4 to 6 weeks with a form 3 - meh


#1

TLDR - It feels like this was rushed out before full beta testing was carried out

So I’ve been running a form 3 for around 4 to 6 weeks now. I have got some lovely prints out of it in that time and yes the results are generally a bit clearer or sharper but wow talk about a frustrating experience some times.

My issues with the machine are as follows,

  • The wiper inside the tank is just flawed. Using an empty tank? It will become unhitched during the test. Only way I’ve found to solve this is to put a small amount of resin in the fresh tank. Using a thicker resin such as tough or durable? Better hope it’s hot! Otherwise the wiper again unhitches and throws an error. Then you get to enjoy resin covered hands as you try and reclick it into place

  • The resin meter on the machine doesn’t seem to update with any kind of indication as to how much is left.

  • After a print, if I want to start another print, I always get an error. This error happens just before it tests the optics. The only way I’ve found to actually get it to print is to restart the machine and even that doesn’t always work out. I will be contacting support on this one. Feels either like an issue with the optics unit or the firmware.

  • The time to print. Got used to relatively good speeds on the form 2? Well prepare to add a good bit of time to your prints on the form 3. It may be because one axis is mechanical rather than optical as with the form 2. The time predicition isn’t even displayed on preform so you have no idea how long something will take until it’s loaded onto the machine.

  • My screen at one point lost the backlight. A restart solved this but again, it was a frustration I didn’t expect to have. I will also be contacting support about this one.

These are all issues I discovered with a single machine running relatively infrequent prints over a period of a few weeks. I can’t imagine that these issues didn’t crop up during beta testing with several machines running 24/7 as I would suspect you would before releasing a product.

There are some lovely features on the machine. I like that the build platform is warmed along with the resin. I like that it has audio and light indicators to tell you what the state of the machine is. I like the overall design. There is most defitely a diamond of a machine in here but my initial experience just hasn’t been all that wonderful.


#2

Thanks for taking the time to document your results here. I’ve been planning to buy a Formlabs printer for a while but reports like this one have me looking at other manufacturers. Most disappointing is that there seems to be little to no response from Formlabs, which leads one to believe that they see no resolution for at least some of the reported problems.


#3

Indeed, thanks for sharing! Some of your feedback has been echoed by other users and I anticipate will get addressed in time. My impression is some of the engineers at Formlabs would agree with you the printer was released too early.

That said, I received my Form 3 a few days ago and so far the experience has been relatively pleasant. The print quality in Clear is really good. I put a few drops into the tank before the first print to avoid the mixer popping off, and haven’t had an issue with it yet. No errors yet except for the tank not being fully inserted the first time I tried to use it (my bad). My machine’s cover arrived with scratch lines and scuffing on the top; support responded within a day saying they’d send a replacement cover.

Admittedly it’s still early days, and I’ll report back more thoroughly in a few weeks. But I felt @mh1974 ought to know some of us are having better luck.

Like him, I was initially wary - and even instructed my salesperson to hold my order because of what I was reading about from other early adopters, but they ‘made a mistake’ and shipped it anyway. Had a long conversation with a couple of folks from Formlabs and I do think they’re working hard on ironing out the kinks, even though those efforts are (unfortunately) fairly opaque to us here on the forums.


#4

I don’t mean to knock the engineers at formlabs. I know from speaking to them that they don’t want to be sending out an unfinished product.

There’s a lot to love about the new machine and I agree the clear resin prints are gorgeous. I just wish I hadn’t been tempted by the £500 discount to take it on. I’m now in a difficult position. I wanted to sell my form 2 as soon as possible and move over fully to the form 3. As it is, I can’t do this. This now leaves me having to order up tanks for both machines. An expense I could do without.

If formlabs is looking for a future beta tester then by all means give me a shout! It would have only taken me a few days to find these issues and I don’t doubt I’ll find more in the following weeks.


#5

I think the same way, Form3 is 2 or 3 times slower than Form2, and I’m also having problems printing, just before I start printing, the machine restarts, I will have to contact support.The machine has good results, but it is very slow, it seems that it was launched before it was prepared, it seems a step back.


#6

That’s encouraging to hear, but it seems odd that Formlabs isn’t more active here, other than to suggest that someone with problems contact support by phone or email. It would be nice to see an official statement that all existing FL resins will be supported and that print speeds and quality will be increased to that of the FL 2 with a estimated timeline. Barring such statements one is left wondering if they are not sure it is possible to meet those goals. Of course, it’s much better not to promise what can’t be delivered.


#7

Hey all,

Thanks so much for taking the time to post. We absolutely understand your concerns, and truly appreciate your patience as we continue to work hard improving our printer performance and compatibility.

The best resource for resin availability is this page, which we do try our absolute best to keep updated in real-time.

I’m not able to give a specific timeline on other software improvements at the moment(would if I could!), but I wanted to hop in and say we see and read your feedback, and our software team is working hard to improve print quality as much as possible as efficiently as possible. We believe in the Form 3 and I can assure you the work is not done.

