After trying 3d printing a couple of times at work, I decided it would be good to have one at home. After doing some market research I settled on FlyingBear Ghost 6. Turns out this brand is quite popular in the Russian-speaking community, but has been flying under the radar of the English speakers for a while. So this note is supposed to give at least some pointers about the device.
Disclaimer: I am very much a 3d printing noob, and I haven't had this printer long enough to judge its durability. Take my opinion with a grain of salt and do your own research.
Like anything, there are good and not so good things I can say about the printer. Let's start with the good:
- Quite inexpensive for what it offers. I got it for $320 including delivery and taxes during the black Friday sale, and right now it is $360, which is still pretty good.
- Has fully enclosed casing and advertises capability of printing ABS, haven't tried myself yet. Although I'm dubious of its stock "hat", there is a much less janky aftermarket acrylic top.
- Direct extruder is supposed to allow printing with TPU, although I haven't gotten that far either.
- CoreXY kinematics is supposed to make the print head lighter, and printing — more accurate at faster speeds. Prints do look decent to my untrained eye.
- Also thanks to the CoreXY design it is fairly compact for its printing volume, you don't need as much desk space as for Prusa-style "bed slingers". Small physical dimensions were one of the key factors for me.
- Arrives mostly assembled, I was able to put it together and calibrate in a couple of hours, with no prior experience. The instruction manual that came with it was pretty good and accurate.
- Stock build plate adhesion is quite strong.
- Runs a modified Marlin firmware out of box. Sources are available for further tinkering. Can run Klipper as well.
- Uses a fairly well-known MakerBase Robin Nano v3.1 control board, so there is a fairly clear path for customization.
- Can be controlled over WiFi, so no need to run around with an SD card, although you can if you want.
And, of course, there are trade-offs:
- No automatic bed leveling. It looks like it could be added using aftermarket parts, but I haven't researched that too deeply.
- Stock build plate adhesion is a bit too strong
- Filament insertion can be fiddly, especially the part where it needs to feed from the extruder to the hot end.
- Even though technically a direct extruder, the distance between the extruder gears and the nozzle is fairly long, so printing with flexible materials can be difficult or impossible.
- Some folks criticize its hot end design for reasons I don't quite grasp yet, so there's that.
- Reportedly quality control is not always good, though support ships replacement parts when required.
So overall, a reasonable starting point for a hobbyist, and it has some interesting DIY upgrade opportunities. I hear that's 50% of the reason to have the 3d printer in the first place
In terms of community, most of it is in Russian, but with the help of Google Translate it should be accessible enough for anyone. Some of the noteworthy places:
So that's that. I'll probably post an update in a couple of months, let you know how it holds up.