Best Ender 3 Upgrades to Consider
One of the most well-liked entry-level 3D printers available is the Creality Ender 3 and its versions, the Ender 3 Pro and Ender 3 V2. It is one of the most incredible 3D printers on the market. It’s difficult to find a printer that will offer you nicer prints right out of the box for the money and its compatible with most 3D slicers. Many new and seasoned users alike turn to it as their first choice due to its affordable pricing, simple installation, and high degree of community support.
The Ender 3’s interoperability with a variety of slicers is an additional benefit. Although Creality offers its slicing program, Creality Slicer, customers usually pair the printer with a more well-known and feature-rich program like Simplify3D, PrusaSlicer, or Ultimaker Cura. Although each slicer has its benefits, Cura is still the favorite for usage with the Ender 3. Creality created its slicer based on Cura architecture, demonstrating the compatibility of the two. Due to the popularity of the Ender 3 and Ender 3 Pro 3D printers, each has a unique default Cura profile, making it easy for users to start using the slicer right away. However, specific settings may occasionally need to be adjusted to get the maximum performance out of the Ender 3.
ENDER 3 S1 PRO
Although each slicer has its benefits, Cura is still the favorite for usage with the Ender 3. Creality created its slicer based on Cura architecture, demonstrating the compatibility of the two. Due to the popularity of the Ender 3 and Ender 3 Pro 3D printers, each has a unique default Cura profile, making it easy for users to start using the slicer right away. However, to get the maximum performance out of the Ender 3, specific settings may occasionally need to be adjusted.
ENDER 3 S1 PLUS
The mid-sized Ender 3 Max’s premium variation, the Ender 3 S1 Plus, is the last member of the Ender 3 S1 family to join. A side from the increased 300 x 300 x 300 mm build volume—this printer’s key selling point—and some eye-catching red leveling nuts, the Plus contains a mix of features from the S1 and S1 Pro. But it resembles the S1 more generally.
The Plus includes all of the S1’s standard features, including a CR touch, two Z lead screws, and stock belt tensioners. Additionally, it boasts the S1 Pro’s fancy 4.3-inch touchscreen and a steel Sprite extruder. However, it should be noted that it is not an all-metal extruder. Although the Plus’ extruder is promoted as “full-metal,” it does not have the titanium heat break that the S1 Pro has, enabling it to print at high temperatures. However, the Plus has a throat tube that is more conventional and made of Teflon, similar to the ordinary S1’s 260 °C plastic extruder. Lacking higher heat potential, we’re not convinced if the metal extruder body’s additional weight is worthwhile, particularly with a taller gantry.
The Ender 3 S1 Plus is the costliest 3D printer on this list, costing you $530 for its increased leg capacity.
ENDER 3 V2 NEO
The “Neo” series from Creality, which updates the basic Ender 3s to have more current features while keeping the same affordable prices, is the newest member of the Ender family. They appear to be a great option for individuals who don’t feel quite willing to shell out the higher price for the S1 series.
With its adoption of the S1 upper gantry and its angular coverings over the Z inert blocks and the PC-coated print bed, as well as, like all Neos, Creality’s CR Touch auto bed leveling probe, the Ender 3 V2 Neo is most comparable to the S1 series. The parallels to S1 stop there, though. The Neo’s hot end appears to have a new corrugated heat sink with an expanded radiating area for quicker heat dissipation, according to Creality advertising material provided to All3DP, but the new heat sink is currently unconfirmed. The base is the same as the previous Ender 3 V2 and uses a metal Bowden extruder.
The Ender 3 V2 Neo is about $300, which is only $20 more expensive than the classic Ender 3 V2 and only $50 more expensive than Creality’s CR Touch sensor kit.
ENDER 3 MAX NEO
Some of our favorite improvements to the Neo series were made to the Ender 3 Max Neo. The additional Z-axis lead screw, which complements the printer’s medium-sized gantry and comes with a synchronizing belt, is crucial among them. In addition, the Max has received the V2 upgrade, with a convenient belt tensioner and a color LCD that makes the machine feel more cutting-edge than the previous Max’s monochrome 12864 display.
We sacrificed a small amount of build volume at the top for these improvements. The Max Neo falls 20 mm short on the Z-axis of the original Max, with a print capacity of 300 x 300 x 320 mm. However, the Ender 3 Max Neo costs only $10 more than the original Ender 3 Max, at $370. Seriously. Ten pounds. It’s a great offer.
ENDER 3 NEO
With a price of just $220, or $30, over the original Ender 3, the more straightforward Ender 3 Neo makes a strong case for itself. It’s one of the most economical entry-level 3D printers with default auto bed leveling because of Creality’s CR Touch sensor, which is a great benefit for experiencing 3D printers and a huge stress-saver for beginners.
This one is the only Neo series 3D printer with an expanded corrugated heat diffuser in the hot end, according to Creality. However, given the comparable hot-end veils, we believe that feature is present in all Neos. It utilizes the same full-metal Bowden extruder as the others. The Neo’s print bed is the only other component altered from the classic Ender 3. The heat bed of the original Ender 3 included a BuildTak-style sticker, but the Neo has done away with that artifact in favor of a toughened glass surface. Much easy to clean and much more trustworthy.
ENDER 3 PRO
The second Ender 3 printer, the Ender 3 Pro, slightly improves upon the first. After hearing early criticism of the poor power supply, Creality replaced it on the Pro with a reliable MeanWell unit. Be aware, though, that Creality no longer offers any 3D printers using MeanWell power supplies. In 2022, it covertly replaced the hardware with its own UL-approved PSUs.
The BuildTak-like print bed of the original Ender 3 was attempted to be updated by the Ender 3 Pro by being replaced with a “C-MAG” sheet. Although its rough surface enhances adherence over the glass bed of the Ender 3, several users found it to be flimsy and difficult to use. The printer’s hot end can reach 255 oC, which is 15 oC hotter than the standard Ender 3 printer, but this is a rather modest improvement.
The original Ender 3, often known as the prodigal son, the classic, or the 3D printer that triumphed in the “race to the bottom,” is unique.
For a very long time, if your bank account was getting low, but you still needed to produce quality parts, this was the machine to use. Even if it eliminates unnecessary frills, the Ender 3 is still remarkable. However, it enables Creality to sell it for only $190. Our interactions with the equipment and its functionality have always been positive, even though it is undoubtedly inexpensive—if calibration is relatively regular. It is a straightforward Creality MK8 Bowden extruder-driven single Z-lead screw printer that utilizes an old-fashioned BuildTak print surface.
The cheap power source is one component, however, that requires caution. Its lesser quality than most stock PSUs may make it unstable or even dangerous.
Since the Ender 3 V2 features reliability updates to help prevent early problems, we believe it is the ideal option for a first 3D printer. Reliability is crucial to ensure you have fun and are not frustrated while learning because, with your first 3D printer, you’ll discover a great deal about how printers function and fine-tune the quality of prints.
However, Ender 3 V2 is the greatest option given its improvements for silent printing and easier-to-use UI, making it easier for your kids to use the printer. The Ender 3 is the best choice to explore updating your 3D printer. Even after the expense of upgrading, you can save cost on the printer by installing several modifications yourself, such as the crystal bed and an updated power supply. There is a sizable community for The Ender 3 and more upgrade history for you to build on. Since it offers some excellent upgrades for a fair price and is still a wonderful deal considering other printers in its class, we believe the Ender 3 V2 is the eventual winner. If you’re on a tighter budget, we advise going with the standard Ender 3 rather than upgrading to the Pro, which we don’t think is worth the extra money given the minimal upgrades it offers.