With a 500 x 500 x 500 mm build volume, the Creality CR-10 S5 can handle your most ambitious building dreams. In size alone, this thing is a beast. But does it hold up to actual printing demands?
The updated Creality CR-10 S5 offers the possibility of huge builds for a low price. Creality is known for its recent releases of popular 3D printers —particularly the CR-10 and Ender series. It is the company’s largest 3D printer and most competitively priced large-format consumer printers on the market.
Is Bigger Always Better?
The Creality CR-10 S5 clearly stands out for its ability to produce giant prints.
This machine features CR-series typical styling and a dual-lead screw mechanism with dual bed rails for smooth Y- and Z-axis movement.
However, unlike other recent Creality models like the CR-10 V2, the CR-10 S5 is missing Creality’s ‘golden triangle’—a Z-axis brace connecting the top of the gantry’s frame to the base, which is intended to improve stability.
Like its predecessors, the S5’s power brick and controls are located in an umbilically-attached control unit, and the filament spool mounts on this box.
A separately installed spool holder is great because it keeps this already-large printer from getting too big or unstable. The firmware and twist-to-control knob may seem outmoded in comparison to the high-tech touchscreen UIs that have become increasingly common in other printers. This beast proves that you don’t always need the high-tech stuff. All menu and printer settings is accessible, and they’re easy to navigate. The only real issue is finding a place for the control box.
The printer’s size comes with a drawback—storage space. With an external control box, it’s a good idea to have a storage space that allows for easy access to the box as well. Unfortunately, the control box is tethered fairly close to the main unit, restricting convenient storage options. Keeping the box anywhere but directly next to the printer’s frame simply won’t work for tall prints as the printer’s X-axis stepper motor may get unplugged. The S5 has a heated glass bed that allows you to play around with various material types. It can take quite a bit of time to reach the desired temperatures (around 30 minutes to get to 80 °C) While it seems reasonable that a large bed would require a high heating time, only about 300 x 300 mm of the bed heats consistently, with a steep temperature drop at the bed’s edges.
When you’re working on large prints, this may cause warping and ruin the project before you even finish.
Some makers have attempted to work around this issue by lessening the temperature differential between the center and edges of the bed by heating closer to 40 °C, but for temperature-sensitive materials such as ABS, this can be a problem. Another issue with the S5 is bed adhesion. The glass build plate lacks the hold exhibited by textured sheets, and Creality tries to address this by throwing in a roll of painter’s tape, which only covers about two-thirds of the print bed.I’d recommend using a glue stick instead.
The Printing Process
Although marketed as a kit, the S5 comes semi-assembled, only requiring that you mount the Z-axis to the base and connect the cables.
While other CR-10 variants have bed-leveling routines assisted by BL-Touch sensors mesh-bed compensation, the CR-10 S5 still requires manual leveling, which is less than ideal.
The CR-10 S5 utilizes small plastic nuts for raising and lowing the corners of the bed. This design leaves something to be desired because it requires hand gymnastics just to tighten the nut under the print bed.
Leveling such a big bed is rather tricky. Especially on the edges, achieving a perfect level is difficult. After a few tries, getting it leveled for centered prints is quite easy.
Even with the upgraded bearing system, physical forces can only be diminished to a certain point, so sticking with a slower printing speed is best to address the issues associated with rapid directional changes.
This printer can definitely handle huge prints, but some large projects may require several days. One possibility for shortening print time is exchanging the nozzle. The S5 comes with an upgraded 0.4 mm MK10 nozzle. For low-detail, large prints, switching to a 0.6 mm or even 0.8 mm nozzle can drastically increase printing speed. To further increase volumetric throughput, you can also use a volcano nozzle.
Like I mentioned earlier, trying to attain thermal equilibrium in the print bed can also help. While the actual settings are fairly intuitive and accessible, getting your exact intended results requires some back-and-forth calibration and trial-and-error.
Despite the many drawbacks, this printer is still a great, formidable large-scale machine that can produce solid prints.
At around $720, it packs just enough features and good quality. With a bit of time and ingenuity, you can improve it with a variety of mods and upgrades.
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Dual Bed Rails
The most notable upgrade on this model is its enhanced dual bed railing system. The added rail facilitates easy movement, improving stability and ensuring smoother prints.
Dual Lead Screws
A notable problem with fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D printers is inconsistent Z-axis movement due to the machine’s parts moving during operation. This can lead to layer shifting. The S5 is equipped with dual lead screws and two Z-axis stepper motor drivers. Alongside the printer’s sturdy aluminum frame, this feature reduces vibrations, resulting in smoother prints.
While Z-wobbling can still be an issue, the printer’s dual lead screws mitigate this issue.
Patented Bearing System
Another feature is the upgraded bearing system. Creality advertises it as a patented technology for the XYZ aluminum V-slot bearing. With Creality’s new high precision bearing, the printer runs more smoothly and with less noise.
New Circuit Board
The S5 sports a newly upgraded industrial-grade circuit board. This is intended to let the printer run stably for up to 200 hours. Considering S5’s build volume, this can facilitate the long print times that larger jobs may require.
This printer exhibits a handful of other useful features for utilizing its full build volume potential, including its resume print function in the case of a power outage and filament runout detection.
If you are working on large projects, you are almost guaranteed to have to switch the filament spool at some point during the project. With the sensor, you’ll know when the switch is required and won’t have to scrap your project halfway through.
Note that this is a mechanical sensor that only trips when the tube has no filament. Other, higher precision optical sensors are typically quite costly, so this basic tool is a welcome budget option.
Creality CR10S5 - Tech Specs
- Technology: Fused deposition modeling (FDM)
- Year: 2019
- Assembly: Partially assembled
- Mechanical arrangement: Cartesian XY-head
- Manufacturer: Creality
- Build volume: 500 x 500 x 500 mm
- Feeder system: Bowden
- Print head: Single nozzle
- Nozzle size: 0.4 mm
- Max. hot end temperature: 260 ℃
- Max. heated bed temperature: 60 ℃
- Print bed material: Glass
- Frame: Aluminum
- Bed leveling: Manual
- 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: Cura, Simplify3D, Repetier-Host
- Operating system: Windows, Mac OSX, Linux
- File types: STL, OBJ, AMF
Dimensions and Weight
- Frame dimensions: 690 x 800 x 715 mm
- Weight: 14.6 kg