My Experience with the Creality Ender 3 Pro 3D Printer

If you haven’t joined the craze and purchased your very own Official Creality Ender 3 Pro 3D Printer then read on to get the most out of one!

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There are several instructional videos on how to setup your machine.  I recommend you watch the following video and check out the videos listed at the bottom of this page:

 

I have setup three Ender 3 Pro machines and keep two of them going constantly.  I’m sharing what I found to be most important and useful when working with this printer.

Foundation

The term “bed leveling” means adjusting the bed so that it is level with the nozzle.

This is important because the first layer in a build is the main support for the rest of the print. In order to achieve a solid base, the bed must be properly oriented to provide the correct adhesion and delivery of the printing material.

If the nozzle is too far from the bed, the filament won’t adhere to the build plate at all. Too close and the nozzle will push past the layer height, preventing the material from extruding and sticking. Either way, the foundation will be unsatisfactory. The sweet spot is when the nozzle allows some space but applies just a little pressure to the flowing filament in order to help it adhere to the build plate.

The Ender 3 doesn’t have an auto-leveling feature, so you have to level the bed manually.

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There is an upgrade available using the BLTouch Sensor.

After a few days of trying out the BLTouch, I decided it was more annoying than helpful and removed and returned it.  Each print requires that the printer check all 9 sections of the bed before printing.  If you have a bed that is not flat, has some wave in it, then this will be helpful for getting good prints.

Manual leveling is necessary even if you do have the BLTouch installed.  Fortunately, this isn’t too difficult and is aided by some of the printer’s features. The menu provides actions that prepare the device for leveling, and the four large knobs under each corner of the bed make the job easy.

You’ll find that, once leveled, the bed will stay that way for some time. Periodic re-leveling may be necessary but once the procedure is learned it should take less than five minutes to re-level each time.  I found that one or two of my adjustments felt sloppy as though there wasn’t sufficient tension…51v-u7ythsL._SL1000_
I recommend upgrading the bed-leveling springs installed above the adjustment knobs with silicone spacers.  I used these for my printers:  3D Printer Leveling Parts, Heat Bed Silicone Leveling but I think these are more specific to the Ender 3:  3D Printer Heatbed Parts, Solid Bed Mounts, OD 0.63 in ID 0.16 in Stable Hotbed Tool Heat-Resistant

Software

You can use the Ultimaker Cura Software included and recommended by Creality.  Download and install the latest version which will contain the latest default profile settings.  Most 3D prints can use the default settings for the Ender 3 Pro.  Other then bed-leveling, the area that I have found to require some tweaking, depending on the time of year, and whether or not you have an enclosure for your machine, is the temperature.  This Winter I have been printing PLA at 210c.

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Plate and Nozzle

Before starting to level the Ender 3’s bed, there are a few things you should do to get the machine ready:

  1. Make sure the build plate is clean. On the Ender 3, you can remove the build plate and clean it. 
  2. Clean off anything that is sticking to the surface. Use a spatula if needed to break off loose material.
  3. Wash the build plate with warm, soapy water, and dry it with a clean cloth. Make sure no lint or particles remain.
  4. Reattach the build plate to the heated bed using the clips. Check carefully to ensure that the entire build plate is flat with no ripples or high spots.
  5. Ensure that the nozzle is clean and free of material. It shouldn’t have any plastic protruding from the tip. An easy way to do this is to heat up the nozzle to the temperature last used and gently wipe off the tip with a soft cloth. If you do this, wear a glove so that you don’t touch the hot nozzle with your fingers.

Tune the Machine

To prepare for leveling you have to position the nozzle and bed. The Ender 3 controls make this easy.

  1. Turn on the machine.
  2. Press the control knob and scroll to the PREPARE menu.
  3. Scroll down to AUTO HOME and press the knob. The hot end will move to the left front of the bed and stop.
  4. Once again go to PREPARE.
  5. Scroll to DISABLE STEPPERS and press the control. This will make it easy to move the bed back and forth.
  6. Next, rotate each of the four leveling wheels counter-clockwise to lower the bed. One or two turns each should be sufficient. The purpose of this is to make sure that the bed is lower than the nozzle tip.

