CR-6 SE 3D Printer Improvements

20,460

92

76

Introduction: CR-6 SE 3D Printer Improvements

About: Welcome to my Instructables channel where I'll share my wacky and unique creations that hopefully others find useful, or better yet, inspire an evolution of even better ideas!

UPDATE 18 JAN 2021:

A member requested a modified filament housing sensor housing to pair with an upgraded extruder. File is at Step 15.

UPDATE 31 DEC 2020:
A new version of the bearing pulley wheels has been added. I found a problem where they were losing their grip on the metal bearing. The new version should be slightly tighter when first installing and it also has a small hole added to allow a drop of glue to help keep them in place better. File is at Step 14.

UPDATE 12 DEC 2020:

Made a new version of the spool holder. Its universal so no need to change the setup when you move to a different filament spool size. File is at Step 13.

UPDATE 30 OCT 2020:

Added STL files for a 33mm diameter spool holder that was requested in the comments section.
Let me know if anyone else needs a different size. Files are at Step 12.
_____________________________________________________________________________

PROJECT SUMMARY: I'll go through a few glaring problems (IMO) with Creality's newest printer, show you my redesigned components, and lastly how to install it all so you too can vastly improve the usability of your CR-6 SE printer.

This is an entry in the Make it Move Contest! Please vote if you like it.

PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS:

  1. Absolutely no drastic changes or permanent modifications to the printer are needed for this project. In fact, once you print all the new parts, the only thing done to the printer is to remove two screws (and then those same two screws are reinstalled.)
  2. The printer itself is used to make the parts needed
  3. Purchased parts are only 6 bearings, 3 screws, and one LED* ($10)

(* No soldering or wiring needed. We'll just be using the clear plastic head of the LED)

For reference, here's the Kick Starter link that Creality used to promote and do the initial sale of the printers:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1001939425/cr...

Supplies

  1. (QTY1) M8 Allen Head Screw, 50-65mm Long
  2. (QTY 2) M4 Allen Head Screw, 10mm Long
  3. (QTY 6) Standard Skateboard Bearings (608ZZ). I got These
  4. (QTY 1) Standard 5mm LED

TOOLS:

  1. Allen Wrenches for the M4 & M8
  2. Wire Snips to cut the leads from the LED

Step 1: Problem 1: Side Mounted Filament Holder

This was the biggest issue for me. By mounting the filament spool holder to the side; the footprint of the printer is unnecessarily huge. This position (and the "fold-away" feature) almost doubles the required width space for the printer!

Now, if you have the room, this may not be an issue whatsoever. For me, it meant the printer sat on the kitchen table, then the kitchen counter, then in front of the TV, and finally out to the garage, until I was able to finish making these modifications. It now sits next to my other printers in my small cramped office space.

While my issue is minor as far as Creality is concerned, something that should be a consideration for Creality to assess is Printer Farms. Small companies may consider this printer as the foundation of a Printer Farm (several printers under one roof cranking out parts for the business). By making these modifications the linear printer density can be increased drastically. (For example: 5 printers fit side by side using my configuration versus only 3 if left in the factory configuration on a standard 8 foot long work bench.)

My custom designed parts eliminate this issue (or in the least provide an alternative option).

Step 2: Problem 2: Filament Sensor

The automatic filament sensor is a new addition and a great selling point for this level and price range of printer. (The sensor is the part in the right side of the first image above with two screws holding it in place.)

However it has a serious flaw. The Filament Guides, which are metal (brass most likely), have sharp edges. See second image above. That should be a soft radius not a chamfer. Only a few small prints in and I noticed a pile of filament powder that these sharp edges scraped off. (This is a case where cheap plastic parts would actually work better than going to metal. Better yet would be if they were made of Teflon.)

I haven't seen others complaining of this problem, so it may be I got one with parts that were not machined correctly.

My redesign of the filament sensor housing fixes this problem.

