Upgrading a CR-30 Belt Printer

I’ve been working on upgrades to a CR-30 with the goal of better / faster print quality and higher temps with access to more materials. For a first pass, I’m using parts I’m familiar with and have on hand:

E3Dv6 Hot End (or clone)
Hardened Steel Sharp Nozzle
40mm fans
SKR v1.3 / SKR Mini V2 / BigTreeTech RRF control board
USB / buck converter to power the Pi

The still-in-progress printable parts needed are in this Onshape document.

I’m also using a Pi-Zero-W as both a GCode sender and as a web-cam. It provides a live feed and also takes snapshots at each layer of a print and can generate a time-lapse when a print is done. This is using still-in-development code from the GridBot project.

This is the end-state:

Sample print quality after the upgrade:

And snapshots of work leading up to this:

I will update this as I make more progress

Quick update. I switched the control board back to the SKR v1.3 – I just like it better.

Here is the bracket I made for it. It’s in the linked Onshape document above

And it looks like this with the board installed

And with the updated case fan bracket and USB Buck Converter in place

All back together again with a new blue USB cable to the PI Zero W

1 Like

I replaced the hot end with one based on a Volcano, and … WOW. Heats up fast. Incredible prints.

I had to create a new fan mount variant which is also in the above linked CAD models.

parts for the upgrade:

hot end kit: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0751BMYJB
50W heater: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08H4QXSM5
thermistor: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Y4NYMSN
silicone tape for heat block (found in a drawer)


Upgrades continue. Yesterday, the X rail went on:

which meant a new bracket

parts came off

Y rails go on today. More details soon…

Y rails and new head complete

1 Like

Love your project.
I’m getting ready to upgrade my CR30 motherboard and X Y to closed loop sensors to the steppers. I was wondering about the what you had to do to get Marlin configured for the CR30 / advice about upgrading motherboard.
FYI - the reason for my upgrade is layer shifting sucks on 20+ hour prints. I upgraded my sapphire core XY and the layer shifting went away.

welcome @ecobra … the Marlin most people have switched to is here

Release Marlin - CR-30 · CR30-Users/Marlin-CR30 (github.com)

I haven’t experienced layer shifting with the stock board or the SKR. But I have noticed that layer banding is often caused by a combination of:

  1. uncalibrated bed PID
  2. over-constrained heated bed which then bulges in the middle
  3. running the bed really hot exacerbates (1) and (2)

As of now, I have one CR-30 running Marlin on an SKR v1.3 and one running Klipper on the stock Creality board. Both of these give me nozzle pressure management, which is key.

Possible easier fixes for layer banding are

  1. run PID calibration on the bed
  2. loosen 5 of 6 heated bed bolts (leave the leading center tight)

First thank you for your response. I will look into that your recommendations.
When I talk about layer shift I am referring to a cm shift probably due to a nozzle drip. PXL_20210531_141020195
When I added the closed loop to my other printers XY steppers the cause still happened, but the machine compensated and the print came out well with just a single bump / defect.
To put the closed loop parts in I need to bypass the stepper motor drivers, so I need to upgrade the motherboard and I just happen to have an SKR 1.4 laying around to do that.
Again thank you for the time and sharing of knowledge it is appreciated.

I have found that belt printing is much more sensitive to flow rates. Over-extrusion leads to dragging of the part, nozzle interference, and eventually a shift of print failure. It also just happens with some filaments with stringing, oozing, or other artifacts. Because the belt flexes, any perturbation of the part results in rocking and possible freeing of the part from the belt.

I initially upgraded my board to get Marlin’s linear advance. And this did help. But I put Klipper on my second CR-30, and it has been far better with nozzle pressure advance at eliminating the need for retractions, reducing print time, and improving print quality.