The Ender3 range from Creality3d is a preferred choice for a first 3d printer for many enthusiasts. They feature robust mechanics and excellent print quality at a very competitive price point but also come preassembled to minimize the time-to-first print. Easy to set up, easy to upgrade, and benefit from a large community, Ender3 is the ideal machine to get in the 3d printing, learn and expand even further its capabilities.
With the latest Ender3 V2, which is the 3rd iteration after Ender3 and Ender3 Pro, Creality follows the same principles. For just $260 It offers decent print quality out of the box, a larger and more user-friendly color display, a 32-bit control board with silent TMC2208 steppers, and many other small touches to better the user experience.
Why I bought the Ender3 v2
I consider myself a power user when it comes to 3d printing. I had my first printer 5 years ago and since I learned a lot about filaments, build surfaces, extruders, hotends, mechanics, steppers, and electronics. In short, I believe I can detect if a 3d printer has the potential to become a workhorse or a headache generator.
What I like in Ender3 V2:
- The robust frame – I believe this frame is the optimum for a cartesian printer of this print volume (220 x 220 x 250 mm);
- The integrated power supply – I hate having apparent PSU, mounted vertically on the frame and this was stopping me from buying the previous Ender3 versions. Now the PSU is integrated into the bottom control panel, like in the higher-end Creality machines. This also makes it possible to upgrade to a dual Y axis with minimum modifications.
- Other features are commonly present in modern 3d printers, but quite rare in these entry-level printers, like filament runout sensors and printing resume after power loss.
I normally don’t care that much about electronics, because those are cheap and easily upgradable, however, it is nice to have a 32-bit board, large display, and silent step sticks out of the box.
Where to buy Ender3 V2
Depending on your location Aliexpress or Amazon might be good places to buy the new Ender3 V2. I live in Europe and I got it from Ali, because Creality has a warehouse in Poland.
My shopping experience with the official Creality3D shop on Aliexpress wasn’t flawless though. They say dispatching is in 24 H and the delivery had to take 7 days at most. Well in 20 days my printer wasn’t even dispatched. There were various excuses for Covid related logistics delays, but I think the real reason is Creality just couldn’t make it up to the demand. It happened before with the CR-10 and Ender3 launches. I had to open a dispute and request a refund to finally get my Ender3 V2 dispatched.
So if you are not hunting for the best price, buy it from Amazon and get it in time.
Why I sold my Ender3 V2 right away
When I bought Ender3 V2, my idea was to get a good cheap 3d printer, that is easily upgradable to a great 3d printer. On the spec and for the price, Ender3 V2 is certainly a good printer. While waiting for the delivery I started to list all the parts that need upgrading to answer my requirements. The list came quite long, so the upgrades cost. In the meantime, the Voron Switchwire came out and I fell in love. So, rather than spending an additional $200 on upgrades, I decided to build my great printer from scratch. My so-awaited Ender3 V2 was sold the next day I got it.
Here is my list of what I didn’t like in Ender3 V2.
What I don’t like in Ender3 V2 (those are to be upgraded):
- The average extruder – I would upgrade it with my preferred Trianglelab Dual Drive extruder;
- The ordinary PTFE tube – I would replace it with Capricorn high-temperature tube;
- Single Z stepper – would add an additional Z stepper and threaded rod on the right side for better gantry stability;
- Missing auto bed leveling – I would use a BLTouch sensor to add ABL;
- Noisy fans – probably I would upgrade to Noctua fans for absolutely quiet 3d printing. Note that Noctua fans run on 12V so you’d need some 24/12V converters.
- The standalone-only mode for the stepper drivers. No UART!
- A power supply that is just enough for the stock configuration. I would upgrade the stock 270W PSU with Meanwell 350W in order to have more power for peripherals, a more powerful cartridge heater, or hotbed.
At this price point is normal to have some low-end components, however, there are some choices from Creality I can’t understand. The biggest limitation is the control board. It is a 32-bit board with decent 2208 silent step sticks. It was self developed in-house to match perfectly the machine and yet Creality decided to limit the TMC2208 drivers to standalone mode. This is a major issue for me because it doesn’t allow to use of features like linear advance. It will require upgrading the control board to the SKR E3 V2.
Although I sold it, Ender3 V2 is a very capable 3d printer out of the box. With a few easy-to-implement upgrades it has the potential to become a great and versatile machine, allowing you to print a wider range of filaments. It is the right choice for a first 3d printer, but may also be an excellent backup machine for advanced users.