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Working Outside the Box

2020 Best Creality CR-10/S/V2/Mini Upgrades & Mods

Picture of Emmett Grames
by Emmett Grames
Mar 2, 2020
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The CR-10 series has great 3D printers, but they aren't perfect. Check out the best Creality CR-10/S/V2/Mini upgrades and mods to pimp your 3D printer.

Out of the box, a CR-10 is good. With a few tweaks, it becomes even better. Give it an upgrade, and it’ll be among the best. So what are we looking for in an upgrade?

We’ve chosen the best upgrades for the CR-10 and all CR-10S-variants (S, S4, and S5), the CR-10 Mini, and the CR-10 V2. Each upgrade provides a useful function on the printer and is proven to work. For example, yes, a “hood ornament” is cool, but no, we don’t consider that an upgrade.

We split the upgrades and mods into four sections:

  • Ease of use upgrades are aimed at making the user experience better. These range from making the bed easier to level to making it easy to mount cameras for time-lapses and video streaming.
  • Functional improvements are upgrades that allow the printer to perform better and allow for improved printing results. Some such improvements are fan ducts and support braces.
  • Extended upgrades are things that must be bought rather than printed, for instance, vibration dampeners or a Raspberry Pi to run OctoPi software. These upgrades do not directly impact performance, but rather improve your printer with extended features and perks.

For the most part, all of these mods are compatible with the complete list of the above-mentioned variants, unless stated otherwise. So what are we waiting for? Let’s get to it!

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Ease of Use

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Best Creality CR-10/S/V2/Mini Upgrades & Mods

Build Plate

Image of Best Creality CR-10/S/V2/Mini Upgrades & Mods: Build Plate
The Creality Cmagnet build plate (Source: Gearbest)

If you’ve been into 3D printing any decent amount of time, you know that bed adhesion is one of the most important factors in whether a print will turn out or not. Also, having a good build plate makes your printer much easier to use, no more fiddling around with scrapers and blades trying to get that one fragile print off without breaking it.

Creality CR-10 Tempered Glass Build Plate

A 310 by 310 mm Tempered Glass build plate with silicone-carbon coating for optimum print adhesion.

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If you’re on a quest for better adhesion, Creality offers some enticing upgrade options. Their Tempered Glass build plate features a special carbon-silicone coating, similar to Anycubic’s Ultrabase, that reportedly has fantastic adhesion while hot, but breaks free easily when cold.

If glass isn’t your thing, you could always opt for the Cmagnet flexible build plate. Essentially a floppy magnetic version of a Buildtak-like surface, this product allows you to peel prints off without a scraper, by nature of being both highly flexible and easily removable from the printer.

These products are primarily available for the CR-10 and 10S, or their variants with a 310 by 310 mm surface area. If you have a larger build area but still want to upgrade, it may be worth looking into 3rd-party alternatives.

Creality Cmagnet Build Plate for CR-10
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Best Creality CR-10/S/V2/Mini Upgrades & Mods

Bed Adjustment Knobs and Strain Relief Bracket

Image of Best Creality CR-10/S/V2/Mini Upgrades & Mods: Bed Adjustment Knobs and Strain Relief Bracket
The printed knobs and bracket (Source: Nerys via Thingiverse)

Ever get tired of turning those tiny little knobs on the underside of the print bed, fiddling forever, trying to get a perfect level? Then these are for you!

A printable Creality CR-10 upgrade, these knobs fit over the included ones, making bed leveling a much easier and more precise process. There are a number of designs available, but we picked this one because it also prints with a strain relief bracket for the heated bed wires.

While not exactly enhancing the ease of use, the strain relief bracket does exactly what it sounds like: Relieve strain from the heated bed wires, contributing to safety and ease of mind during long prints. This upgrade is essential for anyone looking to ensure their house won’t burn down due to 3D printing, which should be just about everyone.

Who designed it? Chris Taylor (Nerys)

Where to get it? Thingiverse

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Best Creality CR-10/S/V2/Mini Upgrades & Mods

MicroSD Extender Cable

Image of Best Creality CR-10/S/V2/Mini Upgrades & Mods: MicroSD Extender Cable
Creality's SD card extender/adapter cable (Source: Creality)

If you’ve ever worried about losing the tiny little microSD card that came with your printer, then this upgrade is for you.

