I've wanted to experiment with 3d printing for a few years, but couldn't justify the start-up cost. I finally found a second hand FFCP with just a few hours on the clock - so I took a punt and bought it without knowing much about it. I usually research stuff like this, but this seemed like a pretty good deal. I found the FFCP (and the FlashPrint slicer software) intuitive to use and I managed to get pretty decent prints right from the start.
I have zero experience with other printers so I'm unable to comment on the FFCP versus others, but I've been impressed with my results. I haven't bothered to print one of those tug boat models (which seems to be the standard model to test a printer).
I've rarely had to over-ride the default settings in FlashPrint - they seem to be spot on most of the time.
I've had very few failed prints (and they have mostly been user error such as wrong filament used or forgetting to ensure the print is on the platform). I've not experienced any of the issues I've read about others having with their printers of various brands:
- the filament load/unload utility of the FFCP works like a charm
- a blockage is easily cleared by preheating the extruder and pushing fresh filament through (I haven't had to remove an extruder yet).
- it only takes a couple of minutes to get the bed level using a piece of paper as a feeler gauge
- I only check/tweak the level very occasionally (eg if I'm about to print something 'special').
Prints sticking to the bed
- I use the blue stickers and they last a long time (when the centre starts to wear, I just move my print area to the corners
- I found a paint scraper filed to a sharp-ish edge get prints off easily
- Get the prints off as soon as they are finished or preheat the bed to the same temperature as printing before sliding the scraper under the edge
- Other seem to get good results with a glass bed. I'm considering trying one - only to get smoother results on the bottom face (sometimes the bottom face needs sanding to improve the finish off the blue sticker).
I have had minimal warping or lifting with either PLA or ABS. I printed one model which was long and thin. It bent a bit when I removed it, but that was because I pulled it off the bed as soon as it finished printing. I printed it again, let it cool completely, pre-heated the bed and removed it as soon as the bed came up to temperature (before the whole model softened) and it was perfect.
- Auto supports works pretty well.
- I sometimes delete a few supports if it looks like there are too many. I sometimes add supports manually too. For example, I might delete one that starts building from another point on the model and create a longer one off the platform for a cleaner finish.
- I've bought some dissolving PVA filament (the advantage of a dual extruder machine), but haven't tried it yet.
In short, I'm very happy with my printer. I have no intention of changing to another one at the moment. I guess that might change as new technologies emerge.