Home3D PrintersIt's almost too easy: Creality Ender 3 S1 review

It’s almost too easy: Creality Ender 3 S1 review

By far the quickest assembly!

The landscape for buying inexpensive electronics in the UK has changed a lot thanks to Brexit. Gadgets are either subject to import tax added to the checkout stage or held at customs for days for the same reason, while EU countries still enjoy goods shipped out by Chinese companies from warehouses in Europe. Looking at Creality Ender 3 S1 prices online, I quickly discovered that Geekbuying had one of the most competitive prices for the 3D printer which was also stocked locally and taxed. If this review changes your mind, give them a browse.

Creality Ender3 S1

My first articulated print on Ender 3 S1

My personal goal is to get four FDM 3D printers and the Creality Ender 3 S1 is my 3rd one. Armed with the original Ender 3, Ender 3 v2 and now Creality Ender3 S1. I can print anything as long as it fits the 220 x 220 x 270 build volume. I’m pretty sure my next one, will come with a bigger build volume.

I really like the new look of the Ender 3 series. The platform has all the electronics hidden away while annoying wiring had been replaced by a slick-looking ribbon. I have no doubt, that this will increase the difficulty of DIY upgrades, but as it stands, Creality Ender 3 S1 looks nice and tidy. This will appear to many makers who love to keep their workplaces neatly.

Sleek and feature-full

It’s not just the looks. That £320-ish *(at the time of writing, app-exclusive prices) will get you a list of features that come as standard on Creality Ender 3 S1 but are considered an upgrade on older Enders. And if you want to go all the way in, the PRO version takes things further by offering extra:

Creality Ender3 S1 (£320)Creality Ender3 S1 PRO (£419)
Dual Z-axisDual Z-axis
32-bit silent board32-bit silent board
CR TouchCR Touch
Sprite extruderSprite extruder
Improved hotend 300℃
optional watercooling
Filament runout sensorFilament runout sensor
4.3-inch displayTouch display
(PWM socket available)Built-in light
Support for engraver headSupport for engraver head
Main differences between these

It’s the first time I used CR Touch, and I’m genuinely impressed by how quieter it is than my BL Touch. I feel almost compelled to upgrade the ones I have. That envy is making me do things I shouldn’t care for!

Another thing that I appreciate is better control over the extruder fan. On most Enders, it’s constantly on, from the moment you power the printer on, but on Creality Ender 3 S1 it engages when the heating process starts. It’s a good thing as this fan and the part cooling fan do sound like turbo in your car. They are not loud, but it’s not a noise you ignore.

I really appreciate Creality using SD cards (rather than MicroSD) as they are more durable in my use and the presence of the USB-C port. Small things that make a big personal impact. Both are attached to a new controller board: Creality CR-FDM v24S1_301 an STM32F103 based, 32-bit brain of the operation.

Interestingly, you can also get your hands on a compatible engraver head and turn your printer into a laser engraver (I review a couple of engravers before) or even add a watercooling loop to the Pro model. Something tells me that my watercooling mod will become more popular over time.

Ender 3 S1 add-ons:

Easiest to build

With my first Ender 3 printer, I needed some guidance to fully understand the build process. With my Ender 3 v2, the process was easier but still time-consuming. Creality Ender 3 S1 takes this to a new level and offers insanely easy and fast assembly. It’s so easy your mum could do it, heck, my mum could do it too, and she is absolutely terrified of electronics in general.

The base of the 3D printer requires almost no attention, the gantry and the printhead are separated in the box alongside the screen and filament holder. The whole process will take you less than 20 min and you will be ready.

The most complex task was actually figuring out the orientation of the plastic ribbon holder, which keeps the ribbon in place. For that, I referred to the quick start guide.

My live stream is significantly longer, as it consists of some printing time and tips on how to deal with rollers. You should watch it if you are building yours, as it will give you some tips on what to pay attention to when dealing with mechanical parts.

On my printer, I needed to adjust the tension of the rollers and small play in one of the lead screw guides.

Made for beginners

How easy is it to get started? Very! Without much care in the world, I skipped the bed levelling process popped the default print on from the SD card and gave it a go. Even with a loose belt (which I fixed mid-print) and whacking the speed all the way to 11 (or 300% if you like) the 3D printed figurine on Creality Ender3 S1 looks pretty decent (with the exception of the X-axis shift caused by tensioning belts on the fly).

