CR 10 S Mods that will make your printer super reliable

If you’re a CR 10 owner or your thinking of getting a CR 10 for Christmas. Then you might or already know that despite its huge print volume and decent aluminum frame, it isn’t that much reliable. As an owner, you might face issues with a warped glass bed (which is the most common one) or cheap hot end, extrusion problems and so on.  And all of these problems affect your print quality.

In this post, I’ll share with you some mods that I bought and printed to upgrade my CR 10 S from a decent 3d printer to the 3d printer that I love the most.

Our take on the CR 10S

Before continuing, I want to mention that the CR 10 is an excellent 3d printer, because of its price, it’s easy to assemble, it’s print volume, its community, and the upgradeability it has. The CR 10 was my first 3d printer and I’m proud and satisfied that I bought one.

You can now purchase yours by clicking here or the image below.

Creality CR10S 3d printer
Find out more about this item by clicking the picture

There are 3 types of upgrades that we will review in this post:

Link to each section.

1- The ones you can print.

2- The ones you need to buy.

3- Firmware update – Uploading the latest Marlin version to your printer.


Printable Upgrades

For the printable upgrades, we have the cooling fan mods. These mods consist of different ways of setting up your fans so there’s more airflow going from the outside to the nozzle and the print. This generates a better print quality and sometimes even shinier prints due to the print temperature management.

Fang Mount

There are a vast amount of setups, but in this case, I will show a “fang-like” cooling mod. This model was designed by Jun Naling and remixed with a BLTouch holder by Philipp Neis (link to their respective Thingiverse account).

Fang mount for the CR 10 S
Fang mount build with two Noctua Fans and a BLTouch

Banta Mount

I found this mount thanks to the CR10 Facebook’s User Group, I really recommend you to join this Facebook group because there’s so much knowledge and great people to interact with.

This Banta Mount it’s spectacular, it’s a modular design so there’s a lot of variants for your different fans or leveling sensors. To gain access to the Banta Mount documentation, You need to register to the following site (Banta mount’s official website).

Some variants of the Banta mount set up.
Banta Mount installed on the CR10’s hotend and on the E3D’s V6 hotend
CR 10 S banta mount build
My Banta Mount Build. Noctua Fans, MicroSwiss hot end, and BLTouch auto bed leveling sensor.

Non-Printable Upgrades

This is the hard part… I know, you don’t want to spend money but let’s see it as an investment. Even though you’ll spend some bucks on the following components, I personally can assure You a 100% improvement rate with those upgrades.

DISCLAIMER: Before continuing, some users from different CR 10 communities have stated that not all of these upgrades are quite significant, and that’s true. All cases are different and in your particular case you might not even need any of these upgrades, because your printer had been providing excellent quality prints throughout time without the need of these upgrades. But other users like me haven’t had the same experience and needed to buy some or all of these in order to make our printer achieve that high level of trust and performance.

So I would recommend you think if these upgrades are really necessary for you, you might need it in future or you might not, but don’t hesitate on upgrading your printer to fullest if your not experiencing some issues. 

Really great upgrades.

Here’s the full list of upgrades that we will review  (the links provided are my Amazon affiliate links,  thanks for the support if you buy something from one of these)

E3D V6 hotend or MicroSwiss hotend:

These guys are great because they will allow you to print more materials due to its capability to reach higher temps up to 300 ºC and above, and both kits come with high-quality nozzles that will provide an excellent functionality when printing with materials such as flexible and soft filaments.

These guys provide great heat management as well, so if You’re thinking of enduring your print consistency while also giving you the opportunity to print with different materials on the future then this is a must.

Remember that a good quality hotend will most likely prevent jams (they both work well on preventing jams whit PLA), so if your printer is consistently printing with PLA this will help you to avoid jams. So if your hotend is misbehaving both of this are a good product to fix that issue. Fixing temperature problems while providing a top-quality functionality will result most likely in better print quality. I’m really satisfied with the purchase.

E3D V6 Hotend
Find out more about this item by clicking the picture.
Micro Swiss all metal hotend
Find out more about this item by clicking the picture.

Quick Notice (thanks to the CR 10 Reddit community): 

If you’re going to buy the E3D V6 hotend then be aware of the following issue.  

A common issue is massively excessive retraction distances. In direct configurations retraction of 0.5 to 2mm is all that should be needed for ooze-free prints.

We use around 0.6mm for ABS that oozes very little, and 2mm for the very floppy flexible filaments that like to ooze a great deal and need a good tug to pull back the soft filament from the melt zone.

For PLA we stick with retraction settings no higher than 0.8mm.

If you want to know more about troubleshooting your E3D V6, check this link. It’s really useful and well explained.

2x Noctua 40mm Fans:

These will make your printer a lot quieter while providing a great airflow to cool your heated block and your 3d printed parts, you’ll love them. They’re a great work of engineering and quality, due to their excellent aerodynamic design. 

Noctua is a brand that is well known for quality so if You’re thinking of changing your fan mount to provide more visibility or a better cooling to your 3d printed parts don’t doubt on buying Noctua fans. Support top quality.

