451 of 464 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2013
I've got 6 Makerbot Replicators (5 Dual, and 1 Single extruder). I needed another (I run a small business) and wanted to look into the Flash Forge as a possible alternative. My primary goal was to make sure I got a 3D printer that would still be compatible with the files I've already got exported for the other bots to use. I didn't want to have to re-export all of my models, just for one bot to use.
I'll start out by saying that the Creator IS compatible with Makerbot's 7.2 firmware, Makerware, and .X3G files. Totally and completely. Plugged it in through USB with Makerware up, and it registered it as a Makerbot. No hiccups or problems flashing the firmware. It all just worked.
The machines are not identical, but they're very close. The Creator is obviously based on The Replicator, and a lot of parts are the same, or very very similar. The Creator's screen in the front is bigger, and brighter (it's blue with white text) and if you're lower than it, it's very easy to read, even from half a room away. However if you're above eye-level from the screen the viewing angle is crap and you have to bend down to read it. The refresh rate is also a lot lower, so you have to scroll slower to actually be able to read it.
The buttons on the Creator are really nice. I love that they're separate instead of one continued squishy square. I also love how the Creator's buttons are very 'clicky'. The Replicator's buttons are very soft and mushy, and sometimes I can't tell if I've pushed them or not, or accidentally let my finger slip to the side and then end up going back in the menu.
The build platform seems nice and consistently flat so far. At first I was worried that it wouldn't be very leveled, but I haven't had any problems with it. I've actually had more problems with one of my makerbot's that has a slightly warped platform in one corner. The Creator does NOT come with a roll of Kapton tape, however. So you'll definitely need to make sure you buy yourself a roll from somewhere. The build platform comes with tape already applied to it, but you'll need to change that out after a while, so get yourself some tape.
--- editing this bit -- My Creator came with MK7 nozzles instead of MK8 nozzles and I actually ended up replacing it with an MK8 that I ordered from Makerbot. However my friend got two Creator's about two months ago, and his came with MK8 nozzles, and they work beautifully, so I'm assuming they've upgrades since I originally bought my bot.
Overall, I'm happy. It's definitely a decent alternative, but I'd say it's slightly more finicky than the Replicators in some areas. Might need a bit more love and attention, so it might not be quite as user-friendly.
Also, there are enough differences around the Extruder area that the mods out there (like the baring and spring replacement for the craptacular Delrin Plunger feed mechanism) won't work as they are, and you'll have to make modifications to get them to fit and attach properly. --edit-- It actually appears that they redesigned the plunger area so it actually mimics the barrings mod that I prefer to use on my replicators, so... good on them! This is a definite improvement --/edit--
Oh - one other difference is that the Creator doesn't have all the fancy LED lights all over the place, like the Replicator does, but this is honestly a feature more than anything else. The LED arrays in the Makerbots are notorious for causing electrical shorts, which cause the fuse capacitor on the Mightboard to blow, requiring a replacement of the whole darn board. Creator got rid of the LEDs all together, and I think this is good because it reduces the risk fo shorts and static zaps.
Anyway, I've only had it a few days, but so far I'm satisfied.
The spool holder is interestingly different - gives greater room for different spool sizes, but it doesn't hold them on very well, so you've got to keep your eye on it for the first few prints since it'll want to unravel and get tangled around the holder.
OKay, so now that I've had the thing about 5 months, I figured I'd update this.
I still like the Creator as a viable alternative. Although mine is actually down at the moment because of a blown x-stop cable.
I wanted to add in this because I know more and more people with no experience with 3D printers are looking into them. They are not end-user-friendly devices. This isn't like your average consumer-level machine where the thing just works without much tinkering. They break down regularly and you will have to replace parts. Over the last year, on all of my bots, I've gone through xstop cables, thermocouples, nozzles, replaced plungers with barring mods, replaced ALL of their heated build platform cables, replaced fans, and even had to replace one of the stepper motors. This is normal. It's true for Replicators and it's true for the Creator. (In fact, one reason to stick with an actual Replicator, over a Creator, is that they cover their machines under warranty, so when something breaks, they'll send you replacement parts for free.)
