In this review we want to introduce you in general terms to Creatbot DX 3D printer, from Creatbot company, whose products have appeared in our articles more than once. This Chinese manufacturing company has earned respect – by the price/quality ratio of its products and has rightfully taken a place of honor on our pedestal of manufacturers.
- First acquaintance
- Appearance and first impression
- Display and Features
- Technical features
- It should be noted that with a long idle time – about five minutes, the printer automatically enters sleep mode, from which it can be removed by pressing the power button once. The mechanics
- Material feeding system and heating table
- Electronics and Electrical
- Display functions and software.
- Final Word
The printer comes in a classic cardboard box. Inside it is lined with foam and secured with tape.
After unpacking the Creatbot DX requires partial assembly, so the package also includes elements of its construction. In general, in the box you will find everything you need for comfortable work with the device:
- Network cable.
- USB cable.
- SD card.
- Screwdriver and two open-ended wrenches.
- PVA glue.
- Painting tape.
- Replacement screws and nuts.
- Replacement parts: end cap, heating element, PTFE tubing H.M. driver and door hinge.
- Set of hexes.
- Coil fasteners.
- Filament pulling mechanisms 2 pcs.
- Heating table.
- Reel bracket axles.
Appearance and first impression
An all-metal body with excellent rigidity has already become a good tone for Chinese manufacturers of the middle and upper segment, here is Creatbot not lagging behind the competitors.
On the sides the chamber volume is covered with plexiglass walls of blue or orange depending on the batch.
In our case, the Plexiglas has been left covered with shipping paper since the printer is being tested and has yet to go to the customer. The hinges of the doors are molded and one spare is included.
Provided an adhesive magnet to securely hold the doors to the body.
On the front side of the device we can see the power button (1), a functional touch screen display (2), indication LEDs, a slot for a USB memory card (3) and an illuminated company logo on the top plane.
On the back panel we can see the tabs for the coil mounts (1), wire connectors for the pulling mechanisms and the braid of wires from the printing unit (2), going inside the case. At the bottom there is a connector for the power cable (3).
On the side wall is a USB-1 connector for service actions (1), reflashing, or connecting the printer to remote control via P.O.
Display and Features
The color touchscreen 4:3′ display module is identical to the ones on the entire line of Creatbot devices. It was not possible to identify the display itself, because it is covered by a welded metal niche and it is difficult to remove it from there, and it is not required.
When we turn the 3D printer on, we see a welcome sign with the logo and then the main interface opens. More about its features we will tell a little later.
Before we talk about specifications, we want to note a few important features of this line of printers.
– Firstly, it is autonomous mode of printing and coordinate storage in case of power failure. After power is restored, the printer will be able to continue printing from the point where it stopped.
– Second is the presence of a high-temperature Hot-End with heating temperature up to 350 degrees. In theory this will allow the use of refractory materials.
As the manufacturer declares the possibility of completing 3 Hot-Ends on one printing unit, but in Russia such a version, alas, does not come.
It should be noted that with a long idle time – about five minutes, the printer automatically enters sleep mode, from which it can be removed by pressing the power button once.
The mechanics of the Creatbot DX are familiar to us from the Ultimaker 3D printers. In XY, it is a crossed over linear cylindrical guides on cylindrical bearings. The solution is quite reliable and has proven itself on many similar 3D printers. Lightweight design allows for high speed of movement of the printing unit and the printing itself, due to the feeding system of plastic Bouden. It should also be noted that standardized components work for the benefit of maintainability. In addition to the block of hotech, bearings, axles and bobbins can be easily purchased from the relevant vendors and are unified.
On the Z-axis the same well known and reliable system with one ball screw gear on a stepper motor and two thick cylindrical guides is used. The bearings ride on them with an extended housing cage to avoid jamming and warping and to maximize the contact area with the axis.
The table bracket slides in and out freely and is not permanently welded to its brackets. Lightweight aluminum parts, also work for overall speed and reduction of parasitic vibrations of the whole structure.
The table is fixed by “driving in” on brackets (2). At the same time it does not lose its calibration, because the calibration screws (1) are located on the console itself and are removed along with it without changing the position.
The 6.5 millimeter, reinforced, neoprene belts are used to transmit the torque of the motors to the axles. Quite expensive and of high quality for a Chinese 3D printer in the layman’s mind. However, the tooth profile is standard GT6. Extension springs are used as a tensioner.
Material feeding system and heating table
As we said above, the printer works with a printing unit and a Bouden-type broaching mechanism, that is a remote material feed to the HotEnd. All components are from the company’s own production, without borrowing. Diameter of used filament is 1.75. The radiator of the extruder looks like Vulcano, but the heating block is turned in a classical way and the fins of the radiator are thicker. I must say that the nozzles of Creatbot DX also have their own, it is possible to choose the diameter of the hole. The default setting is 0.4. In the version of the printer with high-temperature heater and sensor, the kit also includes steel nozzles for printing refractory materials.
The air blowing is two standard 12 volt fans with the air flow routed to cool the heatsink and under the nozzles (black objects behind the nozzles in the photo).
This allows for good temperature control and after more fine-tuning the retraction and blowing speed, great results can be achieved.
