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 move old CR-10 stock. It suffers from excessive ghosting and ringing due to its lightweight frame being unable to handle its heavy direct drive extruder. The external control box with monochrome LCD and click wheel takes up much more space than its modern counterparts. Unless you aim for the classic CR-10 aesthetic, you are better served with Creality’s much more modern CR-10S Pro or the Artillery Sidewinder X1.
Creality first made a name for itself in 2016 with the release of the Creality CR-10. A large format 3D printer at less than $1,000 was unheard of at the time. The CR-10 quickly made its way up to the top as one of the best-value FDM printers. In 2020, Creality released the newest iteration of its CR-10 line, the CR-10 V3. While keeping the classic external control box, Creality added modern features such as silent stepper drivers, a ceramic coated glass bed and a direct drive extruder.
However, now the CR-10 V3 faces stiff competition from Artillery’s Sidewinder X1, Sovol’s SV03, Mingda’s Rock 3 and even Creality’s own CR-10 Pro. At $469, the CR-10 V3 sits in the middle of a crowded, affordable, large format FDM printer class. In this Creality CR-10 V3 3D printer review, we will 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. We 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 testing was successful, and the Creality CR-10 V3 scored an 8/10. We also tested multiple calibration cubes, and there were no major differences between them, 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. The Creality CR-10 V3 prints slowly. The reason for this is because of the large and heavy direct drive extruder and light frame. Is it recommended to maintain speeds of 40mm/s to achieve good quality print, which is, unfortunately, slower than 50mm/s of the original model. This is unfortunate since the e3d direct drive is capable of speeds upward of 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 since we don’t want our 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 its approaching temperatures that are dangerous. However, there was 1 critical issue we noticed. If the cable of the heated bed breaks due to cable strain, the user may become electrocuted, which is why having a lower voltage heated bed is safer. Having lower voltage also means the bed would heat up slower, but safety over performance!
Ranked #27 of 37 Printers
How We Researched This Printer
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 most modern 3D printers, which enclose all of their electrical components within their base, the CR-10 V3 uses the classic printer design, which houses all of its electronics in an external control box. Some users may find that the extra box takes up too much room and is cumbersome, while others may find it very easy to work on.
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 get a baseline benchmark on its performance, we compared it to competitors such as 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 result in poor print quality, a large repair bill and a general unpleasant printing experience. So look no further for the deep dive we took for the Creality CR-10 V3!
Assembling the Printer
The CR-10 V3 comes well packaged with charcoal foam surrounding all sides of the printer components. The printers come with 3 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. It took us around 1 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 that additional steps are involved. For example, to assemble the Artillery X1, users only need to screw the top assembly into the base and connect the motors, hotend, end-stops and filament runout sensor. This is a consequence of Creality reusing the classic external control box design in the CR-10 V3.
Levelling the Bed
Before first prints, users need to manually level the print bed, a critical step in the success of 3D prints. If not leveled, prints wouldn’t adhere if the nozzle is too far away, and conversely, if the print nozzle is too close, it could lead to a jam or poor layer quality. Leveling is achieved by turning 4 knobs at the bottom corners of the bed to raise or lower the bed to the correct height. While the process is well documented by the 3D printing community, Creality has not provided detailed instructions on achieving the correct bed level.
In our tests, we found that the glass build plate was sufficiently flat enough that we could print across the whole surface without worries of prints becoming detached.
The CR-10 V3 has a large build volume of 300mm (l) x 300mm (w) x 400mm (h), which allows it to print a large number of different objects. We appreciated the upgrade to the carborundum glass bed that made it flat enough to print across its build volume without worrying about low or high spots.
We tested the CR-10 V3 in 4 major areas: the ability to resolve details, z layer alignment, dimensional accuracy and print repeatability. For the tests, we used stock 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 Mandolorian figure and a calibration cube. The CR-10 V3 reproduced the details on the Benchy, Mandalorian and calibration cube decently well. Flat surfaces are quite smooth on the calibration cube indicating that the extruder was pushing filament quite consistently. 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. The Artillery Sidewinder X1 fares a little bit better due to its far sturdier and heavier frame.
We tested the z-layer alignment consistency of the CR-10 V3 by printing a massive 350mm tall tube. Quality control and design of the z-axis assembly dictate the consistency of the z-axis of a 3D printer. If the lead screw in the z-axis is off or bent by even 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, and in our testing, we did not see any z wobble in our 350mm tall tube.
