If you think the Flashforge Creator looks quite a bit like MakerBot’s original replicator, you’d be correct. It seems that Flashforge has used the Rep’s open source design to produce their version, the Creator. But there are some differences as we’ll see.
The Creator is sold in two models, the Creator, which includes two extruders, and the Creator II, which ironically includes only one extruder. Otherwise the two models are very similar.
Both models support printing of both ABS and PLA 1.75mm filament and include a heated print bed. Print resolution is very decent at up to 0.1mm layer size.
While they say they’ve made some changes to the electronics and have used upgraded components, those changes apparently don’t prevent the use of ReplicatorG, MakerBot’s previous driver software, on the Creators. We’ve been told that MakerWare, the latest software from MakerBot, also works on these machines. They say:
Compared with the original makerbot models, Creator products have been upgraded in extruder and moving parts. Extruder is the patent structure of FlashForge Technology, the new sprinkler has been greatly improved in printing and silking fluency. The performance of MK7 nozzle in MB products have also been enhanced, and avoid the clogging problem of old nozzle.
For circuit part, the stability of open-source line has been improved. Improvement has also been made in power supply section and heating portion. Integration to the whole line has significantly reduced the occurrence of line problems.
This machine is not without controversy; it’s basically a MakerBot Replicator 1 clone. On the other hand, MakerBot did (at that time) open source their machine designs, making it entirely possible for Flashforge to do this.
It’s your choice as to whether you should purchase one of these units, but here’s the bottom line, literally: The Creator (Dual extruder) is priced at only USD$885, a price spectacularly less than MakerBot’s.