Have you been thinking about buying a 3D printer, but are more interested in the beautiful objects you can create with it than having to deal with tedious setup and other technicalities? Sometime after launching advanced 3D printers like the Creator Pro or the more recent Dreamer, FlashForge has developed a smaller, more intuitive printer to help you get your feet wet with this budding and rewarding hobby.
Features of the FlashForge Finder
Some 3D printers have a pretty austere appearance with visible and unseemly cables. The Finder, on the other hand, is a compact and clean-looking device, with a bright plastic housing available in three colors.
At 27 pounds, it is sturdy enough to do long and complex print jobs without wobbling or stopping. Since the printing loudness is a tolerable 70 decibels, you can attend to other tasks in the same room while it is working.
The printing area is 5.5 inches cubed, which is somewhat on the small side given the printer’s overall size, but big enough for detailed and good-looking prints. Resolutions of 100 to 500 microns are supported, as are print speeds ranging from 40 to 200 millimeters per second. Both the layer resolution and speed are higher than those of similarly priced 3D printers. An advanced guide tube, hot end and bronze extruder make for clean results without excess material and missed details.
Everything is printed onto an unheated glass plate you slide out when printing is complete. Prints tend to get stuck to it if used alone, so covering it with strips of painter’s tape or something similar needs to be done beforehand.
Unlike some kits that require you to assemble them yourself, the Finder is ready to go as soon as you unpack it. There’s even a complementary spool of PLA filament to get you started. Wondering whether or not there’s enough filament left to finish your creation is unnecessary as its cartridge has internal detection of filament levels and warns you when they’re low.
Most beginning users want to get to printing straight away without having to spend too much time on precise calibration. The Finder was built to make it almost effortless – you’re guided throughout the process by instructions displayed on the printer’s LCD screen, and after tightening and loosening a couple of sets of screws to align the print head with the flatbed, you’re ready to go. This semi-automatic alignment does away with a lot of centering problems and resulting skewed prints.
Said screen is intuitive and functional, giving you quick access to stored prints, starting, pausing or terminating operation, preheating and other tools. The printer can be connected to a computer either via Wi-Fi or USB to receive printing projects. It has its own 4GB of memory and a pre-installed project you can try out without even connecting it to anything.
Since its print bed isn’t heated, you’ll have to make due with PLA. While this isn’t that much of a shortcoming and is arguably a great thing for beginners due to issues with final prints when using ABS, use of this second material will make it more versatile for when you have a couple of complex prints under your belt and want to experiment further. The complimentary spool is of inferior quality, so you’ll want to get some from a trusted manufacturer to improve results.
- Well-built, sturdy and heavy for its size, the 3D printer produces quality prints with little noise or chemical smell
- Onboard storage ensures that the print job can continue smoothly even if the connection to the source is lost
- Glass plate is easy to slide in and out, ensuring that printed objects come out undamaged
- Has an excellent balance of cost and features
- Beginner friendly, straightforward to calibrate and ready to use quickly
- The bed isn’t heated, allowing only PLA to be used
- Small print area makes it impossible to use the printer for larger projects
- Arrives with low-quality filament
The Finder is a fantastic option for 3D printing novices who want to limit their printing o home use, and are looking for an inexpensive and cost-effective printer to do this with.
The plug and play philosophy behind it is really what makes the Finder so attractive to newcomers, and the fact that the prints it produces are of excellent quality will keep you coming back to it and trying increasingly more challenging projects.
Are there models whose prints are larger and turn out better? Absolutely. Can you get them at a similar price? Definitely not. With the FlashForge Finder, it’s all about accessibility and giving the novice a streamlined experience that’s as hassle-free as possible.
As such, it’s the ideal gateway printer that will leave some money in your wallet for filament and other accessories, and give you the foundation needed to tackle more challenging projects in the future.