Reviews

Flashforge Creator Pro 2 Review: Enclosed IDEX 3D Printer

The Flashforge Creator Pro 2 is the updated version of the original Creator Pro. It’s an IDEX 3D printer from Flashforge made for the consumer market. It’s doesn’t have the largest print volume available, but it compensates by being a fully enclosed 3D printer ready to print higher temperature materials.

Flashforge Creator Pro 2 Shipping and Packaging

The Flashforge Creator Pro 2 comes in a carboard box with protection on the top and bottom of the printer. It comes mostly pre-assembled, and the user only needs to install the extruders and spool holders before starting a print.

As you can see in the images below, the moving sections of the printer are secured with zip ties to avoid any damage during shipping. I was concerned about the big skew on the X axis, but after carefully straightening it, the printer was ready to go.

With the Creator Pro 2, we also get the following accessories:

  • Two 1KG rolls of PLA
  • Manual
  • Spool holders
  • Metallic Scraper
  • Glue Stick
  • 16GB Sandisk SD Card
  • Power cable
  • Screws
  • USB cable
  • Grease
  • Spare print surface
  • Two PTFE tubes to guide the filament
Flashforge Creator Pro 2 Accessories | Flashforge Creator Pro 2 Review: Enclosed IDEX 3D Printer
Flashforge Creator Pro 2 Review: Enclosed IDEX 3D Printer 1

Flashforge Creator Pro 2 Design

The Flashforge Creator Pro 2 looks nice, with an industrial look. The exterior panels are made from plastic, while the frame is made from metal. On the front side of the machine, we get the plastic door with magnets to keep it closed. On the sides, there are handles to help moving the printer around, and some paper stickers applied with printing notices.
In the back of the printer, we have the two spool holders and the power connector.

Flashforge Creator Pro 2 Specs

Extruder number 2
Extruder diameter 0.4mm
Highest set temperature of extruder 240°C
Build Volume 200*148*150mm
Mirror mode 200*148*150mm (Duplicate mode 95*148*150mm)
Print Speed 10-100mm/s
Highest set temperature of platform 120°C
Supported Filament PLA, PVA, ABS, HIPS
Printer Size 526*360*550 mm
Screen Touch Screen
Net Weight 15kg
Gross Weight 21kg
Power 100-240 V AC
Data transmission USB cable, SD card
Slicer FlashPrint
Output GX/G files
Input 3MF/STL/OBJ/FPP/BMP/PNG/JPG/JPEG files

Direct Drive Extruders

The direct drive extruders are heavy, but considering the size of the printer, and the use of dual rails for the X axis, this is not a huge problem. This printer won’t win any print speed contests, but it performs well at around 60mm/s.

The heatbreak looks like an all-metal variant, but unfortunately there’s no way to remove the hotend and check (or I could not find the screws to loosen it). It’s also worth noting that the maximum hotend temperature is limited to 240C which not that great. Sure, it will work with PLA, PETG, TPU and ABS, but you might want to print filaments that require a bit more temperature, considering this is an enclosed 3D printer.

To avoid oozing, Flashforge includes a pair of aluminum brackets which are mounted on the extruder homing positions. These brackets touch the nozzle and block the filament from oozing out when idle. Besides that, the brackets “cut” the filament which oozes after printing a layer and returning to the home position.

These aluminum brackets also help with reducing the amount of purged filament needed during tool changes which is great. I really hope other 3D printer manufacturers will include something like this out of the box because it’s a cheap upgrade that helps a lot, especially for IDEX 3D printers.

LED lighting

Even though it’s not very powerful, the LED light helps a lot to iluminate the dark enclosure but unfortunately the LED light is not controllable. This means that the LED light will always be on, and you can’t turn it off.

Flashforge Creator Pro 2 Lighting | Flashforge Creator Pro 2 Review: Enclosed IDEX 3D Printer
Flashforge Creator Pro 2 Review: Enclosed IDEX 3D Printer 2

Custom 32-bit board with noisy stepper drivers

The Flashforge Creator Pro 2 comes with a custom 32-bit board and it’s one of the biggest boards I have ever seen on a 3D printer. It comes with removable stepper drivers but unfortunately, they are not silent. The extruder stepper drivers are TMC2100 while the rest are DRV8825 stepper drivers.

I haven’t tried it yet, but it should be possible to upgrade them with silent stepper drivers.

320W 24V Delta Power Supply

We also get a Delta DPS-320AB-1 A power supply which is great. The fan is a bit noisy, but it’s not as annoying as the stepper driver noise.

Delta power supply on Flashforge Creator Pro 2 | Flashforge Creator Pro 2 Review: Enclosed IDEX 3D Printer
Flashforge Creator Pro 2 Review: Enclosed IDEX 3D Printer 3

Cantilever heated bed with three-point leveling system

The Flashforge Creator Pro 2 build volume is quite limited when you compare it with most of the 3D printers out there, especially if you plan to print models in mirror mode. In this case, the biggest model you could print will be around 100*148*150mm in size.

