Creality CR-10 V3 3D Printer Review
The Creality CR-10 V3 takes the venerable CR-10 design and brings it into the modern 3D printer era by equipping it with silent stepper drivers and a direct drive. While it does function, we can’t help but feel that this is Creality’s attempt to find a way to clear out old CR-10 stock. It suffers from excessive ghosting and ringing due to the lightweight frame’s struggle with the hefty direct drive extruder. The external control box with monochrome LCD and click wheel also takes up much more space than its modern counterparts.
Unless you’re looking for something close to the classic CR-10 aesthetic, you’ll be better off with the newer Creality CR-10S Pro or the Artillery Sidewinder X1.
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Creality first made a name for itself in 2016 with the release of the Creality CR-10, breaking ground with a large-format 3D printer under $1,000, a rarity back then. This model quickly made its way up to the top as one of the best-value FDM printers. In 2020, Creality continued the CR-10 legacy by launching the CR-10 V3. Despite retaining the classic external control box, Creality embraced more modern features with it, too, such as silent stepper drivers, a ceramic-coated glass bed, and a direct drive extruder.
However, at $469, the CR-10 V3 sits in the middle of a crowded, affordable, large-format FDM printer class. It even faces stiff competition from Artillery’s Sidewinder X1, Sovol’s SV03, Mingda’s Rock 3, and even Creality’s own CR-10 Pro. In this Creality CR-10 V3 3D printer review, we’ll be taking a deep dive into all the strengths and weaknesses of this FDM printer to see if it lives up to its name.
Table of Contents
Key Features To Look For In A Great 3D Printer
Top-quality printing is what everyone looks for in a great 3D printer, and rightfully so. As such, we’ve tested the Creality CR-10 V3 by printing a massive 350mm tall tube. We were specifically looking for z wobble that occurs when the lead screw in the z-axis is off or bent by a fraction of a degree. A tall smooth object such as a tube would exaggerate any z wobble.
Thankfully, our tests yielded positive results, and the Creality CR-10 V3 scored an 8/10 in this aspect. Additionally, our multiple calibration cube tests showed consistent results, meaning this printer is solid!
Depending on your preference, the next thing to look for varies from customer to customer. However, we love to look at print speed… which, sadly, the CR-10 V3 doesn’t perform well at.
The Creality CR-10 V3 prints slowly. The reason for this is because of the large and heavy direct drive extruder and light frame. To maintain quality prints, it’s recommended to stick to speeds around 40mm/s, which falls short of the original model’s 50mm/s. This limitation is unfortunate, given that the e3d direct drive has the potential for speeds exceeding 100mm/s. If you’re looking for a faster printer, the Artillery Sidewinder X1 is capable of 60mm/s with similar quality.
Lastly, we love to look at safety next. After all, we don’t want the 3D printer to burn down our house. Thankfully, the Creality CR-10 V3 has software that prevents overheating, which could eventually result in a severe fire. It automatically shuts down if it detects temperatures reaching hazardous levels.
However, there was one critical concern we noticed. In case the heated bed’s cable breaks due to strain, there’s a risk of electric shock to the user. Having a lower voltage heated bed is safer. And while that would mean the bed would heat up slower, safety is more important.
Ranked #27 of 37 Printers
How We Researched Creality CR-10 V3
The Creality CR-10 V3 belongs to the large format cartesian family of 3D printers that specializes in producing large objects in its generous build volume. These types of 3D printers are known for their low cost of entry, ease of setup, and large community support.
Unlike the majority of modern 3D printers that contain their electronic components within the printer’s base, the CR-10 V3 follows a more traditional design, which houses all of its electronics in an external control box. This approach could be a matter of preference for users. Some users may find that the extra box takes up too much space, making it inconvenient, while others may find it convenient for maintenance.
We put the Creality CR-10 V3 through a gauntlet of a large number of test 3D prints, stressed it with harsh printing environments, crawled through all the support groups and forums, and more. To establish a solid performance baseline, we directly compared it to competing models like the Artillery Sidewinder X1, Mingda Rock D3, and Sovol SV03.
