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#1.  Put it together correctly.

  • Each axis must be exactly perpendicular to the others.  Use a carpenters tri-square and a decent caliper to measure and adjust the frame.
  • Adjust the trolley wheels.  You should just be able to turn them with your fingers.  There should be no wobbles in the hot end carriage, the bed, or the X beam.
  • All the screws everywhere need to be checked to make sure they are tight.  Do not assume that because some parts were assembled at the factory, that they were assembled correctly.
  • The X and Y belts should twang like a strings on a bass guitar.

#2.  Calibrate the E-Steps.  Do not get sucked in to using a "single wall calibration cube".  They are worse than useless.

#3.  Set the Home Offsets so prints end up where they should on the build plate.

#4.  Learn how to print with the machine you purchased.  My Ender 3 Pro is in it's third year.  It has the 1.1.5 - 8 bit mainboard and I still level with a piece of paper.  The prints are consistently of high quality and are excellent dimensionally.

#5.  Learn to slice in Cura, learn to read some gcode, learn a CAD program so you can design your own stuff.

 

The changes I made were:

  • If it has the stock plastic extruder (the piece mounted on top of the extruder motor) get an aluminum one.  The plastic ones ALL develop cracks at the pivot and will quit pushing the plastic.
  • The stock hot end is poor.  Consider moving to an all-metal hot end after you learn to print with the one you have.
  • I changed the hot end fan, mainboard fan, and power supply fan to decent ball bearing models.
  • I got rid of the poor layer cooling fan and went with a 5015 ball bearing blower that puts the air stream where it needs to be.  The new one actually cools the layers instead of just making noise.
  • My preference was to use a real SD card instead of the little cheesy one that came with the printer so I added a card adapter.

If and when you can point to something that your firmware lacks, then you may want to consider changing the firmware or motherboard.

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