Creality CR-20 Review: Specs, Software, Preparation

The prices of the FFF/FDM 3D printers have been consistently going down over the last several years. Despite this, useful features and convenient design still usually cost premium. But there are exceptions. The Creality CR-20 is one of those: it’s a low-price machine that is well-built, user-friendly, and offers good quality of printing. 

Source: top3dshop.com

 

Creality CR-20 Overview

Source: creality.com

The CR-20 features the same rail-based modular design of the CR-10 series that offers infinite ways to upgrade and mod the machine. The frame is made of metal and the controls (a monochrome LED screen and the rotary wheel) are now integrated into the base of the machine, as well as the mainboard that is hidden inside. All of this makes the CR-20 look more elegant, modern, and less bulky. 

The machine features a heated printing platform. Instead of the glass bed (a popular solution used by a predecessor), the printer now implements a bendable removable one. So now detachment of the prints is going to be much easier. 

A Bowden-style short tube allows the printer to work with a variety of filaments.

A power resume option will continue printing after a power failure.

The build volume has been reduced but it’s still not small (220 x 220 x 250 mm). Another feature that is missing but would be nice to have is automatic bed leveling. 

 

Technical Specifications

  • Technology: FFF FDM
  • Assembly: Semi-assembled 
  • Frame: Aluminum 
  • Closed print chamber: No, an open structure 
  • Mechanical arrangement: Cartesian-XZ-Head 
  • Build volume: 220 x 220 x 250 mm 
  • Extruder type: Single 
  • Feeder system: Bowden 
  • Nozzle size, mm: 0.4 
  • Max extruder temperature: 491 °F / 255 °C 
  • Max heated bed temperature: 212 °F / 100 °C 
  • Layer height: 100 - 400 Microns 
  • Bed leveling: Manual 
  • Print bed: Heated bed with adhesive print surface 
  • Connectivity: SD 
  • Print recovery: Yes 
  • Outer dimensions inches: (xyz) 16.5 x 16.1 x 18.5 inches 
  • Outer dimensions millimeters: (xyz) 420 x 410 x 470 mm 
  • Weight: 9.5 kg 
  • Price: $509.99 

 

What’s in the Box

The CR-20 comes semi-assembled (a user only needs to work with 6 screws to get everything connected). It’s packaged in a relatively small box. 

Source: youtube.com

The contents of the box include: two pre-assembled main frame parts of the printer, some filament, a filament spool holder, cables, some tools (including a screwdriver and a spatula), spare parts, a user manual, warranty, and an SD card.

Source: youtube.com

 

Preparation

Assembly

The machine comes partially assembled, so getting it ready to work is just the matter of connecting all the cables, screws and parts together. 

The first step would be to place an upper part of the frame on top of the base. 

Source: youtube.com

Align the top parts with the holes on the side of the printer.

Source: youtube.com

Then take the screws that come with the printer, turn the machine upside down and tighten four screws. 

Source: youtube.com

Now connect the cables. They are labeled so you shouldn’t have a problem with getting them wrong. 

Source: youtube.com

Lock the motor and endstop connectors. 

Source: youtube.com

Place the spool holder on top of the printer. It’s held in place by two screws.

Source: youtube.com

The printer is now ready to do its job.

 

Preparation, bed leveling and test printing

Connect the power cable and turn on the CR-20.

Source: youtube.com

Tighten the extruder carriage connection if it wobbles.

Source: youtube.com

Now let’s calibrate the bed. 

Select the ‘Auto home’ in the main menu.

Source: youtube.com

Place a piece of paper between the nozzle and the bed. 

Source: youtube.com

Rotate the nut until the paper is only slightly touching the nozzle. 

Source: youtube.com

Repeat the process for all of the corners.

Source: youtube.com

Now the bed is properly leveled.

The next step would be to find ‘Preheat PLA’ in the menu and select it.

Source: youtube.com

Insert the PLA filament.

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Insert the SD card and select the file from the menu.

Source: youtube.com

Now the machine will print its first work. 

 

Software

The machine is compatible with Cura (as well as its fork called Creality Slicer), Repetier-Host, and Simplify3D. 

 

Applications

A portable speaker enclosure prototype by leonbora

This prototype shows how functional the models printed on the CR-20 can be. 

Source: instagram.com

 

The GRAMiPhone Iphone 6/7 stand by 3dbrad

Based on the design found on Thingiverse, this phone stand is a relatively simple print that nevertheless can show the impressive surface finish of the CR-20’s prints. This is a very useful and good-looking model. 

Source: instagram.com

 

A lightsaber model by t_vec3d

This Instagram user wanted to build his own lightsaber. He printed the three components separately. Despite the 3D printing characteristic layered texture, they look really nice.

Source: instagram.com  

Source: instagram.com  

 

A Medieval Castle by t_vec3d

Printed with at a layer height of 0.2 mm, this medieval castle showcases how detailed and high-quality the prints done with the Creality CR-20 can be.

Source: instagram.com  

 

A Clock by hockeydamian

Source: instagram.com

 

The F5 Tiger Aircraft by parkozheng

Look how smooth the model turned out to be!

Source: instagram.com

 

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Low price
  • Partially assembled
  • Sturdy metal build
  • Good quality of printing
  • Open-source and modular nature makes the device easy to mod and upgrade
  • Easy to pop off finished prints thanks to a bendable bed
  • Low levels of noise

Cons

  • Lack of automatic or assisted bed leveling
  • Reduced build volume (compared to the CR-10 series)
  • Dated control interface that lacks touchscreen input

 

Conclusion

The Creality CR-20 is a continuation of Creality’s tradition to produce a simplistic and low-price FFF/FDM machine. The design is sleek and more functional than before, but the build volume — a selling point of the CR-10 line — was reduced. The sturdy all-metal frame makes up for that. It also allows to work various filaments and significantly reduces the noise levels. Not to mention, that it looks better and more professional. 

The shortcomings include the lack of assisted calibration and touchscreen. Some users won’t be happy with the change of the print plate type — from the glass plate to a flexible bed, but it’s a matter of preference. 

Overall, the CR-20 is a budget machine that is easy to work with, offers enough functionality, is well-built, and produces prints of rather good quality. 

 

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