Creality’s latest 3D printer is the fully enclosed CR-200B desktop 3D printer.
If you’re familiar with Creality, you’ll know that virtually all of their desktop devices have an open format: the motion system is quite visible on the gantry. But the new CR-200B 3D printer is quite different: it has a full enclosure.
Inside is a gantry like most other desktop 3D printers, but it’s hidden by the attractively-styled case, which is the CR-200B’s most notable feature.
I’m pleased that Creality decided to make the build chamber as visible as possible by using transparent materials for three sides and the top, allowing for full viewing of the interior of the CR-200B. Some enclosures offer only a single window on the front door, which makes it quite difficult to see what’s going on during a print job.
I’m fascinated with the industrial design of the CR-200B’s case. It’s not simply four walls bolted together; Creality has taken the effort to create what they call a “minimalist design” for the case. The design includes a unique feature: an array of dots on each side window, something I have not seen in 3D printer design elsewhere.
Aside from looking good, the enclosure also provides serious functional benefit. By enclosing the build chamber, especially at the top, Creality has made it possible for the device to capture heat from the build plate. This heat gradually raises the temperature of the build chamber to much higher levels than would be encountered on a standard, open-gantry 3D printer.
This is important because the higher ambient temperature reduces the thermal gradient in the printed object. Normally the print is hot at the top (where fresh material has just been extruded) and at the bottom (where the heated build plate provides some warmth.) This generates a thermal gradient where cooler regions tend to shrink slightly. This can cause warping and is the usual reason for failed ABS prints on open gantry 3D printers.
Many people simply don’t even bother trying to 3D print ABS on open gantry 3D printers anymore because it can be so difficult to succeed. But this problem should be alleviated in the CR-200B, as the enclosure significantly reduces the thermal gradient: the temperature of the coolest part of the print will be 40-50C rather than 20C if in an open gantry machine.
This means that the CR-200B should be an excellent choice for 3D printing ABS objects. Of course, it will also 3D print PLA objects just as well as non-enclosed devices.
Specifications for the CR-200B include:
- Single 0.4mm all-metal hot end
- 200 x 200 x 200 mm build chamber
- Dual fans on the hot end for rapid cooling
- 4.3” color heavy-duty touchscreen with new user interface
- Silent stepper motors for quiet operation
- Carborundum glass build plate
- Automatic print job resume after power failure
- Filament-out detection and handling
While the CR-200B does not offer a removable spring steel flexible plate like some other 3D printers, the carborundum glass plate does offer some advantages: it can heat up far faster, remains perfectly flat at all times, and provides easy release of prints when it cools down.
One very important feature that some might miss is that Creality has chosen to include an LED lighting system for the build chamber. This is important because any enclosures cut down on the light in the chamber and without lighting it would be very hard to see what’s happening.
Creality has included a couple of welcome convenience features. One is a large thumbwheel for leveling the print bed. It’s large size means it’s very easy to make precise adjustments. The CR-200B also has quick-release knobs for the glass plate, which are far better than the paper clip systems on some other 3D printers, which I always seem to lose.
I believe Creality has targeted the education market for the CR-200B. In that environment an enclosure makes much sense because the print will be protected from curious student fingers, and the fingers are protected from the heat of the hot end. In order to access the build chamber, you have to purposely open the magnetically-attached front door.
It’s possible to operate the CR-200B remotely using the company’s Creality Box system, but that’s an optional extra purchase for those interested.
Educators might want to take a good look at the new CR-200B, as it could fit the classroom environment very well. Pricing for the CR-200B is only US$399.99 at the US local online store.