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Creality CR-5 Pro Review: Professional 3D Printer or Not?

With the CR-5 Pro, Creality enters the professional 3D Printer market with a well-built machine which resembles the Ultimaker S5. When Top3DShop asked me if I want to test the CR-5 Pro, I accepted because I was curious to see if the machine is worthy of its price tag.

Is the Creality CR-5 Pro the professional machine we expect it to be? Let’s see.

Creality CR-5 Pro Shipping and Packaging

The CR-5 Pro comes packed in a huge box weighing a whopping 38KG. It has ample foam padding on all sides and it’s well protected from shipping damage.

The three plexiglass sides come with the protective sticker installed, and to properly remove it you need to take down the panels. This adds a bit of time (around 30 minutes) when installing the printer, which doesn’t need any kind of assembly otherwise.

Included Accessories

With the Creality CR-5 Pro you get a nice toolbox with the following accessories:

  • Spare PTFE tube
  • 2x spare nozzles
  • Spare PTFE coupler
  • Grease
  • Metal Scraper
  • Nozzle wrench
  • USB cable
  • Card reader with 8GB SD Card
  • Pliers
  • Glue stick
  • Cutting pliers
  • Hex wrenches
  • Cable ties
  • Needle for unclogging the nozzle

Besides that, you also get a 1 KG spool of Creality PLA to get you started.

Creality CR-5 Pro Design

The design of the CR-5 Pro is great. It’s really similar to the Ultimaker S5 and I am sure that Creality took a lot of inspiration from it.

The sides of the printer are made of plexiglass with a blue tint. The front of the printer has a door made from the same kind of plexiglass and I think this makes it look awesome.

CR 5 Pro Open Top | Creality CR-5 Pro Review: Professional 3D Printer or Not?

Unfortunately, the top of the printer is not enclosed which makes takes a bit from the benefit of having an enclosed 3D printer. But considering that the hotend is PTFE lined, it was probably designed like this only for eshetics instead of actually adding high-temperature printing to the list of the CR-5 Pro’s capabilties.

Built like a tank

The whole printer body is made from 2 mm thick metal welded together in a sturdy frame. It’s heavy and stable which is great for any kind of 3D printer. This thing is so well built that in can probably survive a big earthquake so that’s nice to see.

Creality CR-5 Pro Specs

Technology FDM (Fused Deposition Molding)
Assembly Fully assembled
Frame Aluminum with acrylic panels
Mechanical arrangement Cartesian XY-head
Layer height 100 – 400 Microns
Max. print speed 200 mm/s
Print precision +/- 12 microns
Extruder Type Single
Feeder system Bowden
Max extruder temperature 250°C
Nozzle size 0.4 mm
Filament 1.75mm – PLA, ABS, PETG, flexible materials
Print bed Carborundum glass bed
Max hotbed temperature 100°C
Bed level Manual
Print area 300 x 225 x 380mm
Connectivity SD card, USB
Display 4.3-inches touch screen
Additional features print recovery, filament runout sensor

PTFE lined Hotend

The hotend installed on the CR-5 Pro is somewhat similar to the one used by Creality on their CR-6 SE printer. This one is silver instead of red, and it has a small heatsink on the heatbreak.

This small heatsink should provide a bit more cooling to the heatbreak.

Unfortunately, it’s still a PTFE lined hotend instead of an all-metal one and I think this is one of the drawbacks for the CR-5 Pro.

For a machine this well build, with an enclosed printing area, the PTFE lined hotend limits the types of materials you can print on it. I would not recommend going over 240C because the PTFE tube touches the nozzle and it will start to degrade and release harmful fumes during printing.

The good news it you should be able to upgrade the hotend with an aftermarket alternative made for other Creality printers. The NF Smart CR-10, NF Zone or even the Microswiss hotend should be good upgrades to allow for higher temperature printing.

Cantilever heatbed

The Creality CR-5 Pro uses a cantilever heatbed guided by two 10mm linear rods. I’m not a big fan of cantilever beds because most of the time they are not built very well and they move.

Fortunately, the CR-5 Pro’s bed is solid. There is some slight flex if you apply some pressure on the front but nobody does that during printing. And when it’s printing, there’s no issue.

On top of the heated bed you get a 300×235 glass plate with the regular ultrabase style surface found on most of Creality’s printers. The prints adhere well when the heatbed is heated and they release effortlessly when it’s gets cooled.

It’s held in place by four clips and you can remove the glass bed if you need to without much trouble.

There is no automated leveling system like with other machines, so you will have to rely on manually adjusting each corner of the bed with the wheels beneath. Fortunately, there’s an assisted manual bed leveling menu which moves the nozzle close to every corner of the bed, making leveling relatively painless. Not as easy as using an ABL probe but manageable.

CR-5-Pro-Leveling-Menu

The included springs are a bit too soft in my opinion, but after tightening them the bed is rock solid.

