Are you satisfied with your printer?

I’m looking for responses from anyone and everyone, doesn’t matter if you’ve had your printer a week or if it’s been 8 months.

I got mine today after 7 months of waiting, and it seems like it’s broken right out of the box (waiting on response from support).  I’ve been doing some more in-depth research about the issues people are having that are requiring replacement of the machines, and I’m feeling rather discouraged and questioning the wisdom of my purchase.

So.  How happy are you with your machines?  Do you wish you would have waited for something better/cheaper/more reliable, or are you glad you went with the Form1?

Thank you all,


Well that stinks.  It seems that out of the box failures happen but it does with just about every product in existence, unfortunately.  I have had my ups and downs with my printer.  So to answer your questions:

Yes, I am happy with my machine.

I have 2 other printers as well.  I have a Cupcake Makerbot.  In short, it sucks.  It was much cheaper and the way it functions proves it.  I also have a 3D Systems Invision LD.  It is the same machine as a Solido.  It functions great BUT, it is noisy, the PVC stinks up the whole house, it produces larger parts very well and very small parts rarely print well.  It also has a ton of wasted material and at ~$400.- for a box of materials I try to use it as little as possible.

So I do not wish I had waited for something else as I have not seen anything else that fits the “better/cheaper/more reliable” yet.  Like all products, one day there will be something that fits those requirements but I can almost guarantee, they will all have some issue or another.

Keep us updated with your printer experiences.


I’m quite satisfied with mine so far.

Printing isn’t as cheap as I was hoping for but compared to anything else I know of with comparable quality it blows them all away!

Dimensional accuracy is a little lacking but graphic appearance is superior.

Tech support has been good for me so far.

I was using a dimension before and I like my Form 1 more and it costs over $80,000 less!

I also have had some prints done on an Objet which are both dimensionally and graphically superior by far, but that is from a nearly quarter million dollar machine.

So for a printer, around 60 print jobs I’ve done now, and the other tools I employ in my process I have still under $4,000 invested. Pretty sweet deal I would have to say! I’d still like to get an FDM machine of some kind that uses a support material but havent found the right one for me yet. I think some projects just call for a different process sometimes.

But I wish you luck Andy, hope that Formlabs straightens things out for you!


No, I’m far from satisfied with my Form1(s) but I have yet to see an alternative SL printer with comparable build envelope, detail quality, and price. The B9C is no good for me because the envelope is just too small.

I’m on my second Form1 (ObtainableLamb), having returned the first(NaturalChicken) after issues, and I have the option to return this one as well because it arrived with shipping damage.

NaturalChicken had dimensional error in the x-axis of about 3% compression, that was ok to begin with because I was still getting to grips with how to use it, but then after about a month of heavy usage the laser broke. . . . I know right - how does a laser break? it’s solid state - but that’s what happened, it went from shining a coherent beam to shining like a flashlight. I took it out of the machine and shone it on the wall - then I dissembled the laser and it looked like there might have been a crack in the glass/plastic over the laser diode behind the lens. See pictures on this thread: So that has me worried about issues with the longevity of the lasers after the 3 month warranty is up.

Formlabs service response to all this was excellent however, and in short order I had ObtainableLamb as a replacement. With no cost beyond a relatively minor fee of £41. Unfortunately it arrived with significant shipping damage, the case around the power plug was all bent out of shape - and it was obvious the packaging had collapsed after being dropped. Moreover ObtainableLamb was also inaccurate with x-axis error of about 1.5% - expansion this time.

Formlabs were prompt and fair in offering a replacement due the shipping damage - however that was fixed easily enough, I bent the case back into shape with a spanner, the power plug was then usable - and the damage proved to be to the housing only.

However their response to the x-axis dimensional error in ObtainableLamb was much less than satisfactory - it seems they have yet to decide on what official tolerances are for the Form1. Their initial response (although my ticket is still open) is that this may fall within their expected accuracy window. To me this is unacceptable since they were using functioning nuts and bolts, planetary gearboxes, and of course the gyrocube (which must require finest tolerances of all to spin freely) as showcases of the Form1 capabilities.

