The Creality Ender-3 V3 SE 3D Printer is an entry-level printer at an affordable price that benefits from Creality's extensive industry experience and proven track record. This model doesn't aim to innovate or do something different; instead, it demonstrates the refinement and maturity of a well-established design.
No filament run-out sensor
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The Creality Ender-3 V3 SE has refined what a 3D printer for beginners should be, packing all the essentials needed to get straight into 3D printing. The entry-level machine boasts a straightforward feature set, including an easy-to-use interface, a direct drive extruder, and a screen that guides you through filament loading and initial setup.
Even if you're completely new to 3D printing, you can transition from unboxing to printing in under thirty minutes. Having tested out many of the best 3D printers, we can say the Ender-3 V3 SE itself is nice and simple, and this is complemented by Creality's intuitive print software, which easily handles files downloaded from the internet or, if you have the skill, those that you have designed yourself.
While it may lack advanced features like filament run-out detection and built-in camera capabilities, its low price makes it an attractive choice for beginners. However, with the market teeming with exceptional and innovative printers at not a great deal more, is straight, tried and tested design reliability enough even for a beginner?
Creality Ender-3 V3 SE: Design
The Creality Ender-3 V3 SE 3D Printer adopts the popular bed-slinger design, where the print platform dynamically moves back and forth during the printing process. Many budget-friendly 3D printers favour this approach, which is also employed in premium models by brands like PRUSA and Lulzbot. As is common with this style of printer, the open-frame design offers a clear view of its internal print workings. This transparency is particularly beneficial if you're a beginner, as it will enable you to have a better understanding of how these machines work.
If you're a beginner, then this hands-on and visible design is invaluable. It makes identifying issues like loose belts straightforward, and witnessing misprints as they happen can be an educational experience in troubleshooting.
Assembly of the Creality Ender-3 V3 SE is remarkably easy as the printer arrives almost fully assembled, requiring only the attachment of the vertical frame and some simple wiring to be plugged in. The process is quick, taking no more than 30 minutes, with everything you need to know covered in the manual.
When it comes to loading files and printing, the printer uses an SD card for file loading, with selections made via an LCD screen controlled by a dial rather than a touch screen. This interface, while somewhat retro, is apt for the printer's straightforward design ethos.
In terms of physical dimensions, the Ender-3 V3 SE measures 365 x 345 x 458 mm and weighs 6.5 kg, making it relatively compact and portable. The filament is mounted on top of the machine, necessitating some vertical space but contributing to its small footprint. Overall, the design of the Ender-3 V3 SE combines simplicity, accessibility, and practicality, making it an ideal choice for those new to the 3D printing world.
Creality Ender-3 V3 SE: Features
The Creality Ender-3 V3 SE 3D Printer stands out in the entry-level market, not just for its affordability but also for its array of features that enhance the 3D printing experience. One of the key attributes of this printer is its impressive speed, which is capable of reaching up to 250mm/s. This performance is powered by a high-power processor, ensuring that speed does not compromise the quality of the prints.
Auto-levelling is a standout feature, thanks to the CR Touch sensor, that simplifies achieving a perfect first layer. This feature, along with the strain sensor for auto Z offset, ensures precision and ease in print setup, making it a hassle-free experience for users regardless of expertise level.
Print Technology: Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)
Build Area: 220 x 220 x 250 mm
Minimum Layer Resolution: 0.1mm
Maximum Layer Resolution: 0.35mm
Dimensions: 365 x 345 x 458 mm
Weight: 6.5 kg
Bed: Auto-leveling with CR Touch sensor
Print Surface: PC Spring Steel
Software: Creality Print, Cura, Repetier-Host, Simplify3D compatible
Materials: PLA, PETG, TPU (95A)
Print Speed: Up to 250 mm/s (max), 180 mm/s (typical)
The Ender-3 V3 SE's 'Sprite' direct extruder is capable of handling a variety of filament types, including the flexible TPU, which significantly expands print options. Additionally, the printer is supported by Y-axis dual linear shafts, ensuring steady and accurate motion of the build platform. The UI on the printer's display provides a comprehensive view of the auto-levelling process, including the numerics of difference, which is fascinating, and other essential printing parameters.
