3D printers have become much more affordable in recent years, so much so, that even a beginner can get their hands on a powerful printer. In my Craftbot Flow review, I will explore the features of this robust printer.
Made by a Hungarian manufacturer, the Craftbot Flow comes with many great features for novices and professionals. I’ll look at the pros and cons of this device, list some alternatives, and also find out if the Craftbot Flow is worth the money.
Bottom Line Up Front – The Craftbot Flow is an excellent 3D printer that can be used both for home use and in a professional environment. While it doesn’t have fully-automatic bed leveling or a dual-extruder, this 3D printer offers a straight out of the box solution with an impressive build volume, flexibility with various filaments, and an easy-to-use 5-inch touchscreen.
Key Specifications of Craftbot Flow
|Build volume||300 x 200 x 250 mm|
|Overall dimensions||485 x 400 x 540mm|
|Connectivity||USB Cable, Wi-Fi|
|Print speed||200 mm/sec|
|Latest price||Click here for the latest price|
Core features of Craftbot Flow
The Craftbot Flow 3D printer comes with many great features to make your 3D printing experience as seamless as possible.
One of the things that stands out with the Craftbot Flow is the touchscreen control.
Many 3D printers don’t come with this functionality, and it can increase the overall difficulty when printing. Luckily, the Craftbot Flow has a 5-inch touchscreen that makes it relatively straightforward to operate this printer. The different stages of the process – printing, paused, heating, error, and printing finished – are all easily displayed, and you can even choose to have each step in a different color.
This is an excellent feature, and the Craftbot Flow also has Rasberry PI, which creates a user-friendly environment.
Printing with certain filament types is often tricky; however, errors are reduced with the filament sensor on the Craftbot Flow.
The filament sensor helps to reduce errors and ensure a smooth operation when trying to get your 3D printed objects finished to a high standard.
The Craftbot Flow has a maximum temperature of 300°C and features all-metal hot ends. This allows you to print with many different filament types, including:
The filament sensor and maximum nozzle temperature allow the Craftbot Flow to be highly diverse in the materials that you can use.
When you purchase a new 3D printer, the last thing you want to do is spend hours putting it together. Some 3D printers are difficult to assemble, which can put many beginners off; however, the good news is that the Craftbot Flow is a plug-and-play device.
It doesn’t take very long to get this 3D printer up and running.
The printer comes fully assembled, which is a huge bonus, and you can begin 3D printing in no time at all. Compared to some other 3D printers in the same price range as the Craftbot Flow, this is a significant advantage and means you can have your 3D printer ready to print pretty much out of the box.
One of the first things I look for when purchasing a new 3D printer is its connectivity options.
You’ll be pleased to know that the Craftbot Flow comes with WiFi connectivity. Many budget 3D printers don’t have WiFi, and it can make things a little more complicated depending on your setup.
The Craftbot Flow features WiFi connectivity, but you can also connect this 3D printer via USB and ethernet. This gives you several options to run this 3D printer and boosts its overall connectivity.
The build volume of the Craftbot Flow is an impressive 300 x 200 x 250 mm.
This puts it in the category of a large-format 3D printer that can print off pretty large objects. The build volume provides a lot of flexibility as you can use thins 3D printer for larger prints and use it for smaller things such as miniatures.
The build volume isn’t as big as a larger Craftbot Flow XL, but it is still pretty impressive.
The Craftbot Flow is a reliable 3D printer, and I haven’t come across too many issues when using it. Certainly, I haven’t found any problems that would make me use the warranty; however, it is still better to purchase a 3D printer with a good warranty in case anything goes wrong.
The Craftbot Flow has an excellent 5-year warranty period, which is a lot more than many other 3D printers. You usually find 3D printers with 12-month warranty periods, so this is a nice change, and it gives you peace of mind that your printer is covered for five years.
How does the Craftbot Flow perform
The Craftbot Flow can deliver high-quality prints, and any objects I have printed with this model have turned out really well.
The print speed is good at 200 mm/s, so you can get your objects printed quickly while still retaining the quality you would find in a printer twice the price. It isn’t the quickest 3D printer on the market, but it is still pretty rapid.
The Craftbot Flow has a single direct drive extruder, which can be a downside if you need a dual-extruder model. However, anytime I have used this 3D printer, I have been impressed by the printed objects it produces, and you will notice the difference between this printer and one at the lower end of the pricing scale.
