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The Best Ender 5 Upgrades and Modifications of 2022

By Marc Leo

Updated

Creality’s Ender 5 and Ender 5 Pro are popular for their low price, excellent print quality, fast print speeds, and large build volume.

While the Ender 5 can produce great 3D prints, there’s always room for improvement. The large community of users means there are plenty of options to get the most out of your Ender 5 3D printer.

Below is a list of our favorite Ender 5 upgrades and modifications. Some of the items can be printed for free on your 3D printer.

Ender 5 Build Plate Upgrades

Close-up-of-an-upgraded-print-bed-on-an-Ender-5

Undoubtedly, upgrading the print bed material is one of the most effective modifications you can make to your stock Ender 5 printer.

Creality does an excellent job of providing a good magnetic bed out of the box. However, after lots of printing, bending, and scraping, you will notice prints have trouble sticking to the bed.

Issues with the build plate can cause bed adhesion issues, failed prints, and PLA not sticking to the bed.

Here are some of our favorite print bed upgrades for the Ender 5 and Ender 5 Pro.

PEI Sticker

The simplest and arguably the most affordable modification is adding a PEI sticker to the stock magnetic build plate.

The sticker allows you to continue using the magnetic print surface and improves bed adhesion.

You might receive a PEI sticker for free when you purchase from some filament brands. Manufacturers like Overture include a new PEI sticker with spools of filament.

Buying filament from a manufacturer like Overture can provide you with several free PEI stickers on your Ender 5 or Pro.

If printing with a PEI Sticker, don’t use a scraper or razor to remove your prints from the bed. PEI stickers are soft and scratch easily.

But if you do damage the PEI sticker, they are cheap to replace or free when you purchase more filament.

Polypropylene Build Plate

Polypropylene build plates provide excellent bed adhesion for PLA filament, ABS, PETG, and flexible filaments.

One last nice feature to note about polypropylene build plates is that they tend to continue to have good bed adhesion even if they are dirty. Though we still recommend keeping your print bed clean for high-quality 3D printing.

Like the PEI sticker, most polypropylene manufacturers don’t recommend using a scraper or a razor to remove your 3D parts, as the sharp edge will damage the bed.

Tempered Glass Build Plate

Tempered glass build plates are exceptionally durable and rugged. The print bed material is thermally conductive, meaning it evenly dissipates heat through the build plate.

A tempered glass build plate provides the best build plate adhesion. If you’re looking for a smooth finish on the bottom layer, you’ll want to print on a tempered glass build plate.

Temporary glass beds are also the most versatile option, with a heat resistance of up to 400°C. With a glass bed, you can print virtually any material (PLA, PETG, ABS, Nylon, and PC).

Enclosure

An ender 3 v2 3d printer in a Creality enclosure

Like other printers in the Ender series, the Ender 5 and Ender 5 pro use an open-frame design. The open-air design lowers the cost of the printer but leaves your prints susceptible to air temperature changes.

Air temperature changes during the printing process can result in the warping or shrinking of the filament at uneven rates across layers.

Maintaining a constant air temperature is critical for producing high-quality 3D prints when printing with more complex filament materials such as ABS.

Our Pick
Creality 3D Printer Enclosure - Large
$76.49
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A 3D printer enclosure is a relatively inexpensive option to improve the printing process.

Creality sells an easy-to-assemble enclosure that provides consistent air temperatures while printing. The printer is lined with a flame-retardant aluminum film and has a see-through panel for monitoring your 3D printer, tool pockets, and a large door with a zipper.

3D printer enclosures provide an additional benefit – they reduce environmental exposure, limit dust settling on the printer, and reduce noise from the printing process.

Be sure to check the size of the enclosure, as Creality sells several different-sized enclosures.

Capricorn Tubing

Our Pick
Capricorn Bowden PTFE Tubing XS Series 1 Meter for 1.75mm Filament (Genuine Capricorn Premium Tubing)
$11.45 ($3.58 / Foot)
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Capricorn tubing is more than a cosmetic upgrade to a pretty blue tube. A Capricorn Bowden tube improves print quality by allowing for more consistent extrusion.

If you’re using an Ender 5 Pro, it already comes with a Capricorn Bowden Tube. However, the standard Ender 5 does not.

So what is it about this fancy blue tube that makes it so valuable?

