Creality is known for their big, cheap, moddable printers. The CR-100, however, is quite different. It’s small, it’s light, and it’s marketed for children. Are Creality in over their heads with this new venture into mini 3D printers, or did they make another instant classic? Find out in today’s CR-100 review.
CR-100 Review Basics
Creality have made some truly massive 3D printers, including their flagship CR-10 and, of course, the hulking CR-10 Max. Taking their line in a totally different direction, the CR-100’s build volume measures just 3.9” x 3.9” x 3.1”. That’s roughly half the size of the average 3D printer, but there’s still plenty of projects that fit into this volume. If you’re not sure, measure some items around your home to get a better idea.
Marketed as “energy efficient”, the CR-10 consumes very little energy because it does not feature a heated print bed. The unheated bed features a removable magnetic print platform and allows for PLA-only printing. This safer for children and suitable for public spaces like school since PLA is non-toxic and emit no noxious fumes.
Connectivity here is a bit odd. Use a micro-SD card and press “Start” to begin printing the first file on the card. That’s it! There is no settings menu, no option to scroll through files, USB or WiFi access. Just a three-button interface controls the entire printer, making it easy for young children to understand.
CR-100 Review Pros
Some Helpful Features
The CR-100 does successfully simplify 3D printing down to a few button presses. Automatic bed-leveling ensures that users waste time with menial tasks, while the magnetic print bed makes removing your models much easier. Just three buttons operate the machine and there’s even a remote control for whatever that’s worth. Simply load the mini-SD card with the file your child wants to print, insert it into the machine, and they can do the rest.
Fairly Safe Operation
While the CR-100’s nozzle is fully exposed, the machine as a whole is pretty safe. For one thing, it only prints in PLA, meaning no toxic fumes or heated print bed. All cable management is internal, too, so your children can’t reach the electronics. The CR-100 isn’t the safest 3D printer we’ve ever seen, but it’s probably enough for most parent’s peace of mind.
CR-100 Review Cons
Build Plate Issues
Although the CR-100’s build plate makes it easier to retrieve a finished print, this unit also provides poor stability and adhesion. Instances of the plate shifting or becoming unattached are not uncommon. Cheap metal clips come in the box, meant to clench the plate to the bed, but these are a poor substitute for a well-fitted, secure build plate. Unfortunately, this problem can result in totally failed prints.
CR-100 Review Verdict
The cute truck design, safe PLA-only operation, and super simple controls make the CR-100 an attractive choice for young children. At under $200, it’s even easy as a parent to justify buying the CR-100 as an educational and entertaining toy for their child. For us, however, the CR-100 is perfectly average. Other kid-friendly printers, like the Flashforge Finder Lite or the da Vinci Nano, aren’t much more expensive and offer a lot more in terms of features and safety.
For a very young child with a passing interest in 3D printing, the CR-100 might be the perfect choice. Besides the flimsy build plate, which is fixable with some crafty thinking, there’s not much wrong with the CR-100. Still, it might be better to save up for a better, more lasting printer that not only works better but teaches your child more about the actual process.