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Thread: Flashforge 3D Creator forum.
11-12-2013, 01:33 AM #1
Flashforge 3D Creator forum.
I didn't see a thread for Flashforge printers so I figured one should be made, as they really are a great machine.
Since there is no discussion yet, I thought I'd post some of the relevant settings to get the best out of your machine, might save you some time. Alot of this info I either picked up online, through self experiments or from emailing various experts for advice - here it is all in one neat package for you.
At the end of the day , for me these were all classed as troubleshooting so thats what I'll base this list on, as it's generally when you run into trouble you go looking for help, not before
*NOTE These tips may also apply to a makerbot 2, as the machines are virtually identical.
TROUBLESHOOTING THE FLASHFORGE 3D DUAL EXTRUDER
Always remember What plastic was in your extruder. If you were using ABS and want to switch to PLA, make sure you preheat to the ABS setting and flush it out with the PLA well, because when you lower the temperature down to around 200c for the PLA printing, you don't want bits of ABS in there that don't melt at 200c well!!! this can cause print blockage (click click click click)and you will have to start all over again. Going from ABS to PLA is fine, you will naturally overheat the residual PLA and it will go shooting out the nozzle with the first load.
Also remember... BEFORE you Unload filament to change it, LOAD it for a few seconds!!!! I cannot stress this enough.
A very small Ball forms in the pipe, this can get caught and break off when you pull out filament (ever notice sometimes its really hard to get out??? It gets caught between the bearing and Extruder gear, breaks off.
Ok, in the past, when you pull your filament out of the machine to change it.. is is long and thin and get's thinner and thinner until it's string? or when you pull it out is there a flat end like it's broken?? did you really need to pull on it even with the extruder gear reversing??
Because if you have a clean filament end in your hand, ie it looks like it's been broken off, guess where the broken bit is? Either still in the pipe, lodged in the gear and bearing or just plain old stuck somewhere.
LOAD for a few seconds FIRST! The blob will melt and go through the nozzle, it won't go in reverse back up the chute because its not hot up there! the second it leaves the pipe it cools down and becomes a hard ball of plastic that is much wider than 1.75mm and won't fit through the filament hole.. it will snap off. I'm telling you.!
So again.. LOAD FIRST. This will push that blob through. Any any blobs stuck in there can stop the next filament load. So trust, me, before UNLOADING... LOAD FOR A FEW SECONDS FIRST!!
If your extruder is Clicking - it doesnt always mean the nozzle is blocked. Stepper motors do not have a huge amount of torque and slip easily. If you are clicking alot, you are probably not printing hot enough and its having trouble forcing the filament through the nozzle.. when in doubt, heat things up!!
Some people use business cards, some use a little special card that comes with the printer, I myself use an ordinary A4 piece of paper. I put it on the bed BEFORE levelling so when the nozzle hits the plate, I can judge the friction between the paper and bed/nozzle AS I loosen the screws. I don't try and slide the paper under the nozzle after each move, this is time consuming. The paper is ALREADY there when the nozzle moves to the next check point in the level process. I adjust it so there is enough friction that I can feel the nozzle rubbing on the paper, but the paper can still slide easily - but not loosely, there must be a little bit of friction if you want 0.1mm prints.
#1 HEAT SETTINGS!
WHAT WORKS BEST?
What works best for you, well you will have to find that our for yourself because ALL plastic is different, made differently, acts differently... So unless you always buy the exact same plastic from the exact same supplier, you will be experimenting ALOT. So, this is basically a very short version of how my experimenting went over the years.
(Hot End / Heatbed)
Black and White ABS: 230c / 110c
Bright Coloured ABS: 225C / 110c
Transparent ABS: 225c / 100cPLA:
Doesn't matter what colour. 208c/65c
For some reason PLA will not melt well in my Flashforge under about 200c. So I stick to 205/208 depending on the ambient temperature in the room.Wood Filament - 190-210 (print at 200 for a dark colour wood, print at 208-210 for light colour wood) Hotbed turn off for wood, just use some masking tape, blue tape.. something porous like that, but no heat on the hotbed!! it will lift like crazy.
