Note: This printer is pretty much the same as the Creativity Elf (AliExpress) and Sapphire Plus, so if you are searching for any details about this printer, searching for the Elf or Sapphire might be useful as well. I think there might be slight differences though. The frame is a different color, and the Coreception comes with LED lighting, which the ELF doesn’t appear to have.
Update 3Dec2020: I think that the only other difference is that the Coreception comes with a glass bed. Also there’s a version of Elf that doesn’t have direct drive, so don’t get that one, unless you have a reason to not want direct drive. The only reason I can think of to not want direct drive is to reduce weight on gantry. But I don’t think there’s much benefit to that because even though you can print a little faster, extra time for the longer retractions will kill that time savings.
Update 2 3Dec2020: It seems impossible to find the Coreception anywhere. AliExpress has a really good price on the Elf, and you can add a glass bed for cheap. The LED lighting isn’t too big of a deal. I’m not sure if Sainsmart is just out of stock or if they have killed off their line.
Note 2: I have created a subreddit on Reddit for this printer. I think if more people join, it would be a big help in increasing the community for this printer.
About 18 months ago, I got my first 3D printer, an Ender 5(See my blog posts about it). Early October 2020, I saw a Sainsmart Coreception on sale, and since I’ve been wanting a CoreXY with direct drive, I jumped on it. This is one of the few printers that have both of those features out of the box. After spending a week with this printer, I’m convinced that it would have been worth regular price. If you’re considering getting an Ender 5, which is very popular, I would highly recommend that you save up a little more money and go with this printer.
If you just want to see my opinions on the printer and its pros/cons, skip ahead.
BE SURE TO SET YOUR VOLTAGE SWITCH. Go ahead and do this first. This is the one thing that could possible fry your printer if you mess up. I think that by default it’s set to 220v, which should reduce the risk since giving it 120v when expecting 220v isn’t so bad, but doing it the other way could result in some popping noises.
Below is a multi-page gallery of about 50 pictures I took during the process.
The first thing I would like to mention is that they say you can have the printer setup and ready to go in 25 minutes. Unless you have practiced a lot beforehand, I don’t think many people are going to hit that 25 minute mark. It took me about 2 hours, but that’s because I was taking pictures and notes. Realistically, I think about an hour is more likely if you’ve done this before, and a little more if this is your first printer.
That said, the install is still pretty easy. You’re basically just installing the 2 horizontal and 4 vertical posts, the top assembly, and the extruder. But I feel that the instructions for the Ender 5 were much easier. I’m hoping to write this getting started in a way that it makes your install easier. I’m just going to share things I would have liked to have seen in the manual, page by page.
Step 1: Installing the 2020’s
This step is pretty straightforward, but there is one side of each vertical 2020 that has an indentation for the screw head. Make sure that indentation is facing outward.
Step 2: Putting together the hotbed support.
This is easy as well, but it took me a minute to find the M3*8’s. They are in the same bag as the Anti-Backlash Nuts. And you need 8 of them, not 6. There was a typo in the manual I got.
Step 3: Installing the hotbed supports
First, make sure the tapers for the screw heads are facing up on the ‘Secure Blocks’. Second, when you put the couplings on the Z motors, leave a tiny bit of space between the bottom of the coupling and the plate. I just put one of the wrenches below it and then tightened the bottom screws on the coupling. This ensures that the coupling isn’t touching the plate when turning which would create unnecessary friction.
Step 4: Installing the lead screws (T-screw) and Z limit switches.
You will want to push the lead screw through the top bearing, and then start screwing it into the anti-backlash nut 1 on the Bed Support Plate. Before the screw comes out the bottom of the anti-backlash nut, put the spring on the anti-backlash nut 2 onto the bottom of the anti-backlash nut 1. Then work the lead screw into the coupling, and tighten the top screws on the coupling.
For the limit switches, I talk about adjusting them later, but make sure they are over the plate completely. After I had them adjusted a few times, I had the bottom of the limit switch about 2mm higher than the bottom of the 2020 bar.
Step 5: Installing the ‘Top part’
This is easy. Just remember to orient it the correct way. The 2 motors go towards the back. And then put on the extrusion motor, while inserting the tiny tube into it, and screw it into place.
Step 6: Installing the bed.
This step is easy as well. Just put the bed on the brackets, drop the 4 screws in, put the springs on the screws, and screw on the knobs. Installing the spool holder on the spot they suggest is good(I have some tips on improving the spool holder setup later). It’s not in the instructions, but you will want the filament run-out sensor on the same post as the spool holder. The glass bed should be placed on the heated bed with the pattern facing up. Put the 4 clips on the bed to hold the glass in place.
Step 7: Wiring
Just connect things like they say, and also connect the run-out sensor. Be sure to use the cable ties to make things cleaner. I prefer Velcro strips since it allows for easier changes later, but right now, the plastic zip ties will work.
I’ll get into this more during my review, but after coming from the popular Ender 5, I must say the firmware is disappointing. The Ender 5 had countless people that had posted their compiled versions or Marlin, and even if none of those were to your liking, there were tons of guides on how to compile it yourself, and Klipper is an easy option as well. With the Coreception, I’m having trouble finding the latest firmware, or the Marlin config files to be able to compile it myself.
