Ender 3 V2: Build Review and 1-Month Print Test
The Ender 3 V2 is the successor of the highly popular Ender line of Creality3D. This printer is the latest iteration following the Ender 3X and the Ender 3 Pro. I’ve assembled (and disassembled) several Creality printers so I’ve gotten really familiar with Creality3D’s craftsmanship, the good and the bad.
Right out of the box, the Ender V2 looks to be a lot easier to build than the previous generations. The whole base is already assembled. The base already includes the power supply neatly tucked away. There are also new belt tensioners for the X and Y-axis. The old 12864 LCD screen with rotary encoder is now replaced with a 4.3-inch colored, non-touchscreen, also with rotary encoder.
L-R: Plastic Injection Molded X-Axis Tensioner, Plastic Injection Molded Y-Axis Tensioner
BUILD REVIEW AND TIPS
When I said it ‘looked’ to be an easier build, it is just that, it only looks easier. Apart from the power supply, the rest of the build process is the same as its predecessors, even using the exact same aluminum extrusion frames as the Ender 3 Pro, most obvious by the useless holes on the right Z-axis frame. This means that the build problems that you probably have had in your previous Enders will probably still show up in this build.
The Ender/s all suffer from one inherent problem in its aluminum extrusion frame, the pre-drilled and pre-threaded holes aren’t straight all the way (which from a machinist’s standpoint is very unusual). This means that if you overtighten the bolts trying to get the frame more rigid, the frame will get skewed and lose its square. Also, aluminum is a relatively soft material, constant screwing on and off will cause it to lose its threads. These claims are not assumptions but based on my experience with the many Creality printers that I’ve assembled (on one occasion as a beginner, I stripped the holes so bad that I had to use shims and thread-locking fluid on the bolts just for the aluminum extrusions to be perpendicular to each other).
L-R: Creality Ender 3 V2 Build, Proof of Reused Aluminum Profiles from Ender 3 Pro
With the Ender/s, ‘just enough’ is the right way to do it. Over-tightened bolts will cause problems, likewise, under tightened bolts will also cause problems. The same goes for belts, eccentric nuts, bed leveling springs, and even the extruder.
These Creality machines were mostly assembled by hand in the factories so I don’t trust it to be perfectly assembled when I receive it. I loosen all the bolts and double-check everything by using an engineer’s square to make sure all the corners form a right angle before I retighten everything. After all, 3D printers are usually only as good as how perfectly built it is.
I mentioned that you would probably find the same problems from the previous generations to also appear in this printer. I recommend looking online for Z-axis motor shims and tutorials on how to properly square the X gantry, e-steps calibration, PID, flow, and retraction tuning.
As expected with a well-calibrated 3D printer, prints will definitely come out well. The question here is how long we can keep the printers well-calibrated. I’ve run my Ender 3 V2 for an average of 20 hours a day for 30 days, as expected the bed needs to be releveled after every other print because the Ender 3 V2 still use the low-tension spring. The plastic extruders also quickly lost its thread during one of my belt-tightening procedures (this is a basic machine design problem: combining plastic threads with steel screws, this is a recipe for failure especially for a part that gets a lot of stress). My other concern is because of the new and more aesthetic printhead cover, the hotend is less accessible. The bolts are on the back which makes changing nozzles or clearing clogs harder to do.
Self-Watering Planter in CCTREE Green and eSun White & Optical Illusion Spilling Chocolate Milk Printed in eSun White and PopBit Brown printed using Creality Ender 3 V2
Can Holder in PopBit Orange printed using Creality Ender 3 V2
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
In conclusion, Ender 3 V2 is still one of the best budget 3D printers in the market but it really doesn’t differ much from the previous generations. With a few choice upgrades, this printer can be made to run for longer with far less maintenance and re-calibrations needed.
The printer already comes with a glass bed so the flatness of the bed and bed adhesion shouldn’t be issues anymore. The plastic-molded extruder in these machines tend to break over time, I recommend switching to an aluminum extruder as soon as possible. The bedsprings are also quick to lose tension so I recommend changing them to yellow or blue bed springs to lessen the need for bed re-leveling. Also, I highly recommend switching the plastic belt tensioners to aluminum belt tensioners. These upgrades are all available in our store at Kezar3D.
SHOULD I BUY THE ENDER 3 V2?
If you’re coming from Ender 3 Pro, or even the Ender 3, there is no reason to upgrade to the V2 since there is no real “jump” which significantly sets the V2 apart from its predecessors. For Ender 3 though, the change from a 2020 Y-axis gantry to a 4040 Y-axis gantry might be a good reason to upgrade. The wider base of 4040 makes the bed more stable.
If you’re a beginner looking for an entry-level 3D printer, I recommend the Ender 3 V2!
S H O P I T E M S O N B L O G
Y-AXIS TENSIONER 2040 Y-AXIS TENSIONER 2020 X-AXIS TENSIONER 2020 ALUMINUM EXTRUDER YELLOW BED STRINGS