Ninja Flex / Flex filament
Hotbed very low, like 50c. Hot End around 220c (230c is too hot, makes it goopy, don't exceed 225c) and print SLOW!! 40-50ms. Too fast and ninjaflex can get messy! Sticks to blue tape very well, but kapton also - it's naturally adhesive.
BEST MATERIALS FOR HEATBED STICKING (I have found so far..) (based on raftless printing, rafted is pretty easy on anything)
If using ABS :
Hotbed at 100 to 110c. Over 110c tends to be too hot and while it will print well at the start, you will see rising corners no doubt later on- only use for smaller parts that need a good flat
Kapton Tape (on the stock aluminium bed)
- works fine without anything, but hairspray is a very very good addition.
Spray JUST before printing - literally seconds before, this will give the best stick.
Blue/Yellow Tape -ABS needs a little something better to stick here, A kids Clag glue stick, or similar is cheap and perfect. Simply smear some on the bed just before printing.
-DO not use hairspray on blue tape, it just absorbs and kills the blue tape surface.
Glass Bed- works fine without anything, but hairspray is a very very good addition.
- Kids Glue Sticks work very well
- ABS scraps mixed with acetone to make a 'slurry' paste, but I hate this, it's messy and overkill for me.
With ABS? Nope... I wouldn't bother. Had too many lift offs, pain in the butt to use with ABS
Printing in PLA-
honestly, 65c should be enough for the hotbed. If it wont stick, raise it a little, 70 max 75c, any higher and it might get goopy during print.
Blue/Yellow Tape I don't need to put anything special on blue tape. - it is THE BEST for PLA. PLA sticks to this stuff like glue without any assistance. Often hard to even get off after printing!!! The longer it is left on the bed after printing the harder it is to get off (like stuck on seriously..) so remove it not long after printing so it doesn't mess up your build plate level because you are trying to reef it off!
I'm not a fan of glass beds and PLA, if the glass isnt really clean it can lose adhesion I find. I prefer to cover the glass with tape, but see how you go.
Kapton Tape (on the stock aluminium bed)
Works very well, requires very little heat, 60c, 65c. PLA is pretty good it will stick much easier than ABS, and a fresh kapton surface is pretty unbeatable.
Very good! This is a new surface, it is a little rough, but PLA sticks to this very well and is very easy to take off at the end of the print. It requires no heated bed!
You can generally buy a sticky pad of it. I have done probably 300 hours on a pad and its still perfect, saved me lots of money on blue tape rolls!!!
Q) My prints are perfect at the start, but after a few layers they start going messy.
A) Level your heat bed... again! Yes, your fingers are sore, they are forming calluses in places you have never had them before... ahh its fun isnt it?
-Run a nozzle calibration. Although this is generally for your dual head calibration, it still helps to have each head on the right alignment. By default calibration is 7x/7y
Also change the heat, filament is always different, literally. the nozzle calibration is in the machines menu , just go through to utilities I'm pretty sure its in there from memory.
Q) My printer is so SLOW!!! do I have to print at 40ms feed rate?
A) NO! Here's how it goes.
40ms/70ms = slow but great prints.
50ms/80ms = faster, but great prints
65ms/90ms = nice and fast, still prints well, no jerky motions of stepper motors
75ms/100ms = Seems ok but leaves a big stitch line in the starting corner of your model.
90ms/150ms = unusable. It misses lines in the print and it looks awful - try it!
There is no Set rule - Experiment freely with any numbers, just never exceed 150. They say they are rated to 200ms but you try and print at 90ms feed rate and tell me if you think 200 is possible. I find for me personally, for both speed and quality I use 0.2mm print resolution with 60ms feed and 100ms travel. Some filaments don't like going below 0.2mm! its not always the printer. If I am printing at 0.3mm res, I will print at 70ms feed and 110 travel, and my machine likes this.