That said, I found this post on the Sainsmart 3D Printing Facebook page, linking to this firmware with Marlin 2.02, which was released in January, which is a long time considering how quickly that project moves forward. Just download that zip file and extract all the files to the microSD card, put the SD card into the printer and turn the printer on. It takes a couple minutes for the firmware to update. You don’t have to update the firmware, but with how many fixes Marlin pushes out, it’s typically better to be at a newer version.
Now you need to get your bed level. The first thing to do is tighten the 4 bed adjustment wheels so the springs are fully compressed. Then loosen them about 1 to 1.5 turns. Now, home the bed from the menu. If the bed is too low, then you need to raise the limit switches the amount that it is too low by. If it’s too high, then lower the limit switches. Keep in mind that you need to check the height of the left and right side since there are 2 Z-Limit switches.
After you have the limit switches in the right position, you need to make your final fine tuned adjustments. There are tons of videos on how to do this for various printers, and it’s the same for this one. On the LCD heat up the bed and nozzle to the temperature you typically print at and then go to the leveling menu, and go to point 1, and put a piece of paper under the nozzle, you should be able to move the paper around and be able to feel a little resistance. Now do the same for the other 4 points, and repeat until you can do all 5 points without any adjustments. See my note below if you can’t get the bed to be leveled properly in all 5 points.
NOTE: If you can’t do this with all 5 points without adjustments, that means that your glass plate or your bed is warped. Mine is like this because point 5(The middle of the bed) is always high. If yours is warped, then you won’t be able to print anything large since one section will be too close to the bed, and another will be too high. A higher initial layer height might be able to help with this. But the only true solutions to this are to either get a bed that isn’t warped, which might be challenging, or to get a BLTouch or 3DTouch. I’m going to be installing a 3DTouch once I’m done writing this. Note, if you buy one, you will need extension jumpers since the 1m cable isn’t long enough. And I will create a post on how to do that once I’m done. In the mean time, I just made sure the middle is level, and I print everything there, and only print small things.
After all that is done, you’re pretty much ready to print your first print. That said, there are some things that I would recommend that you upgrade before you start churning out the rest of your Benchy Armada. I’ll get to those in the next section.
My thoughts on this printer
So let me start off by saying that although I’ve only had this printer for a week, I’ve been very happy with it. It’s larger than my Ender 5 and doesn’t cost much more. Although I’ve got my Ender 5 pretty well tuned, and I thought I was getting some very high quality prints, this printer is just so much better. On the handful of prints that I’ve done I have to really look to see the tiniest imperfections. And so far, all the prints have been with the filament they just send in the box. That said, there are some areas where I felt the printer could use some improvement, but I also believe they can be fixed:
- The price. I’m sure it will have regular sales, but even at $480, I think it’s a very good value. The printer is a good size, and it has direct drive.
- Large Bed. The larger size of the bed is going to be useful. I already have a project that I’ve been working on in Fusion 360 that I was trying to split up into multiple pieces. Now I won’t have to do that.
- Direct Drive. After the huge improvement I saw in stringing from converting my Ender 5 to Direct Drive, I knew my next printer would have to have that feature.
- Speed. I’ve been printing everything at 100mm/s and the quality is still amazing. Better than my Ender 5 printing at 70mm/s. I’m sure that I could crank that speed up and still maintain good quality. If I can figure out how to get Klipper on there, I expect to see some huge gains in quality.
- Cable Management. The lack of cables is truly refreshing. There’s just a single cable going to the hotend which provides the heating circuit for the hotend, the X-Endstop, fans etc. And other than the bed cable, all the other cables can very neatly be run right up the vertical posts. Especially coming from the Ender 5 which felt like it had cables, this printer just looks so tidy.
- Assembly. Although you shouldn’t trust that 25 minute assembly claim when you’re squeezing this build into your schedule, it’s still an easy build. Most of the main stuff is already built for you. The downside is that if this is your first printer, you don’t get to learn the inner workings of the hotend. But you could just watch videos for that.
- CoreXY/Linear Rails. I never understood the love for CoreXY or Linear Rails until now. I just thought it made things more complex when seeing how the belts were arranged. But now I don’t think I could buy a printer that doesn’t have these(until the next big thing comes out, probably). Everything just moves so smoothly, and even at 100mm/s, there is almost no vibration. On the Ender 5, my camera would get blurry from the vibrations at times. That doesn’t happen on this one.
Another benefit of the CoreXY is that the frame being perfectly square would hardly impact the print. For the Ender 5, if the frame was slightly off, you could run into all kinds of issues. On this printer, the top frame is all that matters since it controls how the nozzle moves around. And since it’s all one piece, it’s going to be difficult to make it warp. And any slight warping that could possibly happen to that frame won’t translate too easily to the linear rails. Really helps eliminate user errors when putting it together.
