Ender 5 S1 review
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Creality Ender 5 S1 Review: Fast 3D Printing with Limitations

Creality Ender 5 S1 Review Summary
CONCLUSION
The Ender 5 S1 is a capable 3D printer with a number of excellent features. However, its cantilevered bed design limits its print quality and makes it more difficult to produce consistent results. For the best results, we recommend you lower the acceleration settings.
WHAT WE LIKE
  • Powerful extruder
  • All-metal hot end
  • High-temperature print bed
  • Impressive print cooling
  • Superb cable management
  • Practical handles
COULD BE BETTER
  • Cantilevered bed has limited stability
  • Stock acceleration settings are too ambitious
  • No PEI-coated bed
  • Short power cable
  • Missed opportunity for CoreXY
Features
Build Quality
Print Quality
Ease of Use
Value
OVERALL
3.5
GOOD
CHECK CURRENT PRICE

Fast 3D printing is focused on more and more nowadays. From the increasing popularity of CoreXY and Delta 3D printers to the release of standalone Klipper pads like the Sonic Pad, there’s a clear interest in shortening 3D print times.

The Creality Ender 5 S1 is one of the latest offerings from the Chinese manufacturer that promises typical printing speeds of 120 mm/s and maximum print speeds of 250 mm/s. If delivered, these numbers would put the Ender 5 S1 in the upper echelon of fast 3D printers.

Whether that is the case is something we’ll explore in this review. You’ll also see us delve into all the other aspects of the machine, because speed is not everything and there are plenty of other 3D printers you can choose from.

So let’s get started and see how this 3D printer fares!

Unboxing

Compared to the size of the Creality Ender 5 S1, the box is relatively small. It’s no surprise then that there is a good amount of assembly involved with this 3D printer.

You’ll find that the components are packed in three separate foam layers inside the box. It makes everything a bit easier to unbox. Altogether, you’ll find the following:

  • Ender 5 S1 frame base
  • X/Y frame assembly
  • Cantilevered bed assembly
  • Bed support bracing
  • Z-axis assembly
  • Aluminum profiles
  • Diagonal bracing
  • Spool holder
  • Cable management components
  • Small spool of filament
  • Various 3D printing accessories
  • Various tools for assembling the 3D printer
  • Bolts for assembling the 3D printer

It’s a good number of parts and more than what you would find in a more traditional open-frame 3D printer.

That’s not to say that the Ender 5 S1 is difficult to put together. Most of the parts come pre-assembled, and compared to previous Creality 3D printers, the instructions are more clear and more concise.

There are still a few important setup steps missing, so check the details below if you plan on buying the Ender 5 S1.

Getting Started with the Ender 5 S1

As pointed out above, the Creality Ender 5 S1 assembly instructions are reasonably clear. You still want to pay extra attention to several details.

  1. Make sure to correctly arrange the vertical profiles. Doing this incorrectly can lead to having to take the 3D printer apart again halfway through the assembly. It’s similar pitfall as what we encountered in our Snapmaker 2.0 review that can lead to a lot of frustration.

  1. Don’t tighten the bottom bolts of the vertical profiles until you have secured the top assembly. This will make it easier to align all frame components before securing them in place.

  1. As always with Creality’s machines, make sure to tighten the belts and eccentric nuts before you start 3D printing. The company often omits these steps from the instructions, but they are essential for getting good results.

The Ender 5 S1 does not have easy-to-use thumbscrew belt tighteners and some of the eccentric nuts are more difficult to access. So make sure to factor in some additional time for these steps.

Ender 5 S1 Features

Sprite Extruder

The Creality Ender 5 S1 uses the same “Sprite” extruder as we have seen on the Ender 3 S1 series. It comes with dual drive gears and a 1:3.5 gear ratio, resulting in a claimed push force of 80N.

In practice, it is sufficiently fast and powerful for high-speed 3D printing. Especially when combined with the Ender 5 S1’s all-metal hot end, which we’ll discuss in more detail below.

Compared to the Sprite extruder of the Ender 3 S1 series, the one on the Ender 5 S1 is rotated on the Z-axis by 180 degrees. This means that the stepper motor is facing backward and positioned directly over the X-axis, offering a better weight distribution of the print head.