Q) My plastic is not extruding properly, it's all stringy and weak, with little bits in it, or air bubbles popping
A) You most likely have other plastic in your extruder that melts at a different point, or a foreign object in there. You can buy a 3d printer nozzle cleaning kit off Ebay, Or I personally heat up an electric guitar string (lightest gauge) and poke it in the hole. A guitar string is usually 0.9mm, but when stretched gets to 0.4 0.5mm, perfect fit.
Q) My raft is coming out in a wierd curly pattern and not straight?
A) Are some raft lines straight and some curly? Heatbed needs levelling, again.
If EVERYTHING coming out of it is curly in little zig zag patterns, AND you have levelled your plate correctly, there is most likely some old plastic in your nozzle, heat up to 250c and flush it out.
Q) My Second extruder head is dragging across the others prints, and either knocks it off the platform or it damages the print with lines and score marks.
A) My print bed was warped on delivery and still is. The outer edges are higher than the center, so when levelling, the outside extruder on each side is always touching the plate before the other. No, your'e not going mad if this is happening to you. Try go to this thread and try that solution.
Q) I can print fine in one type of ABS, but another type of ABS gets stuck or wont print properly
A) ABS is generally dyed its colour. Different dyes have different melting points. If it's printing "goopy" or what I call a 'wet' print, your print head is too hot, lower the temp to 225c and try that. Nearly all my bright colour filament needs to be printed at 225c.
And I also use Blue painters tape to help things stick, people use Glass, hairspray, glue sticks.. I often put blue tape over the kapton, just not too thick.
Q)My prints keep lifting up off the heatbed during print and warping the edges!
A) Plastic Shrinks when is cools down - this is a fact of life... sadly. If you don't have really good adhesion on the build plate this slight shrinkage can lift a corner or two and eventually ruin a print.
Some people enclose their machines to increase the heat inside, this does definitely help! but if you have not got a sealed chamber, like my flashforge, I find putting some cardboard over the end holes is enough to stop the draft from affecting the print. If you can keep the chamber warm, the plastic should not shrink during print , or cool down - (cold breezes can also really mess with ABS prints - PLA is alot more forgiving and likes being cooled down.)
Q)My prints STILL keep lifting up off the heatbed during print and warping the edges!!!! Grrr..
A) Change the heat bed setting. Some filaments dont even require a heated bed, and heat can make them rise before they even get started, going bad even within the first few layers. PLA can be printed cold, but I prefer to use a low heat, makes it stick alot better on the FF.. my kossel needs no heat at all, but its an open machine and the PLA cools down much faster than in a flashforge chamber.
How to lower the bed temp in replicator G?
A) Before you print, go into the Gcode in replicator G and lower the M109 setting to 100 (you will see it default at 110c) (just type it in!)
ABS I usually set between 106c and 110c, and PLA, if I have Blue tape, I set it to 65c, and Kapton 70-75c.
Q) I got some PLA plastic and it wont print!!!!
A) PLA is a funny beast. If you are trying to print and all you hear is "CLICK CLICK CLICK" i.e the sound of your feed gear slipping, most likely you are not printing hot enough.
I have PLA that melts at low temps like 150c, I have PLA that wont melt until 210c!!!!! You will just need to experiment and see what works best. I suggest starting at 190 or 200 and see how you go. If at 190 its super sloppy, then you know you have the weak corny PLA so lower the heat, if it wont extrude and it clicks, raise to 205. If you have a cooling fan, thats fine - but if not, print as low as possible - it will rise at the top layer as it's printing. It's not like ABS at all.
Q) I can't seem to print raftless, it keeps coming off the hotbed?
A) Hotbed isn't hot enough - raftless prints need a hotter bed than a raft print. The raft does most of the work in that, whereas a raftless print relies on its own structure to stick to the place, and unless it has a nice big surface that can stick, you will find it will slip right off. Raftless prints also require a practically dead level hotbed, rafts can sometimes allow for small variations but raftless really needs perfect levelling on that heatbed - and super close. If you use a business card or thicker to level as your guide, forget about raftless prints! A4 paper, 80-100gsm
Q) My kapton tape is torn, what should I do?
