Flashforge DREAMER 3D PRINTER
Flashforge has hustled to establish itself as one of the leading consumer brands in today’s saturated 3D printing market. With no less than ten models for sale concurrently, the Chinese giant continues to make waves with a nifty balance of quality and competitive pricing.
Today, we take our magnifying glass to the Flashforge Dreamer, an easy to use printer producing quality prints fit for the home, office, or educational context if we are to go by the marketing pitch. Does it live up to these claims? Let’s find out.
With a look more akin to an MRI machine than one set to energize a workshop with stirring creative juices, the Flashforge Dreamer continues the unfortunate trend of drab, dare we say, ugly 3D printers.
The main culprit is the uninspired three-tone color scheme (white, gray, and black) that although clean and clinical, places this model at odds with rival manufacturers who’ve put in a little more time to conjure up alternatives that illicit attraction, and by extension a desire for usage on the part of the owner. Luckily, the look is somewhat bolstered by LED strips that light up the print chamber for a bit more design flair.
The enclosed outer casing is made of high-quality plastic-alloy, which invariably makes things look cheap (not to mention the constant fear that it will melt with the heat of the printing process), while the rest of the components are made of high-quality aluminum and acrylic. Combined, the Dreamer weighs in at a respectable 33.1 lbs, placing it on the lower end of the spectrum and as such easily transportable.
Both side panels have removable ventilated hatches for maintenance and replacing filament, while the top cover can be lifted off for materials that need cooler temperatures. The acrylic front door also swivels open to access the print bed and is secured by magnetized latches. The enclosed chamber is ideal for stabilizing the inner temperature but also works to limit foreign bodies from tarnishing the layers during the printing process.
As we all know – and this no more true than in the sphere of 3D printing – looks aren’t everything, and the Dreamer conceals quite the assemblage of excellent features hidden under a banal exterior.
Using FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication) technology, the Dreamer is an XYZ Cartesian style printer that uses a standard dual rod and Moons-manufactured stepper motor setup for both the X and Y axes, with the Z axes running along a threaded rod as well as two classic flush rods.
The print area measures in at a comparatively small 230mm x 150mm x 140mm, but sufficient for the majority of hobbyist projects and ample room to print multiple parts in the same session.
The Dreamer sports a dual direct drive extruder setup with a nozzle diameter of 0.4 mm capable of layer resolutions ranging from 100 to 500 microns. The heated build plate is a chunky 6.3 mm slab of aerospace-grade aluminum for uniform heat distribution that can reach temperatures up to 120 degrees centigrade.
The Flashforge Dreamer is versatile when it comes to materials with support for PLA, ABS, limonene-dissolvable support material, nylon, HIPS, Flex, T-glass, woodFill, copperFill, and brassFill. Filament diameter sticks to the standard 1.75 mm with support for third-party filament spools.
Filament sits inside purpose-designed spool berths (or holders) inside the chamber, which Flashforge argues keeps the filament at a higher temperature thus prolonging the lifespan of the material by removing moisture but is primarily a space saving feature.
However, the size of the berths means cartridges are limited to the 0.6 kg variety. Fortunately, the side hatches mean you can also use 1 kg or larger spools by seating them to the sides of the printer.