FlashForge Creator 4S assessment – Large construct quantity for skilled customers


On this article, the 3D Printing Trade engineering staff evaluations the FlashForge Creator 4S

FlashForge USA is an American firm well-known for FDM 3D printing programs. 3D printers made by the corporate embrace each skilled machines and consumer-level printers. Their latest 3D printer sequence is the Creator 4 & 4S. These skilled machines make the most of its three separate interchangeable nozzles, permitting entry to a variety of supplies.

FlashForge Creator 4S 3D Printer. Photo by 3D Printing Industry.
FlashForge Creator 4S 3D Printer. Photograph by 3D Printing Trade.

Ranging from an inexpensive $12,900, the Creator 4S is a 3D printer designed to be used in skilled environments reminiscent of high-level engineering fields, automotive or aerospace industries, and tech improvement because of its giant Z-axis measurement. The machine is available in two accessible configurations: Creator 4S and Creator 4A. Every affords its personal performance and space of software. Earlier releases from FlashForge USA, such because the Guider and Creator sequence, have been extremely popular with each skilled and client purchasers.

The Creator 4 was launched in October 2021 and will be ordered from the FlashForge USA web site.

FlashForge USA has launched this printer to offer a big construct quantity, IDEX (Impartial Twin Extrusion) succesful machine. This method opens up a number of alternatives for printing modes. A number of fashions will be 3D printed coincidentally whereas utilizing completely different supplies. Alternatively, the nozzles can be utilized to print one half with two materials properties, and dissolvable helps or added coloration will be achieved with nice accuracy.

FlashForge Creator 4S 3D Printer. IDEX Printhead association. Photograph by 3D Printing Trade.

Different options of this printer embrace a big construct quantity (400mm x 350mm x 500mm), high-resolution functionality, three nozzles that permit for complicated filament printing, and intensive materials choices. Inevitably there are additionally some shortcomings with this printer; these aren’t many however benefit consideration when shopping for this machine. Profiles for some supplies are absent from the slicer that had been beforehand accessible on the Flashprint software program; we perceive a software program replace will deal with this short-term situation.

When printing utilizing the whole construct quantity, the nozzles collide, urgent on the filament unload lever, stopping any extrusion at this excessive of the Y-Axis. This situation will be seen in the course of the printing of the width check the place the -Y aspect is 3D printed shoddily.

FlashForge Creator 4S 3D Printer. Width Take a look at Errors. Photograph by 3D Printing Trade.

General, this printer has been a superb machine, and we are going to elaborate additional on this utilizing the outcomes collected throughout our engineering checks.

When testing industrial printers, we’ve a process to find out the crucial strengths and weaknesses. These 3D printing checks permit us to gather information on repeatability, overhangs/bridges, adhesion, and precision.

FlashForge Creator 4S 3D Printer. Calibration Exams. Photograph by 3D Printing Trade.

Key options of the FlashForge Creator 4S

The principle attraction of this machine, as talked about, is the a number of nozzle choices and IDEX twin printhead association. These configuration choices, paired with the massive construct quantity, give the printer bountiful manufacturing alternatives. The twin extruders will be programmed to do many issues relying on the usage of the printer.

Dissolvable helps will probably be useful if the customers 3D print elements with complicated inside geometries. If the 3D printer is prototyping quite a few designs, the 2 printheads can print concurrently layer by layer, halving the time taken to provide prototypes. A single half may be printed with a number of supplies or colours. This selection is beneficial for production-grade prints as this could produce sturdy and clear outcomes.

FlashForge Creator 4S 3D Printer. Consumption V8 Engine manifold printed with dissolvable HIPS helps. Photograph by 3D Printing Trade.

The FlashPrint 5 slicer is extraordinarily straightforward to make use of. It comes with all the required options and parameters {that a} 3D printer skilled would come to count on from a machine on this vary. The UI & UX is obvious and concise, which aids within the total 3D printing expertise when utilizing this machine.

Minimal calibration is required between prints on this machine because the left nozzle is supplied with a magnetic proximity sensor. This sensor generates a magnetic subject and may detect interruptions when in touch with the steel construct plate. It is a exact method of figuring out the place the mattress is positioned and may create an ideal mesh format of the constructed plate’s place for an correct first layer.

FlashForge Creator 4S 3D Printer. Levelling sensor. Photo by 3D Printing Industry.
FlashForge Creator 4S 3D Printer. Leveling sensor. Photograph by 3D Printing Trade.

First Impressions of the FlashForge Creator 4S

The 3D printer’s packaging is identical as anticipated from any FlashForge USA machine. The printer’s exterior is sandwiched between the crate utilizing giant foam sheets. This packaging protects the machine from any main hits and actions. Contained in the machine, the Z axis can be protected equally. A big block of froth containing the extra nozzles and tooling required to be used is positioned beneath the mattress holding it in place. The twin printheads are additionally cable-tied to the chassis to reduce disruption throughout transit.