When it comes to transferring files to the printer, this can be done using either an SD card or directly through a USB Type-C connection. The printer also features a stable dual Z-axis and a compact, elegant design that cleverly integrates all its components without compromising on its build volume of 220x220x250mm.
Creality Ender-3 V3 SE: Performance
The 3D printer's performance in our tests was impressive, especially considering its position as an entry-level printer. Achieving a high score of 26.5 out of 30 in our tests, it stands out in its price range for its exceptional performance, a testament to its simple design augmented with advanced features.
The printer excelled in dimensional accuracy, a crucial aspect of precision in 3D printing. With an average error of just 0.054mm, it demonstrates an ability to reproduce dimensions accurately. This precision makes it suitable for detailed models and prototypes where exact measurements are essential.
The Ender-3 V3 SE scored highly in overhangs and bridging, both receiving a perfect score. This indicates the printer's robust capability to handle complex geometries and structures without support. However, it scored lower in fine flow control and XY resonance, suggesting some limitations in handling extremely intricate details and potential vibrations during high-speed prints.
A standout feature is the printer's highly accurate auto-bed levelling system, which ensured that every file that was run through the system was printed.
Proper filament management is crucial for this printer. Using a filament dryer, as recommended, can notably enhance print quality. However, the lack of a filament run-out sensor means users should be vigilant, especially when undertaking larger prints.
Noise levels are moderate and not particularly disruptive, making the printer suitable for office or workshop settings. When it comes to print speed, while there is a noticeable decline in quality at maximum speeds, the prints remain acceptable. This flexibility is beneficial for rapid prototyping or test prints before committing to longer, more detailed print sessions.
The Creality unit is a highly capable entry-level 3D printer. Its blend of simplicity, essential advanced features, and reliable performance make it an excellent choice for beginners and those looking for an affordable yet capable 3D printer.
Creality Ender-3 V3 SE: Print quality
Dimensional accuracy - score of 4
Target 25 = X: 25mm / 0mm Error | Y: 24.90mm / 0.10mm Error
Target 20 = X: 20.09mm / 0.09mm Error | Y: 20mm / 0mm Error
Target 15 = X: 15mm / 0mm Error | Y: 14.99mm / 0.01mm Error
Target 10 = X: 10.05mm / 0.05mm Error | Y: 9.99mm / 0.01mm Error
Target 5 = X: 4.88mm / 0.12mm Error | Y: 4.84mm / 0.16mm Error
X Error Average = 0.052
Y Error Average = 0.056
X&Y Error Average = 0.054
Fine Flow Control - score of 2.5
Fine Negative Features - score of 4
Overhangs - score of 5
Bridging - score of 5
XY resonance - score of 2.5
Z-axis alignment - score of 2.5
Adding up the totals gives a final score of 26.5 out of 30.
Creality Ender-3 V3 SE: Verdict
The Creality Ender-3 V3 SE 3D Printer is a superb entry-level printer, particularly when you consider its price point and the market segment it targets. With a performance score of 26.5 out of 30, it stands out for delivering quality that exceeds expectations for its class. This printer combines the simplicity of design with a few advanced features, striking a balance that makes it an ideal choice for beginners and those looking for a no-fuss, reliable printing experience.
A key factor contributing to its high score is the exceptionally accurate auto-bed levelling system, which consistently ensures reliable and high-quality prints. This feature, coupled with the machine's straightforward setup and operation, makes it an attractive option for those new to 3D printing. The printer's ability to handle various filaments with ease, further boosted by the recommended use of a filament dryer, enhances its versatility.
While the printer lacks some advanced features like filament run-out sensors, its basic functionality doesn't detract from its overall use. The printer operates with a moderate noise level, which, while noticeable, is not overly disruptive, making it suitable for home or small office environments. The printing speed is another plus, with the printer capable of maintaining a reasonable quality even at higher speeds, which is ideal for testing or iterating designs before committing to final prints.
The Creality Ender-3 V3 SE 3D Printer is an excellent choice for those venturing into 3D printing. It offers a perfect blend of ease of use, reliable performance, and affordability, really this printer for the price is as good as it gets, before you do take that next step-up to the next generation machines.
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