Creality CR-10 Mini Review: A 3D Printer Scaled Down Version with Vast Potential
Our review of the Creality CR-10 Mini
As the name suggests, the Creality CR-10 Mini, released by the Chinese 3D printer manufacturer sometime in September last year, is a scaled-down version of the popular CR-10. With a CR-10S upgraded version and a Mini variant, it is quite evident that Creality is cashing in on the popularity of the CR-10 that enjoys quite a cult following among the 3D printing community worldwide.
While the need for a Mini variant of the CR-10 can be debated, there is little room for contention over the fact that despite being a scaled-down version, the Mini is a DIY 3D printer kit with vast potential. For one, despite being a smaller version of the CR-10, the CR-10 Mini still offers a reasonably large build volume. A full-metal frame, complete with an acrylic base for support, heated print bed, and the Creality trademark print resume feature makes it a desirable offering despite the somewhat steep price tag of $298.
Unboxing and setting up the CR-10 Mini
As is the case with all Creality 3D printer kits, the CR-10 Mini too is delivered in a neatly packaged box, with different parts laid out in foam casing to protect from damage in transit. The CR-10 Mini comes largely pre-assembled and can be put together in eight simple steps. The only part about setting up the Mini that requires diligence and carefully maneuvering is installing the Z v suite on the XY platform.
Once that’s done, it is merely a matter of putting together the different pieces using screw, nuts, bolts, and drivers that are included in the package. There is an instruction manual designed to help you navigate these simple steps, and considering that assembling the Mini is not an intricate process, you can get by with a little help from this manual, the lack of clarity of instructions notwithstanding.
However, newbies may require a quick look at some online tutorials to get the Creality Mini up and running. The 3D printer comes with a promise of a 5-minute setup, even if you take that claim with a grain of salt, it is possible to assemble and set up this machine in 10-20 minutes. The ease of setting up definitely makes it desirable for beginners, especially first-timers.
Features and Specifications of the CR-10 Mini
The Mini shares a great deal of its features and specifications with the CR-10, with a clear exception of the difference in the build volume of the two devices. The v-slot aluminum extrusions with v-wheel roller bearings in the gantry, X-axis beam placed on roller bearing mounts, an X-axis carriage and the presence of a hot end are all replicated from the CR-10.
The addition of linear bearings in the V slot adds to the smoothness of operations, as it has a zero gap fit which provides high accuracy of prints with low noise. The Mini sports a full metal frame with an additional acrylic base for support, offering a print volume of 300x220x300 mm, which is a cut above the standard build volume offered by other DIY 3D printer kits in its segment.
It has been fitted with a console box that features an integrated filament holder and PSU, much like the CR-10. The Mini has a heated bed that adds to its filament support, making it capable of printing with PLA, ABS, TPU, copper, carbon fiber and Wood filament. It also sports Creality’s trademark Print Resume feature that facilitates resuming of printing automatically after a power failure.
Print from Your Phone
Like most other 3D printers on the market today, the CR-10 Mini too supports both offline and online printing. You can connect directly to your computer or use an SD card to operate is as a standalone device for offline printing. What sets the CR-10 Mini apart, however, is the addition of a cutting edge and relevant feature of printing directly from your phone. To add this all-new functionality to your Mini, you’d need to add an additional accessory, known as the Creality Box, which is designed to help users print designs and monitor the printer directly from their smartphones. To be able to do this, the Creality Box offers support for services such as cloud printing, cloud slicing, cloud management, cloud monitoring, and mass model library.
Print Performance of the CR-10 Mini
The Mini is designed to offer some fine print results. The all-metal frame and largely pre-assembled structure add great stability to this 3D printer, which along with features such as v-slot aluminum extrusions and linear bearings enhance the print results for the Mini. It offers a print accuracy of -/+ 0.1mm, at a print speed in the range of 80-200 mm per second.
The heated bed, automatic calibration and a broad range of filament compatibility not only add to the level of detailing in prints but also brings a great deal of versatility in terms of what you can build with this machine. From toy models to architectural designs, product structure designs, spare parts, jewelry and some items of basic necessity, the CR-10 Mini can be used to create some very functional 3D printed objects. The best part is that you do not need to watch over print jobs like a hawk with this one. Once you are done tweaking as per your own requirement, the Mini pretty much works like a self-sustained machine.
The one thing that often works against the CR-10 Mini is its price tag. A lot of people are skeptical about paying almost $300 for a printer that offers a mid-range print volume, especially when there are variants with enormous print volumes in the range of 300x300x400 mm in a similar price range. However, the quality control and performance accorded by the Mini more than justifies its price tag. It is also a great alternative for those who are inclined toward the bankable devices manufactured by Creality but feel that the CR-10 is too big for their needs. Obviously, the fact that the Mini comes riding on the stellar reputation enjoyed by the CR-10 only further bolsters its position in the 3D printing market.
You can order it from GearBest at a discount.