Flashforge Finder: Flash Print

Objectives and Overview

This lesson introduces the FlashPrint, the software used to slice 3D files for printing on the Flashforge Finder. 

Lesson Objectives

  • Learn to use FlashPrint to slice 3D files.
  • Continue to fine-tune their printer

What is the FlashPrint?

FlashPrint is the printer control and slicing software that is used for the Flashforge Finder. The ease of use and simplicity of the software provides an intuitive experience for beginners. It isn’t as great as higher rated 3D printing slicers like Cura or Simplify3D but it provides similar advanced options like custom supports, splitting models and wifi-printing.

So what is a 3D Printing Slicer? A 3D printing slicer prepares a 3D model(.stl or .obj) for your 3D printer, generating G-Code. Each layer of a 3D model in the software is converted in “slices”; every slice contains a piece of G-Code that the printer where to move and extrude filament layer by layer or slice by slice. 

The Flashforge Finder doesn’t print with G-Code but uses Geometric Expressions(.gx) files to print sliced files. It’s unclear why the Finder uses .gx files instead of G-Code but the process is completely the same.

Installing FlashPrint

You should have an installation package file for FlashPrint on the flash drive provided. 

  1. Insert the flash drive into your computer
  2. Locate the flash drive on your desktop
  3. Open the FlashPrint folder on your flash drive. There should be three different compressed versions of FlashPrint (Mac.zip, Win32.zip, Win64.zip)
  4. Double click the file which matches your computer’s operating system

If you’re having trouble installing via flash drive, download FlashPrint here

After installing and running FlashPrint for the first time you may be prompted for software updates. Update to latest software

Setting Up FlashPrint

You’ll now be prompted to select a printer, by default Flashforge Dreamer is selected 

Select the Flashforge Finder from the dropdown menu and then click OK. You should now see the virtual build area change to resemble the Finder. 

Always make sure the FInder is the selected machine since that is the printer you’re working with. Default settings might get switched during an update so make sure Finder is still selected afterwards. You can always switch the machine type through the menu by selecting Print > Machine Type > FlashForge Finder.

Start with page 33 in the user guide to get an understanding of the button functions for FlashPrint.

Slicing in FlashPrint

We are now going to walkthrough slicing our first model in Flashprint.

Click the load button at the top of the screen and select 3-FinderBedTest.stl from the flash drive

Now click ‘Move’ and select on the object then click center

The object should center itself on the build plate. You want to make sure the design is always centered on the bed before printing. You can turn auto layout by clicking File > Preferences > Print > Select ‘Yes’ for Auto Layout  > Click Ok.

Now X out the ‘Move’ option and click ‘Print’

Keep the settings on at default and click ‘Ok’. A file browser should pop up wanting you to choose where to export the sliced file. Save it to your flash drive.

Now properly eject your flash drive and then insert it in the printer.

This file is to help with fine-tuning in the leveling process. A successful print will ensure that your printer is leveled across the perimeter of the bed. This print might warp, so make sure you apply a layer of glue for adhesion.

Here’s an example of a warped print:

This could happen from the result of three different reasons that the bed isn’t leveled completely, poor bed adhesion or the print is cooling too quickly.

Once you pass the warp test, we’re going to move toward exploring additional slicing settings.