A) go here www.ff3dp.com and buy a 3 meter roll for $17, you will never need another one, its worth the money.
Q) My Raft is super thick!! it prints with a round top on the lines on the first layer
A) Your nozzle is printing juuust a little too close. A raft should be nice and flat when laid down (including the very first layer) Lower the heatbed a fraction.
Now don't quote me, but a stock Gcode makes the raft a certain percentage thicker than the set printing layer height. So if you set your layer height to 0.2mm the raft is generally 0.4mm on that very very first layer.
0.4mm is thick to print!!! so it actually screws with the starting height of the print when you use a raft.. yeah confusing i know... I try and not use rafts if I can, but if I do, I usually level my bed differently as opposed to raftless prints.
Q) I scratched the aluminum hotbed!! now it makes marks in my prints.
A) Put another layer of kapton tape over the top of your old one, yes, two layers.. OR use blue tape, this will cover any scratch marks in the aluminum coming through to the print. If you find you have lost some stick, increase the bed temperature by a couple of degrees to compensate for the extra layer.
Q) I have killed my nozzle, can I just replace the nozzle?
A) Yes, new machines do it cold, but old machines that have been used alot, it might need to be done while hot (they do bake in) gloves required and good pliers - BUT MAKE SURE YOU UNSCREW the heat sensor first!!!! (small silver bullet shaped thing with 2 clear wires) otherwise you will snap the bracket if you attempt to unscrew the nozzle. This is only recommended for handy people, it's not fun and can ruin your extruders if you mess it up. Expensive mess if you do!
Q) Ok, I need to replace my dual extruder, is it hard?
A) NO, this is easier than changing oil in your car. 4 plugs, 3 screws. Take the bottom cover off (the sliding one underneath) pay attention to the numbers on the plugs and simply replace them - it really is that easy. What took longer was getting the cable tidy all neat at the back, but I'm fussy like that
Q) Can I use other software with my printer?
A) Sure can!
These are some of the others you can try. Simplify3D is the only one that costs tho, and it's around $140. Personally? I use it for my Prusa and Kossel, but not the Flashforge, I prefer makerwares prints out of anything.
When I got my printer 3 years ago, there was no simplify3D, so I have become used to using RepG and Makerware (not makerware desktop, that is awful) They do the job perfectly and have created all the prints you can see in my thingiverse page. Makerware behaves very differently to ReplicatorG, but slices much faster,and has a print preview so you can see what supports will look like. Downside, no Gcode editing.
Q) What sort of plastics can this thing really print?
A) ABS, PLA, LaywooD3, HIPS ABS , Nylon.. you name it i've put it through it.
Just be aware with ninjaflex and nylon, if you leave it in there for a while it really clogs the heads pretty badly (because it melts at a higher point than all your other stuff, so if it's left in there is goes rock solid) and I really dont like HIPS ABS, this really leaves alot of gunk in the nozzles. You find bits of it coming out days after you change colours, i.e you will switch to yellow and every couple meters you get some black spots coming out (even after a really good flush). The best idea is to only load it when using it and unload it when done.
Last edited by Geoff; 03-04-2016 at 02:17 AM.
11-12-2013, 01:33 AM #2
Q) My Extruder feed gear keeps CLICKING!! it just won't feed any plastic through, is it broken??
A) NO! it is fine (usually) Make sure you have the filament diameter set in replicatorG and make sure you are printing hot enough. The old flashforge extruder had no spring loaded bearing which slips ALOT so to clean that there are a few methods I use, I will list them below.
FLUSHING YOUR NOZZLES - IMPORTANT! CAN SAVE YOU ALOT OF PAIN!
This is my little method. I do not claim this is the be all and end all, there is probably 20 other ways, it's just the way that worked for me. Sometimes the blockage is so great, then yeah you need a new nozzle.
Go into the menu of your flashforge.
