New 3D Printer Adventures

New 3D Printer Adventures

A month ago, I started my new job as Learning Technologies Librarian at SUNY Oswego, and was lucky enough to come on board soon after the library had purchased its second 3D printer. (The library already owns a Makerbot Replicator 2.) This meant that in my very first month on the job, I got the exciting task of trying out–and figuring out–the brand new printer, a Flashforge Creator Pro.

Flashforge Creator Pro | Image Credit: Flashforge USA Store

For the most part, I have really enjoyed this printer so far. Print quality is good and I haven’t had any issues yet getting things to stick while printing. I don’t know if that will change when the weather gets colder, but the heated build plate is sure to help. I haven’t yet run into many issues during the actual printing process, either (knock on wood).

The printer does have two features that are new to me, however: the heated build plate and its dual extrusion ability, meaning it has two extruders and can print in two colors for the same print. Experimenting with these things has brought up two questions I wanted to put out there to the community, as I’m curious if any of you have experience to share or advice to offer.

Firstly, I’ve had a real struggle getting some prints detached from both the build platform and from their rafts. Is this a function of the heated build plate? I don’t actually know, but I’m wondering if it might be, considering I haven’t had as much of an issue with the Makerbot, with all other things being equal (same filament, same raft design, etc.). I’ve tried using various implements to pry prints off the platform–different sizes of screwdrivers, spatulas, and so on. I’ve seen people online recommend various other tools, like special craft spatulas, and I even saw the suggestion to cool down the bottom of the object using canned air of the type you’d use to clean a computer keyboard. So far, I have not had much luck, and I’ve had many prints ruined by being impossibly stuck to the raft. I would love to hear others’ experience on this one. Is it a mistake to combine a raft with a heated build plate? Should the plate temperature be lower? Is there a better tool I can use?

Secondly, I have been having a really fun time experimenting with dual extrusion, despite the fact that my first attempt ended up a little…interesting.

3D printed object that turned out to be a complete mess with stringy pieces of filament everywhere
It was fun, though.

Since then, I’ve learned all about purge walls, which are essentially printed walls surrounding your object that the extruders use to deposit extra filament when switching colors, so one color doesn’t run into the other too much. On one hand, this helps the print come out a lot better. On the other hand, it can end up wasting a lot of filament and increasing your print time by a lot. Below, you can see the printer constructing yellow and blue purge walls around my object in the center.

Circlular object being printed in the center surrounded by yellow and blue walls made of filament

For those with dual extrusion experience, I’d be curious to know, do you use purge walls? If not, have you found a better or alternate solution? If you do use purge walls, why did you choose to do so?

Overall, I’ve been enjoying my adventures with the Flashforge Creator Pro. What new lessons have you learned lately, either with your 3D printer or with another type of making? What have you been working on? Let us know on Twitter or leave a comment below!


Image Credit: created with Pulp-o-mizer



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