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Creality Ender 3 vs Ender 5: What’s the difference?

The last few years have been pretty exciting in the world of 3D printing. As more and more affordable 3D printers were released, the concept gradually came out of the lab and became much more accessible than ever before.

Creality is a company that has been making waves in the quality and cost-conscious segment of this steadily increasing market. This is largely due to the almost mind-blowing price-to-quality ratio of its products. Just such a product is the Creality Ender 3 series. Not only does the 3D printing fraternity love this printer series for its upgradability, but also its affordable price tag too.

However, the company is not exactly known for resting on its laurels. Almost as soon as Ender 3 was released they started working on another model that they dubbed the Ender 5.

Let us take a closer look and compare the Ender 3 vs Ender 5.

Creality Ender 5 3D Printer Mini Review

Creality Ender 5 Pro Creative FDM 3D Printer Upgrade Silent Mainboard Metal Extruder Frame with Capricorn Bowden PTFE Tubing for Hobbyists Home and School Users (Ender 5 Pro)

The introduction of this model put paid to the Ender 3 vs. Ender 3 Pro debate and the focus of the 3D printing community quickly shifted to this model.

The Creality Ender 5 basically picks up from where the Ender 3 pro series left off. It has taken many of the same features and placed them into a much bigger package.

Even a casual look will show you that the Ender 5 is a complete departure from the older format. Furthermore, even a cursory perusal of this printer will show that it has a much bigger build volume.

This makes perfect sense because the people who designed the Ender 5 have added an extra 50 mm to the Z-axis. However, the overall dimensions with regard to the print volume for both the X- and Y-axes nonetheless, remain the same.

The Ender 5 is shipped semi-assembled. This means that it requires a certain amount of assembling work before you can put it to work. But this is not as difficult as it looks because the axes come pre-assembled.

This means that you will simply have to mount them to the base of the unit and connect the electric wires and cables. It will take you on average half an hour or so to get your unit up and running.

As far as the overall performance is concerned, Ender 5 can deliver some really great print results. This is largely due to its completely redesigned printing axes.

The Ender 5’s has a print head that moves along the X and the Y axes. This is unlike the many Prusa-inspired printers that are available out there.

This model shares a key component with the Ender 3 pro series of 3D printers. And that is its magnetic print bed. While it is certainly a really nice feature to have, it does have its issues though. The first layers typically “bake” into it. With the passage of time, the unit’s magnetic bed starts looking a bit bedraggled and worn out

The price points for the Ender 5 usually range from around $280 up to $330. Yes, this is slightly higher than the price point average of the 3 series, but then, this machine does have a few additional bells and whistles.

Technical Specifications

  • Print volume: 220 x 220 x 300 mm
  • Filament: 1.75 mmk
  • Nozzle: Single 0.4 mm
  • Layer resolution: 0.1-0.4 mm
  • Heated bed temperature: 110 ℃
  • Max. print speed: 180 mm/s
  • Print precision: +/- 0.1 mm
  • Connectivity: SD card, USB
  • LCD screen: Yes

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Creality Ender 3 Review

Creality Ender 3 3D Printer Fully Open Source with Resume Printing All Metal Frame FDM DIY Printers 220x220x250mm

There are two points that make Creality Ender 3 printer stand out from the rest of the machines out there. First and foremost, is its amazingly low price: The printer retails for less than $200. Apart from that, it is highly upgradable as well. With a little fine-tuning and tweaking, you can get this printer to perform really well indeed.

Creality’s Ender 3 entered the market a couple of years back and it quickly surged to the top of the budget 3D printer ratings. Thanks to exploding sales it decimated many models available in the market at that point in time.

It quickly garnered a fan following and many fresh upgrades and mods started to pop up from its dedicated community of followers. In fact, simply typing ‘Creality Ender 3″ on YouTube will show you the massive number of modifications and assembly widows available for this model.

Even today, there exist many online model repositories such as MyMiniFactory and Thingiverse that have printable upgrades for the Ender 3 series of printers.

Soon, even Creality itself started retailing board upgrades and other vital parts such as auto-leveling sensors, for their Ender 3 series.

The machine offers a reasonably decent build volume in return for its low price. Yes, it is not as large as its Ender 5 counterpart, but then, it is not very expensive either.

However, here it is pertinent to note that this 3D printer certainly does require an intense assembly process. Even if your DIY (do it yourself) skills are spot on, it will still take you at least a few hours before you will be able to complete it. The instruction manual is quite rudimentary at best.

But once you have tweaked the machine a bit, you will be able to get some pretty high-quality prints from it. The unit tends to give problems with bed adhesion and this holds particularly true when you use some of the more exotic filaments out there.

Technical Specifications

  • Technology: FDM
  • Maximum layer resolution: 0.1 mm
  • Print volume: 220 x 220 x 250 mm
  • Filament: 1.75 ABS, mm-PLA, TPU
  • Maximum print speed: 200 mm/s
  • Heated bed: Yes
  • Nozzle: 0.4 mm
  • Min. layer height: 0.1 mm
  • Print precision: ±0.1 mm
  • Connectivity: USB SD Card,
  • LCD screen: Yes

Ender 3 vs Ender 5: Head to Head Comparison

Both of these printers are absolutely unique in their own way. However, a feature by feature head-to-head comparison would definitely go a long way in figuring out which one is the better choice for your particular needs.