To test dimensional accuracy and print consistency, we printed a 20mm calibration cube 20 times to see if there are any differences between the different cubes. We noted that our cube measured 20.2mm (l) x 20.3mm (w), which makes the Creality CR-10 V3 average for dimensional accuracy. We also noticed that between the first and twentieth calibration cube, there was no major difference in finish or dimensional accuracy, making the CR-10 V3 a very consistent 3D printer.
Due to the large and heavy direct drive extruder and relatively light frame, the Creality CR-10 V3 needs to print slowly. It is recommended to print at speeds as low as 40mm/s to achieve a good quality finish, which is slower than the 50mm/s of the original CR-10. This is a shame as the e3d direct drive is capable of printing at speeds of upwards of 100m/s. However, due to the light frame of the CR-10 V3, it would cause several ghosting and ringing issues. Competitors like the Artillery Sidewinder X1 can print at 60mm/s with the same good quality due to its much heavier and stiffer frame.
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, while on the CR-10 V3, we could reach speeds of 30mm/s. Competitors like the Sovol S03, Mingda Rock 3 and Artillery Sidewinder X1 could achieve the same speeds as well.
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 weighs in at 11.5kg. Due to its external control box, the CR-10 V3 is wider than all of its competition. However, its weight is average for its class. Due to its motion system moving the heated bed, the CR-10 V3 will take up a significant amount of space in both 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 extrusion with additional bracing between the top and bottom portions to increase rigidity. Like the classic CR-10, the CR-10 V3 houses all of its electronics in an external control box. We found that the external control box design is outdated and takes up additional space, making it slightly more difficult to move. Not to mention, this new design introduces an electrical hazard with the exposed cables, and some might say that it’s less professional looking. In comparison, all of the CR-10 V3’s competitors house 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 colour touchscreens. This further adds 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 not having. 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, cut 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. What may happen is that the power cable will get dragged along with the bed, causing strain and possible breakage. A common first print for the original CR-10 was a cable strain relief for the power cables going into the heated bed, and we are pleased to see that Creality has included one from the factory.
However, we were disappointed in 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 that 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 wall outlets of 110V or 240V, depending on location. If the cable of the heated bed breaks (due to cable strain issues mentioned above), the user may become electrocuted, which is why having a lower voltage heated bed is much safer. Unfortunately, having low voltage also means the bed would be heated up slower, but safety measures are more important than heating speed, in our opinion.
Finding Replacement Parts
Like most of Creality’s popular machines, almost all parts and components of the Creality CR-10 V3 are user replaceable. The hotend, extruder, control board, motors and motion system can be replaced if needed. And thanks to Creality’s brand recognition, many of these parts can be found 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
One advantage of the external control box is the ease of accessing the control board. While modern printers like the Sovol S03, Mingda Rock 3 and Artillery Sidewinder X1 have their control boards mounted on an easy-to-access base, the control board of the CR-10 V3 makes it even easier due to the board being completely separate from the main printer. However, while it is easy to access the control board, its connectors are hot glued to the board, making it challenging to service. You would 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.
E3D Titan Direct Extruder
The Creality CR-10 V3 features a Titan direct extruder, and Creality has 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. A direct extruder also better controls the filament going into the hotend, leading to 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 with TMC silent stepper drivers built in.
Filament Runout Sensor
Another modern feature of the CR-10 V3 is a filament runout sensor. This sensor will defect when the CR-10 V3 runs out of filament, pause the printer and wait 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 having a multiday print fail due to the 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 as the carborundum glass bed does not require any additional adhesives such as glue stick or hairspray to have common 3D filaments such as PLA, PETG and TPU to stick. 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. A flat build surface is critical and having flexible beds requires that the underlying aluminum heated bed is perfectly flat, a rarity for 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 would allow 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. Competitors like the Mingda Rock 3 and Sovol S03 come equipped with an auto-level sensor from the factory.
Creality enjoys strong brand recognition, and its printers generally have a very large community following. Fortunately, the CR-10 V3 is just the latest in its very popular line of CR-10 3d printers, so if users have any questions, 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. More notably, 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. For this reason, we would highly recommend the Artillery Sidewinder X1 or the Creality CR-10S Pro V2 over the CR-10 V3.
- 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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