If you're the sort that's afraid to mess with a machine when something goes wrong, a 3D printer probably isn't for you. There's a reason that it was the DIY community that started this home 3d printer movement. The founders of this movement, and the people who drive it, are all tinkerers. Building the 3D Printers is just as much part of the fun as actually using them. If you think that sentence is totally mental, then 3D printers aren't ready for you yet. Wait a few more years until they get more end-user friendly.
However, if you're willing to try and learn, it's not really that hard. I was never much of a tinkerer, and definitely never could have imagined myself replacing a heated nozzle, or trouble-shooting the latest inexplicable problem, a year ago, and now I do it all the time. The learning curve isn't *that* high.
191 of 198 people found the following review helpful
on June 23, 2013
Amazon suggests a shorter reply but if you are going to spend 1300 dollars on something you probably want to know as much as possible. So will do this in point form, overall it does deserve a 4-5 star rating with the difference being how much fiddling you are willing to put up with for me I'm tolerant and I like the tweaking so it gets a 5.
Why I bought this printer:
- Price for a printer with two extruders could not be beat.
-- at the date I purchased, I stopped looking after I ordered
- Google groups showed some problems and company seemed to be addressing the issue as they came in a fair manner, and revising design
- Similar to makerbot replicator, other post here highlighted the differences
Why I almost didn't buy this printer
- Flashforge website is a bit of a mess seems there are two sites that link back and forth with one another
- One report of a shipping problem (how would I deal with that kind of problem being 12 timezones away)
Positive First thoughts
- Arrived well packaged, box wasn't beat-up to badly but it defiantly wasn't handled with kid gloves
- Was able to print in an hour or so of opening the box
- Printing something in 3d is defiantly something to watch the first few times you do it
- They emailed me the most up to date manual the day my printer was to be delivered, (a nice personal touch I thought)
- They include Spare parts (screws that will roll under something, molded plastic retaining hardware so it will still look stock if you accidentally break something )
Negative First thoughts
- Manual mentioned black screws to install extruder assembly there were no black screws in my package of parts, a screw length would have been more useful
- Some advice on how to prepare the print surface would have helped
- Clear example of how to do your first print may help someone who hasn't researched skienforge/ makerbot/ maker ware/flashforge
Positive a week later
- Firmware update scary but was easy (sailfish firmware was worth the update)
- Dual prints work well (although I still have to figure out deprime settings)
- Happy to find makerware works to generate Gcode
- Still lots of filament left despite heavy use the first few days
- I feel comfortable enough to start a print and go to bed now
- I was happy to find the makerbot replicator design files on thingiverse, so claims that this is built from an open source design were easy to confirm. It makes me just that little bit happier I bought this one.
- The flashforge team really put a good device together, branching off an ok design and getting it just right, it really works just out of the box.
Negatives a week later
- Weaknesses appear to be in software it is almost all open source so not FF fault
-- It's always improving but if you don't have the patience to deal with software updates, non ideal workflows and several different ways to do things, maybe wait to get a 3d printer
- My only faults in dual prints are the other colour oozing out of the extruder (again likely software configuration/proper use issue)
- I have some issues with warped bottoms on larger prints; however use of fresh kapton, a wash of acetone/leftover plastic seems to work well for me if I need a perfect print.
- PLA printing (CLOSED see addendum)
-- Seems to be fixed in later printers
-- Not sure if my printer is in the "fixed" or" partially fixed" batch not an issue for me right now. However I would like to see the Level of effort to make the fix. I think it's just to replace the nozzles but I am not sure.
well that's my review hope it helps someone sitting on the fence one way or another
- its been almost 5 months now still runs like a champ
- flashforge sent me an upgraded extruder so in theory i can print PLA, i need to get around to trying that out but news on the forums says it works fairly well
-found printer travels well if you add plexi glass panels... everything you need piles into the printer and a box making it easy to bring it some where to show.
- software is a little better. but that combined with unchecked models on thingiverse is still the cause of most of my failed prints.
