For this build, as the title suggests, we will be using a Creality Ender 3 Pro as our base. I have written before about the Ender 3 Pro printers (here and here) that I have, but here is a bit of information about why I like this particular printer. The Ender 3 Pro features a sturdy frame that is made of aluminum extrusions. The frame is easy to assemble and disassemble, which we will be doing the latter, but that will be for another post.
The BIGTREETECH E3EZ Manta Mainboard is a 32-bit control board designed for use in 3D printers. It features an ARM Cortex-M4 CPU with a clock speed of 120 MHz, offering higher processing power and more precise control than 8-bit or even slower clock speed 32-bit boards. My other Ender 3 Pro inspired printers are running the 32-bit Creality 3D Printer Ender 3 Silent Motherboard V4.2.7. It is a solid motherboard, and I have had no real issues with it. The Silent Motherboard V4.2.7 that I have been running, as I have mentioned in a couple recent posts (here and here), are using a custom-configured Marlin v2.0.x firmware. Out of the box, the Manta E3EZ runs Smoothieware firmware, but, we won't be using that, nor will we be using Marlin, we will, instead, be using Klipper.
One of the key features of the E3EZ Manta board is its use of EZ2209 stepper motor drivers. These drivers offer advanced features such as stealthChop2 for silent operation, spreadCycle for dynamic current control, and stallGuard4 for stall detection. This allows for smoother and more precise movement of the printer's axes, resulting, in theory, in higher quality prints. The Silent Motherboard V4.2.7 uses TMC2225 stepper motor drivers; these are much quieter than the HR4988 used on the 8-bit motherboard that originally shipped with a stock Ender 3 Pro.
In a previous post on BIGTREETECH's CB1 compute module, I mentioned BIGTREETECH's Manta E3EZ board as being a great combination for 3D printing. Even though I have a CB1 from the previous review, felt strongly that it would be a good choice, we will, instead, be using a SOQuartz compute module. Here is a quick run down on the SOQuartz. The SOQuartz module from Pine64 is a powerful single-board computer designed for embedded systems and IoT applications. It is based on the Rockchip RK3566 SoC, which features a quad-core Arm Cortex-A55 processor running at up to 1.8GHz, along with a Mali-G52 2EE graphics processor. The module being used for this project comes with 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM and and will be paired with 16GB of external eMMC storage. It also features a wide range of connectivity options, including Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.0, and support for up to two displays with resolutions of up to 4K@60Hz via HDMI and DisplayPort. Other features of the SOQuartz module include support for up to four USB 3.0 ports, a 40-pin GPIO header, and a dedicated AI accelerator for machine learning applications. With its high-performance specifications and versatile connectivity options, the SOQuartz module is a promising option for a wide range of embedded and IoT applications, like using it with a BIGTREETECH Manta E3EZ. The E3EZ will support just about any Raspberry Pi CM4 form factor. Why the SOQuartz? I have a strange adoration for things-Pine64. I like their boards and compute modules, I also love their Pinecil soldering iron (which happens to be powered by a RISCV processor). I have two ROCKPro64 single board computers running as network file storage on my home network; one even has four 10TB drives running in a (software)RAID5 configuration.
Let's get down to brass tacks and look more holistically at this project. We have already discussed the use of an Ender 3 Pro as our starting point, and using a BTT Manta E3EZ for control + Klipper; what else is going to be used? The following a list of parts, printers, primer and paint for this project.
Some of this was unnecessary. I did not need to buy two Ender 3 Pros, but the first one I bought was missing frame components and the second one's listing on eBay had photos of the actual contents. The second one will also give me an ample supply of spare parts for the other Ender 3 Pros I have in service. Other items that would be optional are the gloves, primer and paint. The intent is to use a caustic solution (like lye or Draino) to etch away at the anodizing on the aluminum. A coat of etching primer and then an off white paint job. So, what is the total of the above list? I'll just say that the total has crossed over into four-digit territory.
That's it for now. Look for parts two and three of this project build.