Select INFO AND SETTINGS
Then down to PREHEAT SETTINGS
Raise the preheat temperature of your the extruder that's giving you problems, raise it to 250c.
When you Unload and Load your filament in a Flashforge (via the panel at the front and buttons.. ) it uses the PREHEAT setting to go by. So for example , if your preheat setting is set to 200c, then you can feed and unfeed at 200c. if your preheat setting is 230c, you won't be able to Change Filament until the extruder hits 230c, got it? We are changing the preheat setting to force the printer to not allow a filament change until we are at 250c, and in 9 times out of 10 that will cook the remaning crud in the nozzle to a mushy goop and be pushed through with the new filament, which is cool to put through at 250 - we just want to flush the thing out, not print. If you are a tinkerer, use Replicator G's function of a control panel and you can set temps and feed/unfeed at will and experiement much more than just with the panel, and you are not bound by the firmwares rules. I run firmware 1.0, it still works fine for me, so I have never upgraded it or had the need to.
1. Start a preheat cycle on your machine via the panel on the machine, just the nozzle tho.
2. Wait for it to get nice and hot! don't rush.
3. When it's hot.. FEED your filament (don't try and unfeed! you most likely have a blockage, we don't want to snap it off and leave some in there.... )
If its the spring loaded one, push the little thing and push the filament down, hard. If there is no spring load, get your muscles working and push that filament in.
Still clicking? getting annoyed and frustrated and will try anything at this point? heat up a safety pin or needle, or guitar string... poke it up the nozzle hole, then feed again. Yep.. got me out of trouble many times.
If this worked for you and you can feed new filament through, remember to go back and change your preheat setting to the appropriate temp.
Ok, so I did all that and my extruder is still clicking!!!
Ok, well there is one more thing to try and thats the 2 hex bolts on the fan. Unscrew them, take the fan off (slides out the side a little) This allows the stepper motor to come free. Unplug it and remove it from the head. Check your feeder gear. It's really fine, like lots of blades. Get a scalpel or hobbyknife and run with the grain - do not go across it or you will damage the gear. Score your knife inbetween all the gears, you will probably find some foreign plastic in there. Failing that, take the whole thing apart and it's the last resort.
Ok, so I did all that and my extruder is still clicking!!! Argh this is driving me mad... mad I tell you!
Ok, well in my case 2 of my nozzles were the cause. I bought faulty filament off Flashforge (which they did replace) that left some residue in the nozzles and no matter what I did, I could not fix them.. so sometimes a new nozzle IS required (and no, they didn't replace those.... and lost a customer. ) I buy my filament off local suppliers if I can, but they are far and few between, with nearly all middle men ordering direct from overseas. If you find a good local supplier, stick to it.
You can read about it all in This thread... pictures on page #2
BUT.. if you have tried the above, cleared the pathway and still are getting clicking, you can try buying one of these cleaning kits off Ebay, cheap and can often get you out of trouble, fast.
(I have not bought off this ebayer, I am just using it as an example...)
Last edited by Geoff; 09-25-2014 at 12:07 AM.
11-12-2013, 04:27 AM #3
- Join Date
- Nov 2013
Geoff, Thanks for posting this information. Sounds like you've spent some time with your FF. I've been looking for a 3d printer and have been strongly considering the FF Creator. I've been trying to locate a community/forum with FF users but haven't found one. Do you know of any other places people are discussing the Creator? So, generally you like this product? Have you used any others to compare it to? What type of problems have you had with it? Have you needed to get parts from FF? If so, how responsive are they? Maybe the moderators will see fit to open a FlashForge forum.
11-12-2013, 08:09 AM #4
* I wanted a Large print volume, which this has, about 22cm wide, 15cm high and 15cm deep... enough to print an entire DJI F450 quadcopter arm and body anyway.
* Good resolution.. at least down to 0.1mm
(check this thread for my print examples
*Dual head extruder
* Affordable, under $1500
There wasn't alot of options.