Step 3: Problem 3: Filament Sensor to Extruder Gap

The last problem was probably the most irritating one, and the one you ask yourself, "Did anyone try this before they sent it into production?"

In the image above, that gap is directly behind one of the vertical supports and not easily seen when in front of the printer (that picture was taken from the backside of the printer looking forward). And the gap is too small to get your fingers into.

So when you load filament it goes into the sensor on the right, then out of the sensor to the left, and has to span that gap and enter the hole in the extruder (the part on the left). However, since the filament comes off a spool it has a memory of that shape and will never leave the sensor perfectly straight as it wants to curl back into a round shape, and as such, it would NEVER just go into the extruder. You'd have to use tweezers or some small tool to manipulate it with one hand while pushing with the other hand all while not being able to see what you were doing.

My redesign completely fixes this issue by simply eliminating the gap.

Step 4: Fix 1&2: Filament Sensor Housing (Part 1 of 3)

With the fixes, I'll start at the bottom and work upwards. So first is the filament sensor housing. (This addresses 2 of the 3 problems, thus "Fix 1&2".)

  1. Unplug the sensor, remove the two screws securing it, and gently pry it open
  2. Extract the three parts needed - the PCB, the pivoting rocker arm (and spring), and small bearing
  3. Print the two halves of the new filament sensor housing
  • Parts were designed in Autodesk's Fusion 360
  • Slicing done in CURA

Print settings (for all parts unless otherwise noted):

  1. Set to the highest quality (I used a .3mm nozzle at .12mm layer)
  2. For durability and since the parts are small, print them solid (100% Infill)

Step 5: Fix 1&2: Filament Sensory Housing (Part 2 of 3)

  1. Reassemble the PCB, rocker arm, and bearing into the new housing as shown in the images above (all fits are slight press fit and require no tools)
  2. For the LED, trim the leads off, and insert just the head into the top half of the housing (this is a 5mm LED)

TIP: Cut a small cube of low density foam (ESD foam if you have any) and place over the PCB. This will help isolate the PCB and lock it in place. Don't cut it too thick, a small amount of compression when the top halve is attached is all you need.

NOTE: Normally you want to be very careful when handling electronics as static electricity can easily damage them (depending on the type of components on the board), but I put this guy through torture trials with all my design iterations and multiple assembly/disassembly counts. And it still works fine, so take precaution with it, but realize it can take a lot of handling.

Step 6: Fix 1&2: Filament Sensory Housing (Part 3 of 3)

  1. Continue the assembly by attaching one of the skateboard bearings and grooved pulley (again these are slight press fit, no tools or glue needed)
  2. Attach the filament retainer arm with a 4mm socket head screw
  3. Reattach the new sensor to the printer using the same two screws that held the original one in place

NOTE: The LED head sits directly over the surface mount LED on the PCB, and while there is obviously no direct attachment, the light gets directed up and out the LED head quite well.

Step 7: Fix 3: Filament Spool Resposition (Part 1 of 4)

Just as with the previous steps, print the parts and then install a skateboard bearing, a pulley, and the filament retainer arm as shown in the images above.

NOTE: The filament retainer arm for this position is different from the other one. Its much wider to allow it to be accessed from the front of the printer

Step 8: Fix 3: Filament Spool Resposition (Part 2 of 4)

This part simply slips over the Z axis feed screw holder. As before no tools or glue needed. It just snaps into place.

Step 9: Fix 3: Filament Spool Resposition (Part 3 of 4)

The filament holder needs the other four skateboard bearings, just stacked one on top of each other. Use the M8 bolt to then attach the spool holder to the filament holder.

NOTE: These parts can be printed at much lower density. I did 25% for the filament holder, and 10% for the spool holder.

Step 10: Fix 3: Filament Spool Resposition (Part 4 of 4)

The filament spool holder assembly simply wraps around the carry handle and snaps into position. The spool lock part at the bottom is optional but fully locks it in place so it won't move from side to side.

