Mis-Adventures of 3D Printing!?

If I have learned anything over the last couple weeks of owning this FlashForge Adventurer 3 it will be to make sure to talk to actual owners and dig further into forums and groups before making a purchase. The marketing hype thrown behind this machine touted it as a great feature rich entry level machine that is easy for anyone to pick up. I watched at least a half-dozen youtuber reviews praising this machine. This is my take away of using the Adventurer 3 for the past 2 weeks.

The Good

Form Factor – For the price the machine quality seems fine but I have seen others complain about the materials but in all honesty it does feel like a polished machine, The plastic and panels are sturdy. The print bed size is decent and all associated hardware is nice to the touch.
Software – The Flash Print software is easy to pick up and learn and can get you printing quickly. By default the software leaves you in Basic mode but an Advanced mode can be enabled to allow you more control over your prints. It’s not full featured as some other printers are but for the average user it gives you enough if you plan on sticking with the FlashForge brand filament.
Materials – The ability to print both PLA and ABS in one machine at this price is nice. The enclosed heated bed and printing space gives you this ability without having to worry so much about direct contact with ABS Filament fumes.

The Meh

Materials – The Adventurer 3 is designed specifically to print Flash Forges brand of filament (PLA and ABS) The built in spool holder was designed to hold only their spools and only at .5KG sizes. While most makers sell in 1KG spools this causes a user to leave the units side cover to remain open and rely on third party solutions to hold the larger spools. The price also is near double for what a 1KG spool costs from other makers. This makes the cost to print much higher. While overall not a deal breaker it still sucks that they decided to go this route when their more expensive options are open to many spool sizes.
Features – While this printer does boast a lot of built in features (heated bed, camera, cloud software, wifi) It leaves a lot to be desired. The Camera requires that you sign up for FlashCloud or PolarCloud which allows you remote control of your jobs/prints along with seeing a remote camera feed of the prints. The site does work but it is very slow loading and the cameras frame rate is extremely low. Only updating an image randomly 10+ seconds at a time.
Touch Screen – The touch screen is a restive touch panel but sadly is not very responsive. I find myself using a Tablet Pen in order to get the commands to trigger without tapping them multiple times. This type of screen is fine as it’s cheaper to put in a budget machine like this but at least a better version should be implemented so it is more sensitive to touch.

Over all the few MEH items can be worked around and I would not really consider them a deal breaker in my case. With the help of the community you can bypass their attempt of using their material and as long as you are not expecting the camera to be high quality and high frame rate. It will get the job done just slowly.

The Bad

Now this “bad” may only apply to me and my machine but after talking with several others on Facebook and forums I have found a fair number of people having similar issues as me. Many returning their machines due to the result.

Heating and Feeding Gear – This ultimately is why I no longer want to use this machine. The constant knocking/slipping of the Feeder Gear and the Extruder not being able to handle the flow are causing these issues. To me it seems like this design and system cannot just keep up with the claims. A quoted 100mm/s print speed is just impossible with this machine. I scoured groups and forums and even reached out to Flash Forges support email for assistance. Their first response was basically only use their filament but the same problems were happening with their filament and profile/settings

It was very aggravating trying to get them to understand the issue and even sending them a video of the problem. The clip above is using their profile and filament. I tried 4 different brands of material and only 1 prints correctly given that you slow the speed down to 20/30 mm/s. A print designed for my FDS cases which takes about 1 hour to print on their Creator Pro will take 5+ hours using their recommended settings to stop the feed gear from slipping on the AD3.

Under Extruded due to the slipping feed gear.

Their support has been nice and responded timely just sadly I don’t think they get it. A mention of a re-designed nozzle was sent over and that they would send me a replacement but they are currently in production in China, With no ETA and with an unknown return time frame listed on their site I opted to request a refund. As of this blog post I have requested this 4-5 times in email and each time the response has told me the new nozzle will fix the issue and they will send one out and I should get it in 5-7 days. They went from no ETA/In Production to shipping one out asap. The fact that a mention of a new nozzle means they shouldn’t be selling this model until more of the bugs are worked out. I am unsure to the actual issue. My guess would be just the feed gear not being strong with no way of adjusting tension and a sub-par heating element. Another huge draw back is the nozzle itself is very easy to clog and is in cased so there is really no way to get it apart to clean it properly as with other machines. Again a propriety design causing you to purchase new ones when they ultimately break. Their youtube video on clearing a jam even references

I understand 3D Printers will require a lot of tweaking and fiddling to get them to work correctly. The Fact that I’m able to print with 1 roll of ABS but nothing else baffles me since it runs at a higher temp and is typically more finicky than PLA. Also the fact that we have another FlashForge machine in this household along with several friends and the online community I am at a loss and don’t feel that it’s all me just not being able to “Get it” I am new to 3D Printing and will quickly admit that but I think this design is just a miss from FlashForge and should be pulled and re-designed. The concept is great but the execution is lacking.

At this point I just want to return this unit and get a refund. It seems like my request is going ignored with what they want to do vs what I as the customer is requesting. I will keep everyone updated on here or twitter with what happens.

3D Printing – Initial Thoughts

Here are my initial thoughts on the Adventurer 3 from FlashForge.

I ordered directly from flashforge.com. Their site could be a little bit more user friendly but over all an easy ordering experience. The only thing is I didn’t get a confirmation email other than my paypal receipt. I waited a couple days and finally emailed their customer service and someone got back with me within a few hours (even on the weekend) and provided me with a tracking number and an email for after sales support if there was any issues. There was a USA version of the site which I believe is a re-seller here in the US. Their prices was $50+ more. Little dubious since the site is made to look official but I am not sure it is. FlashForge has a warehouse here as my printer shipped from California and took about 4 days to arrive via UPS.

