Creality's Ender 5 is the latest in the Ender line, which runs along side the brand's ever-popular CR line. In an attempt to bring the Ender line up to par, the Ender 5 offers customers a totally different experience and a unique design.
Ender 5 3D Printer Review
Ender 5 Review Basics
To start, this four-corner, aluminum 3D printer is a bit different than most FDM printers on the market. While most printers have a build plate that moves along the Y-axis, the Ender 5’s build plate moves along the Z-axis instead. That means the extruder remains on the same plane, moving along the X- and Y-axes, while the build plate moves up and down.
Beyond that, the Ender 5 has specs you would expect for a printer in this range. The build volume measures 8.6”L x 8.6”D x 11.8”H, which is the most outstanding feature about this printer. From there, the Ender 5 offers print in resolutions between 100-400 microns. Choose from a variety of filaments, including ABS and PLA, as well as flexible filaments like TPU and PETG.
Most people use Cura with the Ender 5, and the printer comes with a great profile for the software, however you can use whatever slicer you like. Connectivity options are a bit slim, as you can only connect to the Ender 5 with an SD card. You’re also limited to a bare-bones, non-touchscreen interface. These are not big issues for most users, however do note that the Ender 5 lacks some convenience features that are common on other 3D printers.
Ender 5 Review Pros
The Ender 5 includes several small, helpful design features that greatly improve your experience. Interior cable-management is much improved compared to the Ender 3, for example. The printer itself (save for the build plate, which we discuss later) is incredibly stable. It’s made from sturdy aluminum, uses dual Y-axis motors and dual Z supports for better stability, and features a metal extruder that offers more secure filament feeding than you would find on, say, the Ender 3. This printer also includes a hefty power supply capable of keeping the large print bed at stable temperatures. These details come together for a highly stable machine capable of precision printing despite the relatively low print resolution.
As with most Creality machines, the Ender 5 is an awesome budget option. Considering the enormous build volume, filament compatibility, and precision print results, the Ender 5 is one of the best 3D printers under $400.
The Ender 5 was designed to be easily moddable. Whether you intend to buy hardware upgrades for this machine down the line, or whether you’re interested in printable, DIY upgrades, the Ender 5 gives you the freedom to turn it into the printer of your dreams. Importantly, unlike some of Creality’s other budget options, we think the Ender 5 prints exceptionally well without any upgrades. That means you don’t have to tinker with it if you don’t want to.
Ender 5 Review Cons
Print Bed Stability
Despite all the effort put into making the frame and gantry system stable, there is one small design flaw with the Ender 5. Since the print bed is only connected to the Z-axis on one side, users have noticed that the bed sometimes wobbles, shifts, or shakes during a print. This can leave unwanted artifacts in your models or unlevel the bed. Thankfully, there are printable upgrades to help stabilize the print bed and the problem isn’t so prolific that it causes regular issues while printing.
Flimsy Magnetic Build Plate
This model comes with a removable, flexible magnetic build plate which is designed to make removing your models easier. Unfortunately, this build plate isn’t very sturdy. It’s prone to warping and getting surface imperfections which cause obvious problems with prints. Some customers recommend replacing the whole thing with a glass build plate instead. Replacing the print bed altogether isn’t uncommon, either, since some customers have complained that their bed came dented or uneven out of the box.
Ender 5 Review Verdict
You expect some quirks when you buy a budget machine and the Ender 5 is no different. This 3D printer delivers on a lot of its promises, especially where performance is concerned. It works as intended with excellent results with a wide variety of filaments. The biggest issues with this machine come from its build plate, which could use some more support and sometimes comes warped out-of-the-box. Since these are issues which can be fixed quickly and easily, like some of the exterior cable-management issues this printer also has, we don’t hold it too hard against the Ender 5. In this case, you’re getting a great deal for your money that’s worth fixing a few small issues on arrival. Overall, the Ender 5 is a great addition to the Ender family and fans of the Ender 3 or 4 will likely love this printer.