I replaced my stock hot end with the Creality Sprite Pro hot end/extruder kit for the Ender 3 Pro. The main benefits are all metal hot end which is good for higher temps and less chance of clogging, the extruder being attached, and no more bowden tube. This should allow me to print with less retraction and allow for better use of softer materials like TPU or the Silk PLA’s I was struggling with at the beginning.
Installation went well. There was a separate instruction paper that is easy to miss specifically for the Ender 3 Pro with CR/BLTouch.
Note in the second picture which is the back of the instructions where it shows two circles. One is the bottom carrier bolt backward and one of the top screws and bolts are different than the standard ones. The kit does include these non-standard screws and bolts which are philips heads. Both of these changes are needed to clear the right side bracket on the ender 3 when using a CR/BLTouch. Don’t miss these like I initially did, your carrier will hit the bracket and if you are doing mesh bed leveling will be thrown off as well as cause damage.
I had one small issue where the extruder portion wasn’t working or making any noise at all when the extrude command was given. The issue ended up being one of the 4 pins in the connector not being fully seated on the board side from the factory. It simply clicked into place when I pushed it in and all worked fine after that. Then I needed to configure my X and Y offset as my BLTouch position changed. I performed a bed level and z offset calibration just to make sure those were in good order. Lastly, a Temp E1 autotune since the hot end changed. I did not flash a different firmware so my hot end is still limited to a max of 260 degrees instead of the 300 the metal hot end is rated for. There is no firmware from Creality for this combination of Sprite and BLTouch for the Ender 3 Pro running the 4.2.7 board. I plan on compiling my own Marlin at a later date but at this time I don’t need to go about that temperate for any of the materials I am printing with.
I really like the single cable going from the extruder to the board. It really cleans things up nicely and has less chance of snagging. The kit came with a short BLTouch/CRTouch cable to go between the Touch and the board on the back of the Sprite so it really is just one big cable going from the Sprite to the board fans, sensor, and all.
It’s a little quieter than the stock unit, but still not by very much. Noise won’t be a selling feature for this upgrade. The kit has everything you need and I wouldn’t try and piece together this on your own for an ender 3. Overall I’m pleased with it and can’t wait to try printing with TPU.