Ender-7 Review – Best 3D Printer for rapid prototyping?

Find more information about the Ender 7:

Creality3D – https://bit.ly/3CW7Q5l

Ender-7 – https://bit.ly/3AEODmW

10 % Off For Ender-7 using coupon code: HoffmanE7

Video Transcript

Hey everyone, and welcome back to Hoffman Engineering! Today I’m reviewing the Ender-7 by Creality, a beefy 3D printer advertising 250 millimeters per second print speeds. But can it really achieve such blazing speeds? Lets find out.

Disclaimer

Before we get into it, a quick disclaimer. This printer was graciously sent to me for review by Creality3d.shop, an online retailer of creality 3D printers and accessories. I’m not getting paid by them, and they won’t see this video before it goes public. Everything I talk about is my own honest opinion. If you do find the Ender-7 interesting, you can find more information at creality3d.shop, links in the description. And they are gracious enough to give my viewers 10% off an Ender-7 if you use the coupon code HoffmanE7 at checkout.

Ender-7 Specs and Features

With that out of the way, let’s talk about the specs. The Ender-7 is a filament based 3D printer from Creality. It has a build volume of 220 millimeters by 220 millimeters by 300 millimeters. It comes with a 0.4 millimeters nozzle, and uses 1.75 millimeters filament fed by a bowden extruder.

It has a Core-XY gantry, which means instead of there being one motor for the X axis, and one motor for the Y axis, instead it has an intricate belt loop where two motors work together to move the hotend in the X and Y directions. This allows the motors to be stationary, and use the torque of both motors to control the hotend position. The gantry also uses linear rails for the x and y axis. These design decisions are what allows for the 250 millimeters per second print speeds.

The nozzle has a larger melting zone to help with such high speed printing. Melting is only half the battle though, once the plastic is printed, it also needs to be rapidly cooled down before the next layer is printed. This cooling is provided by dual cooling fans on either side of the hotend. The extruder also needs to be able to push enough filament, which the all metal, dual-geared extruder is easily able to keep up. It even has its own cooling fan to help prevent the extruder from overheating during long prints. The extruder also has a filament runout sensor, which will pause a print if you run out of filament. After you replace the filament, it’ll resume where it left off.

The Ender-7 has a heated, silicon-carbide print bed, which is mounted cantilevered on the single lead-screw Z-axis. Four spring-loaded screws attach the bed to the z-axis, and allow for manual bed leveling.

Moving down to the base, we can see the 4 inch touchscreen display. The firmware makes it easy to adjust settings, monitor prints, load filament, and even helps with bed leveling by moving the hotend to the four corners. The firmware also includes Powerloss Print Recovery, so if the machine loses power mid-print, it can remember where it left off, and prompt you to resume printing once power is restored. There will be a slight seam, but a seam is better than losing a multi-day print due to power loss.

On the side of the printer is a micro-SD card slot, as well as a USB type-C port for connecting the printer to a computer.

The Ender-7 also comes with various accessories in the box, including an 8gb micro-SD card, a micro-SD card to USB-A reader, a flush cutter, a scraper, and all the tools needed to assemble the machine. It also included half a kilogram of PLA filament, mine was the color white.

So with the specs out of the way, let’s talk about Print Quality!

Impressive Print Quality

Overall the print quality is amazing. This God Of Wealth gcode was included on the micro-SD card, and was the very first print I printed after assembly. And it turned out great; the surfaces are smooth, the layers are consistent, and the included white PLA printed just fine. The Ender-7 is able to handle 0.1 millimeters to 0.3 millimeters layer heights with no issues. At reasonable speeds, it prints near the top of the class quality-wise.

But we aren’t here for “reasonable speeds”, we want to push the speeds towards the advertised two-hundred and fifty millimeters per second print speeds. If this normal sized 3D Benchy took 2 hours and 30 minutes to print, how long do you think this Benchy took when scaled to the maximum size the print bed allowed? A day? 20 hours? Nope, this took exactly 9 hours. With speeds cranked to 250 millimeters per second, this printer is flying. Three-hundred grams of filament in 9 hours is impressive. Print quality definitely suffers at those insane speeds, especially on curved surfaces with overhangs, like the haul of the large benchy. You can see artifacting, and sharp corners have overextrusion where the printer has to decelerate and change directions. But for rapid prototyping large objects, where a perfect surface finish isn’t as important, I believe the Ender-7 could be a great candidate. 