The pulling mechanism is all metal, mounted on the back of the printer and contains a filament sensor. Most likely mechanical, without disassembling the mechanism itself it’s hard to tell. The feeder housing itself is milled aluminum and is very well made.
The heating table is a classic “sandwich”. The dimensions of the working area of 300 * 250 * 300 mm. This is enough to print even large objects without gluing and unwanted separation.
The table is heated to a maximum of only 100 degrees. But in general this is enough for almost all filament in 1.75 format.
Electronics and Electrical
Now let’s get to the most interesting part, the electronic filling of Chinese “Comrade”.
To start with, let me remind you that the printer is equipped with an “emergency stop” system, as well as sensors of filament presence in the feeding mechanism. This system automatically puts the printing process on pause and allows to replace the problematic coil, continuing to print from the place where the fault occurred.
What does the Creatbot DX have under the hood?
Under the hood is the standard and slightly hackneyed, but still reliable AtMega 2560, factory wired and with replaceable drivers. By the way, the printer is VERY quiet. The knowledgeable reader will guess the reason. Yes. It is the quiet TMC2208 drivers.
The board etching and wiring is done well and has no complaints. All of the connectors are tightly crimped, the wire braids are secured with cable ties and pulled away from the boards for better ventilation.
Here we can also see the capacitors for the emergency shutdown system (1), the power relay and the converter box (3) interestingly, it is 3D printed. And a pretty good power supply (2).
As we wrote above access to the display is closed and only the display board with the LEDs and the USb slot are visible. All connectors are sealed with hot melt adhesive for extra security and no loss of contact.
Display functions and software.
So we got to know the printer in detail and now it’s time to plug it in and see what it does. But before that, let’s understand what functions the touch screen display has and what the P.O. is.
As the software is a reincarnation of Cura, which in this version is called CraftWare.Practically nothing but embedded settings for its entire line of printers and a beautiful 3D-model of the table, from its prototype, it does not differ. So let’s not go into detail about the interface, but just run a few print jobs to assess the quality.
As a reminder, the printer was just taken out of the box and no settings were made in the slicer, everything is standard
The first time you turn it on, CraftWare will ask you to connect the printer via USB and perform the familiar calibration. Let’s follow all of the program’s instructions.
And here are the print settings with which we ran the job. The well-known Ctrl-V test with the thingiverse was chosen as the test 3D model. Let’s run the miscalculation and save the G-code to a flash drive. Let’s move on to the printer and touch screen functions.
On it we can see all the available functions of the screen. Preheat button.
Starts preheating the extruder and the heating table to the preset values. By default, under the settings of the PLA plastic. You can change this in the Settings menu.
Move Axis (Move menu)
Next is the Move Axis menu. In this menu we have the classic movements of the printing unit along the axes. Select the number of steps and their direction.
Filament (Filament menu).
Everything is pretty familiar here too, with the left icon controlling the left extruder and the right icon controlling the right extruder. The amount of material fed and the retract and extrude buttons imply the extruder is preheated to the correct temperature.
Allows you to set the exact parameters for the temperature of the table and the printing unit, the blowing speed, the printing speed and other parameters. The settings can also be reset or saved in the memory of the printer.
Allows you to monitor printhead and table temperatures, position coordinates, and other parameters. Also allows you to adjust the temperature on any of the heating elements in a moment. But when you start another function, the changes will be canceled.
At the same time, pressing the temperature of the extruder, or any other parameter calls a special Pin-Pad, or numeric keypad, on which we and type a given number.
USB (Memory Card).
Shows a list of files and allows you to start a print job. It doesn’t show any settings, but while printing, we can pause, cancel the job, or change the plastic.
If we click on the progress bar, a settings menu opens where we can adjust the temperature or print speed.
As we mentioned before, the printer is very quiet, you can barely hear even the blower fans. The motors, thanks to good drivers, move smoothly and also do not create unnecessary noise.
A brief summary of the print
Overall, the printing results on the 3D printer just unpacked out of the box are pretty good. All elements of the test printed out. In some places you can see overheating, or incorrect retraction settings, but this is solved by adjusting the settings and primarily depends on the plastic as well.
We used purple PLA E-Sun. However, with a little more tinkering with the settings, we got better results with the red PLA from the same manufacturer.
After changing the plastic to blue ABS and a slight tweak, the result was noticeably better. The metal extruder and the powerful pulling mechanism are a factor. Printing temperature was 240 degrees, table 100 degrees. The layer height is 0.2 mm, the speed is 65 mm/sec.
After that we made several more models at different settings. For example the creatbot company logo, which came on a flash drive with the printer. Printing layer 0.3mm, speed about 80mm/sec.
Next it was the turn of a gray ABS plastic from another domestic company and a long 8 and a half hour print.
I was also able to achieve two-color printing. The settings are about the same as in the first screenshot from the P.O. The speed and feed rate of the plastic were edited a bit.
Despite requiring customization, the printer works quite confidently “out of the box” with the two most common types of materials.
- user-friendly interface,
- two printing units,
- out of the box printing,
- interesting design solutions
- fairly competitive price in its segment
All this makes this printer an excellent choice for educational institutions, CMITs, workshops, production enterprises, design, engineering, architectural offices, art and design and those who are just looking for a large volume 3D printer.