Flashforge, located in Zhejiang, China, was founded in 2011 with a vision of designing and manufacturing reasonable priced, high-quality 3D printers for the home user. The company also has a US-based sales and support office located in the City of Industry, California plus a number of distributors in Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia.
With CE, FCC and RoHS certifications, you can rest assured that your printer meets health, safety and environmental conformity standards and restriction on hazardous substances set by the European Union along with electromagnetic interference standards established by the US Federal Communications Commission.
Manufacturing under ISO9001 insures your Flashforge printer was built under strict international quality standards.
With eleven different fused filament 3D printers ranging in price from $299 to $1999 plus a sterolithographic printer, Flashforge is working to establish itself as one of the premier consumer 3D printer manufacturers the world.
In this post, I review one of Flashforge’s most popular and top rated printers – the Creator Pro.
Creator Pro Overview
The Creator Pro is a fully enclosed, dual extruder 3D printer. The enclosed print chamber provides for better temperature control to improve your ABS print jobs and the dual extruders enable printing with multiple colors or multiple material types in the same print.
The heated aluminum build plate is a full 6.3 mm (0.25″) thick offering a solid, stable print surface that remains flat for more precise material deposition and the 227 mm X 148 mm X 150 mm (8.9″ X 5.8″ X 5.9″) build volume enables reasonably sized printed objects.
Overall machine stability is further enhanced with the steel support frame which is an upgrade over the wooden frame design of the original Creator Pro.
The removable top cover and side-hinged front door enable ready access to the build chamber and your print jobs. A nice feature of the top cover is its single-piece construction which eliminates assembly steps and adds stability to the cover structure.
An LED lighting system illuminates the build chamber making your prints clearly visible during the build process. Interaction with the printer is simplified with the angled LCD user interface screen and the built-in side handles let you move and reposition your printer with ease.
The Creator Pro is compatible with Simplify3D, Cura and Slic3r software but also comes complete with Flashforge’s own FlashPrint software which has both preset and adjustable print settings for novice and experienced users alike. Other features of FlashPrint include automatic print support generating and cut and print functionality which gives you the ability to divide larger print jobs into multiple separate components.
The printer comes with a standard 180-day warranty with expanded ProCare 6-month and 12-month warranties available for $250 and $450, respectively.
At $899, the Creator Pro is a competitively priced 3D printer with a number of features to get novice printing enthusiasts started and allow experienced printing enthusiasts to expand their skills.
Set Up And Operation
Unpacking the machine from the shipping container is a straightforward process supported with step-by-step instructions and photos.
After unpacking you will need to complete some basic assembly:
- Mount the extruder assembly to the X-axis gantry with two bolts
- Detach the filament cooling fan from the extruder assembly – two bolts
- Connect the cooling plenum to the end of the fan housing
- Re-attach the cooling fan to the extruder assembly
- Mount the filament spool holders to back of machine
- Secure filament guide tubes into clips on the back of the machine
Once your 3D printer is fully assembled, it is recommended that you level the print bed. This simple process involves turning the bed leveling thumb screws to move the print bed relative to the extruder nozzles so that the included leveling card just slides between the two. You are guided through the bed leveling process by a program on the SD card that comes with your printer.
Next you will load the FlashPrint software onto your computer from the included SD card or via download from Flashforge’s support site. The user manual includes comprehensive instructions for using the software to prepare your models for printing including explanations what the various printer settings do and how they will affect your print.
FlashPrint is as intuitive to use as other open source 3DE printer software such as Repetier Host.
A couple of added features of FlashPrint include Rilievo and, as stated above, Cut functionality.
With Rilievo, you can upload png, jpg, jpeg and bmp files into FlashPrint and have relief prints made from the images. The relief designs can then be printed into planar, cylindrical and conical shapes.
With the Cut feature, you cut and separate your model along X, Y, Z or custom planes to break up larger models into multiple pieces. This functionality will come in handy if you are printing an object that you want to have different colors in different portions of the object or if you have an object that is larger than your max print volume.
After completing software installation, you are now ready to print your first model.
Machine Dimensions: 526 mm x 360 mm x 550 mm (20.7″ x 14.1″ x 21.7″)
Machine Weight: 14.8 kg (32.7 lbs)
Frame Material: steel
Frame Enclosure: PVC
Build Volume: 227 mm X 148 mm X 150 mm (8.9″ X 5.8″ X 5.9″)
Layer Resolution 100~500 microns (0.0039″~0.019″)
Positioning Precision: XY: 11 microns (0.0004″); Z: 2.5 microns (0.0001″)
Filament Diameter: 1.75 mm (0.069″)
Nozzle Diameter: 0.4 mm (0.015″)
Compatible Operating Systems: Windows 7, Mac OS X, Linux
Connectivity: USB cable, SD Card
AC Input: 100-240 V, ~2amps, 50-60 Hz, 350 W
Software: FlashPrint, WiFi compatible
File Type: STL, OBJ
Comparable 3D Printers In Same Price Range
The most comparable printer to the Creator Pro is the Bibo2 Touch which has many of the same features as the Creator Pro.
In addition to dual extruders and a heated build platform, the Bibo2 Touch includes filament detection to automatically shut the printer down when you run out of filament.
The Bibo2 Touch also has a larger build volume than the Creator Pro but it lacks a steel frame and integrated transport handles.
All in all, the Bibo2 Touch and Creator Pro are very similar. I would recommend either of these machines if you are looking for a printer with dual extruders and a reasonably sized build volume.
- Dual extruders for multiple material options
- Beefy build platform provides stability for precision prints
- Large bed leveling knobs simplify leveling process
- Angled LCD enhances viewing and data entry
- Metal frame provides for sturdy construction
- Integrated side handles aesthetically pleasing and easy transport
- One piece top cover simplifies machine assembly
- Comes with 2 spools of filament
- Build volume not as large as competitor machines
- LCD screen a bit small
- No filament detection whereas similarly priced competing machines include this feature
- Spool holders designed specifically for Flashforge filament – 3rd party spools may not fit
I give the Creator Pro a rating of 4.3 out of 5.
- Price – 4
- Build Volume – 4
- Print Surface – 5
- Ease Of Use – 4
- Extruders – 5
- Construction – 5
- Warranty – 3
With the Creator Pro, Flashforge is bringing advanced 3D printing capabilities to the home user at a competitive price.
Flashforge’s quality standards, regulatory certifications and design upgrades demonstrate the company’s commitment to continuous improvement and customer satisfaction.
Design features such as the angled user interface screen, integrated transport handles and large bed leveling screws make this 3D printer very user-friendly. With minimal assembly and set up, you will be printing your first component within minutes of unpacking your machine.
If your budget permits, I recommend the Creator Pro as a great first printer or worthy option if you are looking to upgrade to a dual extruder system.
I invite you to post questions or comments below as well as any additional insights you would like to add if you have experience with using the Creator Pro or any other Flashforge 3D printers.
What will you create?
Jeff is a Mechanical Engineer, designer, maker and registered Patent Agent with a passion for and professional focus on 3D printing and additive manufacturing.