Anyone actually have a Form 3 in production?


#14

While the Formlabs resin is expensive, I haven’t see any third party resins so far that work as well

As for Open Mode, while I’m sure they are reluctant to get that implemented (just in terms of business sense) probably most of the delay is that they’re still working on stuff like completing settings for all the different resins and quality levels.


#15

That’s the thing about Open Mode, it doesn’t provide any predefined profiles, It’s up to you to do so.

So they could implement Open Mode right now, if they really wanted to.


#16

Blockquote
Dudemeister4h
That’s the thing about Open Mode, it doesn’t provide any predefined profiles, It’s up top you to do so.

An interesting thought there Dudemeister. Of course the selection of “material” in Preform does set an exposure / speed/power of laser profile. That directly controls the cure characteristics of the resin being used.

“Open” mode on the Form 2 is not really a true open mode as it does not allow the user much control over exposure variables such as time and power of the exposure (the amount of UV energy being applied per unit of the uncured resin) (Unlike in your Photon or the Form1, where you can control / set the variables)

“Open” mode simply disables several of the Form 2 features to allow a user to pour resin into the build tray. It also introduces a rather undesirable feature of a delay being forced when it calculates (rather than measures) that 100ml of resin should have been used. This often causes lines in a print and those lines can be a weak point in the print. The impact of the delay is proportionate to how quickly the user presses “resume”

Its hard to understand or conclude why a similar system could not be implemented TODAY on the Form 3, other than its not desired by Formlabs as potentially it removes a source of revenue from them (resin sales / consumable sales)

I guess that the current position of NO OPEN MODE on a Form3 is a position driven by commercial reasons rather than technical reasons.

My prediction is that after a period of time “Open” mode may become available on the Form3, but its anyone’s guess as to exactly when. My thoughts are that the timing of such a release will probably coincide with a slowing down of sales / orders and will in effect be used as a sales tool to increase sales at a quiet point (if the option of open mode ever happens at all…)


#17

I disagree on your assumption. Look at what I am producing and selling on my website www.rustystumps.com it’s all produced with ALW Grey resin and is every bit as good as Form Labs Grey resin. I’ve used both.


#18

I run Open Mode and have for 3 years using ALW resin. It uses the FL Grey V3 profiles and has no issues. You need to research more before making such a statement.


#19

OK, I’ll concede that, since I haven’t used Open Mode on a F2.

Last time I was using Open Mode was on the F1+, in it’s early days, and it needed you to provide your profiles. The only default profile they had was for the clear, and you had to figure out on your own how to tweak it for your own resin. Most resins in those days didn’t work with the standard profiles.

But even if that was the case (and the F2 uses normal profiles in Open Mode), and Open mode just disables a few features and unlock the ability to simply pour in some resin and go, then why the delay? It’s not like they have to do any special coding and tweaking for it.

I think the reality is FL wants to milk the resin cow for as long as they can, then maybe a year or so down the line, they might open it up.


#20

As I run with only one resin color, Grey, even setting the Open Mode is no issue. ALW resins come with specs on what mode to use for each of their resins plus a host of other info. This is included in each liter package.


#21

So, can you use the ALW without Open Mode? What about pouring it into an empty Grey v3 cartridge?


#22

Possible, maybe, it would be the sensor on the Resin Cartridge that would be the issue. Not sure but from what I’ve read in the past somehow it keeps track of how much resin passes through and when it senses 100% it won’t allow it to be reloaded. The Universal cartridge is too expensive from what I’ve learned.


#23

If you order 12 liter at a time I assume you print a multiply of that in a year. Using the universal cartridge adds less than 6 dollar per liter and over the lifespan of it, much less than that. Still much cheaper than OEM resin and all functionality is back. In that sense, not a bad deal if that is the only or best way to print on the Form 2 or Form 3 :slight_smile:


#24

That resin purchase is because I’m closing the retail operation and there has been a tidal wave of orders. Usually it was 4 liters per month normally. I’ll use a lot less going forward as I’ll only be doing a small amount of 3D prints.


#25

I have to agree. I have no complaints about my Form 2, its a fantastic machine, nor with FormLabs which have always been quick and helpful with support when requested. But the resin is insanely expensive.