Having opened up NaturalChicken in the course of trying to find out what was wrong after the laser broke, I noticed adjustable unglued trimpots on the galvo breakout PCBs - these seemed like natural candidates for galvo adjustment, but I couldn’t try them because the laser was not working.

Now with ObtainableLamb being inaccurate as well, I asked Formlabs to confirm my theory on how to adjust the galvos, and their response was neither yes or no, only that I would void my warranty. Voiding the warranty doesn’t concern mesince my experience dictates that Formlabs can’t deliver accurate printers, and an inaccurate printer (anything over 0.3mm drift per 100mm) is of no value to me - hence the warranty is currently meaningless.

So I’ve started tweaking the galvo PCB trimpot printing an 80mm exactly horizontal calibration part in between each adjustment - and I’ve had decent success. Out of the box ObtainableLamb printed the 80mm part at 81.19mm my lastest print hot out of the vat after half a dozen or so adjustment cycles is 79.86mm across - which now makes my Form1 almost useful. I’m hopeful I can fine tune it further though with a larger 120mm calibration part - and will be publishing all the results in a new thread.

So in summary - I’m not satisfied with the Form1 because there’s a high chance of shipping damage (Formlabs customer service in response is excellent, but you’re still going to be out of pocket and time for a replacement), it’s inaccurate to the point that the promotional prints of the gyrocube, nuts and bolts and planetary gears simply seem dishonest. Finally Formlabs response to a customer (me) looking to improve the accuracy of my machine has been the unhelpful; “no comment except you will void your warranty”.

Having said all that - I still can’t see any competition as yet on build envelope, surface finish, and price.


Just wanted to chime in here – and I do appreciate the feedback and thoughts. Firstly – and this has been discussed elsewhere – we’re working hard on improving our packaging. The Form 1 is a surprisingly challenging machine to ship, with a delicate acrylic cover (we’re looking at other options down the line) – and very uneven weight distribution. The suspension we’re using has been fairly effective, but there certainly are more instances of shipping damage than we’d like, of course, and we’re working hard to minimize those.

As for dimensional accuracy – we’re aware of some variance on that front and we’re actively looking at fixes. This could take the form of a software tool to allow for individual compensation for individual axial elongations – which in general, should be constant across the platform. Of course, we’re also working on improving the stability of the machines’ performance, and we definitely appreciate all of the thoughts here.

As for our customer support – we do our best to provide outstanding service, but we’re loathe to provide feedback or advice when we haven’t established best practices ourselves. We know that a lot of you have deep technical knowledge, but we really can’t advise anyone to start messing around with the working of the machine unless we’ve proven the workflow ourselves.

I’d encourage you to experiment with some scaling factors (in software), after you characterize your particular machine.

@Sam scaling models in software before printing is extremely difficult to get right - because scaling has to have an origin - so you have to match the software scaling origin in your model to the centre of the form dimensional error.

The only practical way forward in software is to provide individual axis scaling tools in PreForm that match the scaling centre to the centre of galvo deflection on the Form1. At the moment there’s only model resizing and global scaling.

Scaling the part model outside of PreForm is what I was trying to do initially - but this is very, very hard to get right. You have to import the part into PreForm first, orient the part for printing - then make a guess at where the centre of galvo deflection is relative to the oriented part (can you confirm that this is the centre of the build platform?)  then scale the part in your external software with the scale origin matching the centre of galvo deflection as visually guestimated previous in PreForm. Not only is this really hard work, but it’s very error prone.

So at the moment - as I see it, there is no practical software scaling solution for Form1 dimensional error.

I suggest that you go with uniform scaling for the time being – that will be the same regardless of origin. If there is some difference in the required scaling based on variance in galvo deflection across the build platform, it will probably have somewhat smaller effect overall. Is that your concern? I’m not exactly sure that I understand your question.