Hotend asembly

The hotend asembly is relatively compact. Two bearings move it on a pair of linear rods and there is no wobble present. The white metal cover houses the hotend and on the front there’s a 4010 radial fan which takes care of cooling.

CR 5 Pro Hotend Asembly | Creality CR-5 Pro Review: Professional 3D Printer or Not?

The included fan does a better than expected job when it comes to cooling the layers. the fan duct is 3D printed and the finish is not that great, but it gets the job done.

Iluminated enclosure

Another nice-to-have feature of the Creality CR-5 Pro is the addition of an LED bar on the front. This iluminates the build plate and makes the printer look nicer.

You can control the LED Light with a button available on the touchscreen.

CR-5-Pro-Touchscreen-Interface-4

I noticed that the LED light has a small flicker when the heatbed is heating up but it’s not that noticeable.

Creality CR 5 Pro LED Ilumination | Creality CR-5 Pro Review: Professional 3D Printer or Not?

8-bit board with silent drivers

Considering that the CR-5 Pro is a pretty expensive machine, I would have expected to get a 32-bit board but instead we get the same old 8-bit chip as we got with other machines.

Creality CR 5 Pro running V2.5.1 board | Creality CR-5 Pro Review: Professional 3D Printer or Not?

The board has five silent drivers (TMC2208) making the printer relatively quiet during printing. The only noise you get from the printer is the one produced by the fans and some small noise during movements.

As you can see, the 5th stepper driver is not used and it’s also missing the heatsink. To keep things cool , there’s also a 4020 radial fan which blows air over the board.

Huge space for electronics

At the bottom of the printer there’s a separated area where all the electronics reside.

Creality CR 5 Pro Internals | Creality CR-5 Pro Review: Professional 3D Printer or Not?

Besides the printer board, we have the 350W Meanwell power supply to power everything.

Unfortunately, there’s no fan to blow hot air out from the printer. On the bottom there’s a cutout for the PSU intake fan but all that air gets dumped inside without any fan to expel the hot air outside.

This is probably not a huge issue because there are vent holes on the sides but the whole electronics chould benefit from a fan pushing air out.

The wires are nicely managed but with all this remaining empty space, I would have expected to see other hardware like a power relay to turn off the printer when it’s finished. But maybe I am expecting too much from a printer.

All-metal dual-gear extruder

While it’s not a geared extruder (ex: BMG, Titan), the included all-metal dual-gear extruder which is installed on the CR-5 Pro does a good job gripping the filament and pushing it trough the long bowden tube. It’s also helped by the beefy stepper motor powering this extruder.

Under the extruder there’s also a filament runout sensor which pauses the print when the filament runs out

CR 5 Pro Extruder | Creality CR-5 Pro Review: Professional 3D Printer or Not?

I had the same extruder on my Creality CR-10S Pro, which worked just as well. Much better than any single-gear plastic extruder Creality still installs on cheaper printers.

I don’t really understand why Creality missed the opportunity of installing the extruder along with the spool holder inside the printer because there’s ample space for that and it would have made the whole setup look nicer. Besides that, the filament could also benefit from a little heat that builds inside the chamber during printing.

Buggy screen firmware

Unfortunately, the CR-5 Pro is held back by its buggy firmware. The touchcreen firmware is really bad.

The screen is responsive and all the buttons work well, but after every print, it freezes and it cannot be used anymore. In order to start a second print, you need to reboot the machine. This is a really bad experience and at the time of writing this review, there’s no update available for the screen.

CR-5 Pro Noise Levels

To better evaluate the noise levels of the Creality CR-5 Pro, I took this video which should help you understand how noisy it is, but it is not an accurate way of measuring noise levels.

Heating time and power consumption

I tested the heating time for both hotend and heat bed and here are the results:

Heatbed

  • 60C in 90 seconds
  • 100C in just under 9 minutes.

Hotend

  • 200C in 90 seconds
  • 250C in 180 seconds.

Power Draw

Idle power draw is around 12W. When the hotend and heatbed are heating up, the Creality CR-5 Pro draws around 300W. After it starts printing, the power draw stabilizes to around 140W.

All these measurements were taken with a Blitzwolf smart power socket which indicates the power draw and it can also be used for remotely powering on and off the printer.

IdeaMaker profiles for Creality CR-5 Pro

During my time with the printer, I also tuned three IdeaMaker profiles for the Creality CR-5 using the tools available in the 3D Printer Calibration Guide using IdeaMaker article. These profiles are tuned for the stock printer and worked well for me.

These profiles can be downloaded from the IdeaMaker profiles for Creality CR-5 Pro article.

Test prints on Creality CR-5 Pro

3D Benchy

The 3D Benchy was my first 3D print on the CR-5 Pro. I usually print the 3D Benchy because it gives me a good idea about how well the printer is calibrated.

As you can see, the printer is decent right out of the box, but further tweaking can be made for improved quality.

