Review Creality3D CR-10S Pro 3D Printer – My new favorite!

The Chinese manufacturer Creality3D brings with the CR-10S Pro for $589.99 another improved version of their popular CR-10 3D printer. Whether it does justice to the name suffix “Pro” and why I have the CR-10S Pro – two times – now as a workhorse in use, you can find out in my review. Both models have been in operation for months now.

Creality-10S Pro

CR-10s Pro 3D Printer: the Facts

Model Creality3D CR-10S Pro
Speed realistic: 30 – 90 mm/s (manufacturer speaks of max. 180mm/s)
Printing area max. 300 x 300 x 400 mm (like the Creality3D R-10)
Filament diameter 1.75 mm (0.4 mm nozzle)
Special features almost completely assembled
Extras Filament sensor, Auto leveling, Pressure recovery, Touch screen, Two Z-axes, 24V power circuit, …

Creality3D has become a seasoned manufacturer and is one of the most successful Chinese 3D printer manufacturers. So we couldn’t miss it and visited one of their factories in Shenzhen in November 2018. In addition to the Ender-3, production of the CR-10S Pro was already well underway back then. One is aware (in contrast to the Creality3D CR-X :-)): The CR-10S Pro is a good piece of technology!

Creality CR-10S Pro 3D Printer Naomi SexyCyborg
Naomi “SexyCyborg” and I talk shop in the factory about the (then still) new Creality CR10S Pro

Although the CR-10S Pro is not a new revolution now, it takes up many good elements – even from the Creality CR-X. You already notice: I like it ;-). But first we start chronologically. First of all: Please forgive me the “snapshot picture quality” in some places ;-).

Shipping, packaging and accessories

We ordered twice: Once at GearBest and once at the online shop of Creality3D. The shipping time was 16 and 24 days. When you look at the package you immediately notice how big it is – no wonder, because the CR-10S Pro arrives, unlike other 3D printers from China, almost completely assembled.

CR-10S Pro Packaging
CR-10S Pro: Packaging – Now it got exciting!

During the inspection of the second cardboard box (from Creality3D directly) I unfortunately had to find out that the valuable package did not survive the long way from China to us completely intact. The outside of the package was torn. Fortunately, no damage was done to the inside of the box.

CR-10S Pro Damage to the packaging
Here you can clearly see the damage to the packaging. Who is to blame?

Inside the package, the device is relatively slip-resistant and well protected by the foam. The printer sits relatively firmly in the carton, so it is worthwhile to have a second person help you remove the China gadget.

Open box of the CR-10S Pro
The individual parts of the 3D printer are neatly protected by foam.

The necessary accessories and the filament roll (unfortunately only 200 grams) are located in the two indentations of the foam. Here it is recommended to order some filament as well.

Accessories of the CR 10S Pro
The CR 10S Pro comes with an accessory box and a filament roll (200g, white).
CR-10S Pro Accessories
Screws, rudimentary screwdrivers, spatulas and. Co. are in the toolbox.

All kinds of tools are included as accessories, not all of which are required for the first assembly. Among them are also some tools that are included with almost every 3D printer from China, such as a filament scratch. In addition there is a power cable, USB cable and an 8GB NoName.microSD card with the test file and further instructions in a small box. The GearBest order included an EU cold device power cable – the Creality3D order the US counterpart, for which we needed an adapter here.

CR-10s Pro: Construction & Quality

The CR-10S Pro arrives almost completely assembled, which is surely a blessing for laymen. Only the Z- and X-axis (right in the upper picture) have to be mounted on the case. This should certainly seem familiar to the users of the predecessor models, e.g. the Creality3D CR-10, because it also arrives pre-assembled in two large parts. With other “almost print-ready” pre-assembled 3D printers from China, the whole assembly often has to be assembled.

The individual parts of the CR-10S Pro at a glance
The CR-10S Pro comes almost completely assembled, so that only a few steps are necessary.