By way of peripherals, the Creator 4 is well-prepared with all the additional elements wanted for operation. These elements embrace 1kg ABS spool,1kg PLA spool, nipper pliers, screwdriver, unclogging pin device, Allen wrench, 2* lubricating grease, USB pen, leveling card, diagonal pliers, scraper, warmth insulating gloves, cleansing brush, thermal paste and 5* fuses.

FlashForge Creator 4S 3D Printer. Included peripherals. Photograph by 3D Printing Trade.

The printer will be bought in 3 variations, The variations being the nozzles included within the buy. There are three fashions of hotend with this machine.

Extruder-F doesn’t come inventory with the machine and is used for printing versatile supplies and dissolvable helps and has a filament diameter of two.85mm. It will possibly attain a temperature of 265°C and print at a pace of 100mm/s. Supported Filaments embrace TPU85A / TPE / TPB / TPC.

Extruder-HT comes inventory with the machine and is used for printing engineering supplies. It will possibly obtain a printing pace of as much as 200mm/s and an everyday filament diameter of 1.75mm. This nozzle can warmth as much as 320°C and has many materials choices, reminiscent of PC / PA / PP / PETG / ASA / ABS / PLA / PC-ABS / PAHT.

Extruder-HS comes with the machine (Creator 4S) and is used to print carbon fiber and different composite supplies. It has a printing pace of 150mm/s and makes use of 1.75mm filaments. This hotend has a hardened metal nozzle and is used for specialist supplies, a lot of which have a excessive melting temperature. Following this, the nozzle can attain 360°C. These supplies are PACF / PET-CF / PP-CF / PA-GF / PC-ABS / PP-GF / PPS-CF / PPS.

As listed above, the three nozzle choices can be utilized to print virtually any materials. This unit is a giant profit because it has many functions in several industries.

The big construct quantity with a powerful X400mm x Y350mm x Z500mm can be extraordinarily suited to industrial prototyping and manufacturing.

FlashForge Creator 4S 3D Printer. A number of prints showcasing capacity. Photograph by 3D Printing Trade.

FlashForge Creator 4S goal market

As mentioned beforehand, this printer is under no circumstances an off-the-cuff desktop unit. This printer is geared toward professionals and companies. To make the most of this printer’s full potential, a proficient technician is advantageous to the success of prints. Due to this fact we don’t suggest this printer for learners; nevertheless, earlier expertise utilizing desktop printers will translate to this bigger machine.

The standard of this machine matches the goal market as its construct is predominantly black steel, aluminum, and plastic panels. This printer is on the high finish of its bracket earlier than coming into the economic section of the 3D printing business.

FlashForge Creator 4S Software program Evaluate

The Creator 4, a lot the identical because the FlashForge fleet, makes use of FlashPrint 5 (on the time of this publication). Totally different profiles will be set utilizing this software program; nevertheless, the total catalog of supplies is unavailable to this machine as they’re with the Guider & Creator 3.

This software program is easy and comes with all of the instruments and perimeters wanted to finish complicated and detailed prints.

The 2 nozzles are clearly set out within the UI, and deciding on the suitable supplies loaded into the machine is intuitive. Our engineers had no points utilizing this slicer and acknowledged it was among the best in its vary.

FlashForge Creator 4S 3D Printer. Software program Photographs. Photograph by 3D Printing Trade.

3D Printer Benchmarking on the FlashForge Creator 4S

The primary print on a brand new machine is at all times the file on the USB key. This file is normally optimized for the printer and may produce good outcomes. The file loaded on this printer used PLA from a single extruder to provide a small mechanical half. This half was printed completely.

The subsequent print was the Benchy, a standardized check all through 3D printers to check many parameters in a single mannequin. This print was a hit and had a powerful decision for an FDM printer, leading to a median deviation of 0.0454mm. The common for this check is 0.15mm.

FlashForge Creator 4S 3D Printer. Benchy checks. Photograph by 3D Printing Trade.

As soon as this check is full; our engineers can transfer on to extra in-depth testing, which can give us outcomes for particular person areas of weak spot or energy.

FlashForge Creator 4S 3D Printer. 3DPI Tolerance. Photograph by 3D Printing Trade.

The subsequent check we are going to perform is the 3DPI benchmark check. This offers us an total rating utilizing all the essential fashions in a single full half. These checks are normally printed in a posh filament reminiscent of PETG or ABS, as machines typically wrestle with these supplies. On this event, we determined to print the 3DPI check utilizing ABS to point out how effectively the printer behaves with the fabric. Every part of the 3DPI benchmark is individually measured and scored based mostly on components reminiscent of dimensional accuracy, floor high quality, and structural integrity.

The Creator 4S scored 86.12/100, a wonderful rating for an ABS print. The spike part printed completely on this check, and there aren’t any deviations or bending seen; this can be because of adequately positioned fan ducts blowing cool air onto the plastic.

FlashForge Creator 4S 3D Printer. 3DPI Tolerance Radar Chart. Photo by 3D Printing Industry.
FlashForge Creator 4S 3D Printer. 3DPI Tolerance Radar Chart. Photograph by 3D Printing Trade.