Noctua NF-A4X10 Fan
Find out more about this item by clicking the picture.

Suggested by Reddit CR10 Community:

Another great alternative for Noctua fans are the TH3D ones, link here, a user on the community stated that those fans are better than Noctuas, due to their airflow and better CFM.  

BLTouch leveling sensor:

This guy helps to correct the zones where your print bed is not level, and it does through a mapping of the different heights encounter on your bed and providing those offset values to your printer. It’ doesn’t store those values so the printer won’t remember them after your print it’s done.  So what you do is assign the auto bed leveling command from marlin “G29” to your start GCODE so that whenever you start a print it will auto level the bed and know the offset of those values.  

Despite the fact that it was kinda a pain to get working correctly due to the calibration of the initial Z offset value, it definitely worth the effort and the money.  Please don’t go cheap, and don’t buy the clones versions, the original is more expensive but it’s quality.

Find out more about this item by clicking the picture.

Aluminum Extruder Drive:

This one provides a better “grip” of the filament and it’s a lot more when precise extruding or retracting during the print process while also facilitating the print process of flexible filaments. It is able to do so because of the way it was designed. Some users have stated that this upgrade helps them counter theirs under extrusion, skipping and grinding issues. Despite the fact that it might not boost your print quality or show a significant enhancement overall, I considered it an ok upgrade, if you are thinking of setting your printer with quality components in order to reduce the possibilities of encountering a flaw.

But if you’re thinking of printing different types of material while securing top-quality prints then the Bondtech BMG extruder is the proper option for you.

Aluminum MK8 Extruder Drive Feed Kit
Find out more about this item by clicking the picture.

Capricorn PTFE tubing:

This is one gives a tight fit and excellent filament addition to your Bowden set up, it also has a higher temp resistance than the CR 10 S stock PTFE tubing. Don’t underestimate him, it really works. It’s really well designed in terms of flexibility, material, lubrication, filament flow, and inner diameter precision. It’s just amazing.

Capricorn PTFE Tubing
Find out more about this item by clicking the picture.

Options for a warped heated bed glass:

12×12 Mirror tiles (6 pack):

Many users of the community had stated that these 12″x12″ mirror tiles really helped them solve the issues of a stock warped glass bed while also providing some good surface addition. Since it is a mirror it conserves the glossy effect on your first layer, community-recommended and really cheap so if you have the possibility of picking this awesome 6 pack, just do it.

Heated Bed Borosilicate Glass:

If you’re not able to get the Lowes’ 12×12 mirror tiles 6 pack, this definitely will be the way to go. Like the 12×12 Mirror tiles, it provides a glossy first layer and also a completely level bed, which will allow getting the perfect first layer every time.

We weren’t able to get the Lowes 12×12 mirror tiles, so we bought this one for our CR 10S and were more than glad to do so because after leveling the bed correctly the results we got from the first layer of a couple of prints were awesome.

Heated Glass Bed
Find out more about this item by clicking the picture.

Firmware Upgrade

I never actually thought that changing the default firmware from Creality to the latest version of Marlin would generate a significant impact on print quality and printing experience as a whole because I knew that the firmware that comes with the CR 10 as a default is based on Marlin.

This one was is pretty easy to do, and is also free haha… so yeah it’s pretty awesome. Updating the firmware gives you the option to really configure and tune your CR 10 on a whole new level. I even added a custom boot load bitmap. The only things you’ll need are the Marlin Firmware (<- download link, I flashed my CR 10 S with the v1.1.9), the Arduino IDE (<- download link),  and finally a great Youtube Tutorial.

I found this video really helpful and pretty handy to go along. It was made by the user TheFirstLayer (<- link to his Youtube channel). He has great content about the CR 10 and 3d printing. So really recommend subscribing to his channel and supporting him out.

Observation:

If you ever encounter a compilation error due to not having the “U8glib” library, you can download it here. I had that problem, so be aware.

If you don’t know how to upload a library to the Arduino IDE, watch the following video.

Conclusion

To wrap this up, I really want to thank for getting this far, I really appreciate it. I have been using my CR 10 S with no mods for almost a year. And I’ve experienced some really bad moments that made me feel discouraged and sad about the 3d printing world. Now after a month of this great upgrades, I have experienced an excellent print quality and a super reliable printer. I’m a 100% confident on my printer, I just slice the “.STL”, upload the “GCODE” and it’s done. Nothing to worry about.

Some recent prints

I made this blog post to help out other novice 3d printer owners, and provide some solutions so their 3d printing experience can be flawless. I really love 3d printing and I’m so glad of the investment that I did when getting the CR 10S.

Tip: Don’t let ever something discourage you, face the adversities with a resourceful mindset and enjoy the ride. I really heated when my printer wasn’t able to print correctly and decent, because 3d printing means a lot to me, but facing those issues made understand more my machine, getting more involved with the community and being totally capable of troubleshooting other 3d printers.

Hope this was helpful. See you in the next blog post.

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