I have previously and extensively reviewed Creality products and have found them to be the best and most affordable pieces of technology when it comes to FDM 3D printing. One of the few gripes I have about my Ender 3 is the same that I have with all of my 3D printers, which is simply bed size.
When you begin down the road of 3D printing you are constantly faced with the limitation of how big you can actually build something, and it really becomes massively frustrating.
Thankfully, Creality has sent along an answer to my prayers when it comes to my inept size constraints: the new CR-10 V3!
The CR-10 V3
The CR series has been very popular for some time and is considered the logical progression for users of the Ender 3/5/6 who want a greater build volume. The good news about that is there is a massive abundance of information online by users to aid, assist, and inspire anyone who uses the product. There is also a very robust modding community.
I have stressed in the past (and will continue to stress) that having a well-supported knowledge base to work from is almost essential when selecting a 3D printer. Many companies that offer 3D printers have fair to poor levels of tech support, so your fellow users will often come into play when issues arise.
So lets talk about the nuts and bolts of the CR-10 V3.
The bed size is a wonderful 300mm x 300mm x 400mm, which can handle just about any model that you throw at it from Thingiverse and possibly some massive items if you chop them up in Meshmixer or whatever editor you prefer. On top of this beautifully large bed is a piece of carborundum glass that heats the bed level and quick. This saves your prints from curling at the edges or pulling off the bed during inopportune times.
The Titan Direct Drive
Next up and arguably the most important component of the entire printer is the new Titan Direct Drive. For those new to printing, traditionally FDM 3D printers use an extruder to pull the filament off of the roll and insert it into the hot end. The gap between the two is filled by a Bowden tube. The tube is normally 6 to 8 inches and just wide enough for the filament to pass through it. There are a few problems that arise from this are:
- To print the machine retracts a little bit of filament when it pulls away from the bonding surface, and if there is a lag or gap it will cause the hot filament to leave strings that can either clog the printing end or leave strings all over your print.
- The Bowden tube is connected at both ends with a pressure fitting that can (and will) fail at some point, destroying your print.
The Titan Direct Drive eliminates this by feeding filament directly into the print head without the need of the Bowden tube or couplings. The all-metal extrusion is also superior to the plastic builds of the past.
On either side of the Titan Drive are upgraded dual-port cooling fans. These are more powerful and yet quieter than previous builds.
Even More Goodies
The Titan Direct Drive and glass bed are great upgrades, but the CR-10 V3 does not stop there.
The new TMC2208 motherboard offers unbelievably silent operation. I had to keep checking to see if the printer had shut off because it seemed to quiet to be operating. This leads to some of my more serious gripes about the machine. The UI is the same that Creality has been using for a while with a monochromatic non-touch screen. I have become too used to Big Tree Tech’s wonderful motherboards and UIs as well as full-color touch screens. It just seems strange to have a machine with so many upgrades and yet the interface is… meh. Don’t get me wrong, it works just fine, but I think that if Big Tree Tech puts out an upgrade I may pull the trigger ASAP.
Back to the good news, the CR-10 V3 has a runout sensor for the filament. Considering that I intend to print some giant objects with it, the chances that multiple rolls of the filament may be needed for a single print are most likely. The sensor also comes in handy if your filament breaks, which is another inevitability.
Final Thoughts and Recommendations
There are so many 3D printers on the market and it is easy to be overwhelmed. The Creality CR-10 V3 offers years of experience, a massive user base of knowledge that will work hard to improve the unit long after you have purchased it to the maximum possible speed and quality. The 11 new upgrades to the machine are a vast improvement over the previous models.
I am still somewhat disappointed with the screen, but as I mentioned earlier, this is more of a personal choice and does not impede the functionality of the printer overall.
The price comes in at $529 currently, so it may be a bit pricey for an entry-level printer, but, as it was for me, an excellent choice if you are looking to move up in size and quality.
From a strictly technical perspective it is actually a great entry-level printer due to the CR-10’s ease of build, simple UI, and simply being easier to maintain overall.
I am going to use the hell out of this machine. My next print is going to be a full-sized Mandalorian rifle that will take 3 days to print and be a true shakedown of every aspect of this machine. The Ender 3 has been a workhorse for me and I feel that the CR-10 V3 has the build and quality to do the same on a much grander scale.
Sure, you can still get a more detailed print from resin, but for your big and small projects—and if you need to crank out dozens of COVID masks—I cannot imagine a machine more up to the task than the Creality CR-10 V3.
A sample of the CR-10 V3 was made available for this review. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s alone and not that of the manufacturer or editorial board.