Essentially, this is an extension cable for your microSD slot, converting it to a full-sized SD card reader. It also allows you to reposition your SD slot, so you are no longer dependent on having the side of the control box always accessible.

Creality MicroSD to SD Cable
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Best Creality CR-10/S/V2/Mini Upgrades & Mods

Camera Mounts

Image of Best Creality CR-10/S/V2/Mini Upgrades & Mods: Camera Mounts
The camera mount in action (Source: RaffoSan via Thingiverse)

If you like to do time-lapses of your prints, or if you want to be able to monitor your print remotely, you undoubtedly need this upgrade. Essentially, this is a 3D printable articulated arm for mounting an action camera, a webcam, or a Raspberry Pi camera to your printer.

There are two variations of the overall design: One mounted to the bed of the printer and the other mounted to the frame. The frame mount is more stable, but the bed mount allows for a steady image of the print.

Who made it? Raffaele Biasiello (RaffoSan)

Where to find it? Thingiverse (frame mount), Thingiverse (bed mount)

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Best Creality CR-10/S/V2/Mini Upgrades & Mods

Bearing Spool Holder

Image of Best Creality CR-10/S/V2/Mini Upgrades & Mods: Bearing Spool Holder
A beautifully frictionless spool holder (Source: Hendrik72 via Thingiverse)

One of the community complaints about the CR-10 is the cruddy spool holder, which has some serious limitations. This upgrade is for all of you who want to surpass this annoyance and just get printing.

This spool holder is simply ingenious: The filament roll sits on top of four bearings, with no worries about spool size whatsoever, and the spool is held in place by the sides of the holder. This design significantly decreases friction and thereby relieves some of the strain on the extruder.

The holder fits nicely on top of the control box for easy access and use.

Who designed it? Hendrik Hendrik (Hendrik72)

Where to find it? Thingiverse

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Functional Improvements

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Best Creality CR-10/S/V2/Mini Upgrades & Mods

Micro-Swiss All-Metal Hot End

Image of Best Creality CR-10/S/V2/Mini Upgrades & Mods: Micro-Swiss All-Metal Hot End
OOoooh ,shiny! (Source: Tiny Machines 3D)

While your stock CR-10 hot end isn’t the worst in the business, it isn’t without issues. Printing at higher temperatures presents problems with the PTFE liner, and frankly, a lot of people in the community report having issues with reliability.

To mitigate and eliminate these issues, Micro-Swiss presents their all-metal hot end as a prime replacement, designed to fit the original mounts without modification.  They also tout their wear-resistant plated brass nozzles, which is a step up from the stock nozzle you’ll be replacing.

Micro Swiss All-Metal Hot End
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Best Creality CR-10/S/V2/Mini Upgrades & Mods

Enclosure

Image of Best Creality CR-10/S/V2/Mini Upgrades & Mods: Enclosure
Creality's enclosure is even fireproofed! (Source: Creality)

Printing with PLA might be all fine and dandy, but when it comes to ABS and nylon, the CR-10 printers really struggle. A combination of an open-air frame and a massive heated bed makes it difficult to maintain a draft-free printing environment at the right temperatures.

Taking note of the issue, Creality released a printer enclosure kit that allows you to seal off your printer from the woes of an open workshop. Sized to fit the original CR-10 and the popular Ender printers, this enclosure should fit most of the CR-series machines, aside from the much larger S4 and S5 variants.

Creality 3D Printer Enclosure
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Best Creality CR-10/S/V2/Mini Upgrades & Mods

Control Box Cooling

Image of Best Creality CR-10/S/V2/Mini Upgrades & Mods: Control Box Cooling
The fan base, installed below the control box. (Source: Midevil1 via Thingiverse)

A fairly popular mod to add to the CR-10’s control box is a pair of 120 mm fans, replacing the stock cooling fans on the control board and power supply. Surprisingly, it turns out that the larger fans are a lot quieter and more efficient than their smaller stock counterparts.