- had to replace the x-axis end stop wire with the included one (again 20 min of my time so no big deal just scary when it failed that's all )
- i am not printing every day (but i never expected i would be running 24/7)
(also fixed some typos above)
80 of 81 people found the following review helpful
on August 20, 2013
My third 3D printer. I have a cupcake, highly modified Thing-O-Matic and now this one. This is a clone of the MakerBot Replicator. I normally would not support a company that sold a copy of a product but since you can no longer get a Replicator from MakerBot this was the best alternative. I have no interest in the Replicator 2, I believe the original Replicator design to be a better printer.
So I ordered this late Thursday night and it arrived at my doorstep on Tuesday morning via FedEx. It was very well packaged, no damage to anything.
Here is all you need to do to get up and running;
Switch the power supply to 115V.
Attach the extruders using the two shortest silver screws found in the hardware bag. Attach the spool holders, put spools of filament on. Install the two black plastic filament guide tubes in the plastic clips found on the back of the machine.
That is it for assembly. Do not forget to switch the power supply to 115V.
Next download MakeWare and install it. The Flashforge instructions tell you to use RepG but you can use MakerWare instead - it will be easier. In MakerWare you need to tell it that you are using The Replicator (dual). Once you plug in the USB cable and it connects you will be able to upload new firmware. Currently the latest is 7.2 and it has worked perfectly so far.
Then level the build platform and load the filament into the extruders. There are built in utilities for both of these.
There is also a program under utilities for calibrating the extruders. Use this to dial in the offsets for the dual extruders, mine was slightly off.
Comes with two full spools of filament, black and white (not natural)
Some spare parts are included such as several screws, nuts, fuse, thumbscrew for leveling the platform, linear bearings, a three foot long cable (for limit switches I think), belt, fan, and the plastic clip used for securing the filament guide tube.
2GB SD card included
Easy to set up - first print was flawless.
Much support available since nearly all Replicator tips, upgrades or solutions will also apply to this machine.
Arrived in less than five days.
Works with MakerWare
The fan that cools the mainboard is mounted on standoffs which tend to vibrate, there is a gap between the fan and the floor of the machine. A glob of hot glue securing the fan to the panel helps a bit. I will probably replace it with a quieter fan.
Right extruder nozzle a few thousandth higher than left - I will need to adjust it.
Buttons frequently register a double press - getting used to it.
Somewhere there is a loose fastener, I can hear it vibrating when printing but cannot locate it. Has no negative effect on printing.*
* The noise was coming from the Y axis rods. I loosened their mounts and retightened while holding a little pressure outboard. This small adjustment was enough to eliminate the rattling.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2013
Ok, as an electronic engineer, tinkerer, and inventor, I have put together many prototypes and mock up designs with existing enclosures and it showed.
So, I recently decided to go ahead and get into 3D printing in the hopes that I can put together more professional mock ups and prototypes. I then went into research mode looking at every possible 3D printer, the features, price, and reviews from other users.
The Makerbot Replicator quickly popped up as a MAJOR player with alot of very happy users. However, I choked on the price and kept looking. When I found the Flashforge Creator, I was skeptical and wary to purchase, until I read through the customer reviews. I quickly noticed that this product had a 4.7 out of 5.0 rating and the
vast majority of the reviews were not just positive, but glowing.
Well, that didn't sell me and I kept looking.
Eventually, I came back to the Flashforge Creator. Since I freely admit I am a MAJOR rookie when it comes to 3D printing, I decided that this product was the best overall 3D printer for my needs and went ahead and ordered it.
I placed my order on August 16th, 2013, and it shipped on August 19th 2013.
My 3D printer arrived on August 22nd 2103 with a total of 6 days from order
The printer arrived already calibrated and functional and within 1 hour, I was
able to test print a file provided on the SD FLASH memory chip that came with the
There are a few burn marks on the exterior of the Aviation material used to house the printer, must be from cutting the pieces. Cosmetic, not a big deal for me.
There was no printed assembly instructions and a bill of materials for all the parts that were included. I would be willing to help Flashforge put together these
The printer power supply came preset to 230v, which is clearly marked to be careful about and check. I understand the printer had to be tested and calibrated using that voltage, however, to prevent returns for U.S. customers, I would have my Q.C. people switch it to 110v prior to packing.
Other than that, I am giving this printer a 5.0 review because it WORKS GREAT !!!
Which, after all, is what I need most of all. Wouldn't help to have a product that looks good but doesn't work well.
