The Ender 3 Pro is one of the most popular entry-level FDM printers on the market, known for both its quality and affordability. But some people needing to make large prints may wonder if the Ender 3 Pro’s printing area is big enough.
What is the usable printing size?
Creality advertises that the Ender 3 Pro’s print area is 220 x 220 mm.
This is the same as that of the original Ender 3.
You may have measured yourself though, or read somewhere, that the build plate is actually 235 x 235mm, meaning that about 12% of its space is left unused. The print area is actually limited in software from going too close the edges of the print surface.
With the original Ender 3, the print area was likely limited to prevent the print nozzle from hitting the binder clips that were used to secure the print surface to the heated bed. But this shouldn’t have been an issue with the Ender 3 Pro, as it is magnetically attached and doesn’t require the use of clips to attach the print surface.
It’s possible that Creality didn’t want to bother using separate firmware for the Ender 3 Pro or wanted to keep the safe area buffer to keep prints from the edge of the printing surface.
Is there any way to use the full print surface?
Unfortunately, the 220 x 220mm max printing size is a part of the firmware loaded onto the Ender 3 Pro. This means that you can’t just set a larger print size in your slicer of choice.
The good news is, the Ender 3 runs on what is essentially a version of firmware called “Marlin.” By using installing the latest version of Marlin firmware yourself, you will be able to set up a larger max print size on your Ender 3.
In addition to installing different firmware than what’s included, there are some sites selling extender kits for Ender 3 printers, which actually increase the physical size of the printer. For example, this site is selling extender kits that let you increase the printable area to 400 x 400mm.
Wondering whether you should buy the Ender 3 or Ender 3 Pro?
We wrote up a comparison to help you decide: Ender 3 vs Ender 3 Pro