When you are looking for a quality 3D printer, you will often come across the Ender 3 from Creality. It’s well known for the quality and powerful performance it delivers. However, one confusion always arises with this printer. That’s with the Ender 3 bed size and print volume.
Here we disclose all the differences, causes, and possibilities with the bed size and print volume of the Ender 3 printer. Without further blabbering, let’s get into the real thing right away.
Physical ender 3 Bed Size and Print Area
So, if you have no idea what’s all the fuss about this bed size and print volume, here’s is a little brief of the problem.
The physical bed size of Ender 3 is 235mm x 235mm. And the Ender 3 print volume is 220mm x 220mm as per the manufacturer’s description. To understand the issue here, you have to know what bed size and print area are. Let’s go through that quickly.
It’s very easy to understand the bed size. It’s the space that you get for printing your models on the 3D printer. You can consider it as the platform where your models will come to life. The size of the bed determines the possible dimensions of the model you create. So, the larger the bed, the larger models you can make, theoretically. We will talk about that in a bit too.
The print area
The print area is the actual area where the prints take place. Having a larger bed size doesn’t mean you get to use the whole area for printing. For example, in Ender 3, the nozzles and the bed don’t move to the whole extent of the printing bed.
This means you can’t use the whole area for printing. It’s a limited area where the prints will happen. Anything exceeding that will fail to print.
As you can see, they both are different. Bed size is the place you have available for printing, while the print area is the allowed space for printing your models. So, the print volume will always be lower than the bed size.
The measurements of Ender 3 Dimension
Now, let’s get to the problem here. The bed size of Ender 3 is 235mm x 235m, whereas the print area is 220mm x 220mm. So, you don’t get to use the additional 15mm size you get on the bed, which you should have gotten. Then why you can’t use the 15mm of the printing bed?
The reason is to give you better printing quality and perfect prints every time the manufacturers add tolerances. Often when you print, your models can deviate a little, which is why you should have some space around the bed. This way, your prints don’t go out of the bed and fail to deliver.
That brings up the question, can you use the additional 15mm on the bed size? Let’s find out the answer to that.
Can you exceed the printing volume?
The answer is yes; you can exceed the print volume to 235mm x 235mm. But we don’t suggest you do so. You could have done that if the printing accuracy was 100 percent. That way, you wouldn’t have to worry about any tolerances or deviation. Since that’s not the case, it’s not wise to exceed the printing volume.
Still, you can take a risk if you want. It won’t harm the machine in any way, but you may lose some filaments; that’s the risk you have to take to find out. Also, if you want to exceed the printing volume, don’t go for the whole 15mm extension.
Try going for 5mm first so that you still have 10mm space to work with. This is only for experimental purposes, don’t overdo it.
Having said that, for the best possible results without any risk, stay within the limited print volume. Once again, this brings up another question, what if you need some space for larger models? Well, we have an answer to that too.
How to Increase the printing volume
There are several solutions you can try out for increasing the available printing volume for your Ender 3. That’s only possible because of this printer’s upgradeability feature, which is truly a commendable thing to get.
Let’s check out the different ways to utilize the Creality Ender 3 dimensions properly.
Related: Print layers not lining up
Modifying the firmware
This is the riskiest and most advanced way to utilize the current bed size of your Ender 3 printer. You can make changes to your firmware and reach its limits for getting 100% use of print volume. How does it work?
To understand that, you will have to know how the ender 3 is limited to a certain print area. This happens in two different parts for the two different axes.
In your Ender 3, the nozzle is responsible for all the X-axis printing maneuvers. It controls the movement and distances your models can cover on the X-axis. While the bed itself moves in the Y-axis to attain that Y-axis printing capability.
So, when you modify the firmware, you can take off the limits from these parts. In general, the nozzles can only travel 220mm on the X-axis. But when you modify the firmware, you can make them travel to 235mm, which is the bed size of the printer.
This also comes with some caution. The first one is to get a magnetic bed which we will be discussing shortly. Then the other one is replacing the binders. And the last thing is to take the risk of bricking your printer.
Yes, if you go somewhere wrong with these firmware changes, you can brick the whole thing. So, only opt for this solution if you are an advanced user of 3D printers, and you know what you are doing.
You can find the suitable parts, software, and files from the huge community support consisting of many Ender 3 users. You can also ask for their assistance in this matter.
