Frustrations when Entering the 3d Printing Market

It has taken me a while to jump into the 3d printing process, although I’m doing so with both feet. However, I am a bit amazed at the frustrations that I’ve encountered thus far:

1. MakerGeeks sent me the wrong 3d printer. Twice! Although they claimed it was an unusual error- it happened to me. TWICE. I wanted to support a smaller company but eventually just bought the Flashforge Creator Pro off of Amazon. Shipping was wicked fast (a few days) although the price was slightly higher. Sorry MakerGeeks, but I’m not endorsing you to others.

3d printer

The Flashforge Creator Pro 3d printer.

2. Setting up the Flashforge Creator Pro has been challenging. The Creator Pro is a much cheaper 3d printer than its more well-known competitor, Makerbot’s Replicator 2. But after reading this incredibly helpful Amazon customer review, I decided that the Creator Pro was the way to go. (Plus, the university I work at was having problems with their 3 Makerbots’ extruder heads…something that seems to be quite common, based upon what I’ve read online.)

One of the major advantages to Makerbot is the customer service and large user base. Flashforge does not have as large a customer base, and when I unpacked the printer (which was truly packed well, as many have commented upon), there was no instruction manual. Call me old fashion, but I’d like to have a printout of this.

So I had to go online and do some searching to find forums, videos, posts, etc. to help me along. There were many, and I will post the ones I found most helpful at a later date. But this was definitely something that has slowed my 3d printing process down.

3. One of the advantages of the Creator Pro is that I, supposedly, can purchase and use any filaments. In contrast, with Makerbots, if you don’t use their proprietory filament (which is, naturally, higher priced), you void their printer’s warranty. So I’ve been searching for all of the delicious filaments I could find. I wanted to start with the basic plastic (ABS and PLA- see my Dictionary page for definitions of these), so I, again, went with MakerGeeks because they extrude their own filament. Problem #2, or shall I say, #3, with them.

The filament spool from MakerGeeks is sized wrong for my Flashforge Creator Pro  printer.

The filament spool from MakerGeeks is sized wrong for my Flashforge Creator Pro printer.

The filament spool I received from MakerGeeks does not fit the Flashforge Creator Pro’s filament spool holder! UGH!!!! The photo I posted of it shows the filament spool holder that I jammed into the spool, which was not a smart thing to do on my part because the spool is supposed to move freely. (Like a spool of thread on a sewing machine does… and no, I did not take home ec in high school. I took shop class. Does this surprise anyone?)

Thankfully, I have two filaments and their original holders that Flashforge sent me when I purchased the Creator Pro. But man, oh man, this is yet another bump in the road.

With these problems behind me, I am now set to 3d print this weekend. My kids (2 and 5 years old) have been nagging me to print things for them. Isn’t that wonderful? They have accepted this microwave-sized, new technological device as normal already.

Wish me luck!