I also see people on reddit and facebook posting pics of Photon and Elegoo Mars printed miniatures and they are almost at Form 2 quality for a fraction of the resin prices.


#26

BIT THE BULLET today, Ordered a Form 3 Printer.

We are in the midst of closing our Retail Operations and will leave for an extended AMTRAK trip across the country and back. So it times out right as the printer should be here shortly after we return.


#27

I have been using a Form 2 for my private practice (orthodontic office for 2 years) printing dental models scanned with an intra-oral scanner, to produce retainers and aligners.

I have the new Form 3 for 2 weeks now, and I have been using it since day one for the above. It prints as the Form 2 (slightly faster, Dental Model V2 100microns). I see no visual differences to the print surface, however the Form 3 prints perfectly (same as F2) but the machine has parts that are easily changed if needed (if something needs replacement). For example I had loss of laser power after a year at F2 and I got a printer swap from Formlabs. If you run to a similar problem you get the part that needs to be changed and do it yourself easy.

Other than the above, to the initial question, yes Form 3 is used for every day production at least for 2 weeks now, and runs as smooth as the F2 that I had in office for 2 years now.

Regards,

Dr Dimitris Galaktopoulos DDS,MS


#28

Regarding the resin tank, I was told by Formlabs that it will last more than F2 LT Tank, if that is true, that means months of heavy printing before change is needed…We’ll see


#29

Thanks Dr. that’s very helpful info. My use of the Form 3 will be much less than the way I’ve run my Form 2 units. 111 jobs run in the last three weeks. I’ve gone through 16 liters of resin about that same time. Few fails and they were usually two or three items on a multi item prints. My parts are small so some run 150 pieces at a time.


#30

Mine will be here today!!!


#31

I got 1 fail so far, the printer stopped a few minutes after starting, and on the screen it read “error 63”. My parts are large so 6 at a time is the usual prints. I have messed with Z-Compression and Early Layer Merge, on that specific print just to test it. The Form 3 new sensors must have sensed that my parts will not adhere to the platform, so it stopped printing leaving a very thin base printed on the platform, that I easily removed. When I tried the same print with the default settings (z-comp and layer merge) it went on and printed everything fine.

If that is the case the sensors do the job quite promising because on the Form 2, it would have tried to print, and if the object detached from the platform, it would have been all over from the wiper, and would have spilled resin everywhere (I know that for a fact, because it had happened on the F2 and my assistant had to clean the printer forever till it was ready for a new print).


#32

Define “production”. For dental models, I’m sure it works great. For actual volume, i.e., more than a handful of parts, I would stray far away.

  1. Resin. It’s insanely expensive and the market is poised to blow up. The big chemistry players are making a massive push in the resin market. So we continue to see insanely good resins for prices much less than what formlabs is charging. So you are losing on cost, performance and flexibility.

  2. Workflow. These printers are not designed for mass production work flows, lots of labor which drives up costs. From what I’ve gathered even form cells are kind of a novelty which you can’t purchase through normal channels. No support for part packing on multiple levels, you’d probably have to manually do the packing and then export the STL into preform. Formwash and cure are not ready for prime time. Volume constraints, takes way too long to wash and cure and many times they don’t actually wash parts fully. You could come up with a custom workflow, but you won’t get any help from formlabs.

  3. Speed. We haven’t taken delivery of our Form 3 yet, but speed has always been an issue and will be with any laser system. Projection systems can cure entire layers in a few seconds and then move on to the next layer. The technology just can’t compete. This will also affect your bottom line.

For me formlabs has always been about convenience and presumably will continue to be. The software is easy to use and for non-complicated parts that aren’t too large, you can get good results in a decent amount of time. We generally try to outsource large, 500 ml or >, parts if we have the time to wait, as we’ve had too many failures or it just takes too much post processing time.


#33

It depends on what your goals are, the benefits of this type of printer is the quality and detail at a pretty large size, the downside of that is that it’s slower to print but that’s something you have to accept when you want the results the printer can provide.
All SLA printers have the need to rinse and cure, so that’s not something that can be avoided with this type of printing.