Change the binder clips
So, in ender 3, you get some binder clips in the package to keep the bed in place. However, these binder clips take up some space. You can save up that space for your printing purposes just by replacing these clips.
Find some binder clips online that are smaller than the ones you get in the package. You can easily find many of them. It would help if you had something to hold the bed in place. That shouldn’t be very difficult at all.
Getting a new magnetic printing bed
If you want to see a significant change in the printing volume, we suggest a new magnetic printing bed. This bed will allow you to lose some extra space due to the binder clips and other functionalities. With this one installed in your printer, you can make the space larger for a higher printing volume for your Ender 3.
Once you get the new printing bed, you have to change the settings in the software. To do that, you have to go through a firmware update with all the new dimension settings for your mainboard. So, doing all these will require some expertise in this field. That’s why it’s not a solution we suggest for beginners.
However, there might be issues with this printing bed which you wouldn’t face with the stock one. Usually, these printing beds wear out quickly at a certain temperature. Also, some of them will not support the kinds of filaments that the stock bed supports.
For example, there is a magnetic printer bed for Ender 3 that has a bigger dimension. But it doesn’t support ABS filament printing. So, it can be troublesome if you use ABS filament. You will always have to count on the compatibility factor for this reason.
Upgrade or rebuild
One of the coolest features that you can use to the fullest is the upgradability of Ender 3. With some upgrades, you can reach the full potential of this printer for sure.
Upgrading printing bed
Aside from the magnetic printing bed, there are so many options that you can find for Ender 3. And some of them come with compatibility for all kinds of filaments especially, ABS and PLA. So, you won’t have to worry about changing the printing bed at all. Changing to a larger printing bed will surely allow you to have a bigger printing volume.
Besides that, you can make other changes or upgrades too. You can even change the mainboard of the printer to take it to another level of performance. It doesn’t require too much effort in installation; you need to be an expert to do it.
Lastly, you can opt for a total rebuild. For that, you will need some experience and expertise. Also, you will need few components.
You can get a frame, longer belts, and of course, a print bed. In combination with these three components, you can make your Ender 3 a larger unit for printing large models if you want.
After you get all the components, you have to assemble them properly, and then you have to work on the firmware to upgrade it and make it work with the new setup.
All these things require knowledge of the printer and the software. So, we don’t recommend beginners trying this out themselves. You can take the help of professionals in this case to upgrade your kit.
Is it worth it, or getting a new one is better?
If you are looking for a slight boost in the printing volume or looking to utilize that extra 15mm of size, upgrading is a good option. Even the firmware changes can work well in this scenario. However, if you don’t want to take risks and need much larger numbers, upgrading or modifying isn’t the play.
If you want a significant amount of printer volume change, you should opt for a different printer. You can find many options out there that come with a greater printing volume than this one.
For example, the Creality Ender 3 MAX has a larger printing volume than this one. And if you want something very big, you can go for Creality CR 10 S5, an official print volume of 500mm x 500mm.
Here are some common questions many people ask about Ender 5 bed size-
- Does increasing the printing volume impact quality?
No, if you are doing the firmware upgrades properly, you shouldn’t have any problems with the printing quality. However, pushing the limits too much may hamper the quality as it can affect the printer’s core.
- How much of an increase can I get with the methods?
Well, you will only get to the point your printer is capable of producing. And it won’t be that much. You will at least get to utilize the bed size of the printer, which can be helpful in some cases. But don’t have an unrealistic expectation of the print volume increase.
- Is it worth all the effort?
If you often need to use the maximum potential, which is 235mm X 235mm, it’s worth it. But if you need more than that or you don’t need the larger size too much, then it’s not worth going all that trouble.
To sum up, Creality Ender 3 Bed size isn’t the worst thing in the world. As this is a 3D printer for printing mini models, the dimension is good enough to print many models. Still, if you have trouble leaving out those 15mm extra spaces, then you can try out the methods we discussed. That way, you will be able to bump up the printing volume and get the desired results.
Also, make sure not to overdo anything. Like we said above, modifying, upgrading, or changing the printer requires expertise and risk. So, if you are a beginner and the printer is very important to you, we suggest you restrain from doing anything to the printer. If you need a larger volume, you can buy a printer with a larger volume capacity.