This particular version replaces the base of the control box.

Who designed it? John MacArthur (Midevil1)

Where to find it? Thingiverse

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Best Creality CR-10/S/V2/Mini Upgrades & Mods

Supporting Rod Set

Image of Best Creality CR-10/S/V2/Mini Upgrades & Mods: Supporting Rod Set
A CR-10 with the supporting rod assembly installed (Source: Amazon)

Many users have noted that the tall vertical extrusions in the Z-axis of the CR-10 aren’t the most stable, which leads to wobbling and inconsistent layers in taller, larger prints.

However, to mitigate this problem, Creality offers a set of supporting rods, the same ones included with the CR-10 V2. The rod set includes a tapping kit, allowing you to thread the core of the  front-most aluminum frame extrusion, to which the rods are then bolted.

This kit is advertised as compatible with the CR-10 and 10S, but should also fit on the S4 variant. The other CR-10 models have different frame sizes, and as such would likely benefit more from the DIY version of this upgrade, mentioned further on in our list.

Creality Supporting Rod Set
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Best Creality CR-10/S/V2/Mini Upgrades & Mods

Petsfang Modular Fan Duct

Image of Best Creality CR-10/S/V2/Mini Upgrades & Mods: Petsfang Modular Fan Duct
A rendering of the assembled Petsfang. (Source: dpetsel via Thingiverse)

Part cooling is a very important part of getting a nice print, and sometimes the stock fan duct just doesn’t cut it. Enter the Petsfang modular fan duct, one of the coolest Creality CR-10 upgrades around.

Optimized to cool the filament as efficiently as possible, the Petsfang fan duct has two fangs — one on either side of the hot end — designed to begin cooling the filament the moment it leaves the tip. Powered by a blower fan, the fan duct also features interchangeable mounts for auto-leveling (something we’ll bring up later).

This dual cooling technique is one of the most popular around, and the results after installing one of these are often quite stunning.

Who designed it? David Petsel (dpetsel)

Where to find it? Thingiverse

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Best Creality CR-10/S/V2/Mini Upgrades & Mods

Extruder

Image of Best Creality CR-10/S/V2/Mini Upgrades & Mods: Extruder
Creality's Dual Gear extruder, as seen on the CR-10S Pro (Source: Caseyturner via Pinterest)

Ah, the gripping fear of a filament jam, a true classic in the 3D printing world.

Creality’s Official Bondtech Double Gear extruder kit should make your filament jamming days a distant memory. This upgrade comes stock on some of Creality’s newer CR-line printers, but for those of you with older models, this dual-drive extruder is available for sale as an upgrade. All you have to do is swap it out and re-calibrate your E-steps, and you’ll be ready to roll!

Creality CR-10 Official Bondtech Extruder Kit
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Alternatively, if you are the lucky owner of a CR-10 V2, you can also purchase a Genuine E3D Titan extruder. Designed to slot into the Cr-10 V2 as a seamless transition into direct-drive 3D printing, this upgrade facilitates the use of flexible filaments and relieves some of the common issues of Bowden tubes.

The Titan extruder can also be used in place of the stock extruder on the other CR-10 models, but this may require more work to install.

Note that for any extruder upgrades, it is a good idea to calibrate your extruder (also known as E-steps calibration) to make sure your printer is pushing the right amount of filament while printing.

E3D Titan Universal Extruder

The E3D Titan is an amazing lightweight extruder made with injection molded parts for maximum performance. Best of all, it's universal! The Titan is compatible with both 1.75mm and 3.00mm filament, and easily swaps between the two if needed.

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Best Creality CR-10/S/V2/Mini Upgrades & Mods

Capricorn Bowden Tubing

Image of Best Creality CR-10/S/V2/Mini Upgrades & Mods: Capricorn Bowden Tubing
Installing the capricorn tubing (Source: Nerys via YouTube)

If you have a fancy new extruder, why not make sure what comes after has the same quality and precision?