This is an article that you would not want to skip. We carefully researched all aspects of the Creality CR-10 V3 so you can get all the information you need to make the right purchase decision. Choosing the wrong large format 3D printer can lead to subpar prints, hefty repair costs, and a generally unpleasant printing experience. Dive into our review of the Creality CR-10 V3 for all the insights you need!
Assembling the Printer
The CR-10 V3 comes well packaged with charcoal foam surrounding all sides of the printer components. The printers come with three main parts: the printer base, top assembly, and control box. Assembling the printer can be done in a few steps: screw the top assembly into the base, attach the braces between the top assembly and base, and connect the cables from the control box to the motors, heated bed, hotend, end-stops, and filament runout sensor.
Overall, it took us around one hour to put together the 3D printer to have it ready for the first prints.
While assembling the printer is a straightforward task, the downside of the CR-10 V3 is the additional steps involved. For comparison, assembling the Artillery X1 involves merely screwing the top and base together and connecting a few components. This is a consequence of Creality reusing the classic external control box design in the CR-10 V3.
Leveling the Bed
Before first prints, users need to manually level the print bed, a crucial step in the success of your 3D prints. Without proper leveling, prints might not stick if the nozzle is too distant, or conversely, if it’s too close, it can cause jams or subpar layer quality.
Leveling for the CR-10 V3 is achieved by adjusting four knobs at the bed’s bottom corners to achieve the correct height. While the process is well documented by the 3D printing community, Creality itself has not provided detailed instructions on how to get the correct bed level.
One good discovery we’ve had during our tests was the adequately flat glass build plate, which allowed us to print across the entire surface without concerns of prints detaching.
CR-10 V3 Print Quality
The CR-10 V3 has a large build volume of 300mm (l) x 300mm (w) x 400mm (h), allowing it to print a large number of different objects. We also appreciated the upgrade to the carborundum glass bed that made it flat enough to print across its build volume without us worrying about low or high spots.
We tested the CR-10 V3 in four major aspects: the ability to resolve details, z-layer alignment, dimensional accuracy, and print repeatability. For our tests, we used the default 0.2mm layer height settings in Creality Slicer.
To test the FDM printer’s ability to resolve details, we printed several detailed models, including the standard test model Benchy, a Mandalorian figure, and a calibration cube. The CR-10 V3 reproduced the details on the Benchy, Mandalorian, and calibration cube decently well. The calibration cube displayed smooth flat surfaces, suggesting consistent filament extrusion. However, we did notice a lot of ringing and ghosting artifacts on flat surfaces due to the inclusion of a direct drive extruder and a relatively light frame of the CR-10 V3. In comparison, the Artillery Sidewinder X1 fares a little bit better due to its sturdier and heavier frame.
To evaluate the CR-10 V3’s z-layer alignment consistency, we had the CR-10 V3 print a massive 350mm tall tube. The integrity of the z-axis assembly’s design and quality control significantly influences the z-axis uniformity in a 3D printer. If the lead screw in the z-axis is even off or bent by a fraction of a degree, ribbing artifacts (known as “z wobble”) will manifest on the 3D print. A tall smooth object such as a tube will exaggerate any z wobble. Fortunately, during our tests, we did not see any z wobble in our 350mm tall tube.
Finally, to test dimensional accuracy and print consistency, we printed a 20mm calibration cube 20 times to see if there were any differences between them. We noted that our cube(s) measured an average of 20.2mm (l) x 20.3mm (w), positioning the Creality CR-10 V3 in the realm of average dimensional accuracy. We also noticed no major difference in finish or dimensional accuracy between the first and twentieth calibration cubes. This makes the CR-10 V3 a very consistent 3D printer, too.
Due to its large and heavy direct drive extruder and relatively light frame, the Creality CR-10 V3 prints slowly. Achieving an optimal print quality generally necessitates operating at speeds as conservative as 40mm/s, which is slower than the 50mm/s of the original CR-10. This is really a shame, as the e3d direct drive is capable of printing at speeds surpassing 100m/s. However, due to the light frame of the CR-10 V3, attempting higher speeds would cause several ghosting and ringing issues. Competitors such as the Artillery Sidewinder X1 can manage a print speed of 60mm/s while maintaining similar print quality due to their heavier and stiffer frames.