Pros of Craftbot Flow
I like a lot of things about this FDM 3D printer from this Hungarian manufacturer.
This 3D printer is sturdy and well-built as it features a double-walled reinforced steel frame.
This ensures that the Craftbot Flow is highly durable, but it also helps create a controlled atmosphere for better print quality. The construction of the steel frame reduces vibrations and wobbles to help your 3D printed objects come out in the best quality possible.
If you do find any issues with the construction of the Craftbot Flow, it is backed by an impressive 5-year warranty period.
For beginners or even experienced professionals, spending a long time putting a 3D printer together isn’t an attractive proposition. The Craftbot Flow comes fully assembled, which is a huge bonus.
If you want to start your 3D printing journey quickly and with a minimum of fuss, the Craftbot Flow is a proper plug-and-play device.
Touchscreen and software
The touchscreen control on the Craftbot Flow massively enhances its ease of use and makes it simple to operate.
If you are just starting with 3D printing, you will find the 5-inch touchscreen incredibly useful as it shows you exactly what stage of the printing process your model is at. Also, you can customize the colors of each stage to make it easier to operate, and more experienced 3D printers will appreciate the straightforward controls.
The Craftware software that comes with this 3D printer is similar to Simplify3D, and it is easy to use.
If you don’t want to use this proprietary software, you can also use other third-party software like Cura.
This 3D printer produces high-quality prints, and anytime I have used the Craftbot Flow, I have been consistently impressed with the quality.
Also, the printer is compatible with a wide range of filaments which is down to the high nozzle temperature. So, you can print with PLA, Nylon, ABS, and other materials with ease.
Enclosed print chamber
The enclosed print chamber ensures that your prints will have the best chance of coming out the way you want. The print chamber allows for a more consistent temperature, which is helpful for printing with certain filaments such as ABS.
Also, the enclosed chamber aids with overall sturdiness, and when combined with the reinforced steel frame, the chances of vibrations and wobbles, which can ruin your prints, are massively reduced.
The Craftbot Flow has a 300 x 200 x 250 mm build volume.
This build volume allows the printer to produce large-scale objects while you can also use the Craftbot Flow to print off smaller miniatures. The flexibility of the Craftbot Flow is a big selling point, especially when it can also work with various filament types.
Cons of Craftbot Flow
So far I have focused on the positives of this excellent 3D printer, but there are some downsides to the Craftbot Flow.
This 3D printer has a direct drive single extruder.
The single extruder design comes with some limitations, such as only being able to print with one filament at a time. If you are looking for a 3D printer for a quick prototype, this is fine, but it does restrict its ability to produce creative objects.
For the cost of the Craftbot Flow, I would have liked to have a dual extruder which would enhance the options you have.
Bed leveling isn’t fully automatic
The bed-leveling system is semi-automatic, which can impact the quality of your prints, especially if you are a beginner.
You can set the calibration settings easily on this 3D printer, but there is some manual work involved, which increases the chances of user error. Getting this correct comes with time and experience, although it can be annoying if you don’t set it right and mess up one of your prints.
Can be expensive
Compared to the more budget-friendly 3D printers on the market, the Craftbot Flow isn’t the cheapest.
The extra money you pay does get you a highly-functional and high-quality 3D printer that will print fantastic objects while being fairly easy to use. However, if you are on a tight budget, you might find the Craftbot Flow a bit expensive, especially when looking at some of the cheaper FDM 3D printers.
Are there any alternatives?
Original Prusa i3 MK3S+
A solid alternative to the Craftbot Flow is the Prusa MK3S+.
This 3D printer is ideal for hobbyists and home users and comes packed with many features to ensure you can consistently print high-quality objects.
The Prusa MK3S+ has a decent build volume of 250 × 210 × 210 mm, which will allow you to print off reasonably sized models. The max nozzle temperature is the same as the Craftbot Flow, and this Prusa 3D printer can work with various filaments, including PLA, PETG, ASA, ABS, PC, Nylon, and wood.
This printer doesn’t come with WiFi connectivity; however, if you upgrade and add Raspberry Pi, you can use a WiFi or Ethernet connection. The SuperPINDA probe helps with automatic bed leveling, and this printer is relatively easy to use.
