Introduction: CR-6 SE 3D Printer Improvements
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.
- 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.)
- The printer itself is used to make the parts needed
- 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:
- (QTY1) M8 Allen Head Screw, 50-65mm Long
- (QTY 2) M4 Allen Head Screw, 10mm Long
- (QTY 6) Standard Skateboard Bearings (608ZZ). I got These
- (QTY 1) Standard 5mm LED
- Allen Wrenches for the M4 & M8
- 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".)
- Unplug the sensor, remove the two screws securing it, and gently pry it open
- Extract the three parts needed - the PCB, the pivoting rocker arm (and spring), and small bearing
- 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):
- Set to the highest quality (I used a .3mm nozzle at .12mm layer)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- Continue the assembly by attaching one of the skateboard bearings and grooved pulley (again these are slight press fit, no tools or glue needed)
- Attach the filament retainer arm with a 4mm socket head screw
- 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.
- 03 Oct 1913 Filament Redirect & Sensor Bottom Half Final.stl
- 03 Oct 1913 Filament Redirect & Sensor Top Half Final.stl
- 03 Oct 1917 Bearing Pulley Final.stl
- 03 Oct 1918 Bearing Pulley Filament Retainer Final.stl
- 03 Oct 1935 Filament Holder Final.stl
- 03 Oct 1935 Filament Holder Lock Final.stl
- 05 Oct 1930 Bearing Pulley Filament Retainer Top Final.stl
- 05 Oct 1932 Corner Filament Redirect Final.stl
- 07 Oct 1915 Spool Holder Final.stl
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.
A member upgraded from the stock creality extruder to this:
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!
Participated in the
Make it Move Contest 2020