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3D Printing SainSmart Coreception / Creality Elf

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vcp

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So I bought a Coreception last week (the Elf is pretty much identical). My old printers were, old, and really not worth upgrading or spending time fiddling with anymore. I would have preferred to scratch build exactly what I wanted, but I'm not really in a position to do that at the moment. The Coreception is pretty close to what I was looking for. So here's the main features:

  • Core-XY for XY axis motion, on linear rails
  • 300x300x350 build volume
  • Titan BMG (clone, I'm pretty sure) direct drive extruder
  • Not sure what flavor the hot end is, but it has print cooling fans
  • 4-corner vertical rods with dual Z leadscrews and motors
  • 24 volt
  • LED lighting (whizzy color-changing blinkenlights, oboy)
  • under $500
  • power-fail / filament-out restart
  • textured glass print bed
  • touch-screen controls
  • Robin-something-or-other controller; quiet steppers at least on the XY, Marlin
  • should be very easy to enclose, all sides are almost completely clear
  • ARP Almost-Ready-to-Print, assembles in a leisurely two hours
The not-so-much features:
  • no WiFi
  • poor spool holder and filament path
  • poor print head cable management
  • no automatic bed leveling
All parts were well-packed and well-labeled or easy to identify. Most impressive was the core-XY mech, completely assembled including belts. Next was the fully-enclosed base, with all electronics including the dual Z motors. Aside from the bolts and other fiddly bits the only other parts were:
  • 6 pieces of 2020 extrusion
  • 4 vertical rods and bearings
  • 2 lead screws and anti-backlash nuts
  • 2 Z support plates
  • 2 bed support plates and Z-stop switches
  • print bed and glass
  • extruder
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The assembly suggestion pamphlet (it would just be wrong to call it assembly instructions) is really minimal. It actually does contain just about everything you need to know, if you look really close. A better plan is to look at the pretty good assembly video that someone has put on YouTube. But there really isn't much to it:
  • bolt the extrusions on to the base, plus two cross-pieces
  • assemble the Z rods, leadscrews, Z-stops and support plates
  • plop the core-XY mech on top and bolt down
  • add the print bed and the extruder
  • plug in the cables (that are already connected at the base end)
  • 2 hours to do that is really taking your time
And everything just fit. No forcing anything, no slop. One of the more time-consuming operations was dressing the cables into the extrusion slots. Some of the reviews had complained of skewed pulleys so I carefully checked that the belts were running true, and the tension seemed perfect. Z-axis is smooth too. The XY is all on a single flat plate that keeps the entire top of the printer very rigid. The bottom box keeps the lower end rigid, so the whole thing is pretty much a brick.

Things that I find lacking/questionable/in need of upgrade:
  • The XY motor mounts appear questionable. The motors are just hanging out on long spindly stand-offs. They seem to be rigid and secure, but they bear watching. The pulleys however, are well supported.
  • There is apparently no belt tensioning mechanism. People who have had to install belts have reported no difficulty in getting them adjusted, but they haven't mentioned how they do it either. There is a printable belt tension gadget on TV that looks like it would work for small adjustments.
  • It uses a micro-SD card socket on the side. Should be in front and I hate micro-SDs. I've already ordered a micro-to-standard extension cable. USB is on the side too (back would be better).
  • I finally figured out that a bag labeled 'spare parts' is actually a mount for a BL Touch probe. No other mention of it, but I see that people have added them for automatic leveling so that's something I might look at. I've been used to manual leveling forever though; I'm comfortable with it, and it looks easy here.
  • The print head cable has to be managed somehow, otherwise, it's gonna be dragging on the frame top and messing with the print. Shouldn't be too difficult to fix, and there's stuff on TV for it.
  • Likewise, the spool holder is a joke. There are several TV fixes, but I've always liked an overhead spool and that shouldn't be too difficult to rig up.
  • The print head cable is a 15-pin VGA connector. If I add up the pins right (4 motor, 2 thermistor, 2 Y-stop, 3 fan) that maybe leaves 4 for the hot end. I have regularly posted diatribes on FB about the under-specifying of current-carrying connector pins in parallel. When you look at all the factors, (and nobody does) I doubt that these really cut it. I'll be keeping an eye on it and will consider replacing the heater wires/connector.
  • It has a main power switch/AC connector on the rear side corner (would be better on the back) plus a nifty lighted 'soft' power switch on the front panel. So you press that front panel switch, it lights up, the printer comes on, nice. So you want to turn it off and press the lighted power switch... nothing. That switch doesn't turn it off. You must press the 'shutdown' button on the touch screen (which isn't visible on all control screens) or flip the side switch. Bad human factors. If you're in a hurry, the obvious on/off switch doesn't turn it off, and the 'shutdown' button might not be there. Crunch time.
  • And finally, it includes absolutely zero operating instructions. There's nothing really mysterious if you've used a printer or two, but if not, you'll be hunting down web pages and videos. (There are Coreception and Elf groups on FB.)
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I opened the base to check that all the connections were crimped and tight; all seemed well and neatly routed.

But I haven't tried printing with it yet. We'll see how that works out.

20201109_084602.jpg
 
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John Kemker

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No WiFi? No problem. Install a Raspberry Pi and Octoprint. You'll have WiFi for your printer.
 

cwbullet

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No WiFi? No problem. Install a Raspberry Pi and Octoprint. You'll have WiFi for your printer.
That is what I would do.

I am not real big on glass build plates. The metal flex plates are much better.
 

vcp

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Yeah, I've got a raspi here somewhere (if it''s not too old [a 2, I think]) and I've already ordered a metal flex plate. Found a nice cable chain to manage the print head cable too. And a BL touch while I was at it.
 

vcp

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I finally got around to at least printing the sample files that came with the Coreception. They're just in PLA, and the simple organic shapes wouldn't show any ringing or scale issues, but they are just... perfect.
20201115_021820.jpg
 
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vcp

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In all of the above where I've said "Creality Elf", I guess it's really 'Creativity Elf'; no relation to Creality I guess. Anyway mine is the Coreception, which I always have trouble reading because I always first read it as Co-reception. It should be read as (I hope anyway) Core-ception, as in Core(XY)-(con)ception. Lousy name. Where's a marketing MBA when you need them.

Regardless, this..
20201119_203315.jpg

Looking better all the time. Y is the same, but Z is a bit short due to a bit of an elephant's foot, which is easy to fix. Funny though, I printed the cal cube because I had earlier printed some parts for the print head cable chain, and the part that bolts to the print head didn't fit at all. It was at least 5% too small, even though it supposedly was for this exact printer. I was afraid it was my printer undersizing but not according to that cube. I sliced from the .stl's, so I can only guess that the stl was undersized. I'll have to figure a scale factor and reprint.
 
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