As the third-ranking 3D printer company in the world, Flashforge has become a staple within the 3D printing community. Because of the ease of use of the company’s desktop models, one question that gets asked a lot is whether Flashforge can print STL files.
The short answer is yes, you can print STL files by using the Flashprint software, which connects directly to your machine. However, Flashforge does not use STL files on its own. You can’t print this file type without using Flashprint.
Let’s dive a bit more into Flashforge printers and how they work and what else you can do with these machines.
What is Flashforge?
The company started in China in 2011, and has since grown to become the first-ranking 3D printing service in the country. Flashforge makes all of its proprietary elements, from 3D printer filaments to software to machinery. This kind of vertical assimilation is one reason why the brand has become so widespread in just over a decade.
Flashforge offers an assortment of consumer-grade and professional-grade printers that can be used for various industries, including dentistry, jewelry, and more. Currently, the company offers its proprietary filaments, which are available as PLA, PBS, and PCL. It also offers LCD and DLP resin, which work well with Flashforge machines.
Can Flashforge Print STL Files?
The company has two versions of its software – Flashprint and FlashDLPrint for resin 3D printers. According to Flashforge, Flashprint is compatible with all 3D printing software and can process all major file types, including STL.
What Software Does Flashforge Use?
All Flashforge products come with Flashprint or FlashDLPrint installed, depending on the type of printer it is. The most current version of the software is Flashprint 5, which is highly adaptable and comes with tons of features to make your next print as seamless as possible.
What Other Files Can You Use With Flashforge?
Flashprint works with all the major file types, including:
- STL – This acronym stands for stereolithography, and it’s the most basic option for 3D printing. The process of creating an STL model began in the late ’80s with 3D Systems. STL files use triangles to shape each model. The smoother the image, the more triangles are necessary. While STL can deliver high-resolution models, the file sizes are immense, and you can’t use multi-colored machines.
- OBJ – This file type is the second most well-known for 3D printing, but it works a lot better than STL. Instead of using triangles to create the model, OBJ files will utilize any geometric shape necessary for a smoother surface. So, OBJ works well for builds that have curved or rounded edges. You can also store color and texture information in the file, making it much more versatile than STL.
- AMF – Also known as “additive manufacturing file,” AMF is a more advanced version of STL. The software still uses triangles, but it will curve them depending on the shape of the model. The results are much smoother and lead to fewer errors while printing. AMF files can store extra data like color and material, but the file type does have some technical issues, including compatibility with all 3D printers.
- 3MF – This option is the latest and greatest and offers the best capabilities of any 3D printing software. Because of its advantages, 3MF could unseat OBJ and STL files as the default. Part of the reason why 3MF has such strong support is that it was developed in part by Microsoft, so it has some massive backing behind it. These files include all data, including manufacturer details and licensing information. However, the files are not universally accepted on all platforms (yet).
How to Export Files in Flashforge
Once you’re done editing your model in Flashprint, you can go to the “Save As” tab and choose one of the file types available. The default options are STL, OBJ, or FPP (a proprietary Flashprint file type). From there, you can import your files to other software if necessary. However, FPP files will only be readable by Flashprint or FlashDLPrint.
Where to Find More Information About Flashforge
The best resource for discovering more info about Flashforge is the company’s website. There, you can get more details about specific products or software features. The brand also puts user guides for its most popular consumer-grade printers, such as the Flashforge Finder.
Overall, Flashforge printers are well-built and reliable. As the company continues to update the software, the machines will become even more versatile and capable. You can also upgrade to professional models if you want to ensure the best results, although pro printers are going to cost a lot more.