Creality has also added a reverse Bowden tube from the spool holder to the direct drive extruder. This gives the filament a good path to move through and eliminates the risk of the filament catching on something inside the 3D printer.

A new improvement over the previous iterations of the Sprite extruder is a rubber strain relief for the ribbon cable. Before, we’ve only seen Creality use a more rigid plastic strain relief.

The rubber strain relief has more give and should increase the durability of the extruder ribbon cable. The extra flexibility also makes the cable easier to insert in the strain relief during assembly.

Also different from the stock Sprite (Pro) extruder is the cold end heat sink of the Creality Ender 5 S1 print head. It looks to have a slightly larger surface area that can provide better heat dissipation.

In theory, this can reduce heat creep and provide a sharper transition zone. In practice, we did not notice much improvement. Mainly because we haven’t run into any issues with the default Sprite extruder in the first place.

A more practical reason for Creality to use this type of heat sink is that it allows the nozzle to reach the build plate. With the stepper motor mounted above the X-axis, the stock Sprite heatsink does not provide the necessary length for the nozzle to reach the bed.

All-metal Hot End

Also different from the stock Sprite (Pro) extruder is the hot end of the Creality Ender 5 S1. While it is still an all-metal hot end that can reach 300°C, just like on the Sprite Pro, the Ender 5 S1 heater block is significantly beefier.

This should increase temperature stability, and it is possible that Creality has combined this upgrade with a more powerful heater cartridge to help support the demands of high-speed 3D printing.

The larger heater block also comes with a different nozzle size. Compared to a typical MK8 nozzle, the thread is 4 mm longer.

The added thread length helps with heat transfer to the filament but can make it more difficult to source replacement nozzles.

Compared to the Ender 5 Pro, the 300°C maximum nozzle temperature of the Ender 5 S1 is a welcome addition. In combination with the 110°C bed temperature limit and the optional enclosure panels, this makes the Ender 5 S1 much better suitable for 3D printing with high-temperature materials.

Print Cooling

The print cooling of the Creality Ender 5 S1 is something that we are impressed with. The powerful 50x50x15 mm blower fan with a dual-sided fan shroud makes quick work of cooling the extruded filament.

One of the few weaknesses we noted in the stock Sprite extruder is its poor print cooling. Its small 40x40x10 mm fan sucks warm air from above the print bed, leading to sub-optimal print cooling, especially when 3D printing rapidly.

The Ender 5 S1 addresses this problem by mounting a larger fan on the back of the print head. Along with a fan duct that better guides the airflow to the nozzle from multiple directions, this results in much better print cooling performance.

The duct is FDM 3D printed, presumably in ABS. Despite its complicated geometry, we couldn’t detect any issues with poor-quality overhangs or warping.

Automatic Bed Leveling

To help compensate for unevenness in the print bed, the Ender 5 S1 uses a CRTouch bed leveling probe. Even though we have seen this probe a lot in Creality’s other new releases, it is a new addition to the Ender 5 line-up.

The CRTouch probe works as it should. We do not have any negatives to point out, but there is nothing special about it either. In practice, it performs the same as other probes, like the BLTouch and inductive probes.

A hot end mounted piezo sensor would have been superior for reducing print head weight, but these are not typically used in mass-produced 3D printers. They might not be feasible at this price point either.

Print Bed

The print bed of the Creality Ender 5 S1 measures 220×220 mm and is capable of reaching up to 110°C. As mentioned above, its temperature makes it compatible with a wide range of filament materials.

Its print area is standard and sufficient for the majority of users. We would have liked to see a larger bed, but based on Creality’s history it is likely that they reserve this for the Ender 5 S1 Plus.

As the removable print surface, the Ender 5 S1 uses a flexible PC-coated plate. In our experience, this type of surface wears out relatively quickly, and we would have preferred to see a PEI-coated build surface instead.

Again, it’s likely that Creality reserves this for one of the other models in this line-up, namely the Ender 5 S1 Pro. It’s the same approach that Creality has taken with the Ender 3 S1 series.

It is interesting to see that Creality has used rubber grommets instead of regular springs for manual leveling.

