Introduction: Ender 3 Pro
Currently, I am enrolled in a class called MAT 594X -- Computational Fabrication. We had to switch to online instruction due to the fears of COVID19, and each student in the class was fortunate enough to receive a 3D printer for class projects. Big thanks to Jennifer Jacobs for providing the device and materials.
I received Creality Ender 3 Pro printer in the mail, and unboxing and assembly were fun! I thought I could share some tips and tricks that I found online for getting the device ready.
Step 1: Assembly
The first thing I did was to separate parts to see if I was missing anything. Once I made sure that everything I need was in the box, I started following the instructions on the assembly sheet. This sheet alone is useful, it goes over everything you need step-by-step. However, there were some problems when I tackled the assembly just with the default instructions.
This video helped me resolve small problems that I encountered. You can find the important points from the video here:
- Make sure the cable coming out of the computer in the base won't get stuck between the vertical bars
- To reduce friction problems later, the vertical bars need to align perfectly.
- The distance between the bars around the base and on the top of the device needs to match.
- They shouldn't be slanted in the x-axis
Step 2: Testing and Leveling Bed
Once everything is assembled correctly, I used the main knob to navigate to "Prepare/Auto Home". The nozzle moved to its origin point without any problems.
Now I needed to make sure the bed is leveled correctly throughout the surface. I was cautious in this step as the nozzle is fragile. I had to adjust the bed and nozzle in a way that the nozzle barely touches the bed surface. I watched this video to help me determine how close these components need to be.
For leveling, I used the springs underneath the bed and raised the bed until I can slide a regular paper between the nozzle and the bed surface. I repeated this test for all 4 corners, and once more for the center. After the adjustments, I printed a one-layer test pattern and realized left corners were still too low. I adjusted them again and it was ready to print!
Step 3: Improve Printer
To test with a real object, I wanted to improve the printer itself with custom made components. There is a big community out there who designs detailed parts for these purposes. I found this cable chain online, and I thought that it could be a good addition to the printer since the power cables looked too exposed. I downloaded the model, placed some of its components in Cura software to see how long it takes. It turns out printing the whole thing takes ~20 hours and uses more material than I currently have (I couldn't find exactly how much sample material came with the box, but a simple kitchen scale showed around 60grams after my initial bed leveling test). I decided to print a subset of components and laid 15 of the joints on a plane. I set up the nozzle temperature to 205, and bed to 60 degrees. 6-6.5 hours later I had the cable chain ready. Simply rolling the bed cover around a table edge loosened all the parts and they didn't leave any marks. The parts feel fragile but they do latch onto themselves strongly.