 

Level the Bed to the Nozzle

I suggest you make your bed adjustments once while the machine is off and/or cold.  Then, once again, when the bed and nozzle are heated.  The only tool you need to level your bed is a piece of printer paper. Once equipped, you’re ready to go:

  1. Move the nozzle so that it’s positioned over the left corner of the bed. A half inch or so from both sides is a good location.
  2. Slide the paper between the nozzle and the bed. If it doesn’t fit, drop the corner until it does.
  3. Once the paper is able to slide under the nozzle, very slowly raise the corner with the adjuster. Remember: Clockwise moves the bed up. As you do this, gently slide the paper back and forth. The moment you feel even the slightest resistance to your moving the paper, stop turning the knob. That corner is (almost) ready to go.
  4. Do the same for the other three corners of the build plate. Always advance the hot end to a new corner slowly. This will prevent damage to the build plate in case the nozzle starts to drag. If this occurs, simply lower the next corner (before starting the leveling process) to make some room.
  5. After you’ve adjusted each corner once, go back and check the four corners again. You may have to do further adjustments to get all four correct.

1a8d1333645fa07bfaeea11a1d7812ab_preview_featuredUse the gcode file available through Thingiverse to make the bed-leveling process easier.  The bed and nozzle will heat-up and then the nozzle will auto home, then move to the first position to be checked and adjusted if necessary.

Download the gcode from Thingiverse that will do this for you!

Printable Upgrades:

Download these printable upgrades from Thingiverse:

  • Wire / Cable Clips
  • Filament Guide
  • Z-Axis Stepper Motor Spacers
  • LCD Display Back Cover

 

Additional Upgrades:

After many hours of use it will become necessary to replace the bowden tube that directs the filament to the nozzle.  Authentic Capricorn PTFE Bowden Tubing and go all metal with this nice upgrade Upgraded Creality Ender 3 All Metal MK-8 Extruder Feeder Drive

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PRILINE TPU-1KG 1.75 3D Printer Filament, Dimensional Accuracy +/- 0.03 mm, 1kg Spool, 1.75 mm, Black

 

 

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Additional Video Resources:

CHEP – Chuck’s Channel

Chuck explains how to get started with 3D printing using an Ender3. He explains where 3D designs come from. How you convert a design to a printable file.

Teaching Tech

Teaching Tech is a YouTube channel dedicated to providing quality content that will help expand your technology related skills and knowledge.

 

Existential Crisis – Role-Playing Game Simulator

I awake in the labyrinth, no memory of who I am. All I know is that I must find the key to the portal that will take me to the next part of this endless maze. Stalking its passages, I find a rusty sword and take it in hand. Further along, I find an old chest of armor. Now my enemies will never defeat me! I stalk endless corridors, searching for the key. As I turn a corner, I see one of my enemies coming towards me, axe in hand. We clash, weapons slashing! My enemy flees, but I let him go – I must continue my quest to find the key. No matter how long it takes me.

Peek through the portal into the world of Existential Crisis. In this unique and hand-crafted electronic dungeon crawl simulator, watch the valiant hero compete against his enemies to find weapons and other items to aid him in his ultimate quest: to find the key and open the portal before they do! Watch as he uses magic potions to heal himself or blast his foes. Sigh when he makes a wrong turn and misses the key. Groan when he is vanquished by his foes. And cheer when he unlocks the portal and completes his quest – only to find it start all over again!

Existential Crisis isn’t like other games, because I designed it so you can’t control the hero. We can peer through the window into his universe, but we can’t help as he struggles to find a way to survive long enough to complete his quest.

 

Simulation of role-playing adventure or Multi-User Dungeons (MUDs), similar to NetHack, using basic rules of Dungeons & Dragons with a feel similar to Gauntlet or Diablo.

The pictures and video do not fully capture the brilliant color when seeing it for yourself.

 

The project makes a visually interesting simulation of a character wandering through a maze, looking for a key and trying to find the door to exit, only to be stuck repeating this for all eternity. Other enemy players try to kill the main character, can pick-up and use items including the key to open the door, resetting the maze. When any character dies, within a matter of time, regenerated with randomly selected base stats; forever stuck looking for potions to stay alive a little longer only to find another key and another door.
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Existential Crisis

 

This simulation covers the basic motivation of fighting to stay alive in an effort to find the key hidden in the current map and then locate the door to exit.
Each player has hit-points, armor class, experience points, and can hold up to three items. Each map contains a key, and a randomly selected number of rewards, or items to help the player. Items available are: a potion of healing, a better weapon, better armor, or a magic scroll.
A 64 RGB LEDs in an 8×8 display is used as the ‘viewer’ into the World of the simulation, displaying only a quadrant section of the overall map at one time. As the primary player moves around the map, the ‘viewer’ display moves to the relevant section.