Because of the inherent instability of the cantilevered bed (more on this later), you want to avoid extra movement in the print bed as much as possible. These rubber grommets do exactly that.

They still allow you to adjust the bed height but offer a much more stable platform during 3D printing. Their downside is that they have less ‘give’ if the nozzle crashes into the print bed, so you might want to be extra careful with that.

FIND CREALITY ENDER 5 S1 AT

Ender 5 S1 Build Quality and Construction

Build Volume

With a 220x220x280 mm build volume, the Ender 5 S1 falls a bit short compared to the older Ender 5 Pro. It’s not a big difference in practice, but if you were hoping for a bump in build volume, you will be disappointed.

If you are looking for a large 3D printer, there are plenty of other options to consider. You might also want to wait for a potential Ender 5 S1 Plus. Similar to the Ender 5 Plus, it would probably have a larger build volume, but this time with all the S1 features (Sprite extruder, CRTouch, etc.).

Motion System

We are a bit disappointed that Creality has chosen a traditional Cartesian system for the Ender 5 S1. While it is one of the simplest systems to work with, it is also one of the worst in terms of attaining fast print speeds and high print quality.

As it is now, the weight of the X-axis stepper motor adds a lot of extra inertia that can cause ringing and other problems.

For better results, we would have loved to see a CoreXY system. This would fix all stepper motors to the frame and reduce the amount of moving weight.

Not only would have allowed for much higher print speeds, but it would also have resulted in better print quality. 

In the same spirit, linear rails would have been far superior to the V-wheel setup that Creality picked. Linear rails are more accurate, have less friction, and are just generally easier to work with. Not to mention they are more durable.

While V-wheels are the more budget-friendly option, we don’t feel like they are a good pick for a performance-focused 3D printer like the Ender 5 S1.

Frame

The 2040 + 2020 aluminum extrusion frame of the Ender 5 S1 is fairly rigid and a standard choice for a 3D printer this size. It is the same size frame as the rest of the Ender 5 series. We would have liked to see a bit more reinforcement in key areas, however. 

For example, we would have preferred to see a longer aluminum brace across the entire diagonal. The included plastic braces are better than nothing, but they are small and not nearly as rigid as aluminum.

Something like this

It’s an upgrade that is fairly easy to do yourself, but it is not a desirable thing to have to do on a brand new 3D printer that is marketed toward fast printing.

Whether this is absolutely necessary, we are not sure. In our testing, we did have to turn down the default acceleration from 3000 mm/s² to 2000 mm/s² to avoid vibration issues. But part of this is caused by the cantilevered bed design, which we will discuss below.

Creality offers optional panels that help insulate the 3D printer and provide a better environment for filaments like ABS, ASA, and Nylon. Depending on how these are mounted, these can also provide extra rigidity to the frame.

So while the frame rigidity is not terrible, it does feel sub-par relative to the printing speeds that the marketing promises.

Cantilevered Bed

The main issue that we have with the Ender 5 S1, is its cantilevered bed. If you’re going to make a high-speed 3D printer, this setup comes with serious limitations.

Cantilevered beds are only supported on one end of the Z-axis, which makes them very easy to deflect. This can cause all sorts of problems, from print quality issues to prints failing halfway through.

Especially on tall 3D prints, an example of which we will show you below, the deflection can be quite severe.

The good news is that this can be limited by reducing print speeds and accelerations, but that kind of defeats the purpose of having a high-speed 3D printer in the first place.

What we can give Creality credit for, is choosing 12 mm linear rods for the Z-axis. In our experience, this is the minimum diameter to go for with a cantilevered bed. 8 mm or 10 mm thickness simply doesn’t cut it.

For a high-speed 3D printer, however, a dual lead screw setup, like on the Ender 5 Plus, would be vastly superior. A triple lead screw system would be even better, but that’s out of the question for a 3D printer in this price range.

The plastic bracing under the bed platform is helpful too. But just like with the plastic frame bracing, we would have preferred to see some kind of aluminum solution for extra rigidity.

In short, the cantilevered bed is the biggest weakness of the Creality Ender 5 S1 and something that you will have to take into account if you are considering this machine.

