Of course, what would any Ender-5 review be without some test prints? Let’s have a look:
Ender-5 Test Prints: PLA Benchys
We started our series of Ender-5 test prints with a Benchy, the jolly 3D printer torture test. We used the 200-gram spool of white PLA that came with the printer. To slice the model, we used the exact Cura setting provided by Creality.
The Benchy turned out to be okay, but definitely not great. We encountered no stringing, but observed some blobs in the walls. The text at the base was readable, but the plaque at the stern had totally vanished. Also, the top layer of the floor showed some gaps; and the inside of the roof had “spaghetti” hanging down because of the concentric infill, that was set as a standard in Cura. Also, the layers of the bow were poorly aligned.
So there was room for improvement. We switched to white eSun PLA+ for the next iteration and changed the infill patterns to lines.
As you can see, we still got the same blobs as in the first model, but at least the gaps in the top layers were now closed.
After changing the layer height to 0.15, we finally got a decent result with the eSun PLA+.
Ender-5: PLA Polypear Tower
The PLA test prints were concluded with the Polypear Tower, a torture test by Polymaker, a well-known filament brand. For this, we used Prusament PLA Galaxy Black. Although there were some dropped loops beneath the bridges, the print turned out fine.
Thanks to a more powerful power supply, you can heat up the print bed up to 100 degrees Celsius. There’s one problem, though. If you crank up the heat to 90 degrees and hotter, you will run into problems with the floppy magnetic bed, which simply isn’t made to withstand these temperatures for a long time. The consistent heat will ruin the magnet; also, we experienced air enclosures between the heater plate and the bed at 80 degrees already (think of what happens to pancakes in a frying pan).
That aside, the PLA test prints turned out to be surprisingly good, so we extended our efforts to even more demanding materials like PET-G and TPU.
Ender-5: PET-G Benchy
Printing a benchy with PET-G (Verbatim Clear). The Ender-5 didn’t run into bigger problems. It’s quite common to see some stringing, but there was some visible warping and also slight underextrusion.
Ender-5: TPU Benchy
This ghostship probably wouldn‘t swim: The experiment of printing with TPU material (Filamentum Flexfil 98A blue) ended in a ship’s catastrophe.
Ender-5 Test Print: ASA
To print ABS or ASA without a proper enclosure will result in failure in 99 percent of the time. Still, the Ender-5 was able to finish both Benchys, which is a remarkable feat for a printer that costs under $350.
As expected, we encountered cracks and warping.
Ender-5 Test Print: Surprise Eggs
Next stop was the Surprise Egg #7 – Tiny Car Carrier, a 4-part print. This is a demanding task for the printer and the material, as there are tiny hinges that can easily be baked together while printing. Even harder: The wheels of the cars have to be printed accurately or they simply won’t turn.
For the egg, we chose Verbatim’s Light Grey PLA. For the cars, some random samples of 3D printing filament samples we collected from tradeshows. Though some layers were underextruded, the egg printed nicely and the hinge was working nicely. The wheels of the cars were rotating freely (who needs Hot Wheels, anyway?) – very impressive, indeed.
Also, we printed the Jet from Surprise Egg #6 – Tiny Jet Fighter. This model is printed in just one go and it contains a tiny mechanism that lets you unfold the wings. Again, the hinges worked perfectly.
AUTODESK KICKSTARTER TEST
Our final print, the Autodesk Kickstarter test, looks at an FDM printer’s precision – read more about it here. The Ender-5 achieved the following results:
- Dimensional Accuracy: 5 of 5 points (24.92 / 20.05 / 15.03 / 10.05 / 4.93)
- Fine Flow Control: 2.5 of 5 points (the pylons were printed to their full height, but we encountered some stringing)
- Fine Negative Features: 4 of 5 points (the 0.2mm gap pin wasn’t removable)
- Overhangs: 2 of 5 points (30° and 15° overhangs showed some irregularities)
- Bridging: 5 of 5 points (no bridge contacted the surface beneath it)
- XY Resonance: 2.5 of 2.5 points (no ringing detectable)
- Z-Axis Alignment: 2.5 of 2.5 points (no layer registration effect visible)
Overall, the Ender-5 scored with 23.5 out of 30 points. This puts the Ender-5 even above the Prusa i3 Mk3.