To level the bed, you need to adjust the three knobs under the bed. It’s an easy process described in the leveling menu of the touchscreen, and it’s easy to do.

What I don’t like is the rigidity of this bed. If you print at higher speeds, you will notice that the bed will start wobbling a bit, especially during tool changes. When you need to remove the model, the wobbly bed issue is more apparent but the bed still retained its offset to the nozzles so it might not be a huge issue.

Flashforge Creator Pro 2 Heatbed | Flashforge Creator Pro 2 Review: Enclosed IDEX 3D Printer

The print surface has excellent adhesion. Most of the time, prints adhere too much to the print surface so it’s probably a good idea to use a raft for any model. It’s also worth noting that you get a spare print surface sticker in the box which might come in handy if the stock one gets damaged.

To be honest, the whole bed and print surface assembly shows its age and it’s a bit outdated in my opinion considering that most of the printers in the last few years include some kind of removable print surface (ex: glass bed, PEI spring steel sheet, magnetic flexible print surface). Sure, you can upgrade the print surface with one of the mentioned solutions, but considering the price point of this printer, a better out of the box solution would have been better.

Color touchscreen

The Flashforge Creator Pro 2 touchscreen is nice and responsive, with good viewing angles. The menu is consistent, and I like the easy calibration process you get when aligning the hotends. All the steps are described on the screen, guiding you through the whole calibration process.

When slicing with the included Flashforge slicer, you generate .gx files which are basically .g-code files with a model thumbnail that shows up on the screen.

I usually pre-heat my printers before starting a new print and the Preheat section is not the best. You need to manually enter the temperature using arrows, and you also need to turn on and off the hotends/bed before starting the heating process. A bit cumbersome, but still usable.

Another interesting feature of the Flashforge Creator Pro 2 touchscreen is the ability to access folder contents. This will allow you organize your files, and easily start a print.

Completely enclosed printer with removable acrylic cover

There are a lot of 3D printers out there which are enclosed, but most of them don’t include a top cover (I’m looking at you, Creality). Fortunately, the Flashforge Creator Pro 2 includes a removable acrylic top cover that traps the heat inside the printer. It also does an excellent job in keeping most of the fumes inside the printer which is important for filaments like ABS.

SD Card connector on the side | Flashforge Creator Pro 2 Review: Enclosed IDEX 3D Printer

Flashforge recommends using the top cover only when printing materials that benefit from an enclosure. This means ABS, ASA and even PETG. For PLA, you should always remove the top cover and open the front door for the best results.

Heating time and power consumption

I tested the heating time for both hotend and heat bed and here are the results:

Hotend

  • 200C in 1 minute and 40 seconds
  • 240C in 2 minutes and 10 seconds

Heatbed

  • 60C in 2 minutes and 30 seconds
  • 100C in 6 minutes

Power Draw

Idle power draw is around 12W. When the hotend and heatbed are heating up, the Flashforge Creator Pro 2 draws around 200W. After it starts printing, the power draw stabilizes to around 85W. It’s also worth noting that it’s not possible to heat up the hotend and heatbed at the same time.

All these measurements were taken with a Blitzwolf smart power socket which indicates the power draw, and it can also be used for remotely powering on and off the printer.

Bed Temperature Uniformity

I tested the temperature uniformity for the Flashforge Creator Pro 2 bed with the Flir Camera installed on the CAT S62 Pro. The bed has been set to 60C and I waited 2 minutes after reaching that temperature for the temperature to stabilize.

As you can see, the bed temperature is good on the whole surface of the bed, with really small inconsistent spots under the knob screws. Unfortunately, the thermal image was not perfectly aligned, but the result is good.

Flashforge Creator Pro 2 Noise Levels

Unfortunately, the Flashforge Creator Pro 2 is not the quietest printer out there. The use of older stepper drivers makes the printer noisy making it better suited to be used on a separate room.

Printing experience with the Flashforge Creator Pro 2

To be honest, I didn’t have huge expectations from this printer, but it performed well during testing. I didn’t have any failed prints and most of the printed models look good. The most annoying part is the noise produced by the Creator Pro 2. Otherwise, the printer produced consistent quality prints.

All of the printed models were sliced with the FlashPrint slicer offered by Flashforge. The slicer doesn’t have a huge number of settings, making it easy for complete beginners to use. But I would have liked to have more granular controls over the print settings. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to slice files with Ideamaker, or other popular slicers out there which is a big drawback for me.

image 1 | Flashforge Creator Pro 2 Review: Enclosed IDEX 3D Printer

Because the bed adhesion is too much in some instances, I recommend using a raft for any print for easier model removal. But the raft sometimes adheres too well to the model, and that might also be an issue.