Please don’t be surprised about the scratches on the aluminium profiles: Every CR-10S Pro is assembled and tested once in the factory (homing, leveling and a test print).

CR-10S Pro Scratches in detail
The test setup tracks can be recognized by the profiles.

Only four screws are needed to mount the axles to the housing. A little tip for beginners: The tighter you tighten them, the less vibrations there will be later. Further two screws are necessary for the filament holder. If you are not sure, you can also have a look at the enclosed printed assembly instructions.

CR-10S Pro Manual
The structure of the 3D printer with pictures is explained on two pages.

Finally, the cabling must be tackled. In this case this means: Insert the plug. The plugs only fit into the respective sockets or the cables are correspondingly long, so that nothing can be done wrong – even without assembly instructions. The wiring gets a school grade B. More about this later.

Wiring of the CR-10S Pro Mains hoses, cable ties - a solid solution
Cabling of the CR-10S Pro: mains hoses, cable ties – solidly solved
CR-10S Pro Flat ribbon cable
The flat ribbon cable saves a lot of cable clutter. Unfortunately, the filament is not so good (more about this later).
CR-10S Pro neatly fixed cables, but glued plugs
Also here neatly fixed cables, but glued plugs (hot glue: can be loosened)
CR-10S Pro Attached Buttons
So that the plugs do not fall into the housing, they were glued on.
CR-10S Pro
The photos were taken after the first printing tests, hence the dirty heating bed. Sorry for that. 😉

CR-10S Pro Side view

After about 20 minutes all screws and cables were where they belong. I didn’t have to tighten any other screws. Top – that’s how it should be … with our 3D printer which we ordered directly from Creality3D. With the other one the spindle guide was no longer screwed on and the screws were no longer to be found in the package.

CR-10S Pro interior
The power supply or the printer works with 24V – accordingly the 3D printer heats up much faster.

For our gadget making laboratory this is not a broken leg (we still have a “few” screws left), for other customers it can be frustrating. I.e. also here: Make sure to check if there are any small screws lying around when unpacking the box. Of course I also took a look inside. The inside is very tidy: Cables were fixed properly, a relay (CDG1-1DD/40A) and fan were installed and there is still plenty of room for e.g. a Raspberry (consider radio reception). My three smaller criticisms at this point would be the somewhat noisy fan, the specially developed boards and the speaker (which can also be disconnected).

CR-10S Pro inside
View inside: Very tidy and spacious.

The CR-10S Pro works with a 24V circuit, which in short halves the heating times. The power supply is of much higher quality than power supplies from Anet, Tronxy & Co. But also here a quieter fan could have been installed.

CR-10S Pro Feeder
Plenty of metal: The feeder is well thought out and “refilling” runs smoothly

I like the quality and the construction. You have copied a lot from the CR-X – but almost only the good points.

CR-X and CR-10S Pro
CR-X and CR-10S Pro – same design

CR-10S Pro: The first start

After switching on the printer you are greeted with a jingle (the CR-X sends greetings – you don’t really need it) and the touchscreen menu appears after ~5 seconds. The touchscreen main menu is very simple and offers three navigation points to start with. The English is easy to understand – as an alternative language only Mandarin can be set.

CR-10S Pro Menu Language
Menu language

The touch screen responds quickly and accurately, so unlike all the knobs on other 3D printers, navigation is fun. What were my first steps after flipping the switch?

  • Putting the Hotend in the Home Position
  • Deactivate the stepper (i.e. the Achen motors).
  • Manual leveling (so that the biggest unevenness is removed)
  • Automatic leveling
  • Set Z-Offset (more about this later)
  • There you go.

Excursion: Autoleveling with the CR-10S Pro

If you don’t have a 3D printer yet, or had to level the heating bed manually(?) so far, I’d like to give you 1-2 tips/comments here. Each, really each 3D printer must be levelled for proper prints. I.e. between Hotend and the heating bed only a thin sheet of paper should fit through at each position in the ideal case. Depending on the later adjusted layerheight, one can deviate by 0,x mm from it, but one way or the other: You have damn little leeway, because otherwise your pressure does not stick, or not enough material is pressed by the Hotend.

