After using the Creality Ender 3, I love this printer the more time I spent with it. The experience did include a few speed bumps along the way, but none of the issues we had were insurmountable. All in all, the Creality Ender 3 is an extraordinary 3D printer when you take the ~$200 price tag into consideration.
There are a number of features that make the Creality Ender 3 one of the most popular machines currently on the market. It has a build volume of 220 x 220 x 250mm, a BuildTak-like heated build plate, power recovery mode and a tight filament pathway that makes it easier to print with flexible materials. These are attributes that are difficult to find in even more expensive printers…
As for printing performance, the Creality Ender 3 exceeded our initial expectations. We experimented with PLA, PETG, ABS, flexible and exotic filaments, and while there were some adhesion and warping issues with ABS, along with some wood filament difficulties, we managed to print successfully with all of the materials at the end of the day.
The 3D printer is easy to assemble and–although it requires manual calibration–the enlarged bed leveling knobs make the process convenient. Once calibration is perfected (it might take a few attempts), the Creality Ender 3 ultimately became indistinguishable from printers that are closer to the $1000 range.
The most glaring issue presented by the Creality Ender 3 is the uneven base, which causes a slight wobble to the entire 3D printer. I was able to solve this by placing a wedge under one corner, but still, this initial problem was definitely a cause for concern as stability is a critical part to a quality 3D printer.
Otherwise, I didn’t have many other qualms with the Creality Ender 3. There were some bed adhesion issues with certain materials, such as ABS, but adding some adhesive solution to the build plate solved this rather quickly, or switch to a glass bed.
The Creality Ender 3 is an excellent option for beginners or makers on a budget. While this 3D printer does have its flaws, the affordability makes it a worthwhile investment. Unlike other budget options in this price range, like the Anet A8, the Creality Ender 3 is prepared for high-quality 3D printing right out of the box. On top of that, the growing community surrounding this 3D printer has led to more and more upgrades.
Creality also offers an “Ender 3 Pro”, which has a detachable magnetic heated bed and improvements to the Y-axis to achieve a better print quality. This makes the Ender 3 Pro more expensive.
There are certainly better 3D printers available on the market, but none seem to fuse quality and affordable quite like the Creality Ender 3. It might require a bit of tweaking and patience to achieve the ideal print quality, but the high potential that this budget 3D printer offers makes well worth the battle.