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A few months ago I announced the release of 2 new 3D printers from Creality, the Ender 3 S1 and the Ender 3 S1 Pro. I have now had the opportunity to try the Ender 3 S1, so what is this new machine worth?
A little information, for this test I did not receive a new machine, but a refurbished machine from a customer product return (Amazon return), via the seller Comgrow. Comgrow checks and refurbish these machines to resell them at an attractive price, so it was an opportunity to test the reliability of reconditioned second hand machines
I won’t list all the new features of this Ender 3 S1, for that I invite you to read my previous article, or the Comgrow product sheet. The main new features are a new direct drive extruder, a dual motor for the Z axis, as well as a self-levelling sensor and many other improvements compared to the previous generation Ender 3.
Unboxing and assembling the Ender 3 S1
Compared to an older Ender 3, the box is slightly larger, which makes sense as this Ender 3 S1 is a partially assembled machine, unlike the classic Ender 3, where the X-axis carriage had to be assembled, and about 1 hour of assembly time
As this is a refurbished machine, there are a few signs of used, especially on the buildplate, but overall the machine is in very good condition.
For the assembly, count about 20 minutes, a few screws, and a few cables to connect and it’s done! Overall this Ender 3 S1 has a very nice finish, we are on a machine much more high-end than the previous generation.
Before starting the first print tests, here are some pictures of the machine, highlighting the features of this Ender 3 S1
The new direct drive extruder, with the CR-Touch self-levelling sensor, is the main improvement of this machine, the installation of this extruder is relatively simple.
A new screen with a new interface, navigation is still done with a thumbwheel. If you prefer touch screens you will have to go with the Ender S1 Pro.
This screen is the same as the Ender 3 V2 (a revision of the Ender 3 from last year). The interface of this screen is quite intuitive and pleasant to use.
The new Ender 3 S1 is equipped with belt tensioners on the X and Y axes, just like the Ender 3 V2, for easier maintenance and adjustment of the machine.
Finally a large SD card reader! The micro-SD format of the previous generation of Ender 3 is now a thing of the past. This card format is much more practical to handle and less fragile. It’s also worth noting the presence of a USB-C port, I imagine to connect the printer directly to a computer, or a raspberry pi.
Another major improvement is a dual motor for the Z-axis with a synchronization belt, a feature usually found on the CR-10 range.
Finally, among the new features, there is (at last) an end of filament sensor, personally I never use these sensors, but some will appreciate this sensor.
First prints with the Ender 3 S1
Before starting your first print with the Ender 3 S1, you will have to leveling the buildplate as usual, this procedure will be almost automatic thanks to the CR-Touch sensor which will check 16 points of the plate, you will have to adjust the Z-offset value (different on each machine)
Once this setting is done, it will be better to print one of the test models present on the SD card. The example file is a “Lucky Cat”. I used red PLA filament from Giantarm, the result is really clean, the test of this Ender 3 S1 is so far well underway!
Using the Ender 3 S1 with Prusa Slicer
You can use the slicer of your choice with the Ender 3 S1, for my part I have a preference for Prusa Slicer. Fortunately, recent versions of the software offer the S1 in the configuration wizard, it is in Alpha version at the time of writing this article, so we’ll see what happens…
Here is my first print made with the Ender3 S1, with the Prusa Slicer profile in Alpha version, printed with a layer height of 0.20mm and Giantarm PLA.
The rendering is also very clean, without any defects, for an Alpha version of the profile this is quite satisfactory, I will not change anything for the moment.
Another print, still with the same profile, this time with white filament from Creality, very good rendering.
Here is a slideshow of other prints made with the Ender 3 S1, this time with Eryone filament. Overall the result is really good, for a default profile with no settings, and the printer just out of the box.
Conclusion on this test of the Ender 3 S1
Pleasantly surprised by this Ender 3 S1, after about 50 hours of printing I did not encounter any particular problem with this machine. This is a much higher end 3D printer than the previous generation of Ender3, so it is understandable that the price of this range from Creality has increased.
I was able to get very good results within minutes of unpacking the machine, which is easy to assemble and could be suitable for a beginner in 3D printing.
The machine is also much quieter than the old Ender3s, so you can set it up in your living room or other living area without any noise.
I remind you that this was a reconditioned machine, by Comgrow, so a second hand machine, but overall this machine was in perfect condition, apart from a few traces on the platen, from printing tests of the previous owner, it may be very interesting to buy this type of verified machine, usually sold at a very attractive price (120€ cheaper than a new one), with the same warranty as a new one!