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  #21  
Old 08-02-20, 10:43 PM
Bartacus Bartacus is offline
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Awesome!! Looks like the detail is really nice even on the test print. I'm thinking about getting into this too, so I will be watching closely for updates!

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  #22  
Old 08-02-20, 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Bartacus View Post
Awesome!! Looks like the detail is really nice even on the test print. I'm thinking about getting into this too, so I will be watching closely for updates!
I upgraded the motherboard tonight. Took about half an hour. Will need to see a finished print to judge the difference, but the change is night and day when it comes to noise levels.

Now, the motors are near silent. The fans are now the loudest things in the system. Those may need to change at some point too, but the motors are what was most annoying.

I regret not videoing a before and after to judge the noise levels. Instead of the wizz of motors as they move, there is nothing. The fan noise is at least fairly constant, and therefore easy to block out.

I think I will keep everything within this thread. I'm looking forward to making more changes.

I will update this thread tomorrow with some comparison prints.
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  #23  
Old 08-02-20, 11:36 PM
tgrech tgrech is offline
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Looks great, what material are you printing with? I don't own my own but I've ended up designing a lot of enclosures for projects with the initial designs going to 3D printing, I find using PETG can save a lot of headaches if you ever need to do higher accuracy stuff.

What did the new motherboard change of note, the drivers? Designed my fair share of stepper motor systems and usually I find upping the micro-stepping ratio worked wonders for noise if the load permitted, but I'm assuming with a load like this your limit is the drivers max setting anyway.
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  #24  
Old 09-02-20, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by tgrech View Post
Looks great, what material are you printing with? I don't own my own but I've ended up designing a lot of enclosures for projects with the initial designs going to 3D printing, I find using PETG can save a lot of headaches if you ever need to do higher accuracy stuff.

What did the new motherboard change of note, the drivers? Designed my fair share of stepper motor systems and usually I find upping the micro-stepping ratio worked wonders for noise if the load permitted, but I'm assuming with a load like this your limit is the drivers max setting anyway.
I upgraded the printer with a BigTreeTech SKR Mini E3, which is a plug and play upgrade board for the Ender 3. Nice and easy to get up and running.

The main changes are that it updates the Ender 3's mainboard to a 32-bit ARM processor and that it upgrades the stepper motor drivers to a set of TMC 2209s. Stock ender 3s use very cheap stepper motors.

I've only printed in PLA so far. Keeping it cheap and simple ATM. Will use better materials when I need to.

The processor side will help the printer handle increased g-code complexity and the stepper motor driver will offer quieter operation and reverse voltage protection. The TMC 2209 stepper motor driver will help increase accuracy by reducing the vibrations that the Ender 3's stepper motors make and by preventing reverse voltage from causing unwanted artefacts. (Some people fix this with TL smoothers, but better motor drivers threats this problem at its source and reduced noise levels).

I'll post later with some images of some before and after test prints. I printed benchy boats before and after.


Update -


Some pictures of the SKR Mini E3 1.2 installation. Sadly, I didn't take a picture of the new board inside the printer (facepalm).



You know it's a legit BigTreeTech printer if you get a rubber ducky.



With thie BTT SKR Mini E3 1.2, you will get the board, a 128MB SD card (you can just use the 8GB card that you get with the Ender 3 Pro), a USB cable for updating the motherboard with new firmware and heatsink for the board's new stepper motor drivers.



Here's the new motherboard. It contains some extra connections for upgradability, supporting the BL touch without the need for motherboard modifications.



Here is an image of the old motherboard for the Ender 3 Pro. The install is very simple. Most cables are just plugged into the same areas on the new board with no real exceptions. You will need to go online for a board layout schematic to see exactly where everything goes.

Had to remove some hot glue from the old board and its connections. This is easily done. Creality must glue these in because these systems are shipped internationally.

Sadly, I didn't get a pic of the new motherboard after it was installed. It basically looks the same, but with a black PCB.


Impressions -

1, This motherboard has made the printer very quiet. The stepper motors don't make much noise anymore, but this has made the noise made by the system's fans a little more annoying. Before then the motors were the big noisemakers. Now the Ender 3 Pro's PSU fan is the loudest component, but it is only enabled under some situations.

2, Installation was easy. Just disconnect power, disconnect the PSU from the motherboard and then replace the motherboard. Could be done within the space of 15-20 minutes if you have watched a guide.