Print Head Cover

The print head of the Ender 5 S1 is covered with a metal shield, which feels a bit overkill.

If Creality added the shield for aesthetic reasons, a plastic version would have been just as effective. With the main goal of high-speed 3D printing, the added weight of the metal shield is better avoided.

On the other hand, if the shield is there for safety reasons (e.g. avoid fingers in fans), a small fan guard would do just the same. Even though the boxy frame already does a good job at keeping fingers away from the print head.

So we don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t just remove the shield and run the Ender 5 S1 without it.

Electronics

As we are used to from Creality, the Ender 5 S1 comes with a 32-bit 3D printer controller with an ARM STM32F401 chip. It’s the exact same board that comes with the Ender 3 S1 series.

This also means we’ll soon see support for Klipper firmware with the Ender 5 S1 on the Sonic Pad. Whether that will work out is something that we are curious to see.

The main reason for our doubts here is that Klipper’s Resonance Compensation and Input Shaping might have a hard time compensating for the shortcomings of the cantilevered bed.

While the X- and Y-axis ringing frequencies are easy to measure with an accelerometer, the behavior of the bed deflection might be impossible to take into account.

We look forward to testing this when the Sonic Pad has official support for the Ender 5 S1, so stay tuned for that.

For driving the stepper motors, the controller board uses four Trinamic TMC2209 drivers. They provide silent operation and come with the latest features, like SpreadCycle and StealthChop2.

These are good drivers, but we would have preferred to see them set up in UART mode to make use of features like Linear Advance and sensorless homing.

While you can manually rewire the drivers to UART mode, this is something that we would really like to see out of the box.

Wiring & Safety

As far as the wiring and safety aspects of the Creality Ender 5 S1 go, it’s all up to standard. There’s proper grounding, strain relief, and crimped instead of tinned wires, which is good to see.

All wiring is clearly labeled too, which makes it easy to find your way around if you need to do any repairs or upgrades.

Similarly, the cable management of the Ender 5 S1 is great. All wires are kept close to the frame through the use of plastic clips and tie wraps. It’s more than enough to avoid any interference with the moving parts.

The only thing of note is that the power cable felt a bit short at times. The power input port is placed far forward on the machine, so if you place the Ender 5 S1 near the front of your desk and run the power cable over the back, you might not have enough length to reach an outlet without adding an extension cord.

Of course, if you have a dedicated 3D printer table with built-in power sockets, this won’t be an issue. But we assume most people will be running the Ender 5 S1 on a regular desk or table.

FIND CREALITY ENDER 5 S1 AT

Ease of Use

Touch Screen

Your main interaction with the Ender 5 S1 will be through the 4.3-inch color touch screen on the front of the 3D printer. It’s a similar, if not identical touch screen as is used on the Ender 3 S1 line-up.

It has good enough colors and contrast and responds quickly enough to the touch.

Just like on machines like the Ender 5 Plus and Artillery Sidewinder X2, the screen is embedded into the 3D printer. This gives the machine a sleeker look and reduces assembly time, but does make it slightly more difficult to troubleshoot any issues with the touch screen, if necessary.

User Interface

The user interface of the Ender 5 S1 is straightforward and easy to use. It’s based on the same UI that Creality has used with their other recent touchscreen machines. So if you’re familiar with that, you’ll feel right at home.

The most in-depth settings you can configure are things like maximum speed, acceleration, jerk, and PID settings. It’s enough for most users, but for more, you will have to flash custom firmware.

An improvement we noticed in the UI is that we can now long press to rapidly change the Z-offset. It’s a small change, but not having to repeatedly press for every increment is a nice addition.

At the same time, there are still things that can be improved. For example, it is easy to accidentally click the ‘Home Z’ button when setting the Z-offset. Because the Z-homing sequence takes a while, it can be frustrating to have to wait for it to finish when you didn’t even want to home Z in the first place.

Input/Output Ports

The Ender 5 S1 comes with a full-size SD card slot and a USB-C port. Both are convenient, as you don’t have to work with small TF cards or flip the USB cable twice before you can insert it.

What we’re not a fan of is the fact that all ports (including the power input) are mounted on the side of the 3D printer. It makes them harder to access and more difficult to keep the cables tidy and out of the way.

