FlashForge Creator X 3D Printer Full Review
I’ve had the Flashforge Creator X 3D Printer for about over a month now, and it’s about time that it warrants a review. This printer is a dual extrusion 3D printer and print a volume of 20 cm in the x direction, 15 cm in the y direction, and 15 cm in the z direction. When you open the box you’ll notice that it seems to be a copy of the Megabot, and it even has the same firmware and uses the Megabot software when designing prints on the computer. While I’ve never personally used the Megabot, based on the reviews I’ve read it performs very similarly.
FlashForge Creator X Vs. Flashforge Creator Pro
The main advantage of the Flashforge Creator X over the previous Flashforge Creator Pro 3D Printer is the build platform. On this platform, it’s about 7 or 8 cm thick, where it was just a thin sheet on the old one. The plate on the old printers tended to warp a little bit once the printer has been warmed up and cooled down a couple of times. This means you have to frequently replace the heat bed. After having the X version for about a month now, the bed is reasonably straight. However, I still noticed that the print bed was very slightly warped, maybe by a few tenths of a millimeter. This amount is so small that fortunately it won’t disturb any of the prints. Furthermore, another advantage is that it’s all metal framing. The sides are also closed which allows heat and any sort of printing fumes to be maintained within the printer. You do not need to worry about this – none of the material that is emitted is dangerous to your health. Finally, when printing, the Creator X is a lot more silent than the old one. Adjustments were also upgraded, with four front screws on old build plate with only 3 on the new one, making it a bit easier to adjust. Apart from that, the extruder and the linear railing is the exact same, along with the software and the firmware.
In order to get the FlashForge Creator X up and going, all that was required was to install the two extruders that came in the box. This was as simple as inserting two screws. It also comes with a CD that aids in installation, but instead I decided to go with MeshMixer and Makerware due to their easy-to-use interface. Keep in mind that when you use the Makerware software, the printer will be recognized as a MakerBot Replicator 2X. This will not pose any problems with configuration, but is simply labeled as such. If you have the original Creator model, you should know that every once in a while it had to be tightened due to its wooden frame. The Creator X is metal so this isn’t necessary. Tightening and overall calibration will be much less frequent. One issue I noticed that during startup is that the heads tend to force themselves a bit upwards through the top of the machine. I read through a few forums and found out that this is due to a sensor that happened to move out of place during shipment. Simply put it back into place to resolve the problem. FlashForge comes with excellent support as well if you ever need to contact them.
Turning It On
When you first turn on the Flashforge Creator X is the somewhat loud fan underneath the printer along with a nice LED strip inside the printer that makes it easy to see your prints when printing.In fact, you can even choose the color of this light, but I prefer to leave it white to allow for the best viewing experience when looking at the printer in action. The light indicator located on the back of the inside panel is blue when the heat bed is cool and red when it is hot, allowing for a nice safety feature so that you don’t burn your hands when removing finished prints. You can see the two extruders mounted on the inside railing with a fan for each. The filament is placed through the top from a spool mount found on the back of the unit. I personally prefer this since it’s out of sight and makes it a bit prettier to view, but of course this doesn’t have any effect on performance. There are two spool mounts, and I prefer to use black ABS tape. I put a zip tie to tighten the wires a bit more since they tend to fall during printer. The printer reads SD cards, but it can also connect to your computer via USB. The printer works with either 110V or 220V outlets, and you’ll be able to find power settings on the sticker on the back of the printer.
In order to start printing, you can use the LCD screen on the front panel along with the control knobs to start. When you first get ready to print, it will take about 15 minutes for the heat bed to head to about 100 degrees celsius. The LCD monitor also informs you of the heating progress, so you know just about when it’s ready to begin printing. This is great if I want to watch a print since I can leave and come back and continuously check when it will begin. When the printing begins, the heat bed pulls close to the extruder and begins printing in a web-like fashion, continuously going back and forth to ensure that every part of the print is getting covered. I was quite amazed at the speed of the print, but I have to admit that other printers tend to be a bit faster. However, you’ll more than likely have to spend one to two thousand more in order to get any faster. For the price that the FlashForge Creator X comes at, the speed is definitely more than enough to get your money’s worth.
In order for testing, I purposely cancelled my first print after the first layer was done in order to test the quality, and you can see this in the image below. The first thing I noticed is that the inside of the product was a bit rough, but everything on the edges was incredibly smooth. If I had allowed for printing to continue, it could be the case that the insides would smoothen out a bit more. This didn’t bother me since anyone using the product is only going to want to see the outside, but in terms of durability I could see that it could play a small factor. Nonetheless, I was just happy that the prints weren’t hollow. Shortly after I did a finished print and I was quite pleased with the results. For those experienced with 3D printing, you’ll find that sometimes you have to sand the finished product once the printing is done. The Flashforge Creator X was no exception, but overall it was fairly smooth and good enough for most purposes. It could be touched up with a bit of sanding, but in comparison to most 3D printers out there it’s definitely not as noticeable and great in terms of quality for the price you’re getting. I ended up printing a fan mount as my first product that’s placed on the extruder, and I had no trouble inserting it inside of the printer. This allows the printer to cool down quicker and prevents warping.
The FlashForge Creator X 3D Printer is a little bit more expensive than most beginner 3D printers, but not without good reason. While it’s not the best in its class, if you want to get something sharper you’ll end up spending thousands more. For a starting printer with good quality, this is a perfect choice if you’re looking at something that you want to last a long time. The MakerBot Replicator 2X for example is $1,000 more and isn’t that much better in terms of quality, although it is an improvement. And last but not least comes the warranty. You’ll be given a performance guarantee with after-sale support for 3 months that becomes effective immediately after receiving your printer. Any defective or missing parts will be replaced at no cost to you.