  • Wrong:
    • Nozzle too high: If the nozzle is too high, not enough pressure can be applied. This way the filament has too little contact with the pressure bed and any foundation can fall off easily.
    • Nozzle too low: If the nozzle is too low, the pressure exerted may be too high, making the filament difficult to extrude. This can damage the extruder and the pressure bed.
  • Right:
    • Sufficient distance: The best results can be achieved if the nozzle is far enough away. This allows the filament to be pressed onto the pressure bed with sufficient pressure without affecting the material flow.

The larger your pressure surface or when changing material to ABS, for example, the more difficult the leveling becomes. I can never stress it enough. When leveling manually, take time for at least two proper runs. Too quickly the “stupid 3D printer” gets the blame.

The Creality CR-10S Pro can level automatically, can’t it? Why do I write this? What exactly is that? I’m of the opinion that every 3D printer nerd should have its basics. This drastically eliminates mistakes and increases the basic understanding extremely. Of course you should manually (see point 2 above) make sure that the heating bed is properly aligned. This means that the automatic compensation will be used even less later (which would lead to a worse print image). In passing the meaning or the bonus of a leveling sensor is downgraded ;-).

With autoleveling, the print head runs a 4×4 grid (i.e. 16 positions) and detects any unevenness. With a 30 x 30 cm metal heating bed these are unavoidable. These are then included in the later pressure.

CR-10S Pro Autoleveling
Autoleveling: 4×4 grid is created
CR-10S Pro Autoleveling Grid finished
Grid created: One sees the “unevenness” (even if these are very small)

At the end you still have to manually determine the Z-Offset. After all, the 3D printer doesn’t know the height or relation of the sensor to the hot end. Were both tips mounted at exactly the same height, or does the sensor trigger a bit earlier, although the hot end would have to be placed a bit lower? This can be done via Z-Offset or “Z home” in the menu. Particularly nice: This Z-Offset can also be readjusted during printing if necessary. Does the first layer not hold or does not look good? Readjust quickly in 0.0x mm steps! So I already could iron out some badly adjusted First Layer Setting in Cura spontaneously.

The print quality of the CR-10S Pro

Let’s now come to the most important question: How well does the China gadget print now? Therefore I used, as so often, the enclosed GCODE from the microSD card. Because: The manufacturer has hopefully thought about this case and optimized it for his printer.

With my first test prints the quality was already very good, even with 0.3mm Layerheight. Even with 0.3mm Layerheight, the individual filament layers can hardly be recognized by the print object. Also the surface of the small dog feels very smooth.

CR-10S Pro test print
The individual filament layers are hardly recognizable. Super!
CR-10S Pro Back side
Back side of the test print
CR-10S Pro: Print object error
Unfortunately there is a clear line under the ear of the little rascal.

However, a closer look reveals that the printer didn’t work very well. In some places the filament layers don’t lie on top of each other, which was due to the high printing speed. Afterwards I also had to tweak a bit at the support (see ear). Nevertheless, I am convinced of the print quality.

CR-10S Pro Calibration Cube
CR-10S Pro Calibration Cube: Here you need some fine-tuning as well
CR-10S Pro deviations
But the deviations are minimal. I know that much worse.
CR-10S Pro Test Print Benchy with 0,3mm Layerheight
CR-10S Pro Test Print Benchy with 0,3mm Layerheight

Also with further test prints, like the Calibration Cube or the Benchy, the printer delivered a solid print quality. Of course, especially if you want to print a lot, you have to spend some time in a reasonable slicer configuration. Since this depends on the material, manufacturer and personal preferences, I can’t give you the perfect configuration for Slic3r or Cura.

