Creality is helping and hurting the 3d printing industry all at the same time

Creality has brought affordable printers to the market that work pretty well out of the box. These printers are very capable and produce some astounding results for the price. This has allowed people who might not be willing to jump into 3d printing due to the high cost a more cost-effective option. The cheap cost does though come with some downsides. The printers don’t come with handy features such as auto bed leveling, a metal extruder, and a board with quiet steppers and fans.

The cheap parts break, wear quicker, and require tuning more often to keep the quality of your prints up. The noise can be a problem depending on where the printer is located. If you move the printer to areas such as basements or garages that have more dust and moisture this causes a slew of other issues. These things added up and can cause the user a poor experience and the user eventually loses interest in the printer.

But the biggest shame is their lack of documentation on both onboarding the user and as they grow with their printer. When you get a 3d printer such as an Ender 3 Pro it is not fully assembled. They give you very basic instructions that doesn’t really show everything and expects you to understand without any details. Here is a picture of the instructions provided for the Ender 3 Pro.

As you can see it barely covers what needs to be done to get the printer working. A quarter of the documentation is just on what parts are in the kit. It doesn’t even cover the LCD menu system or starting a print for the first time. It has some mentions of adjustments but not nearly enough explanation on why it’s being done or even all the adjustments needed for a quality print. This is all the documentation included in the box! Those not really technically savvy or who don’t have the will to search endlessly online for answers will struggle. I sure struggled to try and upgrade a few parts Creality provides for exactly that. The instructions should be larger and more detailed in explanation and probably include links for more detailed explanations at certain parts.

I am thankfully technical and research things before diving in. So I knew all about this before even purchasing the printer. I also knew there were other brands such as Prusa who offered a much better first-time user experience and a better quality printer but at more than double the cost for the same size printer. They also offer fully assembled printers at a cost for some of their models. Their instructions and documentation are very clear, parts are reliable, and need less constant adjusting. But, and this is a big but, it’s hard to swallow that price when you are not already into 3D printing. It’s a big investment for something you are not sure how much you will use or even enjoy.

So you see my dilemma here. Creality has very capable printers for a reasonable price making 3D printing more obtainable for entry-level users and pros alike. But in return barely does anything to help its new users succeed and they end up getting turned off by it.