The Ender 3 Upgrades – Must haves

When your Ender 3 arrives, you are eager to put it together.  It doesn’t take long (See my live build for reference), and you have a spiffy new printer ready to go.  Then, you think, this is too awesome for such a little price.  There’s a catch, right?  I need to do some Ender 3 upgrades, right?  

Ender 3 with Mirror tile BedMy answer, is not really unless the bed is warped.  On mine, I had to put a glass (mirror) bed on.  You can purchase a 6 pack of mirror tiles at Lowes for $9.99 (12″x12″, and have them cut them down to size — ALSO: Make sure you get the NON beveled version). Now, I have a Tevo Tornado and CR-10s, so I had 2 mirror tiles cut down for the Ender 3, and left the other 4 full size for the other printers.  You can also purchase glass and have cut down, here is my article on that.  It’s functionally the same.  While I had this done at Lowes, I know that some Ace Stores and Home Depot stores do the same thing.  

I’m putting this in the must-have, since you really need a level bed to print well.

FLASHING THE BOOTLOADER — Seems fixed on latest releases.

UPDATE: If you have the latest version of the Ender 3 (purchased around January 2019, maybe late December 2018 and later) the firmware should have the temperature fail-safe enabled.  This isn’t a must-have, but you can use these parts to update your Marlin firmware if you want to change settings. 

One  large issue is that the Ender 3 needs to be updated with a newer version of Marlin to set up safety parameters.  It is a pretty simple process that I plan to talk about.  Right now, here are the parts needed (this will work for CR10 3D Printers as well, and probably other Creality 3D Printers like the Ender 2 and CR10 mini, as well.  

This is the cables needed to flash the bootloader, the card needed, and the power needed.  This video shows how to flash the bootloader. Product – 40pcs in Row Dupont Cable 20cm 2.54mm 1pin 1p-1p female to female jumper wire for Arduino Product – New 40PCS in Row Jumper Wire Dupont Cable line 3P-3P 2.54mm Male to Female 20cm Product – high quality One set UNO R3 (CH340G) MEGA328P for Arduino UNO R3 + USB CABLE ATMEGA328P-AU Development board

The Ender 3 Upgrades – Nice Printable Additions

I’ve put together a collection of Ender 3 upgrades on Thingiverse.  As I find new items, I’ll be updating this collection.  Considering the popularity of the Ender 3 this collection has skyrocketed in size over the past few weeks.  There are a number of upgrades available, but I am kind of partial to the Filament guides and cable clips to help keep the cables out of the way of the printer.  I’m planning on putting a fang fan on it eventually as well.  I’m also planning on printing a tool tray to go under the bed.

The Ender 3 Upgrades – Purchases

In this section, I am going to look at Ender-3 upgrades you can purchase.  My number one recommendation, is to get put together an Octopi computer.  Using an inexpensive Raspberry Pi and web cam, you can easily monitor your prints.  It also works to allow you to remotely fire off prints, if not at home.  

PTFE Couplers: These have a tendency to quit working fairly quick.  It is cheap to replace them, and have spares. 

I find the plastic parts of the Bowden to feel a little… flimsy.  It works.  I’ll leave it for now, but if you want to upgrade it, there is a nice aluminum upgrade (AliExpress) for it.  Don’t forget to screw in the 2 grub screws… like I did.  The filament wasn’t being gripped and I thought It was getting a clogged hot end.  Just a little pro-tip for you there.

PTFE tube: The Capricorn PTFE tubing is pretty much the best PTFE tube you can get for your printer.  Pick some up for when you need to replace your PTFE couplers.

Conico Smart Surge Protector: WiFi Smart Power Strip, with 4 USB Charging Ports and 4 Smart AC Plugs


I have an Amazon Echo and have gotten into home automation.  While its nice to be able to remotely start up and monitor your prints.  Being able to conserve a little power is even better.  A few months ago I picked up a WiFi smart Power Strip (AliExpress).  I can independently turn the power on or off for each outlet, plus, my Octopi servers can plug into the 4 USB slots on it.  It sits under my main printer rack.  If you only have 1 printer, and want to monitor its power usage, there is also the Wemo Insight Smart switch.  In my Ender 3 review, I’ll report how much power it uses.  

I notice the bed leveling is a little problematic.  I think the springs are a bit on the weak side.  I have ordered these springs to help strengthen the bed leveling pressure, and hopefully, the screws don’t back out as easily. I have found, since I added the mirror surface, and the prints pop off so easily when cooled, the bed has not had problems with losing its leveling. 

A lot of people put Stepper Motor Dampers ( AliExpress )on them.  I have not had the chance yet.  I have some for another 3D Printer I have not put on yet, and are not working.  I think I’ll be putting them on the Ender 3.  I’ll admit, I had troubles here, at least with the default 3D Printer.  I left them off mine.  

Since I monitor my prints remotely, I can either turn my light on and leave it on 24×7 (Get LED bulbs for this), or get some light strips to put on the 3D Printer.  Previously, I have used a long strip of LEDs, but those are kind of a pain.  These LED strips (AliExpress)come pre-wired, and honestly, are pretty much perfect for the Ender 3.  I also picked up a buck converter (AliExpress) to step-down the voltage to be able to run the light strip from the Ender 3 power supply.  (This mount fits them perfectly, as well)

Those are pretty much my upgrades.  There is only one must-have Ender 3 Upgrade in my book, and that is the glass plate, but you only need that if your bed is not flat.  (This is actually pretty common because of the aluminum width and heating element.  The Raspberry Pi is something I wouldn’t say is MUST HAVE, but it is really nice to have.  Everything else is more aesthetics or making it incrementally easier to use.

Nerys has also done a video on Ender 3 upgrades.  Check it out for other ideas.