Hands On With The Creality Ender-3 S1, Part 1

By on May 31st, 2022 in news, printer

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The Creality Ender-3 S1 desktop 3D printer, still in the box [Source: Fabbaloo]

We’ve been testing the Creality Ender-3 S1 desktop 3D printer.

This is part one of a three part series, please read part two and three.

Creality Ender-3 S1 Background

Creality has been making inexpensive desktop 3D printers for many years, with their first breakthrough machine being the CR-10. Later they introduced the first Ender machine and it was quickly a hit among 3D print enthusiasts. Since then the company has been incrementally improving the Ender design, with the Ender-3 S1 being one of the top models these days, along with its slightly better equipped cousin, the Ender-3 S1 Pro.

We had the chance to do a detailed evaluation of the device over several weeks and this is our report.

Creality Ender-3 S1 Specifications and Features

The Ender-3 S1 is, like most Creality devices, an open gantry system. This makes the design inexpensive, but makes it also challenging to 3D print higher-temperature materials. Nevertheless, the Ender-3 S1 supports PLA, ABS, PETG and TPU, the most commonly used 3D print materials.

The machine has a generous build volume of 220 x 220 x 270 mm, and should be able to handle the needs of most desktop 3D printer operators.

The single 1.75mm extrusion system on the Ender-3 S1 is based on Creality’s new lightweight Sprite extruder, which features easy filament loading and dual toothed-gear grip on the filament. The hot end can hit 260C.

The print surface on the Ender-3 S1 is a highly useful spring steel plate that’s magnetically attached. To remove a print the operator need only peel off the plate and twist to pop off the print.

There’s also a new automatically leveling system that measures 16 points using a touch sensor. This, combined with the easy-to-rotate manual adjustments, should make it quite easy to maintain a perfect level during printing.

Easy to use belt adjustment knob on the Creality Ender-3 S1 [Source: Fabbaloo]

There are several highly useful convenience features on the Ender-3 S1. One is the presence of easily turned knobs to tighten or loosen the belt systems. Above is the X-axis adjustor, and below is the Y-axis adjustor.

Storage drawer on the front of the Creality Ender-3 S1 [Source: Fabbaloo]

There is also an integrated drawer where you can store spare parts and tools, some of which are so small you’ll certainly loose them unless stored in the drawer with the machine.

SD Card slot and USB-C connection on the Creality Ender-3 S1 [Source: Fabbaloo]

Print jobs may be stored on an SD card and inserted into the machine for immediate access, and there is also the possibility of USB control. However, I was surprised to see that the Ender-3 S1 uses a USB-C port instead of the usual USB-A port that has appeared on every machine I’ve used until now. This should make the Ender-3 S1 more compatible into the future.

The Ender-3 S1 includes a 32-bit controller board that should be able to handle all activities of the machine, and there’s even silent stepper drivers to keep machine noise down to a minimum.

Creality Ender-3 S1 Unboxing and Assembly

The Creality Ender-3 S1 is packed very securely [Source: Fabbaloo]

As always, Creality has figured out shipping of these small machines. The Ender-3 S1 was extremely well-packed in a relatively small flatpack box. I observed no damage on any components during inspection.

Parts laid out for the yet-to-be assembled Creality Ender-3 S1 [Source: Fabbaloo]

The Ender-3 S1 is actually a kit that you must assemble, but it’s far easier than you might fear. Gone are the old days where you had to literally solder wires together when assembling a 3D printer kit. These days Creality has essentially taken a fully assembled unit and split it up into a couple of smaller pieces that allow for more compact shipping. Your job is to put those pieces back together, and it takes only six steps.

Assembling the Creality Ender-3 S1 [Source: Fabbaloo]

The assembly process is composed of mounting the extruder to the toolhead, erecting the gantry, attaching the control unit and plugging in a few cables. While it was a straightforward process, I did run into a couple of minor challenges.

Tiny quick start guide for the Creality Ender-3 S1 [Source: Fabbaloo]

One dealt with the printed instructions, a page of which is shown here. The problem was that these instructions were literally microscopic. I may not have the best eyes anymore, but this is way too small for anyone to read.

Near microscopic lettering for the Creality Ender-3 S1 [Source: Fabbaloo]

The letters are actually less than half a millimeter in width!

Impossible to see diagram in the instructions for the Creality Ender-3 S1 [Source: Fabbaloo]

This was particularly problematic when looking at the diagram to understand where to plug in the cables. As you can see in this image, the micrometer’s width is set to just less than a millimeter. Details on the diagram are actually 0.1mm, effectively invisible to the eye.

My advice is to ditch the printed instructions entirely and simply use the online version, which might be more up to date than a static printed copy. My advice to Creality here would be to instead include a printed card with a link to the online instructions instead of a quick start manual.

Most cable plugins are obvious on the Creality Ender-3 S1 [Source: Fabbaloo]

The good news is that most of the cable plug-ins are in obvious locations, like the one shown above. There is a terrific cover for several cable connections:

Some cable plugin ports are capped on the Creality Ender-3 S1 [Source: Fabbaloo]

However, there was one cable port I could not easily find as the instructions were simple too small to see, even with magnification. It turned out the connection was underneath the X-axis on the left side.:

Hidden cable port under the X-axis on the Creality Ender-3 S1 [Source: Fabbaloo]

One very important thing to do while assembling the Ender-3 S1 is to ensure the input voltage is set properly for your location.

Voltage warning label on the Creality Ender-3 S1 [Source: Fabbaloo]

Fortunately Creality has placed this prominent sticker on the switch location to make sure you notice and take action:

You’ll need a tool to flip the voltage switch on the Creality Ender-3 S1 [Source: Fabbaloo]

The actual voltage setting switch is buried quite deep into the machine, and you’ll need a tool to flip it, if required, to match your site’s voltage.

Floppy filament sensor on the Creality Ender-3 S1 [Source: Fabbaloo]

The Ender-3 S1 includes a filament out detector that must be mounted on the top of the gantry just below the spool holder. This component detects when the filament runs out and can automatically pause the print so that the operator can take action.

It’s a great feature that I tested later, but unlike most filament sensors, this one is very loose. It seems to be designed to flop around to match with the angle of the incoming filament, which can vary significantly depending on the spool type and amount of filament used.

I did find that it is possible for this sensor to fall into the X-axis belt, but this should never happen because it should always be used with incoming filament. However, be aware of this if you are using the Ender-3 S1 with an alternative spool holder.

Mysterious extra bolts for the Creality Ender-3 S1 [Source: Fabbaloo]

While the assembly was quite straightforward, I did end up with this bag of bolts that seemed to have no purpose. I could not find a step in the microscopic instructions for their use, and the machine works fine without them. No, this is not the “spare” bolts, as they came in a separately labeled bag and are stored in the drawer.

At this point I was ready to power up the machine and prepare it for printing.

This is part one of a three part series, please read part two and three.

Via Creality

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

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