[Sticky] Getting started with the Ender 5 or Ender 5 Pro
Original author: https://www.reddit.com/user/wl18/
With the sheer number of posts on this sub regarding issues right after assembly of the Ender 5/5 Pro I thought it would be nice to consolidate some "getting started" knowledge. I will attempt to update and add more information as different issues come up and get resolved.
This guide is laid out in what I hope is the best order to accomplish these steps. I am assuming that you are familiar with the 3D printing toolchain and know what a slicer is and how to send a model to the printer (USB or SD Card).
This post is geared mainly at hardware. There are hundreds of different slicer settings that can greatly affect print quality. I won't be going into those except to touch on retraction, flow/extrusion multiplier, and temperature.
Feel free to let me know your thoughts and changes that need to be made. Thanks!
Setting up the Ender 5 / 5 Pro:
The instructions for assembly that come with the Ender 5 are decent but still leave a little bit of room for confusion. If you are having trouble with assembly check out this video:
Hopefully, once you are done with this video the Ender 5 is fully assembled and maybe even ready to print. But, we'll just go with assembled here.
Level the Bed (Manually)
You must manually level the bed. It is tedious, but it must be done. If you don't get this step right, you will be fighting your printer every time you try to print. The Ender leveling system is not very good so you must ensure you check the level multiple times before calling this step complete.
Here is a bed leveling tutorial from Matterhackers. They use their software, but you can just use the printer control panel to move the head.
CHEPs Bed Leveling - shown on an Ender 3 but the lines he uses about halfway through are golden to use when checking/adjusting level.
If you are into a little more tinkering, try out manual mesh leveling. It will require you to flash a new firmware, but it is by far the best way to level the bed (after you have initially done the manual level). If you have an Ender 5 pro or a silent board it should already have the bootloader.
If you are experiencing a problem where the bed seems loose or keeps coming out of level after each print, try tightening the adjustment screws down a fair amount, re-setting the mechanical z stop as shown in the video above, and then leveling the bed. The bed is probably just too loose on the springs.
Calibrate your E-Steps
Calibrating your extruder steps/mm ensures accurate extrusion of filament and should only need to be done once. If you are changing to flexible filaments or something dramatically different from what you normally print, you may have to do it again.
Matterhackers E-Step Calibration - This guide pretty much has everything you need. Even with the Bowden tube disconnected you will need to heat the hot end up to at least 185 for the extruder motor to run.
This guide has a handy calculator at the end if you don't like to do your own math.
Also, check to make sure that your extruder is not crushing your filament. Crushed filament easily leads to clogs and jams. You can spot crushed by looking and seeing if the filament coming out of the end of the Bowden tube is flat with deep tooth marks. If it is, loosen the tension on the extruder spring. Some users report having to clip the spring to release tension because even the loosest setting causes the filament to get crushed.
Print out a nice 20x20 mm test cube.
As a starting point, PLA recommended temps are Extruder 200 / Bed 60
If the cube comes out "squished" or half-height, you will need to go into the printer settings on the control panel and adjust the Z-axis steps/mm from 400 to 800.
If the cube printed and stuck to the bed, continue on. If not, recheck the bed level and slicer settings. The print may not be pretty, but we're getting there.
This should ideally be done every print or roll of filament, but really, just do it when you remember to.
Calibrating flow requires you to print a test cube in vase mode or spiralized outer contours mode.
PID Tuning - Requires sending G-code to the printer. This ensures proper temperature calibration for the hot end and bed.
Z-offset Calibration - Print 1 layer of a cube and stop the print. Measure the height of the layer and adjust the settings in your slicer or G-Code.
Temperature Towers PLA / PETG, Customizable- slice and ensure that the temperatures will change at the specified layers. The idea is to see what temperature produces the cleanest results. Print for each type/manufacturer of filament (every roll if you want real precision).
Stringing Tests - use this to calibrate your retraction distance and speed in your slicer. Higher retraction distances and speeds will reduce stringing but may introduce under-extrusion as the filament has further to travel back out the extruder again.
Generally, I don't advocate for many upgrades. And any upgrades should be done one at a time to ensure that you properly calibrate each upgrade.
You will hear everyone try to explain why their upgraded board is essential or their linear rails are a must-have, but really, just start printing first and then see what upgrades you need. A 32-bit board won't solve any basic problems, and direct drive extruders are a tradeoff.
Must do upgrade: print the Ender 5 bed strain relief.Best free upgrade: manual mesh levelingGood to have at some point: Bed Supports - Super Struts (Yes, PLA is ok, just use 4-5 shells/perimeters for strength, and you can always re-print them if they crack. Don't fret over PETG)
Paid upgrades I would recommend at some point:
Creality glass print bedCreality Silent Board (Ender 5 non-pro)Metal Extruder
Optional but great:
Raspberry Pi running Octoprint / Astroprint / Repetier-Server or any other printer hostWebcam to monitor your prints remotely
Business IT Solutions - https://bizhostnc.com
Plastic Process Engineering