When you’re new to 3D printing, it doesn’t make sense to break the bank on a high-performance printer. Starter machines like the Flashforge Finder or the Printrbot Simple are ideal for those who are just starting out, or for those who want to build simple objects or prototypes. Which is right for you? In this Flashforge Finder vs Printrbot Simple comparison, we break down the pros and cons of these two basic printers to help you decide which should be your launch pad into the world of 3D printing.
FlashForge Finder Specifications
At first sight, the Flashforge Finder is the more appealing of the two printers, with its open-face cubic design and bold color. A full-color digital display further enhances the superior design. The Finder is a little larger than the Printrbot though, at 16.5 x 16.5 x 16.5-inches, and offers a slightly smaller printing space of 5.5 x 5.5 x 5.5-inches. For such a simple machine, it reaches a respectable top print speed of 40mm/s and move speed of 200mm/s. Printing resolution is standard but thankfully variable at 100-500 microns. Here’s our full review of the FlashForge Finder.
Printrbot Simple Specifications
The Printrbot Simple is just that — very simple. No bells, whistles, or pretty colors. Some people will likely appreciate the austere 16 x 14 x 10-inch design, especially as it comes with a convenient handle for improved portability. It sports a larger print bed than the Flashforge Finder at 6 x 6 x 6 inches, and a solid 80mm/s max print speed. The newest Printrbot Simple models have improved resolution, printing down to 50 microns, which is a great accomplishment for such an affordable printer. You can find our full review of the Printrbot Metal Simple here.
Flashforge Finder vs Printrbot Simple Features
These two printers have evenly matched features and price points. While the Printrbot Simple has slightly better specs, with its larger printing bed and superior printing resolution, the Flashforge Finder is more attractive and user-friendly. Neither features a heated plate (though both are removable), and both printers are limited to PLA and similar filaments.
Both printers also have modest, portable dimensions compared to other 3D printers. The Finder is a couple pounds heavier than the Simple, but arguably has the more travel-friendly shape.
FlashForge Finder vs. Printrbot Simple Ease of Use
For absolute beginners, the FlashForge Finder wins out with ease of use, maintenance, and connectivity options. If this will be your first experience with slicers, the Finder comes with FlashPrint, Flashforge’s own user-friendly software that works seamlessly with the printer. The Finder also includes a touchscreen LCD display, which walks you through every step, including calibration and plate leveling.
In contrast, the Printrbot does not come with any software, requiring you to choose from compatible 3rd party slicers like Cura. This may or may not be a bad thing, depending on your previous experience. The Simple also lacks Wi-Fi or flash connectivity, and instead depends on an SD card in order to use away from the computer.
FlashForge Finder vs Printrbot Simple Verdict
There are plenty of similarities between these two 3D printers, but the FlashForge Finder was clearly developed with beginners and home hobbyists in mind. The build plate on the Finder even comes pre-taped, making it even easier to start printing right out of the box. The Finder is simple to set up, and the results are precisely accurate and smooth after hundreds of hours of printing. Because they are so evenly matched up, we feel that in the FlashForge Finder vs Printrbot Simple debate, the Finder is the better value with a slightly sleeker design at a slightly lower price.
Customer service is another big consideration for beginners and those who aren’t the most tech-savvy. Even if your machine is working perfectly, you may need to contact customer service for help. FlashForge shines here, too, with fast, helpful service aimed at solving your issue, not just appeasing you for the moment. We’re very pleased with the Flashforge Finder, and recommend it to anyone looking for an affordable home 3D printer.