The FlashForge Finderis a remarkable 3D printer that maximizes many of the best features of consumer-ready printers for a low price.
FlashForge describes this model as a great “learning” printer, perfect for beginners and kids just diving into the world of 3D printing.
It’s certainly not as powerful as some of the more expensive, professional models, and there are a few tricks it’s not up for, but as a starter set, it’s got an impressive array of perks.
In this review, we’ll take a closer look at this FlashForge Finder 3D printer and see how it stacks up against similar printers on the market.
FlashForge 3D Printer Finder: The Details
- Weight: 24.2 lbs
- Dimensions: 16.5 x 16.5 x 16.5 inches
- Print Dimensions: 5.5 x 5.5 x 5.5 inches
- Filament Types: PLA (PolyLactic Acid)
- Ready to Print?: Yes
- Compatibility: Windows/Mac
- Software: FlashPrint
- Warranty: 90 day for replacement parts. Can purchase 6 month or 12 month protections
How Does It Work
The FlashForge Finder is great for beginners, classroom settings, or home workshops. That’s right — it’s ideal for kids!
The Finder is remarkably easy to pick up, even if you’ve never dealt with a 3D printer before. Here’s a quick guide to the basics; the process of printing and the accessories that come with the Finder.
A majority of your work will be done on a computer, and the Finder comes with free software called FlashPrint, which you can install on any computer or smartphone for free.
The software allows you to adjust or download project models and turn them into printable designs – small clips, cups, toys, tools, and more; anything that fits within the roughly 5 inch dimensions. (It’s also worth noting that FlashForge printers are compatible with other 3D printing software, too, as long as you save the final template as an .stl file extension.)
Once you’ve transferred your files to the 3D printer, the FlashForge Finder will begin building the model one layer at a time.
The Finder comes with a starter filament spool, strips of a plastic-like material that melts down in the print nozzle.
The PLA filament is extremely pliable but sturdy, and best of all, it has no obnoxious odor like some professional ABS filament material.
The printer will empty out the heated filament with careful precision, following your template layer by layer until the model is complete and ready to cool.
After that, you just need to slide out the tray, and the printer is immediately ready to start again.
Take a look at our guide to 3D printing for beginners if you need a more indepth explanation.
The Finder comes with a quick start guide, 1 roll of 600g PLA filament, 1 platform sticker (already installed), a power cable, a USB cable, a filament guide tube, a 2 GB SD card, tool kits, and a flash drive that includes an in-depth user manual and software to get you started.
That filament should last quite a while, but you’ll need to buy replacements periodically.
The PLA filament included is from FlashForge, but the printer does accept third-party filaments, so you can look at filament options from companies like Hatchbox or ProMolt to get the right quality and color for your project.
FlashForge Finder Features
Slide in Build Plate
A great feature of the FlashForge Finder is the removable print tray, which makes getting your creations out of the printer a snap.
We’re surprised more printers don’t have this easy to use feature to be honest, as it crtainly takes a lot of the hassle out of removing your prints once they’re finished setting.
Non-Heated Print Tray
The Finder uses a non-heated print tray, which is a bit of a mixed blessing.
Many 3D printers use heated print trays: the heat helps make sure the print adheres to the bottom of the tray for the full duration, which keeps the print from warping or falling over in the middle of the process.
Smaller 3D printers, like the Finder, do not have this function for a couple of reasons.
First, smaller prints are more likely to cool at the same rate throughout and aren’t typically heavy enough to fall over, so you are less likely to run into that warping problem.
Second, the Finder’s print tray is non-enclosed, so having a non-heated tray makes a lot of sense from a safety perspective.
That still leaves us with some potential pitfalls, but if you do have trouble with prints staying in place, you can use hairspray or electric blue tape to coat the tray, which helps the print stick but makes it easy to remove once the drying is done.
Assisted Bed Levelling
This 3D printer for beginners will help you to ensure that the bed is totally flat and level for highly accurate prints.
This is an area that many beginners fall down on with more advanced printers, so it’s great to have this additional assistance.
The Finder is fully outfitted with lots of ways to connect to your machine, through USB ports, SD card readers, and WiFi.
The versatility is nice, and it makes getting your print files to the machine as simple as possible.
3D printers come in all kinds of resolutions, and these settings affect how crisp the final product appears when finished.
With an at-home model like the Finder, you’ll get a range between 100 and 500 microns, more than enough to make great-looking prototypes, toys, tools and more.
