3D printers have undergone constant evolution over the years. From more industrial applications, with high costs to reach compact and affordable solutions for an end user.
Shenzhen Creality 3D Technology Co, Ltd, or better known simply as Creality, is one of the most popular 3D printer manufacturers in the world. Created in 2014, it has multiple models of both filament and resin printers with different characteristics and price ranges.
This time we had to try the new Creality Ender-3 S1. A filament extrusion printer that allows you to print on multiple types of plastic quite quietly.
- Assembled printer size: 487x453x622mm
- Printing space size: 220x220x270mm
- Compatible filaments: PLA, TPU, PETG and ABS
- Compatible Filament Diameter: 1.75mm
- Direct extruder «Sprite» compatible with flexible filaments
- Layer thickness: Between 0.05 and 0.35mm
- Maximum print speed: up to 150mm/s
- Nozzle diameter: 0.4mm
- Printing accuracy ±0.1mm
- Maximum nozzle temperature: 260°C
- Maximum table temperature: 100°C
- flexible metal table
- Automatic table leveling
- Connection via USB-C and SD card
Box contents and assembly
3D printers are generally too large to come factory assembled. At least in this price range and segment that targets those more enthusiastic. This is why the Creality Ender-3 S1 requires a bit of pre-assembly. Mainly the Z axis, cables and the screen. As complex as it looks, this process didn’t take more than an hour in total, including getting the props out.
Apart from the 3D printer, Creality includes several useful accessories for the use of the printer. A spatula to remove the pieces from the sticky table (which we will talk about later), some small pliers to cut plastic and a needle to clean the nozzle. It also comes with a bit of filament for testing, although it is not enough to print anything significant.
Configuration and software
The initial configuration is quite simple. Following the instructions included in the box, we must make an initial adjustment to the artboard so that it is as horizontal as possible, with the four wheels that are in each corner. Once the coarse adjustment is done, the calibration must be performed using the touch sensor that is next to the extruder. In this way, the printer will compensate for any unevenness that the table has with respect to the plane, thus allowing a uniform first layer and ideal adhesion.
Although an automatic calibration is included, it is not 100% accurate. Even doing it several times, I had to slightly correct the height of the table while making the first impression so that it had good adhesion.
For the modeling of parts we can use free software such as Blender, to later export to STL. The STL file is then imported into the Creality Slicer where we can set multiple options such as adhesion aid, infill percentage, temperatures, etc.
To process the 3D models, Creality includes its own software: Creality Slicer, which at the time of writing this review is at version 4.8.2. The Creality Slicer is based on the Ultimaker Cura software but with specific settings for Creality printers. In any case, it is possible to use any type of slicer that allows exporting to GCODE.
The operating system of the 3D printer is quite complete, allowing several functions such as table calibration, preheating for ABS or PLA, general position adjustments, among others.
To load the files we can use the USB-C port or an SD card (which is included). Unfortunately this printer doesn’t have Wi-Fi so we won’t be able to remotely monitor the progress of our printing, unless you want to go the route of a Raspberry Pi with Octoprint.
Among the accessories that the printer includes, there is an adapter from SD card to USB.
Along with the printer, our friends at Creality passed us a roll of white ABS plastic and green PLA for testing. However, the Ender-3 S1 is not limited to just those types of plastic, also allowing PETG and TPU, among others. This also includes flexible filaments thanks to its direct extruder.
the minimum layer height resolution is 0.05mm which is pretty good for the price, although the Creality Slicer is set to 0.12mm as the highest resolution. The default speed is 50mm/s for inner layers and padding and 25mm/s for outer layers.
What is really surprising about this 3D printer is how quiet the motors are. In general, a 3D printer has two very noisy parts: The motors and the fans. In the case of the Ender3 S1, the sound of the motors was almost imperceptible, even up close. The fan makes the most noise, especially printing ABS as it requires additional cooling.
We tried of course with the already known Benchy. The ship that puts almost every hard-to-print part to the test. Unsupported arches, small circles, curves, etc. The result is an excellent print, with no traces of warping in the Z axis and very rarely plastic threads when retracting.
Adhesion is especially good but only on small objects. The flexible metal sheet allows for easy removal of glued pieces. However, ABS plastic is susceptible to warping at low ambient temperatures. This causes the corners of the print to curl up, which can compromise print quality and will affect the quality of the final product. It must be considered that this problem is typical of the type of plastic and can affect any printer that is not in a well-controlled environment. This is especially noticeable on larger objects like a headphone stand that we print.
Of course the printing time is determined by the size, complexity and amount of infill of the part. While the Paperweight logo or my face took at most a couple of hours, the headphone stand and a napkin holder took more than 10.
For these types of long prints, the Ender-3 S1 offers multiple safeguards. The first is a filament sensor that detects when the filament runs out so we can add more and continue printing. In addition, it allows you to continue printing from where you left off in the event of a power outage. This last case was very useful since at one point the power went out and effectively I was in the middle of a print. After turning the printer back on, it offered to continue printing from the layer it was on prior to cutting.
Conclusions and availability
In conclusion, the Creality Ender-3 S1 is an excellent option for those who want to get into 3D printing. It is not the cheapest option but it offers an excellent balance between quality of materials and printing and its price. For now it is not available but you will be able to find it soon in the official Creality store in Mercado Libre. It is also compatible with accessories such as a laser to make engravings.