A downside to the MK3S+ is that it uses an open print chamber that can increase the probability of errors and means it is often difficult to maintain a consistent temperature. However, the Prusa MK3S+ is a cheaper alternative ideal for home use.
You can read my review of the Prusa MK3S+ to find out more.
FlashForge Adventurer 3
If you are seeking a budget alternative to the Craftbot Flow, the FlashForge Adventurer is a good choice.
This 3D printer is a decent option for anyone on a tight budget, but it also provides good performance considering the pricing category. The Adventurer has an OK build volume of 150 x 150 x 150mm, so you can still print off some reasonably sized objects even though this is smaller than the Craftbot Flow.
Some other things I enjoy about this budget printer are the in-built cameras which allow you to monitor your prints, while the enclosed print chamber makes it easier to regulate the temperature and achieve consistent results. There is also a handy 2.8-inch screen that makes it easier to operate this printer.
The Flashforge Adventurer won’t produce the same results as the Craftbot Flow, but I have found the print quality to be pretty decent, and it is on par with the Ender 3 and some of the cheaper Anycubic models.
LulzBot Mini 3D Printer
The last alternative to the Craftbot Flow is the LulzBot Mini 3D Printer.
This open-source 3D printer is similarly priced to the Craftbot Flow, although it doesn’t come with an enclosed print chamber, which can disadvantage many people.
The printer is a plug-and-play device, like the Craftbot Flow, and it is capable of working with a ton of filaments, including PLA, ABS, HIPS, PVA, PETG, Nylon, and Polycarbonate. Like the Craftbot, this is also a single extruder printer which means you can only print with one filament at a time, although this is generally fine for most people.
I have always found the LulzBot Mini 3D Printer easy to use, and it is an ideal printer for beginners or those that only 3D print occasionally. The printer has autocalibration and an autocleaning nozzle, which cuts down on maintenance.
The smaller build volume will limit the type of objects you can make with this print (the build volume is 152mm x 152mm x 158mm), and even though this is a quick printer, it doesn’t offer as high-quality results as the Craftbot Flow.
You can find out how this printer performs in my full Lulzbot Mini 3D printer review.
Frequently Asked Questions about Craftbot Flow
Question: What filaments can I use with the Craftbot Flow?
Answer: The Craftbot Flow has a maximum nozzle temperature of 300°C, which means it can work with many filament types. This includes PLA, ABS, HIPS, PE, and Nylon.
Question: Is the Craftbot Flow beginner-friendly?
Answer: Yes. The Craftbot Flow can be used by beginners and more experienced 3D printing enthusiasts. While it doesn’t have a fully-automatic bed-leveling system, the enclosed print chamber and the handy 5-inch touchscreen make this a straightforward 3D printer to use.
Question: Does it take long to assemble the Craftbot Flow?
Answer: No. One of the most significant advantages of the Craftbot Flow is that it comes fully assembled. This is a plug-and-play 3D printer, so you won’t have to spend any time trying to put the device together.
Question: Do I get a warranty with the Craftbot Flow?
Answer: Yes. The Craftbot Flow has an impressive 5-year (or 5000 hours) warranty, which is better than many other 3D printers.
Question: What is the build volume of the Craftbot Flow?
Answer: The build volume of the Craftbot Flow is 300 x 200 x 250 mm, which is pretty good for printing larger and smaller models.
Question: What is the print speed of the Craftbot Flow?
Answer: The maximum print speed of the Craftbot Flow is 200mm/s. This is quite fast compared to many other 3D printers, but this Craftbot model produces high-quality results even with faster speeds.
Final thoughts – the Craftbot Flow provides high-quality prints alongside many great features
There isn’t a lot I dislike about the Craftbot Flow, and it is one of the better 3D printers in its price range.
The larger build volume provides good options for producing bigger objects, and the high nozzle temperature allows you to print with various filaments such as nylon. The Craftbot Flow offers a lot of flexibility for new and experienced users.
Beginners might find this 3D printer a tad expensive; however, this is evened out by the plug-and-play nature of the printer (there is no setup required as it comes fully assembled), and the 5-inch touchscreen makes everything ease to use and monitor.
Also, the different connectivity methods (such as WiFi and Ethernet), and enclosed print chamber, further enhance how straightforward and flexible this printer is.
If you want a good quality 3D printer for home or office use and don’t mind spending a little bit extra money, the Craftbot Flow is an ideal choice.