The Creality Ender 3 S1 recently got its big reveal in Dubai. So, is it the next big thing? Join us as we submerge ourselves in the cool, clear waters of its specs.
As sure as the sun will rise, Creality will release a new 3D printer. And so it’s here we find ourselves again, gathered around the campfire, sharing stories, toasting marshmallows, and waiting for one to appear.
Lo and behold, here it is, popping out over the top of the smooth dunes of Dubai. It’s the Creality Ender 3 S1, a new and pretty exciting version of the Ender 3 that got a glitzy reveal at Dubai’s Expo 2020 event. It brings some fun and interesting hardware additions to what is, for many, their favourite 3D printer in the whole wide world.
Stealing the headlines (and, no doubt, a few hearts) is the new “Sprite” direct extruder and Creality’s CR Touch automatic bed leveling, but there are other things to look at here too. Separately sold accessories that suggest future modularity, a 32-bit mainboard, a spring steel removable print bed, a brand new UI, and a simple 6-step assembly should represent a significant upgrade on the Ender 3 V2, but will it represent a significant price haul too? Well, it was launched in Dubai…
Anyway, you’ll have to read on to find out, because we’re inconsiderately parking our supercar all over the Ender 3’s specifications in a bid to find out what it’s got going for it, plus when you can get one, and how much it’ll set you back.
It’s nothing to do with a delicious tasting citrus soda, unfortunately. The new extruder, developed by Creality, is said to offer considerable pushing force while only weighing 210 grams. The documentation suggests it’s a geared extruder with a reduction ratio of 3.5:1, with dual gears doing that actual gripping and pushing of the filament. That’s relatively sophisticated compared to previous MK8 style extruders we’ve seen from Creality in the past.
We won’t know how well this will translate into quality extrusion until we’ve seen it for ourselves (soon), but Creality is pushing it as a flexible filament-friendly option. Plenty of people have made direct extruder upgrades on their Ender 3’s before the Sprite coming along here, so it’s fair to say there’s a demand for this type of configuration.
A filament sensor and resume print function are also present on the S1, which are becoming pretty much standard on any FDM 3D printer worth getting excited about.
CR TOUCH AUTO-BED LEVELING
Automatic bed leveling, you love to see it. Creality’s CR Touch setup uses a metal touch probe that makes a cheeky little poke in 16 areas across the print bed in much the same style as the BL Touch. In theory, it should account for any inconsistency in the flatness of the print bed. You still get giant hand-leveling knobs to dial in the general perpendicularity of the bed, but this new sensor should get you across the line to even first layers.
You’ve got 220 x 220 x 270 mm to play with, which makes the Ender 3 S1 ever so slightly larger than the Ender 3 V2 on the Z-axis – by 20 mm actually. It’s a bang average build volume, and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you need a teeny tiny bit more space, the BIQU B1’s 235 x 235 x 270 mm will give you just a bit more sideways space.
If you’re the type of person who likes the zone of printing to be copiously illuminated in low light conditions there’s further good news, Creality will sell you an LED add-on for the S1. However, if you have something called a light switch at home, you can turn that on 😊, and not only will your print bed be illuminated, your entire room should be too. That’s a top tip right there 👍
POSSIBLE FUTURE MODULARITY
Creality is keen to point out that the direct drive extruder can be removed easily and replaced with a laser engraving tool head that’s sold separately. We’re still not sure how powerful this laser will be, or if there will be more tool heads to follow. Though, judging by how Creality have seemingly abandoned the CR-01 3-in-1 machine, we don’t hold out hope for the company cracking this particular nut anytime soon. It’ll be interesting to see how far Creality takes it, if anywhere at all.
QUICK SIX-STEP ASSEMBLY
For a semi-assembled 3D printer, the Creality Ender 3 S1 is pretty assembled. Creality says when you open the box, the printer is 96% assembled. Try running late to work and telling your boss you were 96% on time to work in the morning. It’s odd. Anyway, the S1 can be assembled in just six steps, which isn’t a lot of work and is much quicker than having to build the whole thing from scratch.
PC SPRING STEEL PRINTING SHEET
Glass print beds can be hit and miss, but the Ender 3 S1 will come with a spring steel printing sheet that magnetically attaches itself to the print bed. Once your print is complete, you should be able to remove the bed and flex it to release the prints with little effort. The quality of such sheets can vary wildly. We’ve used good and bad examples of this in the past, so it’ll be interesting to see how Creality’s effort holds up.
NEW USER INTERFACE
There’s a new UI in town: a 4.3-inch LCD with a rotary knob you can twiddle around and select options on the screen with. It calls back to the Ender 3 V2, the last printer the company put out with such a UI. Considering the touchscreen-heavy list of recent releases from Creality, this seems like a backward step. However, Creality does say in its material that the new UI will “allow you to experience operation by knob,” and we assume that the firm must feel pretty strongly about this.
Besides the above, here’s what the Ender 3 S1 is packing:
✔️ Dual Z-axis: Sturdier, more consistent travel through the Z is the goal. A synchronized dual-driven Z-axis can help.
✔️ Full-size SD: An underrated feature in offline printers, if you ask us. No more losing microSD cards in the shag carpet. Full-size SDs all the way with the Ender 3 S1.
✔️ Tool drawer: The tool drawer returns. It’s a thoughtful touch that we like to disregard the original purpose of and stash snacks, instead.
RELEASE DATE & AVAILABILITY
The Ender 3 S1 was revealed on December 1, 2021 in Dubai. We were so impressed with it's debut that we instantly secured a large order with Creality. The shipment is due to arrive here in the UK Q1 of 2022 and will be available for sale to UK and EU customers alike.
Estimated price £399 - £450
- Technology: Fused deposition modeling (FDM)
- Year: 2021
- Assembly: Semi-assembled
- Mechanical arrangement: Cartesian XZ-head
- Manufacturer: Creality
3D PRINTER PROPERTIES
- Build volume: 220 x 220 x 270 mm
- Feeder system: Direct
- Print head: Single nozzle
- Nozzle size: 0.4 mm
- Max. hot end temperature: 260 ℃
- Max. heated bed temperature: 100 ℃
- Print bed material: Spring steel sheet
- Frame: Aluminum
- Bed leveling: Automatic
- Display: 4.3-inch LCD
- Connectivity: SD card, USB
- Print recovery: Yes
- Filament sensor: Yes
- Camera: No
- Filament diameter: 1.75 mm
- Third-party filament: Yes
- Filament materials: Consumer materials (PLA, ABS, PETG, Flexibles)
- Recommended slicer: Creality Slicer, Cura, Simplify3D, Repetier-Host
- Operating system: Windows, Mac OSX, Linux
- File types: STL, OBJ, AMF
DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHT
- Frame dimensions: 487 x 453 x 622 mm
- Weight: 9.1 kg
We’ve put together a little list of other 3D printers you might want to take a look at.
Creality Ender 3 V2
A hugely popular machine that prints great and is easy to use and live with, there’s a lot to like about the Ender 3 V2. It’s a fair bit cheaper than the incoming S1, so if you don’t want to spend extra on the S1, this might well do the trick.
The Anycubic Vyper disappointed us, but plenty of people seem to have bought one and had a more positive experience than we did, so perhaps you’ll want to consider it too. The automatic bed leveling works a treat, and the print bed is easy to remove.
What’s smarter than Smart? Maybe a Genius? Artillery’s latest version of the Genius has a direct extruder, automatic bed leveling, a 32-bit mainboard developed by Artillery, and a big blue plaque with its name on.