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In this video we will be unboxing the Creality Ender 3 3D Printer and showing you how to to set it up!  The Ender 3 has been out for the past year, and is often considered one of the best 3D printers at its price range!  

This 3D printer is very similar to the Creality CR-10 but is nearly just a scaled down version with a few other changes.  After reading this blog post you’ll know exactly what the Ender 3 is and what it comes with, and how to set it up!

Unboxing

When you receive your Creality Ender 3, it’ll be packaged up nice and tight.  When you open the box you’ll be presented with the instructions right on top, along with that will be a plastic bag filled with various screws, Allen wrenches, and a pair of flush cutters.  As you move along you should have the following items in your box:

  • A Bag with Various Screws and Bolts
  • A Bag with Idlers for the X-Axis
  • A Small Sample of PLA filament
  • Bowden Couplers
  • Z Axis Limit Switch
  • Micro-USB Reader with Card
  • X-Axis Idler
  • Fine Point Needle to Clean Ends
  • AC Power Cable
  • Spool Holder Mount
  • Creality Extruder & X-Axis Motor
  • Spool Holder
  • 2 Pieces of V Slot Extrusion (1 For X-Axis, 1 For Top Frame)
    • Lead Screw Should Be Inside
  • 2 Pieces of 20 by 40 V Slot (Uprights of the Mainframe)
  • Z Axis Motor (With Screws Mounted)
  • Opposite Carriage for X-Axis
  • LCD Screen with Adjustment Knob
  • Base of Creality Ender 3 (With Extruder Pre-Wired)
  • Creality Ender 3 Power Supply (24 Volt)

From there you can go ahead and arrange everything how you’d like, and remove the plastic wrapping on your pieces.  Before we begin assembly, remember to be careful with moving the extruder around.

Because the whole system is wired together, you want to make sure that you don’t damage the extruder or anything else along the way!

Installation

Installation Step 1: Putting the Uprights Together:

1. You will want take your two 20 by 40 extrusion pieces, and the M5 by 45 screws with washers.  

2. Tip your printer onto it’s side, locate the 20 by 40 extrusion piece that has 2 hole for your Z Axis Mount, this piece will go on the front of your printer.  The rear piece will have mounts for the power supply which we will mount later.

3. Take your M5 by 45 screw and slide it into the bottom of the 20 by 40 extrusion piece.  From there, all you’ll have to do is thread it into the side of the printer and gradually tighten it together.

4. Take your second 20 by 40 extrusion piece and repeat on the opposite side.  Once completed you should have both your uprights connected and fitted on the outsides of the print tray.

Step 2: Mounting the Power Supply:

After you have the uprights attached, our next step is to attach the power supply!  The power supply mounts directly onto the right upright piece. Using a M4 by 20 screw, there are two mounting points, go ahead and thread the screws to attach the power supply and the upright piece.  

Note: This kit comes with a few extra screws so don’t be alarmed if you have extras. Make sure the screws are nice and snug, without snagging any cables while assembling.  

Step 3: Mounting the Main Menu (LCD Screen)

Mounting the Main Menu or the Screen is extremely important because it allows you to navigate and control your printer!

The screen mounts right on the front of the printer, using the M5 by 8 screws (short little screws).  Using the second largest Allen wrench, you can go ahead and thread the screws into the end of the unit and tighten them up.  

If you are having trouble, feel free to orientate the printer to whatever makes assembly the easiest. From there our printer will be beginning to take shape!


Step 4: Mounting the Z Motor & Z Limits

The Z motor should have the screws and the bracket already attached.  It will be mounted into the two holes in the back of extrusion. To mount this piece, you should use the third largest Allen wrench included in the kit.  


Now that the Z Motor is mounted, we will need to mount the Z Limit.  This Limit will come pre-attached with the T-Nuts.  When we mount this we will just mount it in the general position, and when we are doing our first print we will adjust it to the specific area we need it for that print.  

This mounts right on the back of the extrusion using the second largest Allen wrench.  The instructions state that this should be about 32 millimeters from the bottom of the extrusion.  

Step 5: Building the X-Axis

The X-Axis comes in a few different pieces including the motor and the extruder.  To mount these, we will need to locate our 2 pieces of extrusion, and select the longer of the two.  The most important holes in our longer piece of extrusion are used to mount the motor.  

This means the short distanced holes should be towards the X-Axis motor, and the longer distanced holes going the other direction.  

Firstly, you’ll need to feed the screws into the motor assembly before you can mount anything.  From there, you will need to carefully try to feed the extrusion piece underneath the X-Axis Motor, and feed the screws through to attach them.  

This is easily the most finicky part of the entire build.  Once you have the screws feed through go ahead and tighten them up.

After getting the extrusion piece and the motor attached, you will need to grab the extruder assembly to mount to the frame before we can put the idlers on the other side.  