Of course, there is also the possibility of malfunctioning printer components, in which case, no amount of scaling will solve the issue. You’d typically see much more dramatic errors, of course. That’d be a matter for

Even though I can not give my opinion on the Form 1 yet, I would like to address Kevin directly.

@Kevin - I don’t want to be a smartass, but you may want to know that the laser IS NOT a solid state laser, but a diode laser.

Also: you’re very courageous having disassembled the cylindrical laser housing! :slight_smile:
You do not have any pictures or details by chance? I am dead curious knowing more about the type of diode and the optics. (sorry formlabs for me asking). It is definitely a 405nm, 120mw laser diode that includes also a photodiode for output power feedback. Is it a nichia diode by any chance?

I am also pretty sure that the lense (or the lenses) are not made out of plastics, but glass. Plastic would pretty quickly be busted/burnt by the laser power. I am however curious if there is just a collimator lense, or also one or more cylindrical lense(s). (The collimator lense focuses the beam only, additional cylindrical lenses would also shape the elliptical beam to a round one - diode lasers naturally can only emit elliptical beams.)

Maybe you can put this information in your inofficial new wiki? I’d be happy to also contribute, if needed :slight_smile:


Hi Etienne

thanks for the correction - I’m a software developer by day so all this is new to me. I knew the laser used a diode, but was unaware “solid state” lasers were a separate class, I only used that phrase to indicate it had no moving parts - like SSD vs HD in the computer hardware world (which I’m more familiar with).

I wasn’t worried about dissembling the laser because it was already thoroughly broken - see photo below, taken of it shining on the wall like a torch before I took it apart.

To answer your questions - yes there was a collimator lens - and that seemed fine, no damage, dust, or marks that I could see with naked eye or USB microscope. It unscrewed easily from the case - in fact it was worryingly lose - I don’t have any pictures of it.

After not finding any defects in the lens I looked behind it - and when held at the right angle against the light, it looked as though there might be a crack in the glass cover over the diode. I can’t be 100% certain though.

I did try to take a picture of it the apparent crack- but without dremeling the laser casing open to get the right light angle - it was impossible, and I wasn’t prepared to go that far.

I did take some USB microscope pictures, but these seem to look straight through the glass surface without picking up any surface detail/crack. I had no idea what I was looking at, or whether it might help you with your questions, but I’ve attached them here. That’s all I have I’m afraid - that laser was returned with the printer - and of course I won’t be disassembling up my current laser unless it breaks too!! I can add that the little PCB inside the laser housing is printed with the Formlabs logo and “made in USA” which surprised me.

Great to hear some details on the laser. Given that I’ve had one break I’m really keen to spec out a replacement if my current one breaks. I hope you weren’t asking me about nichia diodes - since I dont even know what a solid state laser is :slight_smile: Course I doubt you’ll get anything from Formlabs either - they seem a bit paranoid about guarding technical details.

You obviously know your electronics and it would be great to have you contribute on the wiki - could you drop me an email at kevinsaccounts at n7tech dot com? and I’ll invite you.



Hi Kevin,

I’ll shoot you an email in a second.

No worries about you being a coder - I am just a marketing guy/entrepreneur with basic technical knowledge. It’s just that I have close contact with the folks from who are a manufacturer of solid state lasers for subsurface laser engraving - we’re both in the same building and we’re a big customer of them. I can learn a lot from them about Lasers :slight_smile:

I am not so much worried about sourcing the laserdiode from somewhere else, as I am sure that replacement will be available through formlabs.

I just hope it won’t be necessary to always send the whole printer back to the US (we’re in Germany), but rather be able to buy such parts as we can buy today resin and replacement Vats from them.

(@Formlabs: If you’re looking for an after sales service partner in Europe/Germany, Vitro definitely has the means for that.)

Calibration shouldn’t be too much of a problem. anyone who can focus a projector’s image on the wall, should be able to focus a beam on a piece of paper :slight_smile: (eye protection required though!)