The microns refer to the height of each layer, so the smaller resolutions will have a higher quality (a thinner, finer line). The printer represents these different resolution types as Low, Standard, High, and Hyper.
At Low and Standard levels, you’ll notice some slight grading (at a resolution of this quality (the curves in your project will have a very slight stair-step look to them), but you can buff those out with sandpaper to achieve a smooth effect.
You won’t be able to do highly intricate designs (like jewelry), but the Finder is still capable of creating complex components for larger prints. Match your project to your resolution, and you’ll find lots of versatility with this machine.
3.5 Inch Full Color Touchscreen
Another tick in the box for ease of use is the brilliant, large touchscreen on the FlashForge Finder.
It’s very intuitive and the icons make for easy adjustments during the printing process.
Plastic Alloy Construction
Lightweight yet reasonably sturdy, the Finder will fit easily onto most desks and workspaces, and is sturdy enough for consistently smooth printing.
FlashForge 3D Printer Finder: Review
Excellent for Beginners and Children
The two major plus points for the FlashForge Finder 3D Printer are that it’s easy to use and it’s safe.
It’s super simple, thanks to the slide in, slide out build plate and the easy to use software.
The touchscreen is intuitive, the operation simple and it provides assisted bed levelling. It’s a no brainer.
On the safety front, the non-heated print tray is a real pro. More traditional 3D printers are known to get up to well over 100°C, which is obviously far from ideal in a classroom environment.
You’ll have no such problems with the Finder.
Quiet and Odorless
It’s really a joy to use and isn’t nearly as obstructive as other 3D printers.
The operation is really quiet and there’s no horrible plastic smell from burning filaments either.
Excellent Connectivity Features
It’s rare to see a 3D printer at this price point with WiFi connectivity, but lo and behold, the FlashForge Finder has it!
It just makes uploading your files so much easier. And, of course, there’s options to connect via the USB port and SD card finder too.
Arrives Ready to Go
We love a machine that is ready to go mere minutes after taking it out of the box, and the Finder certainly is that.
It’s pre assembled and will be ready to print very quickly after set-up. Just make sure to carefully read the instructions, newbies!
Take a look at this video of a beginner getting to grips with the printer for the first time:
Good Customer Service
It’s always a good idea to choose a product from a company that you know are going to have your back if times get tough.
FlashForge are known in the industry for their above par customer support over the phone. Just give them a call if you run into any issues and they’ll take care of it.
The new Finder gets style points for its sleek, eye-popping design; you can actively fold this printer into your interior decoration and add a nice splash of color to your workstation.
It’s compact enough to fit nearly anywhere, and it’s made for durability to keep it running steady and smooth for a long time. There’s also a bright color LCD touchscreen that makes adjusting settings and navigating through your files easy, even for kids!
Good Print Quality
While the FlashForge Finder can’t really compete with more sophisticated 3D printers, it produces prints of a high quality considering the price and simplicity of the machine.
Beginners and kids, in particular, will be impressed — although those more experienced might consider looking into something a little more advanced.
As you might expect from a kid-friendly 3d printer, the FlashForge Finder is a tad on the basic side.
Once you get up to speed with the basics of 3D printing, you might feel like you need an upgrade to something that offers a little more creative freedom that the Finder simply can’t give you.
Personally, we think the Qidi Technology X-One Pro 3D Printer has more potential for both beginners and intermediate users, and it’s in the same price bracket to boot. It also boasts a better print quality, although it’s not as well set up for kids.
While we love the small footprint of the Finder, which means that we can have it on our desk all day, it does limit the projects you’ll be able to do.
No heat on the print tray can also pose challenges, so the buyer will want to do a little research on how to keep their prints stable and steady while printing.
Plus, the fact that it’s made of plastic alloys instead of metals means that it’s not quite as durable or steady as some of its competitors.
But unless you plan on taking on more and more complex projects, the Finder should work fine for any home craftsman.
The FlashForge Finder 3D printer is a great purchase for absolute beginners and kids in a classroom setting.
It’s super easy to use and as safe as a 3D printer can be, while being at a reasonably low price point. This is a basic machine, however, and some people may get more mileage out of the Finder’s competitors, which have generally better print quality and more creative control for the user.
Where to Buy the FlashForge Finder
Here’s where you can pick up the Finder:
And, of course, it’s available on Amazon.
Have you tried the FlashForge Finder 3D Printer?