Capricorn’s Bowden Tube is made out of a higher-grade PTFE tube which reduces the friction between the filament and the box.

The reduction in friction makes it easier for your extruder motor to control the extrusion of the filament and reduces friction between the filament and the Bowden tube.

Using a Capricorn tube also means you can lower the retraction speed and retraction distance.

Bottom line: A Capricorn Bowden tube results in more accurate prints, less stringing from 3D printing, and less clogging.

Bed Auto Leveling Sensor

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Creality BL Touch V3.1 Kit
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Manual bed leveling is tedious, no matter how often you do it.

Purchasing a BL Touch or CR Touch can add automatic bed leveling (ABS) to your Ender 5. An ABL automates your bed leveling process and results in perfect first layers every time.

Although the installation can be intimidating, Creality’s BLTouch kit has everything you need to add ABL without the headache. Creality has its own ABL, the CRTouch, which easily integrates with your Ender 5 and Ender 5 Pro.

By manufacturing their automatic bed leveling system, Creality fine-tunes the process at every step, allowing for seamless integration with your Creality machines.

Mainboard

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Creality V4.2.7 Silent Mainboard
$49.99
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The silent main board is one of the most popular upgrades to the Ender 5. Despite being an excellent, well-rounded 3D printer, the Ender 5’s main downfall is the squeaky, whining noises of the stepper motors when printing.

Creality offers a silent V4.2.7 mainboard at a reasonably low price.

The V4.2.7 board uses a more powerful 32-bit microcontroller and includes various safety features, including fuses, heat sinks, and dedicated connectors for BLTouch, CRTouch, and WiFi connectivity.

The upgraded mainboard uses more advanced stepper motor drivers and improved motor control techniques to achieve its silent motor characteristics. This all works to lessen the shutter in the motor, resulting in noise reduction and decreased wear on the printer’s stepper motors.

It might sound intimidating to swap out a whole mainboard, but Creality simplifies this process. The stock mainboard and the V4.2.7 have essentially the same layout. Upgrading the mainboard is as simple as unplugging all the connections on the stock board, disconnecting the board, attaching the new mainboard, and plugging them into the new mainboard.

If you purchase a mainboard built for the Ender 5, it comes preloaded with the correct firmware. Otherwise, you’ll need to update the firmware before you can print.

  1. Visit Creality’s downloads page.
  2. Navigate to the Ender 5 V4.2.7 firmware file.
  3. Download the folder and extract the .bin file.
  4. Save the .bin file to your SD card.
  5. Turn off your printer and unplug it from the power source.
  6. Insert the SD card.
  7. Plug in the printer and power it on.
  8. The display may be blank for 10-20 seconds as the new firmware installs.

That’s it! You’ve successfully completed the installation process for the V4.2.7 firmware. Now go print with your silent Ender 5.

Ender 5 Hot End Upgrades

Close up of Dario tightening the screws on the Ender 3 heating cartridge and ensureing the thermistor wire is connected

If you want to print more difficult filaments than PLA or ABS, you should upgrade the stock hot end to one capable of printing at higher temperatures.

Filaments like PETG, PC, and Nylon require higher temperatures than PLA and ABS. At the same time, the stock hot end may reach the required temperature, and the high-temperature damages the hot end.

The Dragonfly Hotend BMS by Phaetus prints at temperatures as high as 500℃ without issues. It’s a plug-and-play system that’s easy to install on your Ender 5.

Hardened Tip Steel Nozzles

Like other Creality 3D printers, the Ender 5 and Ender 5 Pro come with the standard brass nozzle. Although brass nozzles are very good at transferring heat to the filament, brass is a relatively soft material.

Brass nozzles are prone to wear and tear, especially when printing with abrasive filaments like wood, metal, or carbon fiber.

After many hours of printing, the filament will wear down the nozzle’s internal walls, slightly opening the nozzle gap from its calibrated size (typically 0.4mm). The wider nozzle leads to more filament oozing out of the nozzle tip.

Since the slicer settings can’t correct for the wider end, the filament will be slightly underfed, causing under extrusion

Whether you want to print with more complex filament materials or improve your printing consistency, upgrading to a hardened steel nozzle is best.

Hardened steel nozzles are more resistant to wear and last far longer than brass nozzles.

At under $20, they are a relatively cheap upgrade that can go a long way to improving the consistency of your prints and reducing wear and tear on your 3D printer.