CR-10S Pro Filament guide
Filament guide for the CR-10S Pro – should definitely be printed. Another great quality
CR-10S Pro Filament guide layer
Cleanly printed, roughly adjusted layers – that’s how it should be!
CR-10S Pro First layer
“First Layer Porn” – that’s how every print starts with the CR-10S Pro.
CR-10S Pro T-Rex
Straight for large prints simply comfortable
CR-10S Pro China Gadgets Logo
Also nicely printed: A large ChinaGadget logo 🙂

At this point, I would also like to go into the robustness again: Thanks to the 24V circuit, the heating is fast, the temperature is (su.) well maintained thanks to the temperature, the speed can be set to 80mm/s (and more) and if the filament has really gone empty, this is reliably detected and the pressure can be continued without problems after the change.

CR-10S Pro heat up
Within ~2.5min the heating bed is from room temperature to 60°C (and the hotend within 1.8min to 200°C).
CR-10S Pro insulated heating bed
The heating bed is insulated and therefore holds the heat better. Also comfortable: The larger level wheels.
CR-10S Pro octolapse stable temperature
The temperature is kept constant by the good insulation.

The firmware also has an “Eco mode”. If this is activated (and you print from SD card), the 3D printer switches off the heating bed at a certain layer.

What I find relatively unfortunate: Due to the built-in stepper drivers, you can hardly hear the motors (walls/vibrations) anymore – but the fan volume has remained the same. If one were to install even better fans now, it would certainly be possible to save some decibels again. But that’s a high level of whining.

Excursion #2: CR-10S Pro firmware update via Octoprint

Of course, a good 3D printer always needs a good firmware. Ideally, this is based on the open source concept and is then (almost always in the meantime) Marlin. If the manufacturer or community is on the ball, there are ports for your 3D printer available quickly. For the CR-10S Pro there have already been several updates, so I want to give you a quick update on how to update the firmware of the CR-10S Pro with the print server Octoprint. First you have to download the plugin “Firmware Updater” from the repository.

CR-10S Pro firmware-update octoprint
Install Octoprint plugin “Firmware Updater”

On a UNIX system (many of you surely use a Raspberry with Raspian or Ubuntu) you also have to install AVRDude. AVRDude is an open source tool collection for the Atmel AVR microcontrollers, which can be found in many 3D printer mainboards. This can be done quickly with “apt-get install avrdude“.

CR-10S Pro firmware-update octoprint config
ATmega2560 is the MCU of the CR10S Pro – the path is (mostly) /usr/bin/avrdude (depending on Distri)

After saving the configuration (see above) only the update hex file has to be uploaded and flashed.

CR-10S Pro firmware update octoprint write process
The firmware is flashed.

Of course an update can also be done e.g. via Cura.

CR-10S Pro firmware-update cura
Update for Cura of course also possible (you can see an excerpt of my tested 3D printers :-))

I would just like to give you an example at this point: Updating works quickly and there are really regular updates. Unfortunately, only very few 3D printers offer such updates. Since the open source idea is now really lived, you can flash your own boot logos, sounds, or configurations without any problems.

Conclusion: Buy Creality3D CR-10S Pro?

You’ve probably already read it out: I really like the CR-10S Pro a lot. Not because of the single components, but because of the complete package. Fast assembly, good workmanship, fast operation, the height and filament sensor are a real relief and the print image is really good right from the start. The overall package is simply very coherent.

We’ve been using the two CR-10S Pros here for months now: they simply print without any murmuring, levelling, crashes or other problems. I’ve never had that before with (China) 3D printers on this scale. If you like, you can install updates and be happy about new or more mature features. The question you have to ask yourself: “Is this total package worth ~$590 to me? Otherwise the Creality3D Ender-3 is a great alternative. Although the printing space of 220 x 200 x 250 mm is (clearly) smaller and you simply have to “tinker” more, but that can still be enough for the beginner or interested.

If you are looking for a “workhorse” that has the necessary small change and/or simply wants a really good 3D printer … please: The CR10-S Pro is your choice!

To the gadget
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Kristian

I’m especially interested in smart home applications and 3D printers from China.

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