Monday, October 7, 2013

FlashForge Creator

So I've made the decision to get a FlashForge Creator (FFC), a Chinese made printer based on the MakerBot Replicator 1's open source files.

My history with 3D printers:
I've been involved with 3D printers off and on since 2008 when I purchased a set of RepRap Darwin electronics and parts and joined a local group interested in a collaborative assembly of a Mendel printer. That build didn't go so well. With a roomful of excited engineers, we were unable to get the thing to get together reliably.  After a few months of meetings, we eventually gave up even having a square frame, though most of the electronics did work.

In 2010, I successfully assembled a RepRap Mendel Prusa printer with the help of a lot of friends at my local hackerspace.  That printer was used to make several child printers.

In early 2013, I decided to try building a more modern printer for my prototyping and design business, but eventually got frustrated and decided to sell the printer I built when I realized that I need a functioning printer, not a 3D printer project.

I've also used several other printers through friends and hackerspaces - MakerBot Replicator 1 and 2, ORDBot Hadron and Quantum, Rostock Maxes, SeeMe CNC's AO-101, Up!Mini and more.

So I decided to get a commercial desktop printer.  After doing a lot of research and assessing what I want, I'm going with the FlashForge Creator.

I chose the FFC because:
  • I want a filament deposition printer, not a laser & resin or powder style printer (though I may purchase a Peachy Printer kit too)
  • I don't want a black box closed source printer (though the UP!Mini and Afinia H are really nice)
  • I want to be able to use open source toolchains and/or experimental materials if I want to, but be able to use polished tools when I need them
  • I'm not scared of a little DIY and I'd also like a printer I'm not scared to DIY on
  • It's a proven design with lots of users (if you count the MB Replicator 1 crowd)
  • It has dual extrusion if I want to go down that path
  • For the money, I don't see any other printer in its class
Next steps:
I'm writing this on Saturday (to publish on Monday). I'll be purchasing the printer this weekend, so delivery will be about a week or two from today (apparently the printer has already shipped, so I may be tracking it obsessively).