Print Quality

Cat GCode from SD Card

The default cat Gcode that comes with the Ender 5 is meant to be a demonstration of the machine’s capabilities. Overall, the print quality is okay, even though the default acceleration of 3000 mm/s² seems to be a bit too high.

There is some strangeness going on at the bottom of the 3D print, with several layers showing inconsistent extrusion. Creality has told us that this is a firmware bug that will be fixed.

Tall Tower

To test the stability of the cantilevered bed, we decided to stretch a calibration cube to the maximum print height. From the results, it is clear that Z-banding increases the taller you go.

It’s not something that’s unique to the Ender 5 S1, as most cantilevered bed 3D printers have a similar issue. But it’s something you should be aware of if you’re planning on printing tall objects like these.

Bottom
Middle
Top

Zombie Hand

Since it was Halloween, we decided to test the Ender 5 S1 with a spooky print. This Zombie hand turned out great.

Despite being printed without supports, the overhangs are near flawless and it is clear that the print cooling works well. The amount of detail in the model is excellent too.

Just like with the previous model, there is some Z-banding visible in the taller section.

Ender 5 S1 Specifications

Ender 5 S1 Specs
Price Creality (US/UK/EU) | Amazon
Build Volume 220x220x280 mm
Leveling Method Auto-leveling with CR-Touch
Nozzle Diameter 0.4 mm (standard)
Layer Thickness 0.05-0.35 mm
Precision ±0.1 mm
Typical Print Speed 120 mm/s
Max. Print Speed ≤ 250 mm/s
Nozzle Temperature ≤ 300 °C
Bed Temperature ≤ 110 °C
Filament Compatibility TPU, PLA, ABS, PETG, ASA, HIPS, PC
Screen 4.3″ LCD Touch Screen
Rated Power 350 Watts
Input Voltage 100-120V~, 200-240V~, 50/60Hz
Power Loss Recovery Yes
Filament Detection Yes
Slicing Software Creality Slicer, Cura, Simplify3D, etc.
Languages 中文, English, Español, Deutsche, Français, Pусский, Português, Italiano, Türk

Verdict: Is the Ender 5 S1 Worth Buying?

Taking all of the above into consideration, we feel like the Ender 5 S1 is not an easy purchase at its current $559 price. While the 3D printer has a number of excellent features, it also falls short in key areas.

The most glaring issue is its cantilevered bed. At high accelerations, it simply doesn’t provide a stable enough platform to produce high-quality results. To get around this, you would have to lower the acceleration settings, which in turn increases your print times.

With that in mind, we think the Ender 5 S1 is still a good 3D printer. Its high-temperature printing capabilities, rigid frame, and enhanced print cooling can be worth the premium for some users.

If you don’t need those, you might as well go with the Ender 3 S1. It has a practically identical build volume and many of the same quality-of-life features as the Ender 5 S1 but costs $160 less.

Alternatively, if you have the time and resources to tinker and upgrade your 3D printer, the Sovol SV05 can be a great choice. With a construction similar to the Ender 5 S1 but a less modern feature set, it’s a great foundation on which you can build. Especially for close to half the starting price.

Creality Ender 5 S1 Review Summary
CONCLUSION
The Ender 5 S1 is a capable 3D printer with a number of excellent features. However, its cantilevered bed design limits its print quality and makes it more difficult to produce consistent results. For the best results, we recommend you lower the acceleration settings.
WHAT WE LIKE
  • Powerful extruder
  • All-metal hot end
  • High-temperature print bed
  • Impressive print cooling
  • Superb cable management
  • Practical handles
COULD BE BETTER
  • Cantilevered bed has limited stability
  • Stock acceleration settings are too ambitious
  • No PEI-coated bed
  • Short power cable
  • Missed opportunity for CoreXY
Features
Build Quality
Print Quality
Ease of Use
Value
OVERALL
3.5
GOOD
CHECK CURRENT PRICE

  • Tim

    Tim is the founder of Clever Creations. He is passionate about building, repairing, and anything DIY related. When he is not busy writing about these topics, you can find him in his workshop.

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