Jul 31, 2018

10 Must-Have Creality CR-10 Upgrades and Mods

Among the most popular kits and hobby printers is the Creality CR-10, a beast to be reckoned with. But even a beast isn't perfect out of the box, so we've put together a list of the best Creality CR-10 upgrades and mods.

Creality CR-10 Upgrades and Mods A Quick Breakdown

The CR-10 "Pro Upgrade Kit". Source: LotusNoir / Thingiverse

Out of the box, a CR-10 is good. With a few tweaks, it becomes even better. Give it an upgrade, and it’ll be among the best. So what are we looking for in an upgrade?

We’ve chosen the 10 best Creality CR-10 upgrades, all of which provide some useful function on the printer and are proven to work. For example, yes, a “hood ornament” is cool, but no, we don’t consider that an upgrade. 

We split the upgrades and mods into 3 sections:

  • Ease of Use upgrades are aimed at making the user experience better. These range from making the bed easier to level to allowing you to easily mount cameras for time lapses and video streaming.
  • Functional Improvements are upgrades that allow the printer to perform better and allow for better printing results. Some such improvements are fan ducts and support braces.
  • Purchaseable upgrades are things that must be bought rather than printed, for instance vibration dampeners or a Raspberry Pi to run OctoPi software. 

So what are we waiting for? Let’s get to it!

Creality CR-10 Upgrades and Mods 1. Ease of Use: Bed Adjustment Knobs and Strain Relief Bracket

The printed knobs and bracket. Source: Nerys / Thingiverse

Ever get tired of turning those tiny little knobs on the underside of the print bed, fiddling for forever trying to get a perfect level? Then these are for you!

A printable Creality CR-10 upgrade, these knobs fit over the included ones, making bed leveling a much easier and more precise process. There are a number of designs available, but we picked this one because it also prints with a strain relief bracket for the heated bed wires.

While not exactly enhancing ease of use, the strain relief bracket does exactly what it sounds like: relieve strain from the heated bed wires, contributing to safety and ease of mind during long prints. This upgrade is essential for anyone looking to ensure their house won’t burn down due to 3D printing, which should be just about everyone.

Who designed it? Chris Taylor (Nerys)

Where to get it? Thingiverse

Creality CR-10 Upgrades and Mods 2. Ease of Use: Camera Mounts

The camera mount in action. Source: RaffoSan / Thingiverse

If you like to do time lapses of your prints, or if you want to be able to monitor your print remotely, you undoubtedly need this upgrade. Essentially, this is 3D printable articulated arm for mounting an action camera, a webcam, or a Rapsberry Pi camera to your printer.

There are two variations on the overall design: one mounted to the bed of the printer and the other mounted to the frame. The frame mount is more stable, but the bed mount allows for a steady image of the print. 

Who made it? Raffaele Biasiello (RaffoSan)

Where to find it? Thingiverse (frame mount), Thingiverse (bed mount)

Creality CR-10 Upgrades and Mods 3. Ease of Use: Bearing Spool Holder

A beautifully frictionless spool holder. Source: Hendrik72 / Thingiverse

One of the community complaints about the CR-10 is the cruddy spool holder, which has some serious limitations. This upgrade is for all of you who want to surpass this annoyance and just get printing.

This spool holder is simply ingenious: The filament roll sits on top of four bearings, with no worries about spool size whatsoever, and the spool is held in place by the sides of the holder. This design significantly decreases friction and thereby relieves some of the strain on the extruder.

The holder fits nicely on top of the control box for easy access and use.

Who designed it? Hendrik Hendrik (Hendrik72)

Where to find it? Thingiverse

Creality CR-10 Upgrades and Mods 4. Functional Improvement: Petsfang Modular Fan Duct

A rendering of the assembled Petsfang. Source: dpetsel / Thingiverse

Part cooling is a very important part of getting a nice print, and sometimes the stock fan duct just doesn’t cut it. Enter the Petsfang modular fan duct, one of the coolest Creality CR-10 upgrades around.

Optimized to cool the filament as efficiently as possible, the Petsfang fan duct has two fangs — one on either side of the hot end — designed to begin cooling the filament the moment it leaves the tip. Powered by a blower fan, the fan duct also features interchangeable mounts for auto-leveling (something we’ll bring up later).

This dual cooling technique is one of the most popular around, and the results after installing one of these are often quite stunning.

Who designed it? David Petsel (dpetsel)

Where to find it? Thingiverse

Creality CR-10 Upgrades and Mods 5. Functional Improvement: Z-Axis Supports

The assembled Z Braces Source: jonathanlundstrom / Thingiverse

When printing tall, vibrations traveling through the printer frame are often magnified in the vertical Z axis, resulting in banding effects across the tops of prints. One of the best ways to mitigate this is through the use of Z braces.

These Creality CR-10 upgrades are brackets attached to the base and the Z axis, with rods between the two adding rigidity to the frame. The design we found requires threaded rods and some assorted nuts, bolts and washers in addition to the printable brackets.

Who designed it? Jonathan Lundström (jonathanlundstrom) 

Where to find it? Thingiverse

Creality CR-10 Upgrades and Mods 6. Functional Improvement: Control Box Cooling

The fan base, installed below the control box. Source: Midevil1 / Thingiverse

A fairly popular mod to add to the CR-10’s control box is a pair of 120-mm fans, replacing the stock cooling fans on the control board and power supply. Surprisingly, it turns out that the larger fans are a lot quieter and more efficient than their smaller stock counterparts.

This particular version replaces the base of the control box.

Who designed it? John MacArthur (Midevil1)

Where to find it? Thingiverse

Creality CR-10 Upgrades and Mods 7. Purchaseable: TL Smoothers

Eliminate lines with these affordable addons. Source: All3DP

TL Smoothers are relatively cheap addons for your CR-10’s stepper motor drivers, which essentially help smoothen your print and remove artifacting like “salmon skin”. They can be bought for a couple of dollars and are super easy to install thanks to plug-and-play setup and zero software. Cheap and easy, a no-brainer Creality CR-10 upgrade.

TL Smoothers

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Creality CR-10 Upgrades and Mods 8. Purchaseable: Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi 3 B+ Source: Raspberry Pi

Adding a Raspberry Pi to your CR-10 can be useful for a number of reasons, but the most popular one is for using the free OctoPi software. OctoPi allows you to monitor and control your printer remotely or over WiFi, so that you can check on your print, ensure against failures, and perhaps even run a printer farm. Another cool feature of OctoPi is that it will auto-record the entire print with a connected camera. 

The Raspberry Pi itself is of course the only essential component, however you can also add on a Pi camera or webcam. And don’t forget to print yourself a cool case. 

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+

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Creality CR-10 Upgrades and Mods 9. Purchaseable: Stepper Dampers

A single stepper damper. Source: Amazon

A relatively cheap but more time-consuming Creality CR-10 upgrade, adding stepper dampers to your printer decreases the vibrations caused by the stepper motors. This significantly reduces noise levels while printing and in some cases can help the quality of your prints.

Dampers

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Creality CR-10 Upgrades and Mods 10. Purchaseable: BLTouch Auto-Leveling

The BLTouch sensor. Source: Amazon

Adding auto-leveling allows your CR-10 to automatically adapt to the bed without you having to fiddle with it (although an occasional manual level is still required). BLTouch sensors are one of the easiest ways to do this, and if you printed one of the Petsfang fan ducts, you should already have a mount for it! 

BLTouch Auto Bed Leveling Sensor

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License: The text of "10 Must-Have Creality CR-10 Upgrades and Mods" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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