The round trajectory can be a helpful check for a big cartesian printer, because the jerk from the belts stopping and beginning may cause inaccuracies in geometry.

The elements printed are composed of three round sections of 100mm, 65mm, and 20mm.

These checks prompt that the bigger the circle, the much less correct the printer turns into. For instance, the common distinction for Circle 1 (20mm) on the Y-axis is 0.0253mm, whereas for the X-axis, the determine is 0.0217mm. The common distinction for Circle 3 (100mm) on the Y-axis is 0.1433mm, whereas for the X-axis, the deviation is 0.0433mm. The Y-axis efficiency worsens as the scale of the circle will increase. This outcome appears regular as a result of, on a cartesian printer, the Y-axis should assist all of the inertia of the X-axis with the gantry, the 2 stepper motors, and every of the printheads. This outcome continues within the different circle fashions, every iteration producing worse outcomes on the Y-axis.

FlashForge Creator 4S 3D Printer. Circle trajectory checks. Photograph by 3D Printing Trade.

Under are the bell curves displaying the outcomes over all three circles within the check. These present the statistics for the X-axis, Y-axis, and each mixed. General the imply of the usual deviation of all of the circles is 0.0517mm, which is greater than splendid. The common of deviations is best, with a rating of 0.0659mm. This leads to a median deviation of 0.0344mm for the X-axis, whereas the Y-axis will get a results of 0.0973mm. These outcomes are inferior to we had hoped, and an possibility to regulate E-steps on the printer could also be a helpful function for FlashForge USA sooner or later.

FlashForge Creator 4S 3D Printer.Bell curves from circle trajectory. Photograph by 3D Printing Trade.

Width testing can be carried out. These easy checks are required to verify the producer’s construct specs. The max top given, 500mm, can’t be confirmed from our checks as we may solely attain as much as 495.8mm.

The identical goes for the width of the workspace. Specified dimensions had been 400mm x 350mm. First, the slicer doesn’t settle for fashions that fill the construct plate. The utmost the software program would settle for was 398.21mm x 348.43mm, which worsens because the precise printed dimensions are 396mm x 348.4mm. In comparison with the marketed quantity, that is comparatively poor.

The rationale for this result’s each software program & {hardware} associated, as when each nozzles are in motion on the X boundary, the filament loading springs make contact, leading to no filament being drawn out. It is a vital oversight on FlashForge USA’s half and is a drawback for this machine. 

FlashForge Creator 4S 3D Printer. Filament Springs Collision course. Photo by 3D Printing Industry.
FlashForge Creator 4S 3D Printer. Filament Springs Collision course. Photograph by 3D Printing Trade.

All outcomes had been measured with a vernier caliper or a micrometer as much as ±0.004mm. The outcomes above are very encouraging and inform us effectively on the printer’s accuracy, the draw back being the problem with the colliding extruders, which we suggest FlashForge look into for future gross sales of this machine.

Duel Nozzle 3D Printing utilizing IDEX

An enormous draw of this printer is the IDEX (Particular person Extrusion) twin extruders. All three nozzles are direct drive programs in order that they’ll act individually from one another with out interference. This grants the consumer varied choices when printing elements. Two elements utilizing completely different supplies will be manufactured concurrently; this can be a enormous profit for firms that want fast prototyping because it halves manufacturing time.

This identical association can produce one singular half with a number of materials properties or cosmetics, which is superb for each the skilled and client markets.

FlashForge Creator 4S 3D Printer. Twin extrusion screw measuring device. Photograph by 3D Printing Trade.

FlashForge Creator 4S Last Verdict: 

The FlashForge Creator 4S 3D printer has many optimistic options that make it a promising competitor within the industrial market. It’s, though, barely weakened by sure design oversites. These points impression the usage of the machine, and for some customers, this will probably be a breaking level on buy.

Nonetheless, the slicing software program has been up to date closely on this printer and comes with many instruments and tutorials to make the Creator 4 as easy as attainable.

The machine itself could be very effectively designed and is totally enclosed. This enables extra materials choices to be thought of, as some supplies solely print with a selected localized temperature.

The menu is well-optimized, and the UI is clear and simple to navigate. Latency will not be a problem on this machine; another machines wrestle barely.

The weaknesses of this machine have already been lined however to summarise the principle situation is the extruders loading springs colliding. This situation impacts extrusion on the extremes of the mattress, which can severely have an effect on your productiveness if it’s essential print a big piece. The nozzle altering may be extra optimized as it isn’t very environment friendly in comparison with different multi-nozzle machine setouts.

Construct quantity 400mm x 350mm x 500mm
Dimensions 840mm x 675mm x 1000mm
Weight 90kg
Printheads Two
Max mattress temperature 130°C
Max nozzle temperature 360°C
Max chamber temperature 65°C
Connectivity Wi-Fi, USB flash drive, Ethernet
Nozzle Diameter 0.4mm, 0.6mm, 0.8mm
Technical Specs for the Flashforge Creator 4S

The featured picture is Flashforge Creator 4S 3D Printer. Photograph by 3D Printing Trade.


Leave a Reply