The FlashForge Creator X 3D printer is the new and updated version of the popular FlashForge Creator 3D printer. It is based on the wooden frame version of the Creator, but has many improvements.

3D Printing Primer

If you are new to 3D printing, get up to speed before reading my reviews. I have also created a 3D Printer Buyers Guide so you can easily compare all the different models and choose the right one depending on your budget and requirements.

My FlashForge Creator X 3D Printer Review

FlashForge Creator X Review - Dual Extruder 3D Printer

Whilst the old wooden frame Creator was a great 3D printer at a good price-point, the new version has a few improvements:

  1. A new metal frame is much more stable and is sturdier than the previous wood frame.
  2. The build platform has been improved and now uses a high temperature resistant aluminum plate. With a plate thickness of 6.3 mm, this guarantees a level platform which  doesn't warp during the heating process.
  3. The printing area is illuminated by LED lights, which is nice.
  4. The Y transmission axis is beefed up with corner fittings that keep the axis straight and make installation easier.

A Fine Update to the FlashForge Creator

Since the original FlashForge Creator is such a good 3D printer, I just had to review the new FlashForge Creator X. Note that I purchased my FlashForge through Amazon although it can also be purchased through the FlashForge American website.

When I received the printer, I noticed that it was packaged very well. 3D printers are high tech devices, so you definitely don't want your machine damaged during transit.

To get the FlashForge Creator X operational, all I had to do was install the two extruders which is as simple as inserting two screws. You also get a software installation CD, but I chose to use MeshMixer and MakerWare since it's very simple to use, especially with the dual extrusion. In MakerWare, this printer is recognized as a MakerBot Replicator 2X.

The original Creator (due to the wooden frame) had to be occasionally re-tightened. But since the Creator X has a metal frame, I wouldn't expect it to become loose since it's a lot more durable and stable than the wooden version.

Also, the addition of LED lights in the build area is a welcome improvement. It definitely helps viewing your model withouth having to use a flashlight to see how the build is progressing.

Includes Two Spools of Filament

You also get a few spare parts (screws etc), one spool of ABS filament and one spool of PLA filament. The included filament colors are random and I received a white spool and blue spool of filament. That's quite enough filament to start experimenting and printing your first few 3D models.

Initial Startup Issues

When I first powered on the machine and it started to go though it startup routine, I noticed that the heads wanted to force themselves upwards through the top of the machine. After some investigation (and reading the forums), the problem was that a sensor was moved out of place during unpacking. Pushing the sensor back into place resolved the problem and I could start printing.

Printing with ABS Filament

Printing with ABS requires a heated build plate. The ABS filament seems to stick well to the Kapton tape which is adhered to the heated build plate and I've had no problems with printing ABS. Make sure to buy an additional roll of Kapton tape, since the supplied Kapton tape will eventually wear out.

Printing with PLA Filament

Whilst printing with PLA doesn't really require a heated build plate, it certainly helps. Printing with PLA filament has caused a few problems since the material doesn't stick too well to the build plate with the Kapton tape. I just need to experiment with the correct build plate temperature, it's not a fault of this printer.

FlashForge Creator X Printer Dual Extruder Gallery

Using MakerWare instead of ReplicatorG

I'm a big fan of using MakerWare (since I also own a few other MakerBot printers). The open source ReplicatorG software doesn't come close in terms of quality. It's a lot slower, it doesn't generate a preview and it's awkward when using dual print heads. Also it doesn't have a one stop settings file for getting everything configured quickly.

The good news is that Makerware is completely compatible with Creator X if you set it up for “Replicator Dual”. You'll need to tweak the settings a little (the Creator X prints a little slower than a MakeBot Replicator). Search the forums for ideal settings. Some people have put a lot of time into tuning the settings for the FlashForge Creator X.

Tips for Beginners

When you are starting to print, note that it takes a few minutes to heat up the build plate and the extruders. Once the pre-set temperatures have been reached (configured in the software), the printer will start to print your 3D model.

Here's a good tip to remember. Make sure to observe the first few layers being printed before leaving the 3D printer to print on its own. If the first few layers are laid down well and stuck to the build plate, then the entire model should print successfully unattended.

Make sure that the build plate is level. This is really important!

If the leveling of the bed is not properly done, you will encounter two types of issues:

  1. The extruded plastic will not stick to the build plate (the distance between nozzle and bed is too far apart).
  2. The extruded plastic does not come out and a knocking sound can be heard (the distance between nozzle and bed is too close).

Also, I suggest that when starting you first prints, use PLA because it is much easier to work with than ABS.

Summary

As of writing this review, I have put this FlashForge Creator X through about 30 hours of printing and it's working great. The printer is from a Chinese company, but they do stand behind their products and offer good advice and customer service when needed.

If you are new to 3D printing, then this printer is a good start. It's of far better quality than the real cheap 3D printers and works just as good as a MakerBot Replicator 2X (for $1000 cheaper).

Specifications

Package Contents

  • The Creator X
  • Dual Extruder
  • 2x Spool Holders
  • 1 ABS spool and 1 PLA spool (1 kilogram per spool, color randomly selected)
  • 2x filament guide tubes
  • Bolts and Hex Wrench Kit in accessories bag
  • Power Supply Cable
  • USB cable
  • 1×4GB SD card(contains software, test sample files and operation manual)

Technical Specifications

Dimensions

  • Overall dimensions: 320 x 467 x 381 mm
  • Packing dimension: 580 x 450 x 550 mm

Electronics

  • FlashForge MightyBoard single-piece motherboard
  • 5 axis, 1/16 micro-stepping motor control
  • 4 x 20 LCD character display and multi-direction control pad
  • Universal Power Supply: 100-240V, 50/60Hz

Software: ReplicatorG

  • Compatibility: Windows, OSX and, Linux
  • Print from SD card or over USB
  • Input file type: STL, gcode, x3g

Printing

  • Build envelope: 225 x 145 x 150 mm
  • Build volume: About 5 liters
  • Layer thickness: 0.1-0.3 mm(adjustable)
  • Nozzle diameter: 0.4 mm

Materials

  • Works well with 1.75 mm ABS or PLA

Warranty

FlashForge offers a performance guarantee and after-sale support, effective for 3 months after purchase. What this means is that within 3 months of receiving your Creator, FlashForge will replace any defective parts, at no cost to you, and will provide you with expert technical support.

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3D Printer Buyers Guide

To make the right choice, have a look at my 3D Printer Buyers Guide. This handy guide allows you to easily compare all 3D Printers and choose the one that is right for your budget and requirements.
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