Ill keep my long story short. I bought my printer off a company in Australia who "Had stock" Turns out, they just order it from China when they need it and have it shipped directly to you. When I got my printer delivered, the carriage feed belt was snapped off, broken in transit, but a very easy fix with a new part. So I call the company, (who wont get a mention from me, as you can buy it direct from the actual printer company and save money!) and the guy is a total doofus. Instead of helping me fix my newly delivered broken printer, he shunts me off to the manufacturer in China. Omg.. here we go I thought...
Turns out, I meet this lovely lady named Ivy who speaks pretty good English and my spare part got to me in 4 days from China - it was a tiny plastic piece... can't believe how fast it got here to Australia. Anyway, as time went on obviously I needed more supplies for my printer, and have been dealing direct with www.ff3dp.com ever since, so it turns out not only is the printer good, but the company that sells it kicks ass too. They respond to emails within a few hours and as I said, stuff sent very fast. IF you ordered a printer, you would get it in under a week.
It comes assembled except for the extruders which take 2 bolts to attach to the tray it sits in, no big deal. You can print direct from the SD card input and be test printing from out of the box in 20-30 mins, 15mins if you are impatient like me lol... I waited a year to buy mine, learned how to 3d model for printing (it is different than making game assets! no hiding low polygons with smooth shaders or fancy things, 3D printing is WYSIWYG) was worth it when I got the machine - if you cant model your own stuff it can get pretty boring printing out other peoples stuff after a while.
Any problems I have had ( and lets face it, all 3d printers have a few issues) are covered in the first post, or most of them anyway.
Last edited by Geoff; 08-15-2014 at 09:18 PM.
01-10-2014, 12:10 AM #5
- Join Date
- Dec 2013
All good information..!!!
My tips as a two week Owner are:
1: Replace the Thumb nuts under the heat bed with M3 wing nuts. Your fingers and thumbs will love you for it...!!
2: Level the bed often. This will ensure you have a good base to work from. I designed a 100mm x 100mm square print that is 0.4mm high. This in theory will only print two layers using a resolution of 0.2mm. You can watch the plastic extrude, and can adjust the bed on the fly. Lumpy lines means the bed is too high. Plastic means the bed is too low. Aim for an even clean extrusion. You will see it...!!!!
3: Use a glass bed 9x7 inch with clip supports that you can print from Thingiverse.
02-11-2014, 05:52 PM #6
- Join Date
- Feb 2014
Please keep the tips coming.
And thanks MrWayne, I took your advice about the wing nuts and hunted some down today along with some washers and WOW, what a difference it makes leveling the bed! $3.28 well spent.
If figured out now that I'm going to need a new build plate for sure, there is no way I can get it so there's an even distance between the head and the plate across the entire platform, whether its hot or cold...
I'm concerned about the glass bed with clips option, I've read you need to always remember they're there or you'll run the nozzle into them during certain operations and my memory just isn't that good.
I'm thinking about trying the borosilicate on CPU heat sink sheet, without clips. Yes/No ?
02-25-2014, 04:56 PM #7
03-02-2014, 04:44 PM #8
- Join Date
- Mar 2014
I've had my flashforge for about 8 months now, running it off of makerware. I noticed you said running the machine at a 90mm/150mm will kill it, but makerware's default speeds are these. My question is what happens to the machine, and is mine about to die, since I've been printing at these speeds for so long?
03-03-2014, 01:32 PM #9
- Join Date
- Mar 2014
Great that somebody started this thread. I've had my FF for about a week now, and I love it. The only thing that's causing me significant frustration is that second nozzle knocking the model off the platform, or at the very least messing it up to the point where I have to start over. I've leveled the build plate multiple times and it just keeps doing it. Not all the time, but certain models (especially taller ones) seen more susceptible. I'm seriously contemplating removing that second nozzle completely for the time being. For right now, there's simply no point in having it. I'll just keep it in a safe spot for when I decide I need the second extruder up and running.
03-04-2014, 12:07 PM #10
- Join Date
- Mar 2014