Please don’t hesitate to keep the feedback coming.


#8

FWIW, I’ve had the form3 for about a week, been printing nearly 24/7 and haven’t had any of these issues.

I’ve had a couple of minor “rippling or waviness” issues, but mostly I’ve been absolutely thrilled with the quality.

Biggest learning curve is with supports. Learning a bit every day and coming up with better and better prints


#9

Something must be up with your unit. Been printing for weeks, none of your issues. If the wiper becomes unlocked the magnet just swings by and picks it up on mine, works fine. Compared to the Form 2, I haven’t had a single failed print and the lack of suction forces allows us to print directly on the build plate with great results. The machine froze up on me once and a reboot fixed that, I do wish it had a power switch.


#11

Can you tell be a bit more about printing directly on the build plate? Our workflow involves printing a whole bunch of hollow cylindrical objects and being able to nest some of these would be awesome. Every time I’ve tried so far I seem to get a sort of flared out bottom to the print that throws off our tolerances. I’m still pretty new to resin based printers and preform but it seems like there isn’t much I can do in terms of calibration on the software end.


#12

with form 2 you get slight flashing in first couple layers and don’t forget first few layters get compressed so you may need to compensate for it. may be similar in form 3 but rest of the model usually great. I like growing on the plate.


#13

The wiper becoming unhinged is a known issue. I had it myself, and I found a couple other posts about the same thing. I took videos and sent them to Formlabs and they acknowledged the problem and sent me a new tank. Obviously this isn’t a problem with EVERY unit, but it’s not a one time issue either.

And regarding print quality, I’m glad you’re having such great luck. I have a thread going about significant layer shifting and ripples/defects in EVERY PRINT I have tried, and these have not been remedied by new tanks, or the latest updates. After an immense amount of back and forth with support they have now recognized this is a much wider spread problem and are working on it… who knows how long though. At this point I am unsatisfied, and that’s putting it nicely.

Here is my thread in case you were interested… you’ll find several other threads referencing the same problems. Bad prints out of brand New Form 3


#14

Never had the flared issue, does it occur on both form 2 and 3?

We also print cylindrical objects, but they are on the larger size, sometimes taking half a liter of resin. Diameters are usually a few inches and wall thickness is usually 1/8-1/2 inch. These objects would create massive suction forces on form2, we’ve even had it stall out the motor. Typically we artificially create standoffs near the top, so it shouldn’t be creating a vacuum. The parts are threaded so the standoffs don’t affect functionality. The standoffs are there just for easy removal so we don’t fracture the part trying to get it off the plate.


#15

Formlabs requested i send them the main model I was trying to print that showed the wobble line problem. Formlabs got back to me that they could NOT print my model without layer wobble problems. Yes… Confirmed = even formlabs could not print a small part without layer wobble.

There are certain cirecumstances where the wobble layer problem is hard to spot. A model like yours that requires half a liter of resin will generally look a lot better than a model that requires say only 5 ml of resin. The wobble lines are less visible on larger prints (that is my experience). Also this layer shifting problem is more noticeable on clear resin than grey for example. My guess is you might actually have the ripple line problem like the rest of us but are printing in a way that obscures it.

I dont have all of the problems listed on this forum all the time. (The wiper blade problem I only have when using an empty tank for the first time.) But the rest are common for me and it would seem others. Two vendors of Formlabs printers tell me these a widespread problem. Their demo machines show the same problems. Although that is a moot point anyway given Formlabs confirmed they cant print small peices … Also remember the layer wobble has been evident in Formlabs own promo prints for some time.


#16

I am guessing you are printing at 100 microns. Most of the problems I see are at 50 and 25 microns and are small detailed parts.I have printed larger parts at 100 microns and they are fine, but a simple small open box at 25 microns will not print without layer shifting and defects due to 'wobble"-that is Formlabs term for it. Hopefully it can be fixed with a firmware update or for those of use that use the Formlabs SLA printers for small and highly detailed parts will be out of luck with the Form3


#17

Bingo! Have zero need to print below 100 microns and have not done so. There’s little to no value add for us. Also have been printing exclusively in Durable since Grey Pro is unavailable.


#18

A few weeks further on from my original post. I have a few of the initial problems either sorted or figured out workarounds however the biggest pain (and I know others have mentioned this elsewhere) is the complete lack of time predictions for prints. Preform there’s nothing and when it’s loaded to the printer you get a prediction but it so completely under estimates the time required that it’s pointless. I have watched the machine in action and it seems the only variable in the process that would affect the time and be variable is the time taken to peel each layer. On some prints it takes no time at all, on others it visibly takes longer.

This is a major frustration as I’m using the machine in a print service setting where my clients and I work to tight deadlines. As it is, I might as well lick my finger and put it in the air to predict timings.

Still wishing I hadn’t moved on from the form 2. That was a proper fire and forget production machine, the form 3? Not so much.