Total Build Volume

There is no question about it. In the build volume department the Ender 5 comes up tops each and every time, you create a large 3D object. It won’t be wrong to state that the greater build volume on this machine is one of the key reasons that anyone would want to buy it.

Albeit, having said that, the four-legged universal frame of the Ender 5 also offers considerably increased stability. With this model, you won’t have to worry about removing objects like peeling off “salmon skin.”

The Ender 5 is a clear cut winner here.

Hot End

The hot end of the Creality Ender 3 printer has been taken from the Creality MK8. On the other hand, the Ender 5 works with the components offered on the Creality MK10. The latter is considerably better since it reduces clogging as well as filament jams. This does not mean its hot end is absolutely free of these issues, but it definitely decreased the frequency of their occurrence.

The Ender 5 beats its Ender 3 counterpart here.

Bed Material

Both the Ender 5 is well as its Ender 3 baby brother uses the same heated beds. In this case, they are magnetic PEI sheets that are ubiquitous on both the Ender 3 series as well as the Ender 5.

However, the main difference is that on the latter, the heated bed does not bump right into the unit’s main power supply. Unfortunately, this is a bit of a problem on the Ender 3. The old stock Ender 3 models did not come with the PEI sheet as standard, but most of them have been retrofitted accordingly.

Apart from that, the bed-springs on the Creality Ender 5 have gone through a pretty thorough upgrade thanks to their Uxcell springs. These springs tend to hold their tension a whole lot better than the conventional springs founds in the Ender 3 bed. In the long run, it decreases the frequency of leveling the printer.

Here too, the Ender 5 comes out on top.

Ease of Assembly

The Ender 5 boasts of an extremely sweet assembly experience. One, which even the least tech-savvy person would find outrightly joyful. You just need to screw in 20 screws into their allotted slots and you are good to go. The whole process does not take more than 20 to 30 minutes at most. Once done, you are good to start printing your first 3D objects on the Ender 5.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the Ender 3. This printer can easily take almost three hours of your time to get it up and running. And this holds true for people who know their way around the nuts and bolts of electronic and mechanical stuff. If you are completely newbie in this department, you can easily double the time required (not to mention the sheer frustration of this experience).

Unlike the Ender 5’s instruction manual that is pretty clear and lucid; the Ender 3 is anything but the easy to understand. It is unnecessarily complicated and it mixed with very poor English and there are a lot of missing steps. Taken all of these issues into consideration, Ender 3’s assembly can be a hair-rising experience for the neophyte.

In terms of initial assembly, the Ender 5 is a clear winner.

Compatible Materials

Both of these models have fused deposition modeling (FDM) technology. This is the most popular technology available amongst budget 3D printers available today. The Ender 3 is compatible with ABS, mm-PLA, TPU filaments.

The Ender 5 handles exotic filaments a whole lot better than Ender 3. However, it does not handle ABS very well out of the box. On the other hand, it can work with wood and soft copper and glue.

Both these machines boast of a 0.44mm nozzle for fine work and they handle 1.75mm filaments

Firmware

One of the biggest issues with the Creality Ender 5 is that the machine has not been properly equipped with an operational thermal runaway protection system. However, the newer generation Ender 3 series units have this protection. Once enabled, it will stop the printer in less than 20 seconds in case there is a noticeable temperature fault.

The Ender 3 is superior to the Ender 5 in this respect.

Electronic Systems

The current generation of Ender 3 pro mainboards consists of the Creality v1.1.4 board. This one contains both internal thermal runaway protection as well as its own boot loader. Unfortunately, this motherboard has not been used in the Ender 5 and this machine is still being equipped with the old and somewhat obsolete v1.1.3 mainboard.

As regards the power supply, Ender 5 has a certified Meanwell supply system. In contrast, the Ender 3 comes with a pretty generic Chinese built power supply. This can easily lead to a potential risk of a fire hazard or even an electric shock.

Both these systems have an identical screen. However, the designers at Creality HQ still haven’t covered the back of the screen with a hard case. This is a glaring problem for both of these printers.

The electronics of both these printers are a mixed bag.

The Ender 3’s Achilles heel is its unbranded power supply while the Ender 5’s weakness is its old motherboard, and both of them can do with a better screen.

Price

The Ender 3 with its under 200 price tag is the hands-down winner against its more expensive Ender 5 cousin.

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Conclusion

In light of the above, we can conclude that in most areas the new Creality Ender 5 is the clear cut winner. This is largely thanks to its bigger size, a tried and tested power supply as well as a substantial increase in overall print quality.

On the other hand, Ender 3’s main claim to fame is its lower price point along with much more superior firmware.

In the Ender 3 vs Ender 5 debate, the new Ender 5 is definitely a step further up in the hierarchy of increasingly powerful 3D printers.

However, that does not mean that the Ender 3 is out of the game altogether. On the contrary, it is still an excellent choice for even an ardent hobbyist with a low budget. If you don’t mind less space it might serve you well.

Apart from that, the nuts and bolts approach of Ender 3 will give you plenty of insight into the inner workings of a 3D printer. Add to that the fact that the Ender 3 community is much larger than the Ender 5 one. Its fan base can act as a safety net in case anything goes wrong.

In a nutshell, if you are interested in a sleek reliable machine that requires minimal modification; the Ender 5 is the way to go. However, if you are more into DIY stuff on a small budget, you might be well served with an Ender 3, at least till you learn the ropes.

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