A major advantage of the direct drive extruder is its ability to print flexible filaments like TPU relatively quickly. On the classic CR-10, we could only print TPU at speeds between 10-15mm/s, but on the CR-10 V3, we could reach speeds of 30mm/s. Competitors such as the Sovol S03, Mingda Rock 3, and Artillery Sidewinder X1 also exhibited similar performance levels in this aspect.
Creality CR-10 V3's Hardware
The CR-10 V3 is a large 3D printer with an overall dimension of 420mm (l) x 550mm 9w) x 650mm (h), a print volume of 300mm (l) x 300mm (w) x 400mm (h), and weight of 11.5kg. Due to its external control box, the CR-10 V3 is wider than the competition. Although its weight falls within the typical range for its class, the motion system, which moves the heated bed, requires significant space both in the front and back of the machine. You will need a large table to accommodate this 3D printer.
The main body of the Creality CR-10 V3 is made out of a combination of 2040 and 2020 aluminum extrusions with additional bracing between the top and bottom portions to increase rigidity. Much like the classic CR-10, the CR-10 V3 houses all of its electronics in an external control box. We found this design choice outdated and space-consuming, making it slightly more difficult to move. Additionally, this new setup brings about a safety concern due to exposed cables. Some might even say that it’s less professional looking. In comparison, all of the CR-10 V3’s competitors incorporate their electronics within their bottom frame.
The CR-10 V3 has a monochrome LCD display with a click wheel for navigation. While this is a perfectly adequate way to navigate around the CR-10 V3, competitors such as the Artillery Sidewinder X1 and the Mingda Rock 3 feature color touchscreens, further adding to the dated appearance of the CR-10 V3.
Thermal Runaway Protection
One of the biggest concerns of 3D printing is the potential for the heater to lose control and catch on fire. Thermal runaway protection is a software feature that monitors the hotend to ensure it stays within an acceptable temperature. Most modern printers, including the Creality CR-10 V3, have this feature enabled—something we would never recommend 3D printers go without. In the case of the CR-10 V3, if it detects that the heater’s temperature is going out of an acceptable range, it will display a heating error message, disable power to the 3D printer, and wait for the user to restart the machine.
Cable Relief and Cable Management
As the CR-10 V3 printer operates, the heated bed will move around to adjust for positioning. This movement can lead to a situation where the power cable becomes entangled with the bed, resulting in undue strain and potential cable damage. Interestingly, for the initial print job on the original CR-10, a solution often adopted was a strain relief mechanism for the power cables connected to the heated bed. We were pleased to see Creality take this into account and provided cable strain relief as part of the factory setup.
What we didn’t like, however, was the number of cables going between the control box and the CR-10 V3. Cables can get caught in the moving components of the CR-10 V3, and accidental tugs could break them from their connections.
Another plus about the CR-10 V3 is how the heated bed is not powered directly by the main voltage. Instead, it is powered by the 3D printer itself at 24V, which is a lot weaker compared to 110V or 240V wall outlets. If the cable of the heated bed breaks (due to cable strain issues mentioned above), the user could be electrocuted. Unfortunately, having low voltage also means the bed would be heated up slower. Still, safety measures are more important than heating speed, in our opinion.
CR-10 V3 Maintenance
Finding Replacement Parts
Like most of Creality’s popular machines, almost all parts and components of the CR-10 V3 are user replaceable. This includes crucial parts like the hotend, extruder, control board, motors, and motion system. Plus, thanks to Creality’s brand recognition, many of these parts are available in popular 3D printing retailers such as Matterhackers, 3D Printing Canada and Digitmakers. Even large retailers such as Amazon carry Creality’s products.
Accessing the Control Board
The external control box of the CR-10 V3 offers a notable advantage: effortless access to the control board. Unlike newer models such as the Sovol S03, Mingda Rock 3, and Artillery Sidewinder X1, which feature control boards on an easily reachable base, the CR-10 V3’s separate control board arrangement is even more user-friendly. However, while this accessibility is indeed a plus, the control board’s connectors are hot glued to the board, making it challenging to service. You’d have to use a heat gun to remove the hot glue to replace the cables or the board.
Features & Upgrades
The Creality CR-10 V3 packs several features to bring the CR-10 into the modern 3D printing era. Below are the important ones you need to know about.
