Getting Started 4 – What Upgrades?

Congratulations! You’ve mastered the basics of printing and are looking at improving your machine for better prints and a better printing experience. You’ve come farther than most and deserve a drink. Cheers.

The essential upgrades: Absolute must have in order to get into printing super complex items.

Borosilicate glass print bed

– Most print beds have a bit of a warp. Its thin aluminum. It happens. A glass print bed will correct most of those issues. Remember to add 5-10C to your bed temp to make up for the transmission loss through the glass sheet. If you’re not using an adhesive PEI sheet be sure to get some hairspray or a glue stick to make your print stick properly.

PEI Build Surface Sheet

– The ultimate print surface for most materials. Make sure the one you are using does not react poorly to it. Some nylons will fuse to it (I’m told) under the right conditions. Remember to get some isopropyl alcohol to clean the surface between prints.

PEI Coated Removable Flexible Print Bed All the perks of the PEI sheet and 90% of the perks of the glass print bed but now on a removable flexible bed for easier part removal.

Bed leveling Springs

– The factory springs are exceptionally weak meaning you will constantly be re-leveling the bed. These springs are much stiffer. Less maintenance more printing! Remember to get at least 4.

BigTreeTech SKR Mini Control Board

-The steppers in the default control board are not really optimized and make the stepper motors very loud. Get one of these boards. Your ears will thank you. I promise. Unless you’re deaf. Then whatever. But if you’re not. Yeah. Get these.


The nice upgrades:Not critical but makes life more pleasant.

Ender 3 Enclosure

-Some kind of enclosure – Personally i use a Lack table with a printed Lack enclosure kit. An enclosure will help contain the head radiating from the print bed and nozzle. This helps some materials resist warping and snapping and helps keep the room at a decent temperature so you can do other things. There’s plenty of other options and DIY solutions so google around and pick whatever floats your boat.

MicroSwiss Hot End

-If you decide to get into more exotic nylons like Zytel and print at much higher temperatures than PLA you’re going to need an all metal hot end. Micro Swiss is the best you’re going to get. It’s not all that expensive. Don’t screw around with anything cheaper. They’re not worth your time.

Tertiary Upgrades: Quality of life for printing enthusiasts

Electric Food Dehydrator

-This will suck all that collected moisture out of your filament and keep it in prime shape whenever you’re ready to use it. I usually toss a spool in the night before I install it in the printer. Just makes things a little more consistent and easy. Go cheap no more than $50 should take care of you. Check your material specs and use your judgment on what temps you need. I usually use the bed temperature as a guide for where this needs to be set.

Gunsmithing Hammer

-This helps easily drive the front edge of the putty knife that came with your printer between your print and the bed surface to separate the two while preserving the bed surface, bed level, and print integrity. It just makes the whole print removal easier. Just be careful.

Feeler Gauges

These seriously aide in getting a super consistent spacing between the nozzle and bed. After a bit of practice its much easier than using the paper method that is generally prescribed. Use whatever gauge = your initial layer height.

And thats it. You are now a printing expert and have a kick ass printer! The world is your oyster. CTRL+P my friend. BUT WAIT, THERES MORE. You have a bomb printer now. You can print anything your heart desires. Why not learn the other side and make custom CAD? Getting Started 5 : Learn To CAD

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