Tobold's Blog
Saturday, January 11, 2020
Flashforge Adventurer 3 review

A few days ago I received a new 3D printer, the Flashforge Adventurer 3. I purchased this as a sort of backup printer, as my main 3D printer is now already the second time for a prolonged period at the repair shop. Thus I wanted a simpler and less expensive alternative so that I could continue working on my various 3D printing projects while waiting for the repair of the bigger machine.

Now if you search for the cheapest option on 3D printers, you will find quite a number of similarly priced entry-level printers between $200 and $300. However, all of these come as a kit, that is to say you need to assemble them yourself. The resulting printer has no enclosure, which makes it difficult to print plastics that are likely to warp, like ABS. And they usually don't come with Wifi connectivity, so you need to transport your files for printing to the printer with an USB stick or SD card. Thus I decided to go for a slightly more expensive option: At $450 the Flashforge Adventurer 3 comes fully assembled, has a fully enclosed structure, and several connectivity options via Wifi or Ethernet, including the possibility to control the printer via a cloud application. Not bad, for that price.

I got the Flashforge Adventurer 3 a few days after ordering it. Unboxing and installing went very smoothly, it really is just a matter of removing the packing material. Otherwise it comes as close to plug & play as it gets for 3D printing technology. You put the roll of PLA in, press a few buttons on the touch screen display, and the machine starts printing the first demonstration object, a simple rectangular block, without any problems. Then there is a sort of a gap: The quick start manual ends at this point, and there is no hint on how to continue and print your own stuff. The solution is obviously to go to the Flashforge website and download the FlashPrint slicer software from there, but a hint in the quick start guide would have been helpful for that.

With the FlashPrint software I printed a 3D Benchy boat next. The result was pretty neat: Just a bit of stringing, but very little sagging of unsupported overhangs, and at the best possible settings the surfaces were incredibly smooth, and the details were great. And that was just out of the box with standard settings, no optimization. Rather impressive, I would say, and way better than my experience with my previous two 3D printers.

Nevertheless I do have to mention two downsides of the Flashforge Adventurer 3: One is the build volume of 150 x 150 x 150. On paper that doesn't look so much less than the 200 x 200 x 180 of my Zortrax printer. But of course if you calculate it in volume, you get 3.4 liters of volume instead of 7.2 liters, and that does make a difference. The other disadvantage is the internal spool holder for spools of 0.5 kg. The far more common 1 kg spools of filament don't fit. You have to leave the spool case open and put the large spool on an external spool holder. At least, unlike my first 3D printer from XYZ, Flashforge doesn't complain if you use filament from other suppliers.

I have since printed a series of my usual 28 mm scale D&D miniatures on the Flashforge Adventurer 3, and that worked very well. I also printed some parts for my new Gravitrax printing project, but still have to test them on an actual marble track comparison. I haven't tried printing with ABS yet, nor with PLA from other companies, as I am still on the spool that came with the printer. And of course it will take months or longer to find out how durable this printer is compared to my unreliable main one. But at the current point in time I am quite happy with my purchase. The Flashforge Adventurer 3 costs a quarter of what my Zortrax printer cost, and up to now is nearly as good, except for the build volume. So if you should be looking for a 3D printer, especially if it is your first one, I can only recommend the Flashforge Adventurer 3.


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