New Toy in our LAB – 3D Printer

Flash Forge Creator

Updated 12 Dec 2014

Flashforge recently changed the design of the nozzle of their printer. The new nozzle is bigger. It is claimed that the new nozzle helps reduce clogged nozzle. Although, this may be true, the new nozzle also results in noticeably much poorer print quality. We regreted buying these new-nozzle-printers and would not recommend to anyone at all. It is time to find a new quality 3D printer.

 

 

Although, a little late in the game, we just acquired ourselves this new 3D printer manufactured by a Chinese manufacturer Flash Forge.

We plan to use it to make enclosures for our electronic boards and other useful components.

Why this printer?

  1. High positive rating on Amazon.com (100+ 4.5 stars votes)
  2. Not too expensive
  3. Large user community (this printer is based on the original open source hardware Makerbot Replicator)

First Trials

We printed the white structure for this image processing car navigation project.

car04

car03

car02

 

The printing process.

printing03

printing01

printing02

The verdict

Like

1. Can make parts in house versus nothing at all.
2. Low cost (machine + materials).

Don’t Like

1. Slow printing.
2. Difficult / time consuming calibration (Platform leveling) (a lot of improvements in leveling mechanism can be done here, e.g. semi-automatic adjustment). Proper platform leveling directly affect if the printed model stick to the platform. If there are too much gap between the platform and the nozzle, the print will not stick to the platform. Too small gap, the print is pressed to hard on the platform and the nozzle is blogged.
3. Holes and uneven surface may appear here and there on the work. (final sanding recommended if good finish is desired).
However, all in all, it is worth it. We can now make 3D parts. Better than nothing at all.

 

Useful Tips

1. Settings for white PLA

    • Nozzle temperature: 210 deg C
    • Platform temperature: 50 deg C
    • Feed (Extruding)/Travel speed [1]: 50/80 for great finish.

2. 45 degree inclination angle allows hanging part to be printable without support. A extremely useful technique.

3. Printing on vertical side (bottom to top) provide nicer finish than horizontal side (left to right).

4. Give a log of thought about how to print in layers from bottom to top, applying technique number 2 and 3 above together with dividing parts into smaller parts, and using interlocking mechanism can be help produce very nice looking finish job.

5. Transparent PLA seems to give better finish and tolerance than white PLA.

6. The original Makerbot Replicator reference.

7. The MakerBot Replicator – Maintenance: Short video summary.

8. How to upgrade the firmware.

 

Interesting sample projects

  1. Magic Screw
  2. Locked Dovetail Triangle

 

Some projects that we do

Our collaboration with Saint John College team to make a robot arm controlled with FiO Boards.

Robot Arm

 

 

References

  1. http://3dprintboard.com/showthread.php?491-Flashforge-3D-Creator-forum
  2. http://www.ff3dp.com/#!notes-for-pla-users/c1uwu