I plan on sending an email directly to Flashforge with a few of my minor recommendations and let them know how pleased I am with my decision to purchase
the Creator instead of the much more expensive competitors.
67 of 79 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 2013
We received our unit in the mail from China yesterday. We received prompt and quick service and any questions were quickly answered. The unit appears well designed and the pressed wood panels are better in my opinion then if they were produced in plastic. The paneling is more for looks than structural strength anyway. It took us awhile to figure out how to properly configure and calibrate the base plate and extruder. The Replicator is based on an open source hardware design and uses a community based and maintained software suite. This can be somewhat frustrating during the learning curve as the community is constantly updating the software and its associated companion programs and they don't always play nice together. Sometimes this doesn't go smoothly. However, before too long we were on our way printing our first article, a small whistle with moving ball inside. It actually printed the ball inside the whistle one layer at a time, then closed up the case of the whistle. Its quite interesting to watch it work. A great investment for children to learn the basics of mechanical 3D structures and rapid prototyping. And yes, the customer service was much better than many of my American experiences.
Update: We have had this for awhile and still printing things out. We have had an issue with the display. One of us shocked the unit (The unit sits on a table in a carpeted room)and caused some digits to quit working. The company was nice enough to send us a replacement, but I managed to damage that one too. I would add some ESD protection to the display interface. At any rate one thing I may suggest is that I think the unit does need to be tested for FCC compliance part 15 and have a certificate placed on the unit.
52 of 61 people found the following review helpful
on September 1, 2013
I've been very happy with my printer. I've put at least a dozen spools of filament through the printer since I've gotten it, and in general, it's printing capabilities are superior to my original cupcake.
Since this is a few generations past my old printer, I expected the engineering to be a little farther along then it was. I'm not complaining, just expect the usual amount of maintenance to keep the printer going. Belts will need tightening. Nozzle's will need to be removed and cleaned. Extruders will need to be taken apart periodically. And lots & lots of bed leveling. I'm surprised it isn't discussed more in the reviews, but the printer looses it level after just a few hours of printing, and the springs are so tight it takes quite a lot of work to get it back into tolerances enough to finish a print.
I thought one of the advantages of a prebuilt printer is it would be built in such a way that the amount of maintenance (like the UP! plus 2) would be reduced, but that is not the case here. Since I didn't build the printer, I had to kind of reverse engineer some of it's aspects to take it apart and fix it... you won't find any detailed documentation on fixing even the most basic of problems with the printer.
If what I described was the only issue, this would be a 4 star printer. I reduced it another star because it's almost impossible to get replacement parts. Since my printer is well out of warranty, I've been emailing back and forth with the company and getting replacement extruder / hotend parts. Often emails will go unanswered for days, if not weeks. My printer has currently been idle for the last month, emailing back and forth (including me sending them photo's of the parts I wanted to buy!). I'm still waiting for them to send me some kind of PO so I can order what I need (two weeks and counting!). Very, very frustrating. Luckily, I have two other printers, but if I didn't, I would likely replace the parts with more traditional reprap parts, and change the design to something that is better supported with parts and a user community.
If you are looking for a first ready-built printer with a minimum of fuss to get into 3d printing, I would look at the new UP! Plus 2. That printer is built like a tank, and has built in bed leveling / nozzle height capabilities, a large community of users, multiple places to buy spare parts and a warranty 4x that of this printer.
If you are already familiar with 3d printers, and are comfortable doing your own maintenance, including finding replacements, this is still a good printer, and a good deal.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on November 11, 2013
We own a small manufacturing business that makes special sensors. Using lathes and milling machines we make up sensor housings
as needed. A long time ago we wanted to purchase a 3d printer for the model shop, but the cost and technology at the time was
too expensive for just a few parts. We decided this year to look around for a 3d printer and found the FlashForge on Amazon.
The reviews were good and the price well withen the budget. The purchase was completed and the printer arrived in about a week.
I will not get into how to setup the printer and create a part in this review as these procedures are already outlined in
To make a long story short, we printed our first part 3d from a .stl file created with Alibre (be sure the defaults are in
metric first) in a very short time period. The printer worked perfect. We made an additional twenty six parts
that first day with no issues.
