Ultimate Build Guide for Creality Ender 3 – Step by Step – A MakerSteve Special Report

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Purchased 2 of these printers and figured I would post how it put it together in a walk-though.  I have included some of my recommended MODs for an out of the box printer.

I purchased mine on Amazon with 2-day shipping via Prime

Gearbest has this same machine for only $179.00 until August 30th.  That is a lot of printer for the money.  Let’s begin…

Difficult: Easy

Price: $179.00 to $250.00

Time to complete: 2-3 hours (there will be some troubleshooting)

Print Area: 220x220x250mm (pretty good for the money.)

Features: Heated bed, Great Creality stability, Resume on power-failure, Flexible, Removable Print Surface, Ready to print!

Satisfaction: Complete!

The box!

IMAG1104.jpg

All the goodies laid out.  Well packaged.

IMAG1105.jpg

Note the instruction manual.  They tell you what parts and what screws for each step.  While it generally tells you what to do, it doesn’t tell you what to do or what to do when things go wrong..  keep reading, I got you.

IMAG1106.jpg

And the 2040 Aluminum Extrusion.. heavy duty.

IMAG1107

All the parts and tool packs laid out, comes with basic maintenance kit, spatula and clippers!

IMAG1108

Step one is to assemble the uprights of the frame…  Screws go in through the bottom.

IMAG1109

IMAG1110

Lay the printer on it’s side, the power supply worked perfectly..

IMAG1112

I highly recommend Locktite Blue Stick for all of the screws.  Just a dab on the thread will do.

IMAG1115

Insert the 2 screws from the bottom and tighten.

IMAG1116

Flip it over and locktite the screwsIMAG1117

Tighten the screws up and set it upright.  Be careful as you handle the printer, the printhead is fragile.

IMAG1119

Next you will install the power supply, ensure you are switch to 115V if you are in the United States..

NOTE: It comes set on 230V!

Next, you will install the control panel and the power supply.

IMAG1123

I don’t like the silver screws on the front of an all black printer so I swapped them out from my assortment kit.

IMAG1124

Mount the control panel with 2 screws.

IMAG1125

Swap out a couple more black screws from the assortment kit.

IMAG1126

Mount the power supply.

IMAG1127

Rotate the printer to get to the left hand side and gather up the Z-endstop

IMAG1128

Align the T-slot nuts so they line up with the extrusion slots.

IMAG1129

Ensure the T-slots actually rotate from vertical to horizontal securing them in the extrusion frame.

IMAG1130

Next we will mount the Z-axis motor.. with a caveat we will get to in a few minutes.

IMAG1131

IMAG1132

IMAG1134

Install the lead screw..  I don’t recommend tightening yet.

IMAG1135

MAKERSTEVE MOD: Installing Vibration Dampeners

Vibration Dampeners, silence your printer, and improve print quality by minimizing vibration from the motors.  Generally speaking, they are only installed on the X and Y Axis. Not on the Z-Axis.

While I was able to install the vibration dampener on the X-axis, I could not on the Y, it was hitting the frame.  I will come back to it because they are half as loud now.

Gently remove the facebook sticker.

IMAG1140

Remove the motor housing, you will end up only using 2 screws when done.

Note how it all goes together.

IMAG1153

Grab your vibration dampener

 

IMAG1143

Remove the X-Axis motor and loosen the GT2 Timing Belt Pulley and raise it up about the distance of the thickness of the vibration dampener, roughly 6mm

IMAG1147

Install the vibration dampener with 2 screws to the motor.  Make sure you are not screwing into the threaded side of the dampener, yet.

IMAG1149

Use two screws to attached the motor housing back the the extruder assembly.

IMAG1150

Put the sticker back on.

IMAG1152

Next gather up the parts to assemble the X-axis arm.  The extruder assembly is bolted to the arm using 2 screws.

IMAG1153

IMAG1154

User your allen wrench inserted through the holes.

NOTE: these are not high quality allen wrenches, if you use the long end, it will strip. As a rule, use the long end to snug screws, use the short end to torque screws.

Ok, this part gets a little complicated, but we can get through it.

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You need to roll the printhead carriage onto the  aluminum extrusion, look close at the pictures above and below.

