I’ve been hearing more buzz about the Creality CR-10S desktop 3D printer, so I decided to look into it.
This unit is produced by Shenzhen Creality 3D technology in China, who produce several different 3D printers, including currently five different plastic extrusion models, as well as a resin-based SLA machine. This is impressive, given that the company launched only in 2014.
Three of their six machines are provided pre-assembled, but three are provided as kits. The CR-10S in question here is one of the kit models, as it is their flagship machine for the desktop 3D printing crowd.
It seems that the kit is perhaps not the right word to describe the work required to put this machine together. When I hear “kit”, all I can think of is the 20+ hours I spent cobbling together my first MakerBot, which arrived as a pile of wires, bolts, nuts and panels. The CR-10S is nothing of the sort.
In fact, the company says it requires only “Ten minutes to install and test”, which seems a bit quick. I’ve taken longer to get assembled machines running, let alone one you need to assemble!
However, this rapid setup is confirmed. A recent video review by Nexi Tech reviewing the machine shows that the assembly could take up to 30 minutes “if you go slow”:
It seems that Creality just has a few major components to plug together to get the machine going, rather than actually “building it”. The connectors are “aviation grade” and even many of the bolts are designed to be tightened by hand.
In other words, do not let the “kit” term discourage you from looking at this machine.
But what about the machine itself? It is a plastic extrusion 3D printer, using the Bowden extrusion technique. The machine includes a heated build platform, covered with a glass print surface, ideal for PLA printing, although I believe you should be able to attempt ABS as well on this machine.
But the biggest feature on the CR-10S is its bigness. The build volume on the machine STARTS at 300 x 300 x 400mm, and you can order a 400 x 400 x 400mm or even a 500 x 500 x 500mm model! This is extraordinarily large for an inexpensive desktop 3D printer, which usually top out at around 200mm.
The CR-10S uses a linear bearing system with extruded aluminum struts to provide a very rigid and smoothly operating motion system. This should provide very good quality prints, and it seems that is the case based on the sample print images I’ve seen.
One very important feature on this large machine is a filament-out detection system. This makes the machine safe for 3D printing large, very long-running prints that will inevitably run out of filament. The machine will pause and allow you to reload the spool and then resume the print.
As a kit, there are some easy “hacks” you can make to this system, of which the most important might be the ability to swap nozzles. For larger print it is most advantageous to install a larger diameter extrusion nozzle, say 0.8mm instead of the standard 0.4mm, making prints proceed far faster.
Pricing of this unit is perhaps its other major feature. For such a large machine, you would expect a premium price, but that’s not the case here. The CR-10S is available from a variety of smaller online outlets with varying prices, but it seems you should be able to get the smaller model for as low as USD$625! The larger models will, of course, cost a bit more, but certainly under USD$1,000.
For a reliable 3D printer that can print a half-meter cube, that’s an extraordinarily low price!