We decided to use this printer in the design lab and purchased two more FlashForge dual printers for the production area.
The assembly department can now make the part needed on the build sheet by selecting a stored file on the local SD card
that the design lab made up using replicatorG.
This printer enabled us to start working with 3D additive printed parts and will complement the subtractive technology we
currenty use in the machine shop. 3d printing is not for all parts and you must learn how to make parts that will be
cost effective for the 3d printer to make.
-->We give this printer high marks and very happy with the purchase and service from FlashForge.
Something to think about is to purchase some spare parts directly from FlashForge (talk to Tang), if you plan on using
the printer in a production environment.
We have found out over the years that if static, power surges or some other issue causes down time on a piece of
equipment, it is far less expenisve to have the spares in stock than to ship out the damaged equipment for repair.
47 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2012
I have no experience with 3d printers so I have nothing to compare it to. That said this printer has exceeded my expectations. Within an hour of starting to use it I was printing my first object. After that I made a test design in sketchup and was able to print it as well. My son has been downloading designs from thingiverse like mad and printing them, he even printed an object that clips on to the printer to help feed the filament.
The company was great to deal with, kept in touch with me and answered my questions promptly. Even though this shipped from China I got it in a week.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on November 15, 2013
5 stars for the fantastic shipping. I was printing in my house 4 1/2 days from ordering. Wow
5+ stars for the product
5+ stars for the support
I was somewhat leery of the laser cut wood frame before I ordered but I must say it is incredibly sturdy and well built. I've waited so long to rate product because I'm an absolute newbie to 3D printing and wanted to understand alot more so I would have a better understanding before I rated it. Everything about this printer is very well made. Any little problem I had was either me or the very nature of 3D printing. In some instances the Creator has improved upon the Replicator from which it was based.
The customer service is way above average. Mr Tang actually promptly responded to my emails and sent me a new nozzle which I myself ruined. Somehow some of my firmware settings had been changed and wouldn't work properly. Mr Tang analyzed my problem and sent me the correct settings and detailed instructions.
I can't think of anything that would make me not the highest recommendation possible. I'm truly pleased
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 2013
After having this item a few weeks, and about 20-30? usable prints (not counting test prints), I feel its time to write a small review (possibly updated later) about this product.
Packaging was nice and it arrived on time. I was able to set it up and do a test print within an hour. It printed very well at the default settings.
I noticed that the left side of the unit had some slight warping to the wood on the bottom left front corner. No big deal, appears to be cosmetic only because the machine is still very stable.
After several prints and tests I found that the print bed may be ever slightly warped, but it is so slight that it does not appear to cause any issues. You MUST level the bed for every print, and make sure you preheat the bed before leveling. That is how I get the most consistent, nice, and well bonded prints (extruding at 225). I also stopped using a piece of paper and use a business card for my leveling and it prints much better. I am printing at .2 resolution and all the prints have been nice, I have had 2 failures out of 20 or so prints. Both of the failures were directly attributed to the print not sticking to the bed.
The kapton will have to be replaced very soon, it has some slight bubbling and reflects in the prints. When printing with a raft everything comes out nicely, but I prefer to print without the raft for a much smoother part. I will be placing a glass bed soon and running tests on that to see if it is a viable alternative to the kapton. Kapton is pricey! (50 bucks a roll here on amazon as of this writing)
This past week I started to have an issue with the display showing random characters, or blanking out during prints. I emailed the company and "tang" responded quickly several times with concern and suggestions to test. The display is working properly again (I have no idea what happened) and I am very impressed with his quick customer service! The display issue could be attributed to the models themselves, but I am not sure. My home-grown models I have started printing have no display issues at this point.
I am unsure of how hard it will be to get replacement parts that will be needed down the road, so I cannot comment on that factor.
Overall I am rating this 5 stars at the moment simply due to the fact the machine prints very well, excellent and fast customer service, and pricing vs other 2000 dollar or more machines. This is simply superior for the price from my limited printing experience.
If I have any more issues or updates I will be sure to post them so you can make an informed consumer decision!
I would definitely buy this product again, even with the very minor issues it has. I may even buy another down the road as my needs grow.