Piocreat G5 PRO Pellet 3D Printer Review

Mary Ewy
by Mary Ewy
Updated Feb 19, 2023 1885

The introductory image for the Piocreat G5 PRO pellet 3D printer review.

As long as there are quite a number of various additive manufacturing technologies, FDM 3D printing remains one of the most popular for both industrial and consumer applications. It uses different types of thermoplastics in the form of filaments, that are heated to the melting point and then extruded through a nozzle onto the build plate to form a plastic part in a layer-by-layer manner. Since FDM filaments are generally made from plastic granules, eliminating the 'filament stage' from the process and printing directly with granules seems an obvious decision. Large-scale industrial 3D printing market has already assessed all the benefits of FGF (fused granular fabrication), or pellet 3D printing technology, but for consumers or small businesses, it has remained inaccessible until recently.

This is Top 3D Shop, and in this review, we are going to tell you about the Piocreat G5 PRO pellet 3D printer, which introduces the FGF technology to the prosumer and even consumer market.

Pros and cons
  • High-speed printing
  • Removable flexible build plate
  • Selection of different nozzle diameters
  • Large build volume
  • Low material cost
  • High price compared to FDM machines

 

About Piocreat

The Chinese-based Shenzhen Piocreat 3D Technology, founded in 2015, is a branch of the Creality company, widely-known for its consumer FDM 3D printers. Piocreat focuses on development and production of industrial-grade machines, offering its customers resin, pellet, and channel letter 3D printers that cover the needs of multiple industries, including but not limited to dental, jewelry, advertising, automobile, architecture, and more. The company supplies its products to over 200 countries and regions worldwide, and provides customers with comprehensive technical support.

The photo of the Piocreat workshop.

 

FGF technology

There are a number of large industrial 3D printers based on fused granular fabrication. Piocreat, for example, produces G12 and G40 large-scale models that use thermoplastics in the form of pellets for printing. Pellets are loaded into a hopper mounted on top of the machine. A hose connects the hopper to an extruder with a rotating screw, which forces pellets down to the hotend where they are melted into a homogeneous mass and extruded through a nozzle to build a 3D model. The high extruder cost is the reason why FGF 3D printers, though having a lot of advantages, have not entered the consumer market yet. The situation started to change when Piocreat released the G5 and its upgraded G5 PRO version, which, while being quite expensive compared to FDM machines, are nevertheless affordable for small businesses and even some hobbyists.

A general scheme of the FGF pellet printing technology.

Credit: researchgate.net

Despite its fairly high price, an FGF 3D printer can pay for itself pretty quickly thanks to the material cost, which is normally several times lower than that of filaments. Apart from this huge advantage, granular materials are more environmentally-friendly, take much less storage space, and eliminate the problem of disposing of empty spools.

 

Specifications

Piocreat G5 PRO Pellet 3D Printer
Connectivity USB, SD card
Display LCD touchscreen
Extruder Single
File formats STL / OBJ / AMF / 3DMF
Layer thickness 0.2–1 mm

 

Piocreat G5 PRO overview

The Piocreat G5 PRO features a spacious build volume of 500 mm cubed, suitable for printing fairly large models, while the machine size of 765 x 890 x 990 mm allows considering it a benchtop device, which can fit into a limited workshop space. The printer has an open-frame design, so you may want to add an enclosure in case you often print with high-temperature thermoplastics. Dual Z-axis lead screws with dual rods make for stable movement and prevent possible vibrations, ensuring reliable printing results without model deformation. The printer can build layers at 0.2–1 mm height, and boasts print speed of up to 100 mm/s, which is faster than many FDM printers are capable of. To ensure good first layer adhesion, the G5 PRO is equipped with auto bed leveling using a BLTouch sensor, as well as auxiliary calibration function.

A general view on the Piocreat G5 Pro pellet 3D printer with the open structure.

 

Highlights

The Piocreat G5 PRO adopts all the necessary features that make a 3D printer a versatile, reliable tool, providing industrial-grade performance and remarkable cost-efficiency.

New generation extruder

We've discussed the merits of pellet extrusion earlier. As mentioned, the extruder is probably the most notable part of the G5 PRO model. Developed in-house, the screw-type unit provides smooth, consistent extrusion and can be equipped with interchangeable nozzles. The printer comes with 0.8 and 1.0 mm options, but there are 0.4–3.0 mm nozzles available. The extruder heats up to 450 °C which allows printing with engineering-grade high-temp thermoplastics.

The Piocreat G5 PRO pellet 3D printer features a high-end new-generation extruder.

