The Best Creality CR-10/S/V2 Upgrades & Mods
The CR-10 series has great 3D printers, but they aren't perfect. Check out the best Creality CR-10/S/V2/Mini upgrades and mods to pimp your 3D printer.
Out of the box, a CR-10 is good. With a few tweaks, it becomes even better. Give it an upgrade, and it’ll be among the best. So what are we looking for in an upgrade?
We’ve chosen the best upgrades for the CR-10 and all CR-10S-variants (S, S4, and S5), the CR-10 Mini, and the CR-10 V2. Each upgrade provides a useful function on the printer and is proven to work. For example, yes, a “hood ornament” is cool, but no, we don’t consider that an upgrade.
We split the upgrades and mods into four sections:
- Ease of use upgrades are aimed at making the user experience better. These range from making the bed easier to level to making it easy to mount cameras for time-lapses and video streaming.
- Functional improvements are upgrades that allow the printer to perform better and allow for improved printing results. Some such improvements are fan ducts and support braces.
- Extended upgrades are things that must be bought rather than printed, for instance, vibration dampeners or a Raspberry Pi to run OctoPi software. These upgrades do not directly impact performance, but rather improve your printer with extended features and perks.
For the most part, all of these mods are compatible with the complete list of the above-mentioned variants, unless stated otherwise. So what are we waiting for? Let’s get to it!
If you’ve been into 3D printing any decent amount of time, you know that bed adhesion is one of the most important factors in whether a print will turn out or not. Also, having a good build plate makes your printer much easier to use, no more fiddling around with scrapers and blades trying to get that one fragile print off without breaking it.
If you’re on a quest for better adhesion, Creality offers some enticing upgrade options. Their Tempered Glass build plate features a special carbon-silicone coating, similar to Anycubic’s Ultrabase, that reportedly has fantastic adhesion while hot, but breaks free easily when cold.
If glass isn’t your thing, you could always opt for the Cmagnet flexible build plate. Essentially a floppy magnetic version of a Buildtak-like surface, this product allows you to peel prints off without a scraper, by nature of being both highly flexible and easily removable from the printer.
These products are primarily available for the CR-10 and 10S, or their variants with a 310 by 310 mm surface area. If you have a larger build area but still want to upgrade, it may be worth looking into 3rd-party alternatives.
MicroSD Extender Cable
If you’ve ever worried about losing the tiny little microSD card that came with your printer, then this upgrade is for you.
Essentially, this is an extension cable for your microSD slot, converting it to a full-sized SD card reader. It also allows you to reposition your SD slot, so you are no longer dependent on having the side of the control box always accessible.
Metal Extruder & Direct Drive
Ah, the gripping fear of a filament jam, a true classic in the 3D printing world.
Creality’s Official Bondtech Double Gear extruder kit should make your filament jamming days a distant memory. This upgrade comes stock on some of Creality’s newer CR-line printers, but for those of you with older models, this dual-drive extruder is available for sale as an upgrade. All you have to do is swap it out and re-calibrate your E-steps, and you’ll be ready to roll!
Alternatively, if you are the lucky owner of a CR-10 V2, you can also purchase a Genuine E3D Titan extruder. Designed to slot into the Cr-10 V2 as a seamless transition into direct-drive 3D printing, this upgrade facilitates the use of flexible filaments and relieves some of the common issues of Bowden tubes.
The Titan extruder can also be used in place of the stock extruder on the other CR-10 models, but this may require more work to install.
Note that for any extruder upgrades, it is a good idea to calibrate your extruder (also known as E-steps calibration) to make sure your printer is pushing the right amount of filament while printing.
Capricorn Bowden Tubing
If you have a fancy new extruder, why not make sure what comes after has the same quality and precision?
This Capricorn tubing, in its iconic dark blue color, has much tighter tolerances than a standard PTFE Bowden tube. What this means is there is less room for the filament to wiggle around on its way to the nozzle, resulting in smoother, more precise and consistent extrusion throughout your print.
Printing with PLA might be all fine and dandy, but when it comes to ABS and nylon, the CR-10 printers really struggle. A combination of an open-air frame and a massive heated bed makes it difficult to maintain a draft-free printing environment at the right temperatures.
Taking note of the issue, Creality released a printer enclosure kit that allows you to seal off your printer from the woes of an open workshop. Sized to fit the original CR-10 and the popular Ender printers, this enclosure should fit most of the CR-series machines, aside from the much larger S4 and S5 variants.
Supporting Rod Set
Many users have noted that the tall vertical extrusions in the Z-axis of the CR-10 aren’t the most stable, which leads to wobbling and inconsistent layers in taller, larger prints.
However, to mitigate this problem, Creality offers a set of supporting rods, the same ones included with the CR-10 V2. The rod set includes a tapping kit, allowing you to thread the core of the front-most aluminum frame extrusion, to which the rods are then bolted.
This kit is advertised as compatible with the CR-10 and 10S, but should also fit on the S4 variant. The other CR-10 models have different frame sizes, and as such would likely benefit more from the DIY version of this upgrade, mentioned further on in our list.
BL Touch Leveling Sensor Kit
One of the main issues with the CR-10 series of printers is that the beds are so large that keeping a good level across the entire surface can be difficult. A classic solution to this is to add an auto-leveling sensor.
In the case of the original CR-10 series, Creality offers their own BL Touch kit, including everything you need to get going with a BL Touch sensor, including a mounting bracket.
For owners of the CR-10 V2, a simplified kit is available at the same price, featuring a different mounting bracket to fit your X-gantry.
A relatively cheap but more time-consuming Creality CR-10 upgrade is adding stepper dampers to your printer. This decreases the vibrations caused by the stepper motors and significantly reduces noise levels while printing and, in some cases, can help the quality of your prints.
TL Smoothers are relatively cheap add-ons for your CR-10’s stepper motor drivers, which essentially help smooth your print and remove artifacts like “salmon skin”. They can be bought for a couple of dollars and are super easy to install thanks to plug-and-play setup and zero software. Cheap and easy, a no-brainer Creality CR-10 upgrade.
Adding a Raspberry Pi to your CR-10 can be useful for a number of reasons, but the most popular one is for using the free OctoPi software. OctoPi allows you to monitor and control your printer remotely or over WiFi, so that you can check on your print, ensure against failures, and perhaps even run a printer farm. Another cool feature of OctoPi is that it will auto-record the entire print with a connected camera.
The Raspberry Pi itself is of course the only essential component, however you can also add on a Pi camera or webcam. And don’t forget to print yourself a cool case.