NOTE: I almost exclusively use Overture Filament, so the spool holder is sized for their spools. If someone wants another size just message me. But, I did also add some M4 threaded holes on the backside of the spool holder for future add-on capability to secure spools with larger IDs (which I do have a few of.)

Step 11: STL Files to 3D Print

Here are all the files you'll need to print the parts. If one doesn't work for you, message me and I'll send you a modified file.

Step 12: UPDATE 30 Oct 2020 - 33mm Diameter Spools

A nominal size, but I also included an over and under size just in case.

(0.75mm difference in the diameters.)

Step 13: UPDATE 12 Dec 2020 - Universal Spool Holder

With this model, you use the spool holder that came with the printer (Second picture green arrow).
Insert it from the back side and 1/4 turn it the same way.

(Another benefit with this setup is you won't need the large bolt and skateboard bearings.)

Step 14: UPDATE 31 Dec 2020 - Bearing Pulley

I found on mine that the bearing pulley parts started to get loose and slip on the skateboard bearings. This updated file has a slightly smaller ID (0.1mm) and a small hole to add a drop of glue into to help it stay in place.

Step 15:

A member upgraded from the stock creality extruder to this:

https://3dprintingcanada.com/products/official-cre...

Due to the height difference, a modified version of the filament senor housing was needed. See file below.

Step 16: All Finished

Thanks for taking the time to read through my Instructable. Please send me any questions or comments you might have. I try to answer them all. Stay safe and healthy! Happy 3D Printing!

FINAL NOTE: If you don't need to reposition your spool to the top, you can still print and install just the filament sensor housing and get the benefits it provides. Leave off the skateboard bearing, pulley, and retainer, and simply feed in the filament as normal from the left side.

Remember to vote in the Make it Move Contest!

Make it Move Contest 2020

Participated in the
Make it Move Contest 2020

8 People Made This Project!

Recommendations

  • Fruit and Veggies Speed Challenge

    Fruit and Veggies Speed Challenge
  • Make it Fly Challenge

    Make it Fly Challenge
  • Summer Fun: Student Design Challenge

    Summer Fun: Student Design Challenge

76 Comments

0
BvB80
BvB80

13 days ago on Step 10

Hello! Had to make an account to be able to comment =)
Is it possible to get a spool holder that fits 52 mm spools?
When i first opened the original file, Cura said it was like 50.X mm, but after print it was 55 mm.

UPDATE: i saw your post about the universal holder, but that one doesn't have space for the bearing =(

By the way, i had to scale down the holder lock a bit to fit. It's 2 mm too wide.
Got an CR-6 SE, newly produced.

Thanks!

0
Icelandian
Icelandian

Reply 13 days ago

Great - welcome to the community. Haven't messed with these parts for a while, so tell me exactly which part came out an odd size. Not sure about the comment on the bearing for the universal holder as it does not need a bearing. And to your last comment - companies like Creality will often make slight changes as they iron out kinks in their manufacturing, so its very likely some of the individual parts are different on your model versus mine that was much earlier in their production. Hope this helps, let me know if you have more questions.

0
BvB80
BvB80

Reply 13 days ago

Hi!
07 Oct 1915 Spool Holder Final.stl - that one came out like a holder for 55 mm spools ;) The problem here is that i can't just scale it down, that messes the whole thing up sadly..
I have never seen 55 mm's, all brands i have seen use 52 mm.

03 Oct 1935 Filament Holder Lock Final.stl - this one is 113 mm wide, but the handle on CR-6 SE is 111 mm now it seems (had all my friends to measure theirs) =)
But that was no problems, i could just scale that axis down to 111 and all is fine.

Awsome mods btw! I use the rest of them without any problems!

0
Icelandian
Icelandian

Reply 13 days ago

Thanks. Most times scaling is the problem but only off a few mils in one dimension indicates to me they made changes to the parts over the production run. Send me your email in a private message and I’ll send you the native Fusion 360 files and you can modify as needed.