As you are sliding the extruder onto the extrusion piece you want to make sure there isn’t scratching, but it should slide on with just minimal force.  When doing this, you’ll want to make sure that the extruder is faced downwards, if you face it upwards you’re print head will be facing the wrong direction!

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Now we need to attach the idler mount.  This is very similar to attaching the X-Axis Motor, but you will be attaching it to the other side of the extrusion piece.  

As you will notice, this side of the extrusion piece has wider spaced holes which will only fit the idler piece and not the X-Axis Motor.  Ensure that the screws go in smooth, if you are facing resistance, try realigning.  


After the idler mount is attached, you guessed it, the idler is ready to be mounted!  The idler will have two T-Nuts already pre-attached.  You will want to align the idler with the bearings and nuts on the backside of the extrusion, using the second largest Allen wrench.  

Don’t worry too much about the positioning, we can adjust the belt tension after we have finished assembly.


From there, we can attach the GT2 timing belt.  Unpackage the timing belt, and look at the underside of the extrusion.  The timing belt will fit into the two small slots on the extrusion with the teeth of the belt facing towards the inside of the extrusion to ensure that they connect with the pulley.  

Slowly and carefully feed the belt over the pulley, once you reach the end you will feed it through the end, and ensure the teeth are facing the correct position on the way back on the other side.  Getting it around the pulley can be a little bit tricky until you find the perfect positioning.  

Slide the belt underneath the wheels and the belt actually slides into the extrusion itself to keep it exposed.  

Note: If you feel that the belt isn’t long enough or you’re facing too much resistance, you can always loosen the bolts on the pulley and move the pulley back about a half an inch to an inch to ensure the belt can fit all the way around.   

Once completed, you should ensure that there is a bit of tension, and you can bolt it down in place.

Step 6: Mounting the X-Axis:

Now that we have finally completed putting the X-Axis together, it’s time we actually mount the whole system to our printer!  Grab the lead screw (you’ll need to remove the plastic covering), and place it place it into it’s designated hole on the base.  

You don’t need to screw it in as of yet, just let it stand up in place. From there, attach the X-Axis to the left and right upright pieces, by very carefully aligning them and slipping them into place.  Once you have the X-Axis in place on both upright posts, then you can slowly and carefully thread the lead screw into the X-Axis.  

If it doesn’t want to cooperate, you can take a wrench and give yourself a little bit more space in between the wheels and the X-Axis.  

Once the lead screw has been threaded into the X-Axis, your printer is just about complete!  When looking at the system, it should be relatively parallel and flat to the bed.

Note: You will have some extra parts left so don’t freak out!


Step 7: Attaching the Top Brace & Spool Holder:

The final piece in our build is the brace which goes on the top to ensure that the printer doesn’t lose its structural integrity during printing.  The top brace uses the last screws we have, the M5 by 25 screws.

You will use 2 for each side. These screws should have washers already pre-attached.  When placing your brace on top of the uprights, make sure the recessed holes are facing upwards.  From there simply use your largest Allen wrench to tighten your screws and attach the brace to your printer.  

From there we need to attach the spool holder to the top of the brace!  You technically can attach the spool holder facing either direction, and it is up to personal preference.  Generally, I like to face it towards the back so it has a nice clear path down.  

For this, we will be using the M4 T-Nuts and the M5 by 8 screws.  Take two of the M5 by 8 screws and thread them in attaching the spool holder to your preferred position on the top brace, using the second largest Allen wrench.  From there, you can simply attach the spool holder roll, and screw it in!

Congratulations you have completed the physical build of the Creality Ender 3 3D Printer!

From there you can go through and attach your end caps to improve the profile look of the printer.  Now that we have completed the physical build, all that remains is the electronics!

Step 8: Setting Up the Electronics

Facing the back of your printer on the voltage box, you will see a Voltage Selection, for North America make sure you select 110 Volt, and for Europe you want to select 220 Volt.  You can use the cutter provided, or a small screw driver to select the correct voltage for your location.  

After that, snap together the XT60 connectors to attach the power supply with the printer itself.  If you are interested in cable management, then this kit comes with a few zip ties to help you control your wires how you want.

From there, we will be connecting the Z Axis Motor to the power supply, and the X-Axis Motor on the bottom of the printer.  These are keyed and labeled nicely, so you will take that cable and attach it to the power supply connector.

CREALITY ENDER 3 BUILD

Note: If you get lost, the instructions do a great job of labeling everything!

You will also need to connect the Z Axis Limit Switch to the connector on the bottom, and the X-Axis Limit Switch near the pulley system.  

The final connection, will be the connection for the LCD Screen.  This connector is the ribbon connector, and it is located on the bottom of the printer, and attaches to the extender connection on the opposite side.

Conclusion:

You have officially completed the installation of the Creality Ender 3 3D Printer!  You have put together all the hardware and set up and connected all the electronics.  Your 3D printer is now ready to begin the process of leveling the bed and getting your first print going!