Bed Strain Relief

Bed-strain-relief-bracket-on-an-Ender-5-3D-printer
(Source: derandi3d via Thingiverse)

The bed strain relief from Thingiverse is a cheap and easy way to extend the lifespan of your Ender 5’s heated bed.

Despite being an excellent printer and an excellent value, the cable management on the Ender 5 is an issue.

Specifically, the cables that power the heated bed are left unsupported, and the repetitive motion of the print bed during printing can loosen, break, or disconnect the wires. 

Printing a simple bracket relieves tension in the cables, reducing wear and tear. This neat 3D print mitigates the bending of the wiring so that the wires and your heated bed last much longer.

Tip: Use a zip tie to attach the cables to the bracket.

Direct Drive Extruder With Dual Gear

The Bowden-style extruder on the Ender 5 works great for 3D printing most filaments, including PLA, PETG, and ABS.

However, printing flexible filaments like TPU with a Bowden tube setup is challenging because of the long distance between the hot end and the extruder motors.

Upgrading to a direct drive extruder gives your Ender 5 printer more control over filament extrusion, prevents stringing, and allows you to print with flexible filaments.

Creality’s Sprite Direct Drive Extruder Pro has a compact size and an all-metal design. It’s a rugged but lightweight extruder allows you to upgrade your Ender 5 or Ender 5 Pro to a simpler direct drive setup.

The extruder uses a dual-gear setup to reduce issues with under-extrusion and provides more consistent filament extrusion.

But my favorite benefit of using a direct drive extruder with dual gears is how easy it is to change filaments. I’ve always found the process of changing filaments cumbersome on Bowden tube setups like the stock Ender 5.

But after upgrading to a direct drive extruder, I can swap filaments in under 30 seconds.

Bed Support

Best strain support 3D printed in blue filament on an Ender 5  Pro
(Source: jumpshoutmedia via Thingiverse)

The Ender 5 is built with a sturdy aluminum frame. But unlike the Ender 5 Plus, which has supports for all four corners of the print bed, the build surface on the Ender 5 and pro only has support at the back.

For the most part, the sturdy build quality of the Ender 5 means keeps the build surface sturdy throughout the printing process.

But on longer prints, vibrations and the weight of the part can create shifts in the build platform.

The Ender 5 bed support mod from Thingiverse supports the front of the build surface, keeping it sturdy during long and large prints.

Control Panel Back Cover

Control back panel cover for an Ender 5 printed in yellow filament
(Source: kilroy01 via Thingiverse)

The LCD screen on the Ender 5 model printers is pretty from the front. But the lack of a back cover feels like an oversight.

While it won’t impact your print quality, Thingiverse’s Ender 5 control panel back cover gives our printer a more complete look and feel.

Tool Clip

Tool clip mounted on an Ender 5 Pro with allen keys, wrenches, and clippers
(Source: TrigoKlei via Thingiverse)

If you’re like me, you’re always misplacing your tools.

That’s why I love the Ender 5 tool clip from Thingiverse.

The tool clip attaches to the side of the printer with space for the Allen keys, USB, scrapper, flush-cutters, tweezers, and wrenches. It keeps my tools in one place and cleans up my work area.

Spool Clamp

The spool holder on the Ender 5 works great, but the added wiggle room results in your filament spool falling off the rig. The 3D-printed spool clamp from Thingiverse is a simple attachment that prevents your filament spool from falling while printing.

Camera Mount

Wyze camera mounted on an Ender 5 Pro
(Source: FrogmanDave via Thingiverse)

Whether creating the ultimate timelapse or having a camera to view your 3D printer remotely, the Ender 5 Pro mount provides a stable platform for a Wyze camera.

The simple modification connects with two 4mm bolts and T-nuts. The camera mount is designed for Wyze cameras but works with any compact, lightweight model.

Cooling Duct

A gold filament printed cooling duct mounted to the bottom of an Ender 5 Pro extruder head
(Source: McGybeer via Thingiverse)

The 3D printed cooling duct is mounted underneath the hot end and increases print quality by directing the airflow from the cooling system to where your print needs it the most.

The cooling system’s design works with your Ender 5 to direct the cooling fan’s airflow without getting in the printing process. The print is raised 1mm to prevent accidental contact with your 3D parts.

Note: This system may not work with Ender 5 Pro models and is recommended for the standard Ender 5.