Our Cast

Since we have one of each of FF Creator Pro and FormLabs 1+, and they behave like they should, they don’t have names other than “Creator Pro” and “1+”.

MakerBots on the other hand…

  • IronBot – A Replicator 5th gen that requires constant stroking of the ego to reassure that the filament jam is not a filament jam, and to continue printing.
  • RoboBot – A Replicator 5th gen that has been printing fine. I’m holding my breath because of the other MakerBot’s issues.
  • Pinny – A Replicator Mini that was printing fine but had a slight rattling noise whenever she was moved. We think there may be a pin stuck or something.
  • Homie – A Replicator Mini that constantly displays homing and thermocoupling errors. He’s louder than the rest and works fine on the rare occasion he works.
  • ProdigalBot – A Replicator Mini that has worked from day one. ProdigalBot is the litmus test for extruders. If they fail on ProdigalBot, the extruder needs to go.
  • (Returned) ScarFace – A Replicator Mini that printed fine, but when it came in, had a deep scratch on the front that someone tried to cover up with a Sharpie.

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  • (Returned) Picasso (Dali) – A Replicator Mini that could not print straight for the life of him. Picasso replaced ScarFace. I almost regret returning ScarFace if these printers were going to be this unreliable.

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This was supposed to be a cube with the CSU logo on top.

  • BatBot – A Replicator Mini that printed great out of the box. BatBot was a refurbished mini that customer service sent out because I would have to wait a month for the a new one. Being in the middle of STEM Honors camp, waiting was not an option especially because of the other jamming extruders. BatBot replaced Picasso.

Printing with the FlashForge Creator Pro on a Mac

I’ve been through so much with trying to get the FF to print on my Mac. I am on a MacBook Pro running OS X Yosemite. Reminder, I am printing for the purpose of using with students in a classroom setting. I had limited time to fuss with coding.

  • Trial 1: Replicator G
    • Did as instructed from FF and followed instructions from FF here to install ReplicatorG.
    • I tried to download dual extrusion files (from Thingiverse) and merge on ReplicatorG, only to wait for hours and find that prints don’t work.
    • Stuck to single extrusion prints, but some things took 4-5 hours before it was ready to print. I even consulted ReplicatorG’s instructions here.
    • Verdict: ReplicatorG took too long to generate G-code
  • Trial 2: Slic3r
    • From what I read online, Slic3r was a great alternative to ReplicatorG because it was so much faster.
    • 3D Universe helped with this post but it was for Windows. The video here is for Macs.
    • The extruders were not heating to the correct levels, which caused me to look into the G-code to correct for the type of materials I had.
    • Verdict: Although there was more control, I was skeptical of each print and felt the need to comb through the G-code each time.
  •  Trial 3: MakerBot Desktop
    • I downloaded this because of the MakerBots that came in at work. I accidentally opened a file I wanted to print at home with this and it seemed to recognize my FlashForge. At the bottom right corner where normally “Replicator” or “Replicator Mini” show up when my laptop is connected at work, “FFCreator Pro” showed up when it was connected to my FF.
    • I’ve been printing on my FF with MakerBot desktop since.
    • I have yet to try dual extrusion and I’ll keep you posted when I do. (ETA post end of July or August)

This was my 3 month journey trying to print, and things seem to change each month. Try enough and you’ll find the right fit for you eventually :)

ReWiring the Fan

Rewiring the fan on FF Creator Pro looked a lot more daunting than it actually was once I followed the wires.

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  1. Remember to ground yourself.
  2. Turn the FF on one of its sides, not front of back. Unscrew the bottom lid.
  3. Unscrew the offending fan and screw in the new fan.
  4. You will need to cut some of the zip ties and thread.
  5. Pull the old wires connected to the offending fan away from the tube and follow to find where to unscrew.
  6. Take note of where the black and red wires are.
  7. Unscrew the correct screw terminals to release the wires and replace with the correct wires.
  8. Carefully thread the new wires into the tubes and ziptie them up like the previous ones were.
  9. Screw bottom lid back on and turn upright.
  10. Toss out the offending fan.

Cracked Fan

So, remember I recommended that unboxing video?

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When the extruder fell and fan cracked, I thought all was lost. Then I found that triangular piece… and decided to super glue it back together.

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It worked with the other extruder fan and printed a traffic cone. When I pressed my luck and tried to print another traffic cone, it shredded itself and splintered everywhere in the FF. I was lucky the door was down and there was a top.

I contacted Mr. Tang, and within 4 days, my new fan came and I had to rewire it.

FlashForge Creator Pro Set-up

Make sure you watch the video before and while you’re unboxing. Below is the video I watched. On my particular machine, it was hard to see the voltage switch to switch it over to the appropriate amount for the United States. I used my cell phone to take a picture to verify that it was set to the wrong voltage and used a screwdriver to switch it over. In this video, I was a little confused about what to do with the filament holder since mine was different. Other than that, this video was great.

FlashForge has their own unboxing video. You can watch that as well.

FlashForge Delivery

I ordered FlashForge Creator Pro from Amazon. I kept a close eye on when it was supposed to arrive.

I was very excited when the box finally arrived. The UPS delivery man rang the doorbell and by the time I got to the door, he was walking away. He said that it was too heavy to take to the door just to see if I’m home. Finally, he came back with it. Sure enough, it was heavy. The box came from China and through customs at LAX. It looked a little beat up.

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Make sure you are there to receive the package. The box is rather awkward to fit into a car.