  • Material: Sunlu Gray PLA
  • Layer Height: 0.2mm
  • Nozzle Temperature: 215C
  • Bed Temperature: 60C
  • Print Speed: 60 mm/s

Technotiti

The second PLA print on the CR-5 Pro was this Technotiti bust. It was printed in this awesome Gold Silk PLA from DevilDesign and it came out really well.

  • Material: DevilDesign Silk Gold PLA
  • Layer Height: 0.15mm
  • Nozzle Temperature: 215C
  • Bed Temperature: 60C
  • Print Speed: 50 mm/s

Christmas Tree

I also printed a Christmas Tree in Christmas Green PLA from Gembird. It cam out well, but it suffered from a bit of stringing. This filament seems to need a bit more retraction compared to others but overall the results are fine.

  • Material: Gembird Christmas Green Translucent PLA
  • Layer Height: 0.2mm
  • Nozzle Temperature: 210C
  • Bed Temperature: 60C
  • Print Speed: 40 mm/s

Starlight Glimmer

The 3rd PLA print was Starlight Glimmer printed in Silk Purple PLA from Devil Design. Can’t really complain about the quality, because it came out really well.

  • Material: DevilDesign Silk Purple PLA
  • Layer Height: 0.15mm
  • Nozzle Temperature: 215C
  • Bed Temperature: 60C
  • Print Speed: 60 mm/s

FillaFella

To test the PETG performance of the CR-5 Pro I printed the FillaFella model in Transparent Blue PETG from DevilDesign. Adhesion was great and the print quality is just as good.

  • Material: DevilDesign Translucent Blue PETG
  • Layer Height: 0.15mm
  • Nozzle Temperature: 235C
  • Bed Temperature: 70C
  • Print Speed: 50 mm/s

Batman Bust

To check if ABS can be printed on the CR-5 Pro, I sliced the Batman Bust an overnight print. Unfortunately, overnight I was visited by the spaggetti monster.

ABS Fail on CR 5 Pro 1 edited | Creality CR-5 Pro Review: Professional 3D Printer or Not?

Because the printer is not enclosed completely, the layers started separating and the print failed around 50%. Unfortunately, the bed got damaged even though I used a layer of glue stick for better adhesion with ABS.

This is a bit unfortunate. I wasn’t expecting the ABS to print successfully, but to see a bed damage after the first ABS print is somewhat disappointing.

  • Material: Sunlu Black ABS
  • Layer Height: 0.15mm
  • Nozzle Temperature: 240C
  • Bed Temperature: 100C
  • Print Speed: 60 mm/s

Mandalorian

Finally, I printed this Mandalorian model with no supports. It’s amazing to see how well this model is designed. The CR-5 Pro didn’t have any kind of issues with the overhangs and the model finished successfully.

There was a small amount of stringing present on the model, which was removed in advance (forgot to take a picture). Fixing the stringing issue needs a bit of work with proper retraction calibration on this machine because of the long bowden tube.

Update Feb 2020

I reported the issues I encountered to Top3DShop and they started an RMA process to replace the damaged bed. Besides that, I also received a replacement board to see if the issue I encountered.

After replacing the board, the printer works as intended and there is no freeze when a print is finished, so that solves the problem.

Besides these replacements, I also received the transparent top cover addition for the CR-5 Pro which looks great when installed on the printer.

CR 5 Pro Cover for enclosure | Creality CR-5 Pro Review: Professional 3D Printer or Not?

When printing ABS, the enclosure temperature is rising to around 55C at the top and ~40C on the bottom of the enclosure. Smell is also contained in the printer, but it’s still noticeable when printing. The good news is that after installing this cover, ABS prints can be completed successfully.

Considering the price of this printer, I would expect for Creality to include this cover out of the box. If the cover would be included, then the CR-5 Pro can be a compelling printer for professional environments. But in it’s current state, the offering is a bit on the expensive side.

Conclusions: Is the Creality CR-5 Pro worth it?

The Creality CR-5 Pro is a really nice machine when it comes to it’s looks. It looks high-tech and professional but unfortunately, it’s not the professional machine I was expecting.

It can deliver some beautiful prints, but you are limited to only printing materials up to 240C which is a bit of a shame. Besides that, the buggy firmware cuts extra points from the overall well-built machine.

I am also a bit disappointed about the ABS failure and the bed damage. These things should not happen on such an expensive machine.

For the price of around ~1200$, I was expecting a much better printer and I can’t say it is worthy of it’s price tag. Sure, you could tinker with it and improve it, but this is not something that people who will buy this printer are willing to do.

If firmware updates fix the most annoying issues with the printer, and you are looking for a pretty looking machine, then feel free to buy it. But you will be paying more just for the looks while still being limited to the regular filaments which can be printed at the same quality by cheaper machines.

Where to buy the Creality CR-5 Pro?

The Creality CR-5 Pro can be purchased from the following websites:

Top3DShop – 999$ with code 3DBEGINNER
Banggood
Gearbest

The Creality CR-5 Pro was provided by Top3DShop for the purpose of this review. While the article includes affiliate links, all opinions are my own.


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