CR-6 post-unboxing checklist
With most of the CR-6 SE issues being due to bad wiring or loose/too tight screws I feel like it is time for a good post-unboxing checklist, to be walked through pre-assembly. Even though I do not have my unit shipped yet, I've seen enough issues and fixes that I can compile this post.
I initially posted this on the independent CR-6 community Facebook group but since not everyone wants to use Facebook (which I totally understand), I will repost it here. I mirrored most of the relevant content of Facebook to imgur.
If you have any feedback or anything that needs to be added, please let me know and I will amend this post!
Note: There are some known issues with this printer - please read the entire guide. (It is long, I know, but this is a necessary evil!)
First, a word about the communities where you can get help.
- Facebook - CR-6 independent community - moderated by fellow CR-6 Kickstarter backers and posts are labeled by topic
- Facebook - Official CR-6 user group - badly moderated
- Facebook - Official Creality group - lot of users, not specific to the CR-6, but badly moderated and often toxic behavior.
- Reddit /r/cr6 subreddit - a little quiet but perfect if you want to be tracked by Reddit instead of Facebook (😉)
- Reddit /r/3dprinting - general 3d printing subreddit
Some users have reported that the Allen wrenches included with the printer are of bad quality and cause the nuts to be stripped out. Consider using your own (supposedly good) Allen wrenches or get some at the hardware store.
Unboxed base line
So, you now have an partially assembled CR-6 on your desk:
- A base with the motherboard and bed. Note that the base has a drawer where your tools are!
- The gantry.
Follow the steps to ensure everything is in order.
The base - the guts
- Ensure you have the voltage switch at the side set correctly.
- Carefully put the unit upside down and open up the cover. Ensure not to put too much weight on the unit while it is upside down, or use a few books to support the aluminium frame so the bed is not supporting the weight of the base.
- Ensure the motherboard is properly screwed in, with all the screws. Consider actually unscrewing it so there is no metal dust or loose screws under the motherboard, causing shorts.
- Check the wiring. Refer to this post, or this post [IMGUR mirror].
- The wiring should have good insulation and at the end the heat shrink should be properly applied. Check each wire.
- On the motherboard the connectors are hot glued in, but check for proper seating and no damage. This can come down to 3mm, like in this post [IMGUR mirror].
- Disassemble the power switch. Ensure the live connection is good. Consider soldering the wires or tightening the crimps with pliers.
- If you have a multimeter, check the connections to live and neutral, and ground to the frame.
- Ensure the connectors to the power supply are nice and tight.
- Check the lone heat shink near the power connectors, it may short the components under it. Rotate it slightly if necessary.
- Close up the unit.
The base - the bed
- The bed moves on V-rollers. Two are fixed and should have their screws tight enough not to have play. Don't overtighten because you'Il damage the bearing.
- The third and fourth wheel of the bed contains an eccentric nut. You can use this to tighten the bed to the slots in the frame. Refer to this post and the video of Just Vlad. Ensure the bed does not have play, but it should not have any resistance either.
- Move the bed back and forth, gently. The bed, while moving, should not have resistance anywhere on the track, you should feel no binding. The bed should not wobble either. Try this by applying a little bit of pressure, just like the auto-leveling system would do.
- Take the glass off the bed and tighten the 11 screws of the bed. They might be loose as reported on Facebook.
- Check the connector that provides power to the bed. 6, Check the connector to the stepper motor that drives the bed. Ensure it is plugged in well. 7, Ensure the belt of the bed is properly tight. You shouldn't be able to play guitar on it but prevent it from having to much play. Be careful, with the belt tighteners it is easy to apply too much pressure!
- Ensure the stepper motor is fixed to the frame and the grub screw is tight, refer to this post.
The gantry - pre-assembly
- Let's check the gantry now. Disassemble the fan cover and ensure the hotend screws are not loose. The may otherwise interfere with auto bed leveling.
- Ensure all the wires on the hot-end are properly insulated, have heat shrink properly applies, and all the connectors are nice and snug.
- Re-assemble the fan cover. 4, Now, let's go to the extruder. Loosen the screws a bit, we will tighten them later.
- Tighten the nuts at the top of the gantry.
- While you're at it you can also install the handle.
- Ensure the X-axis stepper is fixed properly to the gantry.
The base revisited
Before assembling the gantry ensure all nuts on the base are fixed.
The gantry - assembly
- Put the gantry onto the frame. Put the bolts in but not fully tighten them yet.
- Changing between left and right tighten the bolts a little bit each time.
- The gantry should now be properly attached to the frame.
- Check whether the the X axis is on both sides fairly parallel to the bed. Move it gently down and use calipers. Adjust as necessary (how?).