Removable build plate

The G5 PRO is equipped with a PEI-coated spring steel build plate, which does not generally require any additional adhesives. Once printing is over, the flexible magnetic build plate can be pulled out for easy part removal. To reduce warpage while printing with temperature-sensitive thermoplastics, the print bed heats up to 150 °C, while heating up to 60 °C takes less than 2 minutes.

A PEI-coated spring steel build plate supplied with the Piocreat G5 PRO pellet 3D printer.

Printable materials

Materials for FGF 3D printers come in the form of pellets. The G5 PRO can process granulated plastics with particle size of 2–5 mm. Thanks to its high-temp extruder and heated print bed, the machine is compatible with a wide range of consumer and engineering thermoplastics, glass and carbon fiber-reinforced composites, and even metal materials, like 15-5 PH stainless steel. The list of compatible materials includes PLA / PETG / PETG + 10% GF / ABS / PA6 / PS / GPPS / PP / PP + 30% GF / TPE / TPV / TPU / 15-5 PH, and other pellets.

Pellets being loaded into the Piocreat G5 PRO pellet 3D printer.

Coming back to FGF printing advantages, multi-material printing is definitely worth mentioning. Once the material comes in pellet form and is fed to the extruder from the hopper, it is much easier to change the material on the go without interrupting the printing process. This allows combining different plastics in a single project. If you want to change the color of your future model, all you need to do is add masterbatch of the chosen color to your material.

A selection of pellets compatible with the Piocreat G5 PRO 3D printer.

 

Unboxing

The G5 PRO is an open-frame 3D printer that comes semi-assembled. The assembly process is pretty simple and does not take long. After you fix all the printer parts together and connect the necessary cables, your printer is ready to work. The unboxing and assembly process is shown in the video below.

 

Applications and print examples

Thanks to the wide range of compatible materials with various properties, and large build volume, the G5 PRO finds its use in numerous industries. It can be equally good at printing industrial parts and end-use consumer products, prototyping, sculpture and interior design, furniture manufacturing, and other applications you can only think of.

Interchangeable nozzles of different diameters and variable layer heights allow you to adjust the overall printing time and get models with different surface quality, even when the same material is used for printing. The vase models in the picture below were printed with PETG + 10% glass fiber material, but using different nozzle diameters and print settings. The nozzle temperature was 230 °C, and the print bed was heated up to 80 °C.

The vase models  printed with PETG + 10% glass fiber material on the Piocreat G5 PRO pellet 3D printer.

The first model was printed with a 2.0 mm nozzle at a layer height of 1.2 mm and at 30 mm/s print speed. Printing time was 5 hours.

For the one in the middle, a 0.8 mm nozzle was used at a layer height of 0.3 mm and 60 mm/s print speed. It took 7.5 hours to print.

And the third model used the smallest nozzle diameter of the three, which was 0.5 mm, and the least possible layer height of 0.2 mm. The print speed was set at 60 mm/s, and the model was built for 9.5 hours.

A close-up on the previously shown vase models to demonstrate some printing details.

On the close-up you can clearly see the difference in the surface finish and visible layer lines on the model printed with the largest nozzle diameter. But since such surface quality may be unsatisfactory for certain applications, in other cases, like furniture production or art object creation, it becomes an advantage with an additional bonus of significantly shortened overall printing time.

Some pieces of furniture printed with the Piocreat G5 PRO.

 

Bottom line

The Piocreat G5 PRO is a pioneer model that makes FGF 3D printing affordable not only for large industrial enterprises, but for a greater number of customers, including small businesses and 3D printing enthusiasts. With all its advantages, supported by extensive R&D work, pellet 3D printing has good chances to become widely popular, and the G5 PRO is a great choice for those who want to give it a try.

FAQ

Are there any special requirements for printing materials that are used with the G5 PRO?
The G5 PRO is not limited to a certain material manufacturer. You can use pellets with a diameter of 2–5 mm and printing temperature not exceeding 450 °C.
Does the G5 PRO provide good interlayer adhesion?
Due to continuous extrusion with a high flow rate and high nozzle temperature, the G5 PRO creates strong bonds between layers, and printed models can be compared to those produced with injection molding.
Can the G5 PRO handle flexible materials?
Yes, the G5 PRO can print with TPU, TPE, or TPV pellets, providing the same part properties as FDM-printed models built with corresponding filaments.
Mary Ewy
Mary Ewy
Updated Feb 19, 2023
About the expert
Mary is a contributing writer at Top 3D Shop blog and an experienced journalist keen on cutting-edge technologies, with a special interest in additive manufacturing. Apart from writing articles, she is passionate about photography, tennis, and traveling.

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