A Newbie’s Experience 3D Printing: Learning with an Ender 3!

My Experience with 3D Printing

I’ve wanted to buy a printer for awhile but I could never justify the use of it or if it would be useful to me. So when I came across a sale on GearBest for a Creality Ender 3, I snatched one up fast for just under £150. I had no idea what I was getting myself into for this price, as I had been looking around and was leaning more towards a Prusa I3 MK3. After waiting a good 3-4 weeks, it arrived and I felt like a little kid again on Christmas!  I decided that it would be a good idea to chronicle this newbie’s experience to 3D printing.

Ender 3 Unboxing
The exciting reveal of my Ender 3.

Putting it all together!

For those thinking of buying an Ender 3, I would recommend just a few things.  Before you get really excited and try to assemble the printer, you should take a little bit of time and plug in the USB drive that is shipped with the printer.  The USB drive contains the assembly instructions in English.  Despite not having English instructions at the time, this newbie easily managed to assemble it!  It felt like a very expensive Meccano kit.

The Newbie’s First Print!

As soon as I had finished building it, I just had to turn it on. Of course being completely new to 3D printing, I wasn’t 100% sure on alignments or which settings to use for Cura.  For my first print I left everything on default and aligned the bed to the best of my ability.  Don’t be afraid to look up bed leveling tutorials!  Next thing I know, it started to print!  The first model I ever used was CaliCat created by Dezign.  It’s a free to use test print as an alternative to BenchyBoat.

 

Newbies-First-Print
My first ever print on my Creality Ender 3.

Buying Filament

With my first print the layers came out really high and I had so much more infill than was necessary.  I didn’t really know much but about slicer settings at the time.  My next move was to buy some proper filament instead of using the sample stuff that shipped with the printer.  So, I bought some color changing stuff made by Amolen.  It was this newbie’s experience to not recommend this filament for beginners.  I suggest buying some simple plain white PLA until you know how to set everything up.  This way you can learn about your printer before buying an expensive filament.

The First Problem

It was at this point I ran into the first bad newbie experience with my Ender 3.  The Z-Axis was stuttering and scraping my prints. Basically, when the Z-Axis started to get higher and go down the motor would make this really loud clunking noise.   This would cause the X-Axis rail to drop and cause my prints to fail.  It took so long to find a solution to this!  Turns out, the problem was caused by two tiny screws that were screwed in too tight by the factory.  I’ll post more about this issue in my full review and how I fixed it.

Mastering the Ender 3

After sorting this problem, the printer has been working really well. For the price I paid, it was well worth it.  I’m so glad I took a gamble and bought the Creality Ender 3. So far, I’m printing at every opportunity I can get.  After sorting the settings and problems, it has been fun finding the limits of my Ender 3.

Continuing the Newbie’s Experience

I’m going to write a follow up article to my Newbie’s Experience which will have a full review of the Creality Ender 3.  It will also have a list of the mods that I have done to mine along with which mods I recommend.  Most of the mods are 3D printed and are specifically designed for the Creality Ender 3. I’ll also include a full list of fun models for you to try on your Ender 3 in another article with my Cura profile.

Be sure to check out Andrew DeLisle‘s article on Anycubic Photon Initial Thoughts!

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