- Dual Z. I’m so happy that my nightmares with the Ender 5’s bed sagging at the front are over (not really, I’m still keeping that printer). That was my biggest gripe with that printer. The Dual-Z essentially eliminates having to worry about. It remains to be seen, but I think that it will also get rid of the issue of the bed dropping when the z motor is turned off. The 2 motors together should be able to handle it.
- Cooling. I think the 2 fans are really helping with bridging. On the benchy, the tops of the doorways look really good compared to what I was able to achieve with the Ender 5.
- LED Lights. It comes with LED Lighting. It’s a nice touch. That said, make sure you have the remote handy when you power it on. The colors changing rapidly was very annoying.
- Slightly warped bed.Not sure if this is a common problem, but my bed is high in the middle. I would guess it’s about .1mm. I’m going to be installing a 3DTouch to help compensate for it. Luckily the board has a spot for it. And I think I read somewhere that they are planning on including it future revisions of the printer.
- Filament feed. I had a difficult time getting the filament to feed into the extruder using the parts supplied. So what I did was mount the spool holder as low as possible (Be sure to use a normal sized spool to measure), and then putting the filament sensor above it. Then above that, I put this filament guide from Thingiverse. You will need a bowden tube and coupler. That kit might be useful to have anyways since it’s always handy to have spare couplers for a 3D printer. I already had these things since I had to replace them a couple times on my Ender 5.
- QC. I’m not 100% confident in the QC on this printer. Everything fit together perfectly, the screws went in nicely, so the machining is fine, but there were about 2 spots that I saw a tiny bit of rust around the screw holes on the 2020 bars. Again, it didn’t affect anything, and I really don’t know if this is a normal thing. I doubt it will affect the printer in the future.
- Lead screws. Not a huge deal, but I wish they would have gone with a better lead screw with a higher thread density. With the lead screw they supplied, you have 400 steps per mm, which gives you a magic number of .04mm. But a lead screw with denser threads that can give you 800 or even 1600(I upgraded to this on the Ender 5) could give you magic number of .02 or .01mm. This could be useful if you want to do some prints with smaller layer heights. And they can also help prevent any sort of binding on the Z-Axis since the torque makes it easier for the motor to push through any slight imperfections in the lead screw.
- Power Supply. It’s a generic power supply, so I’m not sure how long it will last, but I haven’t seen many complaints about it. Just something to keep an eye out for. It’s not difficult or super expensive to replace, so that’s a good thing. Also, the power supply has a 120/220v switch. I wish they would have used auto-switching. On the Ender 5 boards, there was would be almost a post a day with someone making this mistake, and the newer Ender 5’s are auto-switching.
- LED Lights can only be controlled via remote(I think). I’ll update this if I figure it out, but I think the LED lights are connected straight to power, and not the board. It would be nice to be able to control them via OctoPrint.
- The Community. I saved my biggest con for last. The community. It’s almost non-existent. I come from the Ender 5, which probably has one of the largest communities (If you include the Ender 3, which has very similar hardware). I’m hoping to try and help fix that by writing this article. They have a Facebook group, but that is for general 3D printing for Sainsmart printers. And I think it’s run by Sainsmart, so there is a chance that any negative posts might get removed. Because of that, I’ve created a subreddit on Reddit/r/coreception. I’ve found that Reddit’s 3Dprinting communities have always been good. Hopefully this printer can develop a healthy following.
My Future Plans with the Coreception
- As I mentioned a couple times, 3DTouch. It’s a must for me. If your bed isn’t warped, you might not need it.
- Thermal tape. I wrote about how a thermal pad can help heat up the glass a good bit quicker a while ago. Another benefit was that it helped keep the glass in place without using the clips which the nozzle can sometimes bump into when printing at the edges. With this, you get your full bed without the glass moving and your bed heats up quicker.
- OctoPrint/Klipper. This might be challenging since I don’t see anyone that has documented how to do it, but I want Klipper on here. I really think this printer could hit the speed limits of the steppers with Klipper on there.
- Braces. I wrote about this in one of my Ender 5 posts when talking about vibrations. I plan on doing the same for this one. There isn’t a lot of vibrations, but I think those braces would eliminate the little bit there is. Especially once I start cranking the speed up.
- 330mm or 350mm Z-height. So everything I’m reading says this printer and the Elf are the same, just a different brand. However, the Elf is listed as having a 350mm build height, but the Coreception says 330mm. I’m wondering if I have an extra 20mm there that I can unlock with a simple firmware setting change.
- I don’t think I will personally do this, since I will use OctoPrint, which I’m sure is more robust and faster, but you can connect an ESP8266 module to the printer to make it WiFi to send prints directly to it over WiFi. My guess is that larger prints will take a VERY long time to upload.
To sum up my review, I think this is a solid printer. If you’re thinking about an Ender 5, this one should definitely be on your radar. You will be putting out faster and better quality prints without much effort. And as you can see from the cons list, there are not a lot of things I don’t like about this printer. And nearly all of it fixable without a lot of cost. The lack of community should pick up as more people get this printer. I know a ton of people picked it up when it was on sale last week. And this printer is a good value, so I’m sure more will follow in the coming months. As always, let me know what you think. And please post anything you have about this printer on the subreddit.