainboards life.

2021-04-20 I purchased a used 32-bit board from someone on eBay with 0 feedback and sure enough it has been a flaky transaction so far. The seller told me a connector was broken on the mainboard AFTER the sale was over. Then they have not yet shipped it even though it has been 7-days. It was about $26 with shipping. I am not worried about it, I will get a working board or a refund.

2021-05-20 I am about to begin testing the used main board I purchased from eBay. I guess the first thing I will do is wire it up on a testing rig to make sure it even works.

Creality-Ender-3-32-Bit-PCB-91.png

This is the actual mainboard that I purchased,,

I am loath to "upgrade" my last 8-bit Ender 3 V1. I would like to have a touch screen though and the only path forward is to upgrade to 32-bit. So maybe some day soon I will buy a used Ender 3 V1 from somewhere just so I can use my Ender 3 Pro Silent (8-bit) mainboard again. I know that seems a bit excessive but I still need to support the Ender 3 V1 for Hardware for Hacker customers.

Ender-3-Test-Jig-01.png
This is the Test Jig

I powered up this new board and it has non-Creality firmware installed. It is loaded with: TH3D UFW 2.25 03-18-2021 TH3D EZABL. I guess to get the touchscreen I have to reload this with the Creality firmware.

When I tried to get the motherboard to read the new sd card it cannot so there is something wrong with the card reader on the mainboard. I was sold a bad board. The person I bought it from had 0 feedback.

2021-12-17 I was working on Tinkercad tonight creating a cable holder that holds the bundle of wiring runninh out to the hotend. , I know that Tinkercad is primitive but the object I needed to create was very simple so everything worked well.

My_Cable_Holder_v3.png

If you don't attach the cable bundle going our to the hotend eventually it will cause a problem and can even get jammed in the Y-Axis drive path. This can damage your cables to the point where you have to replace or repair all the wiring going out to the hotend.

If your printer happens to be powered up when this happens the results are unpredictable. If you short out the 24V things could get pretty ugly considering that the stock Ender 3 does not have any fuses. Note: You should purchase the Ender 3 Fuse (TM) from Hardware for Hackers.

Anyway, I created an extruder-mounted cable holder useful for all versions of Ender 3 and CR-10 ( except for CR-10 v2 which already has something to hold the cable bundle.) It is made from ABS and I used 100-percent infill for strength. Since it is ABS it is also somewhat flexible which is perfect for this application.

Installation is quite simple. You remove the tensioner screw from the extruder feed, then remove the screw attaching the the extruder base assembly to the stepper motor. Then you insert that same screw into the cable holder (round hold.) Then re-attach the tensioner screw. There should be enough clearance to tighten that screw normally. Then attach the hotend cable bundle to the new mounting using a small tie-wrap. That is it. I have installed this on an Ender 3 V1 (without a tensioner adjustment screw.)m and Ender 3 V2, and a CR-10 (with an adjustment screw, of course.)

SInce it was printed with ABS it should last a long time.

My_Cable_Holder_v3-Example.png

Oh, I suppose you should have the file to print. Here is My_Cable_Holder_v3.stl My_Cable_Holder.zip

2022-02-08 So I have one last Ender 3 which started out as V1 but has V2 extruder and an Ender 3 Pro mainboard which is the first generation silent motherboard which some say is not so silent but it is very quiet in my experience. It is a sort of "Frankenstein" nachine but it works so well! I have been very happy with it.

Now however I am going to revisit the previous attempt at upgrading it to a modern mainboard and touchscreen. I have a new mainboard and will probably make a second attempt at getting this done properly.

I am not sure when I will begin but all the parts are sitting on the workbench next to the printer.

In addition, I have a Dual-Z axis upgrade waiting for it as well. These are becoming hard to find, it is the Creality version not a third party version.

I have not yet decided to use a glass build plate as I happen to like the hotbed plate and sticket combination but the truth is those are becoming "unobtainium" as time passes and at least the glass plates don't have to be replaced every time you nick the surface of the sticker.

I have a glass build plate waiting for it but I still have some quantity of the stickers and fiberglass plates so I am in no hurry and it is still a spare part for the Ender 3 V2 as well (same part.)

I was motivated tp write something new today as while I was leveling the machine to print something in PETG I noticed the screws that held the build plate to the adjustment wheels were turning in their hole and made it hard to get a precise adjustment when trying to make the adjustment.

I managed to get it close enough right now but I am going to see about some thread locker on the top side of the aluminum plate to hold those screws in place.

Updated: Here is one of the hotbed screws with thread locker applied. I did this and so far they are not slipping. I made sure that none of the thread locker was above the buid plate surface.

Ender_3_hotbed_thread_locker.png

2022-02-10 I performed the upgrade yesterday and it went well. The old Ender 3 V1 nowhas a 32-bit mainboard 4.2.7 and the old display has een replaced with a touchscreen display. I used the new printer to create a 4040 profile end cap so everything looks nice. This was my last Ender 3 V1. It did have an Ender 3 Pro silent mainboard (8-bit) and I was m more than happy with it the way it was.

This is the proverbial "before" image.