E3D Titan Direct Extruder
The Creality CR-10 V3 features a Titan direct extruder. Creality even stressed that this is an official E3D branded one instead of a clone that many budget 3D printers tend to use. The major advantage of the direct extruder is that users can print flexible filaments such as TPU reliably and quickly. Additionally, the direct extruder enhances filament control entering the hotend, resulting in more accurate printing.
TMC Silent Stepper Drivers
The original CR-10 featured A4988 stepper drivers, which worked well. However, we found it to be very loud. Many modern printers come equipped with TMC silent stepper drivers that dramatically reduce the amount of noise. The CR-10 V3 uses a control board equipped with these TMC silent stepper drivers as well.
Filament Runout Sensor
Another modern feature of the CR-10 V3 is a filament runout sensor. This sensor is designed to detect when the CR-10 V3 runs out of filament, pausing the printer until the user loads in new filament before resuming. This is an incredibly useful feature, especially for a large format printer like the CR-10 V3. There are very few more frustrating than having a multiday print fail due to your 3D printer running out of filament.
Carborundum Glass Bed
The CR-10 V3 features a ceramic-coated glass build surface referred to as a “carborundum glass bed.” This is an improvement over the original CR-10’s plain glass bed. After all, the carborundum glass bed does not require any additional adhesives such as glue sticks or hairspray to have common 3D filaments such as PLA, PETG, and TPU sticks. These filaments stick very well to the bed while hot and release when the bed has cooled down to room temperature.
We prefer the glass bed on printers like the CR-10 V3 and the Artillery Sidewinder X1 over the magnetic flexible bed due to how flat the bed is. Flexible beds, while popular, often require the underlying aluminum heated bed to be perfectly flat, a rarity in budget 3D printers.
Creality offers an auto-level sensor as an upgrade to the CR-10 V3. Before every print, the sensor will probe several points on the build plate to create a map of the high and low points of the plate. This allows the CR-10 V3 to compensate for any parts of the build plate that are not completely flat and ensure that prints stick to the plate every time.
This upgrade is incredibly useful for convenience and reliability. Notably, competitors like the Mingda Rock 3 and Sovol S03 come equipped with an auto-level sensor from the factory as well.
Creality enjoys strong brand recognition, and its printers generally have a very large community following. Fortunately, the CR-10 V3 just happens to be the latest in its very popular line of CR-10 3D printers. So, if users have any questions or issues or are curious about upgrading and modding their CR-10 V3, they have several Facebook, Reddit, and forum groups they can access.
The Creality CR-10 V3 is a solid evolution of one of the first consumer-oriented 3D printers on the market. The V3 brings many of the modern features like the silent stepper drivers, a direct drive extruder, and a filament runout sensor to the classic CR-10 design. Unfortunately for the CR-10 V3, its design and user interface are outdated and more expensive than many of its competitors. In fact, Creality’s CR-10S Pro V2 takes all the modern features of the CR-10 V3 and adds a better extruder, design, and user interface for less than $50 more.
So while the CR-10 V3 is a good 3D printer, it’s just better to purchase the Artillery Sidewinder X1 or the Creality CR-10S Pro V2 over it.
- Build volume: 300mm (l) x 300mm (w) x 400mm (h)
- Printer size: 420mm (l) x 550mm (w) x 650mm (h)
- Weight: 11.5kg
- Enclosed print area: No
- Display: Monochrome LCD
- Drive type: FDM Direct (ptfe)
- Filament capability: PLA, ABS, PETG, TPU,
- Connectivity: SD card
- Drivers: TMC2208
- Build Surface: glass
- Heated Bed: Yes
- Bed Leveling: manual
- Nozzle diameter: 0.4mm
- Maximum hotend temperature: 250 °C
- Maximum movement speed: 150mm per second
- Maximum XY accuracy: 0.1mm
- Minimum Z height: 0.1mm
- Number of extruder(s): 1
- Filament diameter: 1.75mm
- Supported materials: PLA, ABS, PETG, TPU,
- 3rd party filament support: yes
- Operating System: Windows, MacOS, Linux
- Supported Slicers: Prusa slicer, Slic3r, CURA, Simplify3D
- Supported File Types: STL, OBJ, M3F
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