When slowed down just a little, to a still impressive 150 millimeters per second, most of those surface artifacts go away. This dragon was scaled to the tallest that this printer can handle, and printed in 15 hours. It was also my only failed print, which I’ll discuss more about later on. Ignoring the failure seam near the top of the print, the quality of the print is outstanding for a speed twice as fast as I run my other printers.

If you want to see the print settings for any of the prints I mentioned, you can find links to 3D Print Log in the description below.

Aesthetically, I think the Ender-7 is a good looking printer. It looks great sitting on a table top, and since the bed only moves up and down, theres no risk of the bed hitting the wall or a passer by like some of the other Ender models. Sound wise, the motors are quieter than the fans when printing at normal speeds. When printing at higher speeds though, that’s when you’ll start to hear the motors. It is still comfortable enough to stay in the same room with it while it is printing.

Partially Assembled

The Ender-7 comes partially assembled, and it took a little over an hour for me to assemble. Thankfully the most complicated piece, the core-xy gantry, was already completely assembled. All we have to do is screw the vertical pillars to the base, and bolt on the gantry. A few screws to attach the bed to the z-axis, and then some cable management and we are done!

The instructions are pretty clear, and all the tools and bolts are provided. So as long as you can turn an allen wrench, you shouldn’t have any issues assembling the machine.

Concerns

I did run into a couple of issues while testing the machine. As I mentioned before, the Dragon failed about 14 hours into the 15 hour print. It left this beautiful piece of spaghetti though. What I believe happened was the cable protector for the hotend came loose during the print. During assembly, the protector is just shoved into a hole in the top of the printer. The protector came loose, allowing the cables to fall into the gantry, and it must have pushed the hotend causing it to continue printing off the side. A spectacular failure to look at. I’ll probably end up printing a retaining clip to help ensure it doesn’t happen again.

The second issue I experienced was with spiral vase mode prints. Many slicers have a “spiral vase mode”, or “spiralize” option, which will allow the printer to continuously print while constantly raising the z-axis. The end result is a beautiful vase with no seams from changing layers. However, printing a spiral vase from the SD card results in stuttering on the Ender-7. Some people think that it’s a firmware issue with the power-loss detection that is causing issues, but you cannot disable the power-loss detection through the touchscreen, and using the M413 gcode command didn’t fix it. Others online think it might be an SD card speed issue, where the control board cannot read from the SD card fast enough. I’ll probably have a follow-up video where I explore some potential solutions, but until then, spiral vases do work correctly when printing via USB. So if spiral vases are important for you, plan on printing from USB if you pick up the Ender-7.

Speaking of firmware, when testing the filament runout detection, I did run into an issue where it wasn’t letting me click on “yes” to change filament through the touch screen. Eventually I clicked on “no”, but I was able to manually change the filament and resume printing. So the firmware isn’t perfect, but the features still worked and could finish the print.

The last concern I have is more of a word of caution for users that like to stick their hands into the printer while its running. I have a tendency to want to pull the extra filament away from the hotend as it heats up before a print. But that happens right as the bed moves to the top, creating a pinch point between the bed and the top gantry if you reach your hand in. So, as hard as that habit can be to break, be smart and keep your hands away from the printer while it’s printing.

Final Opinion

Overall, I think the Ender-7 is a spectacular printer. It is a very rigid machine that you can push to some incredible speeds thanks to the linear rails and core-xy design. The advertised 250 millimeters per second is not just marketing talk. Combined with a decent print volume, you’ll be able to prototype large objects in record times with this printer. And if you slow it down just a little, you’ll have high quality prints. The extra features like power-loss recovery and filament runout detection are nice to have, even if they are a little buggy. The touch screen is pleasant to use, much more user friendly than the knob controls you normally find.

So how much will the Ender-7 cost you? At around $729 US dollars, the Ender-7 is one of Creality’s more expensive printers. But when time is money, the print speeds the Ender-7 is capable of can be worth the price tag. 

If you found the Ender-7 interesting, please find more information at creality3d.shop, linked in the description. And if you want to pick one up for yourself, you can use the coupon code HoffmanE7 for 10% off.

Thank you all for watching. I’m sure I’ll have some followup videos about the Ender-7, so be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out on any future videos. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments and I’ll be happy to answer them. And finally checkout 3DPrintLog.com, it’s a free website I’ve developed for 3d printing hobbyists to keep track of all your 3D prints. Thank you all, and I’ll see you all next time!

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