Ender_3_V1-2022-02-08-01.png

So during the course of the work to upgrade the machine I did take a few pictures. The board is a 32-bit version 4.2.7 unit that accompanied a new touchscreen display unit.

Ender_3_V1-Upgrade-2022-02-08-01.png

I removed the display-mounting bracket You can see the new touchscreen display sitting in the background.

Ender_3_V1-Upgrade-2022-02-08-02.png

Then I installed the new touchscreen display onto the 4040 profile.That was quick and easy.

Ender_3_V1-Upgrade-2022-02-08-03.png

All of my wiring is already labeled on this machine as this is not it's first "upgrade".

The only confusion I had was where to connect the two fans on the new motherboard. I cheated and looked at someone else's upgrade articles until I found a clear picture of their finished installation. I was not able to find an accurate layout of the 32-bit board that showed which connector for the fans. It seems to be correct

This is not a tutorial and I am not going to cover every step. It was trivial to install and everything worked perfectly. I could not fin dmy "genuine" Creality 4040 profile end caps so I printed one with PLA. I tried to use ABS first but it started curling away from the bed plate so I had to abort and switch to PLA.

Ender_3_V1-Upgrade-2022-02-08-05.png

This is the proverbial "after" picture.

2022-02-23 I started using a glass build plate because I was lazy. When you switch from the hotbed sticker and fiberglass plate to a glass plate you must re-adjust the Z-Axis before you power up. Otherwise you will risk scoring the surface of the glass plate. So manually re-adjust the limit switch, artificially higher in the beginning.
I have an old method basically I move the hotend to the center of the build plate (with power off) and adjust the Z-Axis limit switch bracket so that it "makes" the switch when the nozzle is touching the build plate glass surface. Before I do this, I always adjust the bed leveling knobs so they are fully tightened. This way you can raise the hotbed as you loosen them up during your Z-Axis alignment.
If you don't like those old clips that held the sticker and fiberglass plate on the hotbed you can find the metal clips that resemble the Ender 3 V2 or CR-10 V2 style clips.
Since I do not own a BL-Touch unit (and never will again) I am doing it all manually on every printer I own. I am fine with that.
So my next "upgrade" will be an X and Y-Axis tensioner/ Believe me it is very hard to locate an Y-Axis tensioner for an Ender 3 V1 profile nowadays. The newew Ender 3 units all use the larger profile for the Y-Axis. Since I was a Creality parts dealer for awhile I accumulated one way back then but never really felt the need to do all these upgrades as everything can still be adjusted manually.

2022-02-38 I performed the Dual Z-Axis on my "Frankenstein" Ender 3 and I did take some pictures. I will try to get those uo soon.

Creality-Dual-Z-Axis-Upgrade-01-small.jpg

Overall it went well and I tested the unit printing ssveral pieces in the last few days and all has gone well.
You really have to pay attention to detail during the installation and modification of your Ender 3. This upgrade touched almost everything within the printer.

One of the observations is that the included dual z-axis cable is much too long for an Ender 3. These cables are also used on CR0-10 which can explain the length.

Creality-Dual-Z-Axis-Upgrade-03-small.jpg

It looks like they'd be too long for that ad well and I will verify that soon when I perform a CR-10 upgrade later.

Creality-Dual-Z-Axis-Upgrade-04-small.jpg

One of the other important differences between the genuine Creality Dual Z-Axis upgrade is that they also included a secondary "pillow block" for the original Z-Axis T8 rod which stabilizes the left-hand side drive. Lastly with the genuine Creality version, you of course get genuine Creality parts and that includes the stepper motor which in many third party kits are off bran generic stepper motors.

Here is the completed upgrade.

Creality-Dual-Z-Axis-Upgrade-05-small.jpg

I have been printing various items on the newly-upgraded Ender 3 and the machine has been doing well since the 32-bit upgrade and after the Dual Z-Axis upgrade.

So here is my shameless plug as I still have a couple of these upgrades left for sale at Hardware For Hackers and once they are sold that will be the last as I am shutting down the parts business. See Creality 3D® Ender 3 / PRO / V2 Dual Z-axis Upgrade Kit to purchase.

2022-03-02 I guess the last upgrade waiting are the X and Y Axis belt tensioners. I will be doing those shortly and will make some pictures of those. As I mentioned before it was not easy to locate a Y-Axis tensioner for an old Ender 3 V1 chassis but I was lucky. I doubt those will be available for much longer.

Ender-3-V1_X-Y-Axis-Tensioners-small.jpg

As you may have supposed, it is the Y-Axis tensioner that is difficult to find as the Ender 3 V1 uses a 2040 profile instead of the more modern units which used a 4040 profile for the Y-Axis assembly.

2022-03-06 I upgraded my Frankenstein 32-bit Ender 3 "V1" a few days ago, replacing the original X-Axis passive block with the adjustable version.

Ender-3-V1_X-Axis-Tensioner-small.jpg

Then I also upgraded the Y-Axis passive block to an adjustable version. I have to say that replacing the Y-Axis part was far ore difficult and time-consuming.

Ender-3-V1_Y-Axis-Tensioner-small.jpg

As for how to identify this machine goes, I no longer really know whato to call it other than ue the aboive description.

I made a few images and will get them posted shortly.