The future of 3D printing is sweeping toward advanced solutions that deliver speed, stability, and lower operational costs. These second generation devices run quieter, dissipate heat faster, and output objects with more detail than ever before. Additionally, the technology is no longer reserved for the engineer and the first-time adopter of hard to learn filament fabrication. In short, there’s a 3D printer for every skill level, and anyone can build a high-quality result with a little practice. The Flashforge Creator Pro is one of the devices taking point in this home fabrication movement. The device is built solid and contains enough features to hold the attention of any 3D print hobbyist.
Design and Build Superiority
The enclosed metal frame that surrounds the print chamber of the Flashforge Creator Pro is an obvious indicator of the manufacturer’s intent to upgrade the previous model. Gone is the wooden chassis and the ensuing leakage of heat and noise. The new metal chassis eliminates noise pollution and seals in heat while minimizing vibrations that would otherwise compromise the precision of the print heads. The look is smoothly finished, but it’s also highly functional, lending additional stability to the compact form-factor. Next, a super-clear acrylic panel fills the front of the device. The clear display allows a keen observer to watch an object being deposited from raw ABS or PLA plastic, with the process falling under a soft blue LED light. The light spills from the clear panel, making the process look that bit more professional and magical.
The Control Interface and Software Requirements
Yanking eyes away from the engineering sorcery of 3D printing for a moment, a user can see the state of the current operation on a bright LCD panel. It’s positioned just below the acrylic panel, and a collection of soft-studded buttons lay to the right of this LCD readout. From here a user can assign tasks to the dual extruder assembly and gauge the progress of each function. The software at the heart of the machine speaks to the axis-guides and print head through a highly versatile iteration of open source ReplicatorG or MakerWare, but there’s an SD memory card slot and a USB interface for hooking up the device to a PC. Compatible systems include Windows, Mac, and Linux, which covers the majority of the home computer user base.
Cubify CubeX Duo vs FlashForge Creator Pro
|Cubify Cubex Duo||FlashForge Creator Pro|
|Maximum Build Dimensions||9” x 10.75” x 9.5”||8.9” x 5.9” x 5.7”|
|Connectivity||SD card / USB||SD card / USB|
|Layer thickness||Minimum 100 microns||100 - 400 microns|
|Material||PLA / ABS||PLA / ABS / Dissovable Natural PLA|
|Positioning precision||x and y axis +/- 1% of object dimension |
or +/- 0.2mm (0.008” / 200 microns)
whichever is greater
z axis +/- half the processed z resolution
|2.5 microns on Z axis
11 microns on X/Y axes
Inside the Print Chamber
At 320 x 467 x 381 mm in overall size, the Flashforge Creator Pro has enough capacity to build prototypes, hobbyist items, fun copies of 3D computer models, and replacement components, though the actual working space covers a slightly smaller area of 320 x 467 x 381 mm. As mentioned earlier, the fabrication delivery mechanism is optimized to draw upon ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) or PLA (Polylactic acid), two popular thermoplastics that exhibit slightly different fabrication characteristics. They’re loaded on spools, and feed through the dual-extruder at a respectable 30 – 160 mm per second. The flat aluminum plate and the high-quality assembly of guides and rods makes z-axis movement very precise, leading to incremental deposits of 100 – 300 Micron thick layers. The result of this precise layering process is enhanced resolution when creating those detailed 3D models from a computer program.
Featuring dual-spool feeds, a steel chassis and an aluminum plate for quickly dissipating excess heat, the Flashforge is capable of producing high-quality objects quickly and efficiently. The design minimizes jitter, building thermoplastic designs from a dual extruder head that features a 0.4 MM diameter nozzle. Quality builds come to life in the print chamber under a cool blue LED light, with the extruder assembly adding options for creativity and artistic flare. Use two colored plastics or assign separate tasks to the extruder for the ultimate in versatility. The Flashforge Creator Pro weighs 50.2 lbs, is competitively priced, and comes with a 4GB SD memory card loaded with software. You can get a great deal on FlashForge Creator Pro here.