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You will need to loosen the eccentric nut on the single roller of the print head, if this is your first run at eccentric nuts, they aren’t normal nuts, they are offset and tighten or loosen the roller as they are rotated.

You will need to rotate it to loosen it to get it on the extrusion.

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Install on the extrusion by rolling the rubber wheels onto the grooves in the middle.

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And snug back up the eccentric nut.

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Next, grab the belt and the end pulley.

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And an Otterpop

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Now get back to work..

Line up the T-slot nuts..

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Attach the end pulley.. and tighten the bolts ensuring the T-slot nuts turn and engage.

Next grab your belt and feed it through the Z-motor pulley, teeth down.

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Slide the belt into the slot on the print head, don’t waste to much usable belt here.

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Loosen that eccentric nut again.

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Slide the belt under the rollers on the print head assembly with the extra space provided by the loosened eccentric nut.

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That’s one roller .. and two.. you can roll the print head as needed.

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Wrap the belt around the end and connect the the print head’s underside.

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See em both here…

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Tighten the end pulley and then tighten the screws.  It’s tricky but doable with only two hands.

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Slide the entire X-axis assembly down the top two towers of the frame.  If it is too tight, both sides of the X-axis assembly have eccentric nuts.

The lead screw has to line up with the threaded brass fitting shown at the top of the picture below.

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Other side, too tight, eccentric nut (pictured in the middle of the screen).

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Line the lead screw up with the brass threaded fitting.

Loosed the brass threaded fitting as needed

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Feed the lead screw through to the coupler on the Z-motor.. it should slide up and down freely.  Mine did not so I had to shim it.   See how I did it here.. https://makersteve.com/2018/08/24/ender-3-z-axis-binding-fix-bring-a-basic-stringing-test/

You’ll know you have the problem, because your Z-axis won’t move and it will make a lot of noise.  The one shown below is no good, so I had to shim the motor.

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Measure the distance at the bottom…

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And top..

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They should be very close

Throw a little White Lithium Grease on there.. because, you’ll need it.

Tighten your lead screw coupler.

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Check your print surface for level using your DXL360S Dual Axis Digital Level, with Kung-fu Grip and rechargeable battery – pretty close for an old table…

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And your X-axis Arm..  Adjust eccentric nuts on either side to get just the right bit of level.

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Get your screws for the top frame.  This piece can be install upside down, one side is routed out for the screw heads, it is the top.

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Lube ’em up with locktite and tighten them up.  Snug each one then tighten them inside to outside, alternating screws.

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Get your filament spool holder parts and end caps.

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Install, with locktite on the screws.

SOOO CLOSE, hang in there….

Plug in the Z-axis endstop

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Plug in the control panel cable to EXP3, the closest one to the middle of the printer.

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Connect the power supply to the control box.IMAG1196

Plug in the X Endstop

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Plug in the Extruder to E and the X to the X-axis motor. IMAG1198

Plug in Z to the Z-axis motorIMAG1199

Attach the PTFE Tubing to the extruderIMAG1200

Check the power supply is set to 115V, one more time!

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NOTE!!!!  Spin the Z coupler down the Z-endstop or your printer will not know where the bottom is when you turn it on.

Then plug in the power cord to the power supply and the wall and power it up!

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And now you should have a working Ender 3!IMAG1202

Manually test your X, Y and Z, Extruder, Fan and headbed.  Make sure they all work as expected.

Next, get your Octoprint up and going.. see here https://makersteve.com/octoprint/

And configure Cura!

First print is A-OK.. the removable, flexible bed is a plus!

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Get your son to build the second one..

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Now get to work!

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There is a ton of other useful stuff on Makersteve.com and more coming every week.

Be sure to check out my Ultimate guide to troubleshooting underextrusion, ripples, waves and stringing in 3D printers

If you find this useful, please consider purchasing products through any of the links on the page, it’s free to you and I get a little something for my time.  Or, just go shopping at Amazon or Ebay  or Gearbest.

Support me and my 3D printing and Makersteve.com goals with Patreon or by using the links on this page to start your Amazon or Ebay shopping!

Find me on Facebook!

Thanks for visiting,

Steve

 

 

 

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23 thoughts on “Ultimate Build Guide for Creality Ender 3 – Step by Step – A MakerSteve Special Report

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