I’ve wanted a large-format printer for a long time, but couldn’t bring myself to “just buy something”, insisting that I should build instead. This went on for years, and when I realized how much time I’m spending working-around the limitations of my current printers I decided maybe it’s time to see what’s out there.
I settled on the [ Creality Ender 5 Plus ](https://www.creality.com/goods- detail/ender-5-plus-3d-printer) . The key factors in selecting this machine were the cavernous build capacity, cube frame (bed moves only along the Z axis) and the ability to customize the firmware, etc.
Assembly was fairly simple and completed in about an hour. I watched a video which I think helped avoid some potential mistakes but nothing that would have been irreversible.
This is one of the things I like most about the machine, the construction is very solid and doesn’t use any “one-time” fasteners. I feel like it will be possible to service this machine much easier than the other off-the-shelf printer I’ve owned.
Once assembled, calibration was fairly straightforward with a couple of exceptions, both involving what I consider “convenience features”.
The first was an issue with the probe used for the “autoleveling” feature. This feature probes the bed in 16 places to compensate for small differences in the height of the bed. The problem is that the probe can overshoot the bed at the lower limit of the X axis. This is easily corrected by sliding the glass bed a mm or two to the left, but a better solution would be to modify the calibration routine to test slightly more inbound of the X axis.
The second problem came from the filament sensor. This detects when the machine runs out of filament and pauses the print job until the supply is replenished. The problem I ran into was in feeding the filament through the sensor.
When I fed the filament into the sensor I couldn’t get it to come out the other side. After several attempts at removing and retrying the process the filament jammed inside the sensor and I had to take it apart.
Inside the sensor is simply a micro switch with a roller lever. This works fine, but there’s nothing to guide the filament from the entry hole to the exit hole, so if the filament isn’t perfectly straight (coming off a spool it rarely is) the filament can curl inside the sensor and eventually get stuck.
My current solution to this is to ensure I insert the filament so that any curve faces away from the sensor (which is the opposite of how the filament curves coming off the spool) but I’m going to give some thought to how this could be improved in a less error-prone fashion.
With these issues resolved I was able to get one of the gcode files from the included MicroSD card to print.
The next step is to print something of my own design. This was a more complicated process which I’m still working the kinks out of. That being the case I’m going to save that topic for a future post once I’ve got it all figured out.