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- Modern mainboard features
- Auto bed leveling
- Large online community
- Has touch screen
- Easy to assemble
- Direct drive extruder
- Huge build volume
- Wireless printing
- Linear rail motion system
- All-metal hot end
- Dual gear extruder
- PC build surface adhesion can be too much
- High price tag
About the Creality CR-M4
The Creality CR-M4 offers one of the largest build volumes available on a consumer FDM 3D printer, at 450 x 450 x 470 mm, and offers a number of upgraded features that we haven't normally seen on machines of this size. Most notably, the CR-M4 includes Creality's Sprite direct-drive extruder, which we've been very pleased with on our other 3D printers. It's paired with a volcano-style hotend that can heat up to 300°C, which improves the printer's ability to print at higher speeds or with larger layer heights, which can drastically reduce printing time for larger models. This combination also means the CR-M4 can print almost any common 3D printing filament type, including flexible filaments such as TPU and high-temperature filaments such as nylon. The CR-M4 also includes Creality's network and cloud printing capability, which means you can monitor and control the printer remotely from a phone or computer. You also have the option of storing gcode files on a USB flash drive rather than the microSD card used by most other Creality 3D printers.
Benefits of the CR-M4
Modern mainboard features - Many 3D printer features relate to the version of the mainboard and firmware, including features like resuming prints after a power failure and support for silent stepper motor drivers for quieter printing. Newer boards also include safety features like thermal runaway protection which shuts the printer down if it detects issues with overheating.
Auto bed leveling - auto bed leveling will ensure your prints have perfect first layers every time and greatly reduce issues with bed adhesion. When using an auto-leveling system, the probe allows better tolerances for slightly warped print beds by measuring and compensating for any inconsistencies. Without this feature, you'll need to adjust the bed level manually using nuts on each corner of the print bed.
Large online community - A large online community is important when it comes to any questions that come up as you learn how to use your 3D printer. A larger community typically means that you'll be able to find answers already posted to the most common questions, and you'll be able to find slicing profiles and printable upgrades online.
Has touch screen - having a touch screen isn't a deal-maker or breaker, but it is a convenient feature that makes it easier to navigate the interface when you are printing files and configuring 3D printing settings.
Easy to assemble - This 3D printer is shipped with most of the parts pre-assembled, and you will only need to attach a few components and connect a couple cables in order to get the machine ready to print.
Direct drive extruder - Direct drive extruders are mounted right above the hot end, and push the filament directly into it, as opposed to a side mounted bowden extruder setup. We prefer direct drive extruders to bowden since they are less prone to jamming and typically require less maintenance. they also are much easier to use with flexible materials
Huge build volume - This printer has one of the largest build volumes in the consumer market, and will provide the most options in terms of printing large parts. While this can be very useful for certain applications, the large footprint of these machines makes them hard to fit on a desk, so we only recommend going with a 3D printer of this size if you really need it
Wireless printing - In addition to the standard USB and SD card connections, you can connect wirelessly to this printer to print from your computer or mobile device.
Linear rail motion system - Linear rails provide added stability to the moving parts of the printer, allowing higher printing speeds without sacrificing quality. Keep in mind that the most important factor to consider when optimizing for print speed is the flow rate of filament, which depends on the hot end and nozzle size moreso than the motion system.
All-metal hot end - An all-metal hot end allows for printing at high temperatures up to 300C, while standard hot ends are capped at 260C before the PTFE material begins to degrade. All-metal hot ends are also less susceptible to jamming, and do not degrade as fast.
Dual gear extruder - A dual gear extruder grips filament from both sides and can exert much more force on the filament before slipping. It helps with all filaments but especially with flexible, slippery TPU.
Disadvantages to consider
PC build surface adhesion can be too much - The PC coated bed offers great adhesion, but removing parts, especially those with large first layers, can be difficult. Fortunately, it is very easy to swap the bed for a PEI coated bed, which offers much easier part removal. We do recommend keeping the PC bed for use with anything that has an intricate first layer and needs the extra adhesion.
High price tag - While this printer includes a lot of premium features, they come with a price. This printer is one of the more expensive consumer printers, and may not be worth the cost if you are willing to sacrifice some of the high end features.
Where to buy the CR-M4
Brand Summary: Creality
Creality is a well-known brand that offers a wide range of consumer 3D printers across all price points, from budget to higher end models. The Ender 3 is credited with originating the budget 3D printer market. While other brands now produce lower cost clones of the Ender 3, Creality remains the most established Chinese manufacturer of 3D printers. Creality uses off-the-shelf components and standardized aluminum extrusions on many of their printers to reduce costs, making their printers easy to repair and upgrade. Their official online community forums and manufacturer support are limited, but support can be found on communities on Reddit and Discord.