Test prints on Flashforge Creator Pro 2

Flashforge 3D Benchy

A pair of pre-sliced 3D Benchies were present on the SD card, so I gave them a go. The print quality is decent out of the box, but this might also be influenced by the altered design of this 3D Benchy. It has a less steep overhang on the front, a Flashforge logo in the back and a tall section in the back.

  • Material: Devil Design Grey and Gembird Yellow PLA
  • Layer Height: 0.2mm
  • Nozzle Temperature: 210C
  • Bed Temperature: 40C
  • Print Speed: 60 mm/s

Phil-A-Ment

To test the dual-color print capabilities of the Flashforge Creator Pro 2, I also printed Phil-A-Ment. I really like how this model turned out, even though there are some small sections where the layers are not properly printed. Mostly around the Matterhackers logo and around the slim lines on the helmet.
As you can see, the model was printed with an ooze shield around the model to avoid small filament blobs on the model surface.

  • Material: Gembird Blue and Yellow PLA
  • Layer Height: 0.2mm
  • Nozzle Temperature: 215C
  • Bed Temperature: 40C
  • Print Speed: 60 mm/s

Dual-Color Moai

This is another pre-sliced model from Flashforge. This time, the model has some color bleed and the layer lines are not as consistent as I would like. Besides that, there are small blobs on some parts of the print which are caused by the lack of an ooze shield.

  • Material: Gembird Blue and Yellow PLA
  • Layer Height: 0.2mm
  • Nozzle Temperature: 215C
  • Bed Temperature: 40C
  • Print Speed: 60 mm/s

Dual-Color Torture Toaster

To give the Flashforge Creator Pro 2 a run for its money, I also printed a dual-color Torture Toaster. This model is excellent when it comes to stress testing a 3D printer. The model looks great at first glance, but not all features were printed successfully. The overhangs look good, the knobs work as intended, but the handle broke when I tried to lift the slices. Besides that, all the tolerance tests were fused, and I was not able to raise any of the indicators.
This issue might be caused by less-than-ideal X and Y calibration for the extruders.

  • Material: Gembird Blue and Yellow PLA
  • Layer Height: 0.2mm
  • Nozzle Temperature: 215C
  • Bed Temperature: 40C
  • Print Speed: 60 mm/s

Billy Butcher

The Flashforge Creator Pro 2 is an enclosed printer, so it’s imperative to test some ABS. I printed the Billy Butcher bust from Fotis Mint and the final results are great. What I don’t like is the bridging performance. As you can see, the middle section was not successfully bridged. Besides that, the raft adhered to the model, and it took about 15 minutes to completely remove it, even though the part cooling fan was on for the raft.

  • Material: Gembird Black ABS
  • Layer Height: 0.15mm
  • Nozzle Temperature: 235C
  • Bed Temperature: 105C
  • Print Speed: 60 mm/s

Conclusions: Is the Flashforge Creator Pro 2 worth it?

I can’t say the Flashforge Creator Pro 2 is a bad printer, because it manages to print anything you can throw at it. The print quality is also decent and the IDEX functionality increases its value.

The printer is also easy to use and works great with the Flashprint slicer and its slicer profiles, making it a good choice for people who just want to get a printer and start printing as soon as possible. But not being able to use a different slicer, and having limited options is a deal breaker for me. It might also be a viable choice for small companies or schools that want to start their 3D printing journey and want an enclosed printer and don’t want to spend more money and buy the Creator 3.

Cheaper IDEX 3D printers with bigger print volume started to show up, but most of them are not enclosed and require more tuning to get them working well.

If this was 2019, then the Flashforge Creator Pro 2 would be an excellent IDEX 3D printer. But we’re two years later and the current setup starts to show its age. The small print volume and the lack of a silent stepper drivers makes it hard to recommend if you don’t require an enclosure. But if you mostly print higher temperature materials that require an enclosure, and you don’t want to mess with calibrations and tuning then the Flashforge Creator Pro 2 can be a good alternative. Just make sure you check other printers out there, like the Ender 6, or Creality Sermoon D1 before making a purchase decision.

Flashforge Creator Pro 2 Rating

Design
Specs
Noise Levels
Ease of use
Print Quality
Price

If this was 2019, then the Flashforge Creator Pro 2 would be an excellent IDEX 3D printer. But we're two years later and the current setup starts to show its age. The small print volume and the lack of a silent stepper drivers makes it hard to recommend if you don't require an enclosure

Where to buy the Flashforge Creator Pro 2?

Amazon
AliExpress
Flashforge
3D Jake
3dnewtech

The Flashforge Creator Pro 2 was provided by Flashforge for the purpose of this review. While the article includes affiliate links, all opinions are my own.

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