Color Code:

  • RED – Opponent Player Characters ( Enemies )
  • GREEN – Main Player Character ( Game Focus )
  • BLUE – Wall
  • WHITE – Door
  • YELLOW – Key

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mini-Animations:

  • Find a key
  • Find / Use armor
  • Find / Use weapon
  • Use a potion
  • Use magic
  • Open door using key
  • Player death
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RGB LED Matrix
I have also included numbers 1 – 20 for showing the result of a simulated die roll. However, showing the number each time the player rolls is annoying so this animation has been disabled.
How the Simulation Works
On each turn, a player object executes the function WhatAreMyOptions
  • Move ( Direction Available: North, East, South, West ) A proximity-check to opponents is made to determine options. Short-term Memory of locations explored. Coordinates of recent moves are stored in the player object in an effort to reduce looping.
  • Attack: Each player rolls a 20-sided die trying to meet or exceed the Armor Class value of the opponent. Upon a successful hit, the player then rolls a 4-sided die for damage and applies any bonuses. The total damage is subtracted from the opponent’s hit points.
  • Check Inventory and Use Item.

 

Potential for Expansion using I2C

  • Add additional microcontroller or Raspberry Pi for Neural Network.
  • Add better controls, such as push-buttons, and even sensors.
  • Add a sound-effects module
  • Additional visual displays.

More About Electronics:

More About hydroMazing:

More About Indoor Gardening:

Solar-Rechargeable Decorations

Phoenix Fire Lily:  Solar rechargeable battery connected to a flickering LED inside an artificial lily flower residing in a hand-crafted wooden vase.

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I don’t know about you, but I rarely have money to spend on projects and whenever possible reusing and re-purposing junk is ideal.  Many of my projects contain parts I’ve purchased at local dollar stores and items found through eBay.

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Discount hackables!!

 

Parts:

  • Artificial Lily Flower
  • Flickering LED
  • Thermostat Wire
  • 100-330ohm Resistor
  • Mini switch
  • Solar-panel ~ 5vDC
  • Rechargeable Li-ion Coin-cell Battery
  • Rechargeable Li-ion Coin-cell Battery charger = TP4056 Mini USB 1A Lithium Battery Charger Module
  • USB to mini USB ~ 5ft. cord
  • Optional ~ hand-crafted vase station

Steps:

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  • Cut the end of the stem and remove the wire.

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  • Gut the Artificial Lily Flower by removing its pistil.

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  • Using a 8-10″ length of Thermostat Wire that extends just beyond the end of the lily’s stem, solder a 100-330ohm resistor to flickering LED and/or later near the mini switch inside the recycled case.

Do I really need a resistor?

  • Clear LED without resistor = 30mA @ 3vDC
  • Flickering Yellow LED ~ 6mA @ 3vDC
  • salvaged 10 LED string of lights = 6mA @ 3vDC

 

  • Carefully thread the wired LED through the lily and down her stem.

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  • Add a piece of heat-shrink tubing, solder jumper wires, and attach connector header.

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  • Solder a set of short jumper wires to the Rechargeable Li-ion Coin-cell Battery charger output.
  • Solder the Rechargeable Li-ion Coin-cell Battery charger output short jumper wires, resistor, to the mini switch and recycled case ( two “AA” batteries ).

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  • Solder the coin-cell battery holder to the Rechargeable Li-ion Coin-cell Battery charger
  • Insert the Rechargeable Li-ion Coin-cell Battery into the Rechargeable Li-ion Coin-cell Battery charger.

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A look inside the inexpensive battery case.

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  • Gut everything from the case!

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  • Drill a few holes.  One for the solar panel wires, and the other for USB connector.

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  • Solder a simple switching diode, such as 1N4148, to the positive side.
  • Using short jumper wires, solder the Rechargeable Li-ion Coin-cell Battery charger input to the solar panel ~ 5vDC.

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  • Insert the switch and wrap wires so they lay flat inside the case.

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  • Test the output.
  • Optionally, attach USB to mini USB cord to the charger
  • Store inside a hand-crafted vase station.

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You can purchase a completed Phoenix Fire Lily directly from me as a functioning example.

lily base partslily base v2

 

 

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