3, After installation, connect power and you are ready to print again. The Ender 3 will basically work as normal after that. There are some minor UI changes, but these are easy to relearn. Had it printing again within an hour.
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  #25  
Old 11-02-20, 12:17 PM
tgrech tgrech is offline
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Ohh are those A4988's on the stock board? Yeah that explains a lot if so, they top out at 1/16th microstepping and aren't the smoothest, kinda susceptible to EMI too which I can't imagine works amazingly when you've got a load of them crammed together near the motors. Those TMC2209's are a huge step up.
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  #26  
Old 11-02-20, 12:45 PM
Warchild Warchild is offline
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is that the BIGTREETECH SKR MINI E3 v1.2 32 Bit Controller you upgraded to?

I see that one is a big hit and really highly rated.

edit* now I see you already mentioned it already in your post
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  #27  
Old 11-02-20, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by tgrech View Post
Ohh are those A4988's on the stock board? Yeah that explains a lot if so, they top out at 1/16th microstepping and aren't the smoothest, kinda susceptible to EMI too which I can't imagine works amazingly when you've got a load of them crammed together near the motors. Those TMC2209's are a huge step up.
Yes, I believe those are the stock Ender 3 stepper motors. The new board helps to remove some artefacts, I have printed some benchys to take pictures of later.

With some calibration cubes, I have found some incredible levels of dimensional accuracy. 0n a 20mm wide print my callipers measure them at 20-20.1 mm in size. Very good.

I'm printing a D&D style miniature as I type to see how it turns out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Warchild View Post
is that the BIGTREETECH SKR MINI E3 v1.2 32 Bit Controller you upgraded to?

I see that one is a big hit and really highly rated.

edit* now I see you already mentioned it already in your post
Yeah, that's the board.

The 1.0 version had issues with overheating and killing itself, the 1.2 version increased the copper in that section and improved its component layout to address this issue. Another perk is that it's easier to update the firmware, but I haven't tried that yet. I'm still at the baby steps stage.

Should have a larger update for this tonight.
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  #28  
Old 11-02-20, 10:50 PM
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Didn't end up getting the pictures sorted for my before/after prints for the motherboard upgrade.

What I did do is test the printer out with some miniatures.

Bur first, I tested up some calibration cubes to test out the dimensional accuracy of the printer.

The cube is 20mm x 20mm and it was almost perfect on every side. 20-20.1 on most sides, but the base was 20.4, as a bad bed level caused it to stump a little at the bottom.

Overall, I'm impressed by the accuracy of the print.



Next, I tried one of the Hero Forge test prints, which I did with a 0.2mm layer height for fast printing. 0.1mm is recommended by miniature fanatics, but I was just testing some slicer settings in CURA.

Print in progress. 2p coin for scale.



Overall, the print turned out ok. The problem was that I didn't use good support settings, so I broke the sword, shield arm and legs off to get the supports out... They glued back on fine though.

After some cleanup, the miniature looked like this. Note that this mini is about 4cm tall.

I hope to print this tomorrow with updated slicer settings (same as the dragon print below) and use 0.1mm layer heights. This should do wonders for print quality. I hope to share comparison shots then.




Later I decided to do something a little more complex, and opted to use a different support setting. I think its called branching supports, and they were a lot easier to take off. No damage.

In progress.



Finished.

Note that I forgot to use a slicer setting called ironing to smooth the base of the model more. This could have been smoother.

I will also mention that I only used a 0.16mm layer height, which was done due to time constraints. This print took around 5 hours. Had I printed at 0.1mm, the print would have had a lot more detail, but then take about 7-8 hours to print.

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  #29  
Old 14-02-20, 08:56 PM
Bartacus Bartacus is offline
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That looks like pretty nice detail to me! I can see why so many guys do serious upgrades on these things to speed up the prints. I'm still researching (what a rabbit hole), and I'm now torn between the Ender 3 Pro and the 5 Plus. Tons of reading to do this evening.
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  #30  
Old 14-02-20, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Bartacus View Post
That looks like pretty nice detail to me! I can see why so many guys do serious upgrades on these things to speed up the prints. I'm still researching (what a rabbit hole), and I'm now torn between the Ender 3 Pro and the 5 Plus. Tons of reading to do this evening.
It ultimately depends on what kind of build area you want (Ender 5 is taller) and how much you want to spend.

The good thing about the Ender 3 is that you can buy it and a lot of filament for under £200 and that the printer has a big community around it. That said, the Ender 3 needs some love if you want it to be quieter. Not sure what the Ender 5 is like at stock.

I'm loving my Ender 3, but a lot of it is because I am enjoying the upgrade process and tinkering with it. Bed levelling is a pain, but I am working to make things easier with mods.
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