This Capricorn tubing, in its iconic dark blue color, has much tighter tolerances than a standard PTFE Bowden tube. What this means is there is less room for the filament to wiggle around on its way to the nozzle, resulting in smoother, more precise and consistent extrusion throughout your print.

Capricorn Bowden PTFE Tubing

Capricorn Bowden PTFE Tubing is designed with an extremely precise internal diameter, making it easier for you print with flexible filaments.

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Best Creality CR-10/S/V2/Mini Upgrades & Mods

Z-Axis Supports

Image of Best Creality CR-10/S/V2/Mini Upgrades & Mods: Z-Axis Supports
The assembled Z Braces (Source: jonathanlundstrom via Thingiverse)

When printing tall, vibrations traveling through the printer frame are often magnified in the vertical Z-axis, resulting in banding effects across the tops of prints. One of the best ways to mitigate this is through the use of Z-braces.

These Creality CR-10 upgrades are brackets attached to the base and the Z-axis, with rods between the two adding rigidity to the frame. The design we found requires threaded rods and some assorted nuts, bolts, and washers in addition to the printable brackets.

This upgrade is a DIY version of the above manufacturer-provided supporting rod set, and similarly, is not necessary on the CR-10 V2.

Who designed it? Jonathan Lundström (jonathanlundstrom)

Where to find it? Thingiverse

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Extended

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Best Creality CR-10/S/V2/Mini Upgrades & Mods

Stepper Dampers

Image of Best Creality CR-10/S/V2/Mini Upgrades & Mods: Stepper Dampers
A single stepper damper (Source: Amazon)

A relatively cheap but more time-consuming Creality CR-10 upgrade is adding stepper dampers to your printer. This decreases the vibrations caused by the stepper motors and significantly reduces noise levels while printing and, in some cases, can help the quality of your prints.

Dampers
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Best Creality CR-10/S/V2/Mini Upgrades & Mods

BL Touch Leveling Sensor Kit

Image of Best Creality CR-10/S/V2/Mini Upgrades & Mods: BL Touch Leveling Sensor Kit
The BL Touch mount for the CR-10 V2 (Source: Creality)

One of the main issues with the CR-10 series of printers is that the beds are so large that keeping a good level across the entire surface can be difficult. A classic solution to this is to add an auto-leveling sensor.

In the case of the original CR-10 series, Creality offers their own BL Touch kit, including everything you need to get going with a BL Touch sensor, including a mounting bracket.

Creality BL Touch Full Kit

Creality's full BL Touch kit.

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For owners of the CR-10 V2, a simplified kit is available at the same price, featuring a different mounting bracket to fit your X-gantry.

Creality BLTouch Kit for CR-10 V2
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Best Creality CR-10/S/V2/Mini Upgrades & Mods

TL Smoothers

Image of Best Creality CR-10/S/V2/Mini Upgrades & Mods: TL Smoothers
Eliminate lines with these affordable addons. (Source: All3DP)

TL Smoothers are relatively cheap add-ons for your CR-10’s stepper motor drivers, which essentially help smooth your print and remove artifacts like “salmon skin”. They can be bought for a couple of dollars and are super easy to install thanks to plug-and-play setup and zero software. Cheap and easy, a no-brainer Creality CR-10 upgrade.

TL Smoothers
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Best Creality CR-10/S/V2/Mini Upgrades & Mods

Raspberry Pi

Image of Best Creality CR-10/S/V2/Mini Upgrades & Mods: Raspberry Pi
The Raspberry Pi 3 B+ (Source: Raspberry Pi)

Adding a Raspberry Pi to your CR-10 can be useful for a number of reasons, but the most popular one is for using the free OctoPi software. OctoPi allows you to monitor and control your printer remotely or over WiFi, so that you can check on your print, ensure against failures, and perhaps even run a printer farm. Another cool feature of OctoPi is that it will auto-record the entire print with a connected camera.

The Raspberry Pi itself is of course the only essential component, however you can also add on a Pi camera or webcam. And don’t forget to print yourself a cool case.

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+
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License: The text of "2020 Best Creality CR-10/S/V2/Mini Upgrades & Mods" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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