I don’t condone this approach if you are interested in reliable results, but the point stands, Creality Ender 3 S1 is almost out-of-the-box ready, and requires minimal attention to get the results. Spend extra time with it, and you can tune it further! It could be an excellent choice for anyone looking to gift one to their kids and relative without getting flooded with questions about every aspect of the 3D printing on the first sitting.

Printing performance

3D printing is an act of balancing speed, quality and your expectations. While my first 3D print was good enough to show that the printer works even if you don’t know what you are doing (minus self-imposed layer shift), with a bit of work, we can push the printer further. I spent some time testing settings and pushing Creality Ender 3 S1 a bit further.

My goal was to print reliably in the 100-150mm/s range. Just note, that most of my 3D prints are functional designs with geometric shapes and less complex paths. This enables Creality Ender 3 S1 to print faster without drops in quality, with the most important factor being dimensional accuracy.

I ramped up acceleration speeds to 1000, and printer a calibration cat. It looked great, but I think my filament might have gotten damp and you can see small marks on the print indicating bubbling. Next up was the articulated lizard, this time at 75mm/s and 0.1mm layer height to see how Creality Ender3 S1 handles details. It’s the first time I actually printed out something from “articulated” prints online – so I’m genuinely impressed by how much fun these things are.

Turns out that Creality Ender3 S1 is a pretty capable machine out of the box and it’s likely that with minimal setup, you’ll be able to get really lovely prints out of it.

Watch out for:

So far, nothing but praise from me, but not everything is perfect. On my 2nd day, CR Touch stopped working. I tried a couple of things, without luck. After 1-2h of troubleshooting, I decided to unplug every cable leading to the CR Touch there is and plug it back again. It did the trick and CR Touch is back in operation.

This brings me to my next complaint. The ribbon cable is very wide. Something tells me that the size of the cable and the manner it moves across the X gantry will shorten its lifespan. At the extreme values, the ribbon brushes against the frame.

While I like how the ribbon cleans the look of the entire printhead, it also introduces new challenges when it comes to upgrades. Custom ribbon means custom connectors which means a custom 3D printer controller. If you want to upgrade the board or change the extruder, expect more modifications as 3rd party parts won’t fit by default.

Lastly, Creality Ender 3 S1 is much wider than other Ender 3 machines despite sharing the same (roughly) build area. Prepare to make extra room for your shiny new machine, especially if you are replacing one of the older Ender 3.

DIY, buy or go PRO?

There was a very particular reason for me to focus on Creality Ender 3 S1. Both printers come in prices similar to how much I spent on my Ender 3 and Ender 3 v2 respectively. It poses an interesting question. What’s the best approach? Should you get Creality Ender3 S1 and enjoy everything being already there for you? Should you invest more time to bring amazing silent performance and water-cooling to a cheaper printer?

Unfortunately, while the winner in my eye is just one, the answer is still: it depends! With time on your hands, budget and know-how, bringing your budget printer to the next level could be one of the most satisfying projects you will embark upon. On the other hand, if the 3D printer isn’t your project, and you rather focus on churning out parts for the actual project getting Creality Ender 3 S1 may be the most optimal solution.

I stand by my Ender 3 v2 for a couple of reasons that probably won’t matter as much to you. The biggest 2 are the completely silent performance of the upgraded 3D printer – as it’s enabling me to print stuff for my projects and record videos at the same time and high temp printing as I have unrestricted access to Markforged Onyx.

One thing I know for sure, Creality Ender 3 S1 is getting a silent power supply, as the current one sounds like a jet engine compared to my Enders!

Final thoughts

Creality Ender3 S1 had been made with newcomers in mind. 3D printing can be a complex hobby at times, but this printer keeps things simple while offering a relatively good performance. If you can afford the higher price tag, I can only see a single reason not to get this printer: Creality Ender 3 S1 Pro exists and raises the bar a bit without adding much to the price. Either way, you will end up being extremely satisfied with the purchase. Let me know your thoughts in this Reddit thread.

🆓📈 – See the transparency note for details.


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