Everything arrived safely and the printer was packaged very secure, Tape/Plastic around easy to scratch parts, Cardboard top and bottom and inside so the bed and extruder couldn’t move around and all wrapped in bubble wrap.

Setup was a breeze and the touch screen easy to understand, When I first powered on the machine and connected to WiFi it popped up and said there was a firmware update available but the update kept spitting out errors. I tried a couple times and wired via Ethernet with the same results. A cursory google search revealed most had the same issue. But they do allow firmware updates via USB. I was able to get a Google link where they house the updates and updated to the latest version (Jan 2019) Everything was setup and software installed and ready to go. One really big selling point on this machine is I think it’s the perfect for beginners. It allows some flexibility with being able to print multiple filament types it also has a good amount of features built in right in. The software is very easy to use offering an easy mode and a more advanced mode if you want to get into all the settings.

Printed the built in demo cube after the firmware update and all printed well. Out of the box the printer is pretty much ready to go. There is also two cloud based options as long as the unit is connected to the internet. This allows remote management and even viewing the print. FlashCloud seems to be the personal/single user affair allowing you to manage your printers, view the camera if equipped and start/stop jobs etc. PolarCloud seems to be one more meant for educators who may have many machines, users wanting to remote manage. I set up the Flash Cloud and again like their main site it is pretty basic but gets the job done. Because it is based in China though it is pretty slow. The camera frame rate for me seems to be a new image every 20 seconds or so. The Time Remaining doesn’t seem to update but the status, temps and percentage complete does.

Overall though I am really impressed with the quality of the prints so far. Only having spent less than 24 hours with the machine at the time of this writing I feel that for the price ($399 USD) with free shipping as of April 2019 I don’t think you can go wrong for a well built 3D Printer. One of the biggest drawbacks that I can see is the spool holder. It is built to handle spools of .5 KG where the standard I usually around 1 KG, which will not fit. The community fixes that though by creating adapters that fit on to the factory location to allow more room for larger spools. I am currently in process of printing one as I type this. By using the community sourced one though the external lid will have to remain off which does increase the sound of the printing. With the lid closed the printer is very quiet. I have it sitting next to me and can easily take calls, work without any disturbance.

So Far I am pleased with this choice and we will see how things hold up as I learn more into 3D Printing

Jackal Rambles

Oh man where to begin with everything going on, Things are moving at a snails pace it seems sometimes but starting to see some things get done.

The contractor started yesterday evening and brought his tractor and other equipment out and started clearing the space of land where the RV is going to go. He said it would only take him a couple days and then they will be putting rock down and leveling everything out. Should look really nice once it’s done. After that he is going to start on the trench that goes up to the side of the canyon so the electrician can come out and that contractor will take it the rest of the up to the driveway up to the house. Once all this is done then I will need to start saving again. I want to have a nice down payment on the RV so we may still be a couple months off or more depending on what I can manage but I am taking my time to make sure things are done right.

Much excited to get my 3D Printer tomorrow as well! I am getting the FlashForge Adventurer 3 Model. This looked like a great entry level machine with lots of features for the price. I already have a ton of stuff I want to experiment on. I got my transparent clear PLA filament from Amazon I want to try out and I know the machine comes with a sample roll of their brand. Should be a lot of fun getting things setting up and learning something new.

Famicom Disk Cleaner

A new arrival today to the collection is the Famicom Disk Cleaner for the Disk System games, (HVC-027 + HVC-028). This new item arrives from Japan brand new in the box. The Disk System games due to their original design were made without a sliding dust shield or protector like what most of know to be present on our PCs 3.5″ Diskettes. Although towards the end of the Disk Systems life the disk color was changed from the iconic yellow to blue and those included a cover.

The games shown to the right show the revisions. The Yellow disk without the dust cover and blue that included a slight redesign to incorporate a sliding dust shield.

While the disk games did include a wax paper sleeve and plastic case to store them many you find on auctions today come just as the disk as the plastics have broken or been lost over time. The Disk Cleaner (seen below) has a cartridge that it included (HVC-028) and also sold desperately to replenish the cleaners ability to clean the magnetic material. From what I can tell this is a dry cleaning system only really only meant to keep dust and finger prints at bay.

HVC-027 (Cleaner) and HVC-028 (Cartridge)

The system itself has a slot designed for the disk games and a weight on the top lid to press the magnetic material down over the raised cleaning surface. A small pin also in the lid would click down into place and allow you to turn the media essentially brushing/cleaning the surface off. Any heavier soils though may require a more manual approach and possibly a liquid cleaner. At the back of the cleaner rests a dial that let’s you roll the cleaning media forward to advance to a new clean spot.

Adventures in 3D Printing Pt.1

Decided to take the plunge and order a small/hobby 3D printer. After looking at many reviews I decided on Flash Forge Adventure 3. I ordered it last week so hope to be getting it in soon. My first project will be printing the Famicom Disk sleeves that my friend @EtherTechMagus made for me. I got a roll of Amazon Basics 1.75MM PLA in a clear/translucent color to try. Originally we tested with @Roogan ‘s 3D Printer in black for a test run and to get the tolerances set. Might request some fine tweaks but want to give it a run in this new printer first to see how they turn out. More on that soon!

Spool Door

Image 1 of 17