3D Printing in 2020: Beginner’s Guide to Ender 3 Upgrades & Mods

Isaac Fernandez

If you’ve done your Ender 3 first print and you’re excited to see what else your 3D printer can do, you’ve come to the right place. One of the most exciting things about this versatile 3D printer is that it can be used to upgrade itself, with a range of mods that improve or enhance the printer to make it easier to use.

Ender 3 Basics

Ender 3 Basics

It is a 3D printer that’s popular for a range of reasons including:

  • Great value- not the cheapest, but it offers more for the money
  • High quality, rugged framework
  • Ease of use
  • The ability to add modifications (mods) and upgrades

This last point has been one focus of a bustling community creating and sharing designs for prints that can be used to change the basic framework of the 3D printer itself. We’ve found some of the more useful Ender 3 mods and upgrades to help you get the most out of your machine.

The Best Ender 3 Mods

Ender 3 Fan Upgrade

As upgrades and mods go, this is one of the most popular. Why? Because the fan, which keeps the control board cool, sits directly below the build plate. That means it’s constantly at risk of collecting fragments of filament, which could cause internal damage to your device.

This mod allows you to print out a guard that protects the fan and, therefore, the internal electronics from debris and damage.

Ender 3 Extruder Knobs

There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with the extruder knob that comes as standard on the Ender 3. However, it should come as no surprise that the clever members of the 3D printing community quickly came up with a range of ways to make it more stylish or comfortable to use. Designs range from the simple extruder knobs to the outrageous (yes, that is a link to Master Yoda extruder knob), so just choose which matches your style!

Ender 3 Cable Chain

Not only is this a clever way to protect the various cables of the Ender 3, but it looks amazing too. This design allows you to use your 3D printer to create a link by link cable chain that clips around the cables to shield them while still maintaining flexibility.

Ender 3 Beeper Mute

The Ender 3 likes to let you know it’s there, normally with a loud and, to some, annoying beep. This has led to the very popular design of a small but perfectly formed beeper “silencer”, which reduces the volume of this beeping considerably. This print only takes ten minutes, so it’s a must for anyone who gets bugged by the volume of the beeps.

Ender 3 Upgrades

Ender 3 Upgrades

Some Ender 3 and Ender 3 Pro upgrades are more about adding pieces of tech to help you switch up your 3D printing projects. Here are some of the most popular right now.

Silent Mainboard

If you manage to get rid of the beeping, but you’re still concerned about the noise levels, it’s possible to get hold of a new mainboard, which runs a whole 12dB quieter than the original. This comes directly from Creality but is available at times through third-party vendors too.


Upgrading the power supply unit (PSU) of your 3D printer could be another way to reduce the levels of noise the machine makes while in operation. A new PSU could also save space, and a high-quality option like MeanWell will help ensure safety and avoid surges.

Raspberry Pi

For anyone who needs to go off and do other tasks while the 3D printer does its thing, remote monitoring is a must. Raspberry Pi works with OctoPrint to allow you to watch your print remotely and check for errors, record a print in time-lapse, and even restrict who has access to the 3D printer to adjust the settings. For detailed troubleshooting, OctoPrint also records data in real-time so you can see any fluctuations in temperature, for example.

You can even 3D print a case for your Raspberry Pi module to keep it safe – and looking cool!

OctoPrint Touchscreen

If you decide that the Raspberry Pi and OctoPrint is the way to go, then why not make it the most up to date set up ever and add a touchscreen in there? There are step by step guides online to help you achieve this – for less than you might think.

Ender 3 Direct Drive

One of the more advanced upgrades is to take your Ender 3 extruder and turn it from its Bowden set up to a direct drive extrusion system. Direct extruders push filaments directly into the hot nozzle, rather than feeding them through a Bowden tube first. Both have pros and cons, but many people want a direct drive extrusion system because it can allow the use of more types of filaments and needs a less powerful motor.

There are various ways to upgrade the Ender 3 to direct drive, each with varying costs and difficulties.

Dual Extrusion

Can you turn your Ender 3 extruder into a dual extruder? Dual extrusion is the ability to use multiple filaments within the same print, something which the Ender 3 doesn’t do straight out of the box. An Ender 3 extruder upgrade to make it do this is possible, but it requires a whole new control board and a whole lot of DIY. There are ideas online to help with this- but it’s not a task for beginners.

Get excited about the range of ender 3 upgrades and mods you can play around with, and start designing your next build today. 


The Ender 3 is a popular and easy to use 3D printer. There is a range of mods and upgrades to complement the basic unit and help users get the most out of it. We’ve found some of the best mods and upgrades around today.

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