- Plug in all the connectors from the printer. Refer to the video of Just Vlad.
- Ensure all the connectors to the sensors and stepper motors have been plugged in correctly. Note that the Z-axis has two stepper motors.
- Tighten the z-rods, Ensure the grubber screws hold on to the Z-rods properly. Refer to this video (sorry, I don't know how to mirror this to imgur).
- Now, lower the gantry using the Z-rods until the nozzle touches the build plate. Using calipers, measure the distance between the left side of the gantry and the bed, and the right side of the gantry and the bed.
- Raise the gantry using the Z-rods until it is at the top. Using calipers, measure the distance between the left side of the gantry and the top, and the right side of the gantry and the top.
- If you've measured any difference in steps 8 and 9 between the left and right side of your gantry, then your gantry is out of alignment. What you want to do is align it.
Loosen the set screws (grub screws) on the belt gear on the top of one of the Z-screws, such that you can independently manually turn one Z-screw without affecting the other. Get this distance as close as you can, and tighten those set screws again. You can see from this graphic, the major difference in the before and after Bed Level Visualizer results.
- The display is assembled to the front of the printer.
- The spool holder is installed at the side.
- The power connector goes where the power connector goes.
!IMPORTANT - Known issues in this printer
Be careful with connecting the printer to your computer. There is an issue with the motherboard that may cause a short on the motherboard itself, on the connected host device, or on both. Consider using an USB optocoupler, or at least ensure you put some tape on the 5V pin of your USB cable
Check the full listing of issues here.
First startup and first print
There are several steps you want to perform on first startup:
- Check the firmware version. A newer firmware may have been posted in the CR6 Reddit or on the independent Facebook community, on the Facebook group, or on the official website. Don't install the Ender 3 V2 firmware on this machine!
- Get the SD card, backup the contents, and format it as FAT32.
- Use Creality Slicer from the SD-card or the newest one from the website. Check that you don't download the older version by accident.
- When homing the printer, be prepared to shut it off. The Z-stop optical sensor is known to fail and the hotend will ram into the bed at such point.
- The auto-leveling mesh is not saved actually, so you need to re-level the printer each time you boot it. Hopefully this gets fixed in a firmware update.
- Don't cancel the print while it is on the first layer. The printer may scratch the bed due to a firmware bug as reported on Facebook.
- Calibrate the extruder assembly. Refer to this post [imgur mirror].
- The Creality filament is not very good. Try other brands of filament like Hatchbox, Sunlu, eSun, Polymaker, etc.
- The filament runout sensor might fail under unknown conditions (most likely white filament). There is no known workaround for it yet.
Usage and support
- Consider filling in the quality collection form. You can find a summary of the responses here. I will make a good overview when more data arrives. Also do this if you're happy with the printer. It allows to have a good picture of the failure rate. Relevant Facebook post.
- Mention your firmware version and the batch of Kickstarter (if ordered through Kickstarter).
- Take pictures of relevant cabling.
- Some people have reported bed adhesion issues. Assuming you already peeled the protective film of the bed, consider cleaning it with isopropyl alcohol.
- Underextrusion can often be resolved by loosening the screws of the extruder
- As strange as it sounds, try updating the firmware of the printer - even if your printer is already on the current firmware. Do this by copying the .bin file to the root of your FAT32 empty formatted SD card. Ensure to give the bin file a unique name, line
fw2020[month][day].bin. Turn on the printer and the firmware should reflash.
- If you have trouble with bed leveling, try following this guide on Reddit.
- Search in the community where you are active. A lot of issues have already a solution.
Known issues in firmware (firmware v1.0.2)
- Do not cancel your print while it is printing the first layer. A firmware bug currently causes the printhead to slam into the glass bed.
- Auto-bed leveling information is not persisted nor recalled. You need to level the printer after you've turned it on.
- Auto-bed leveling appears to function better if the bed is heated first - the firmware does not do this for you.
- Power failure print resumption does not work currently because of (2).
- It is recommended to keep a fire alarm near your printer. The CR-6 has thermal runaway protection, but you don't want to leave anything to chance.
- Your printer has parts like the print bed and hot-end which become very hot. Keep inflammable liquids like ethanol away from your printer.
You need at least to have your backer number, and printer serial number. Take pictures and videos. Use simple English. Find the warranty / after-sales card which states the way to contact Creality. It should be firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Don't forget to mention you ordered though their official campaign on Kickstarter (if applicable) - otherwise they might turn you away to the reseller.
If you're looking to buy the Creality CR-6, note that there are plenty of alternative printers that work just as well (or even better). For the price of a Creality CR-6 SE, for instance, you can get a BIQU B1 with a BLTouch and TMC2209 drivers in UART mode (sold separately).