0
BvB80
BvB80

Reply 8 days ago

Wow, thanks!
Sending you a PM right now! =)

0
sky92x
sky92x

Question 9 days ago on Introduction

Hi - Do you have a version that's compatible with the Creality all metal MK8 extruder?

0
Icelandian
Icelandian

Reply 8 days ago

Sorry, no. But if you want, feel free to message me with your email address and I'll send you the native Fusion 360 files and you can modify as needed. (If you've never used CAD before, I highly recommend Fusion 360, you can get a free license, and there's plenty of training online as well.) Good luck.

0
joedavidson
joedavidson

27 days ago

The filament holder lock does not fit between the two posts of my handle. I don't know if Creality changed the shape of the handle or what. I'd try printing it a few millimeters shorter, but shortening it will narrow the gap in the middle.

0
JarydX
JarydX

4 weeks ago

Hi, I really love this upgrade, but can you please make a spool holder for 52mm? 3DJake uses it for their spools...

0
Icelandian
Icelandian

Reply 4 weeks ago

Thanks a lot. See step 13. The universal one works best for all sizes.

0
AmittaiD
AmittaiD

5 weeks ago

Do you by chance have a screw recommendation for use with the taller housing from Step 15? The stock are far too short for the extra height.

0
Icelandian
Icelandian

Reply 5 weeks ago

I think 5mm longer than the stock should work.

0
nicogon93
nicogon93

Question 3 months ago

Hi Icelandian, first let me tell you, your design is amazing! I Just printed it and popped it into my CR6-SE. That additional horizontal space is mostly welcomed, so thank you.

If that's ok with you, I wanted to remix the filament sensor housing a little bit. I have some spare teflon tubbing and connectors and was thinking on substituting the bearings guide with that. However, the STL to body conversion of Fusion 360 is failing me because of the mesh complexity.

Would you mind sharing with me the source file for the filament sensor housing? I know how to import any of the following formats .f3d, .ipt or .step.

Best Regards
Nick

0
Icelandian
Icelandian

Answer 3 months ago

Thanks so much. Can do, on one condition - You share your design back with me. I wanted to do another remix myself with teflon guides internally since the filament chews into this design over time. Send me a private message with your email.

0
nicogon93
nicogon93

Reply 3 months ago

Of course !! Thanks

0
tperr33
tperr33

3 months ago

Would you consider reconfiguring the filament guide that on slips over the Z axis feed screw holder? As it is now the guide is over the back right corner. For my application it would be more functional and more aesthetically pleasing if the guide were over the back left corner, IMO. Thanks!

0
Icelandian
Icelandian

Reply 3 months ago

So looking at the front of the printer you want the filament to come of the roll and go to the right, then go over the pulley and redirect back to the left side? (kind of a "Z" movement?) Pretty sure I tried that iteration and it did not work well.
If you haven't printed any of the parts yet, I'd recommend printing just the sensor guide with pulley and the filament holder for the top. That pulley (the one that mounts to the Z axis tower) doesn't really contribute much to the overall operation. In fact, I don't even use it at all.

0
frank.feldmann
frank.feldmann

Question 3 months ago on Step 15

Hi again. I am really enjoying your modifications but I would like to remix some of it....if I am able to that is ;-) I have bought a dual gear BMG extruder from TriangleLab and will be side mounting that as shown here: https://tinyurl.com/yzflkoqg

Can you share with me the source design files for your sensor pulley holder, in particular the one with the raised base?

Thanks!

0
Icelandian
Icelandian

Reply 3 months ago

Sure, send me a message with your email address.

0
ishu4u2
ishu4u2

Question 3 months ago on Introduction

what voltage is the led needed..and is there a more detailed pic of how the led is installed on the pc board or does it just touch into the socket when the two halves are closed together......sorry just ordered my 6se and its on the way so doing some checking on upgrades needed.