Also, there is a lot of talk on this forum that formlabs should communicate more about this or that…

Seriously? Formlabs is a profit oriented business. I wouldn’t want to disclose everything either. no matter if it comes to technical details, parts, or even political decisions within the company. Sure you can ask, but If they decide not to disclose on which kind of resin, whether it is castable or not, they’re working on - I can fully understand that. - It still does not stop me or Monger Designs from asking though. LOL.

Nevertheless, I appreciate the business with formlabs: even if a few printers may have some technical issues out there - their service is great, and you’ll always be helped.




Very glad you’re on board for the wiki…

It would be great if Formlabs offer laser as component for sale like vat and resin, but I really doubt that will happen.

Re you’re comment on calibration - it was not my experience that my laser issue was a simple calibration problem. It was working fine then suddenly - not even base layers were printing - and eventually I tracked it down to the laser shining like a torch. Nothing happened in between, no shock to the machine or anything like that. I did also wonder if somehow the lens has gone out of focus, maybe through vibration from the Z-axis stepper motor - and tried adjusting the lens focus it by moving it up and down on it’s threads (shown in pictures on previous post) - with no success. So if was a simple focusing issue then it’s certainly not easy like focusing a projector - however I believe focus was not the problem and that there was a crack in the fixed glass surface behind the adjustable lens.

As for communication from Formlabs. I think they can definitely do a much better job, others are concerned about castable resins, I’m concerned about accuracy. There were blog posts on printing functioning nuts and bolts, also there were planetary gear boxes, and of course the gyrocube itself - all promoted as showcases of the Form1’s capabilities, a machine suitable for printing engineering prototypes - and yet neither of the machines I’ve owned are accurate enough to print any of those things.

Also there’s a deafening silence from Formlabs on the things than can go wrong with the printer, and how to fix them (the Troubleshooting section here in the help centre is laughable). It’s like they think they’re Apple - selling stuff that “just works”.  This is clearly not the case, and any issues raised here in the forums are always answered with “raise a ticket - we’ll deal with it” (to be fair - they do) - but that’s only valid the very very short 3 month warranty - and there’s still cost, risk (will the replacement be better? mine wasn’t) and inconvenience in waiting on a replacement machine.

It would be much more engaging and helpful if Formlabs answered issues here on the forums with - “yes that’s X which is easily fixed with Y - or if you prefer and you’re still in warranty you can let us deal with it via a ticket”.


Thanks for the thoughts here. We do our best to accommodate everyones’ requests as best we’re able. There are clearly some failure modes that are more common than others, and in general, information solicited is often incomplete and doesn’t have some of the detail our support team needs, so we definitely err on the side of referring people to our support team (, if they’re seeing issues on the prints.

As for the warranty – as a young company, we’re focused on making sure that you guys are having a great experience, even as we continue to resolve challenges on the homefront. Right now, that is certainly our priority – not keeping track of specific dates and the like. That’s not a promise – I’m just telling you where our hearts are. We want you guys to be happy.

The issues with the laser you’re seeing, Kevin, is not repairable.

As for troubleshooting and our support section – most of our efforts are focused on making sure those with printers are printing successfully. The Form 1 was not designed to be user serviceable, so even (seemingly minor) repairs, do often require a trip back to our HQ. I know that can be frustrating and we’re doing our best to increase reliability and accuracy, as well as provide the resins that many of you have requested.

@Sam - that issue with the defocused laser is long in the past, it’s the failure that I finally returned my first Form1 for. I was only showing it again to Etienne in response to his questions about the laser.

@Etienne - I think that probably answers your hope that replacement lasers might be available on the Form store. The current Formlabs attitude is “The Form 1 was not designed to be user serviceable” - so that means unless we can source replacements ourselves, any laser failures out of warranty will need an entire new machine.

I can not speak for FL but I can not see a company saying, sorry your laser has failed and your machine is out of warranty, please purchase a new machine.  To me that would not make sense.  On the other hand, I can see them requiring the machine be sent in for service, the customer given an estimate to repair it and then the choice is up to the customer.  Most electronic devices are not designed to be user serviceable.  Yes, there are exceptions but for the most part no, this is what kept me employed for ~10 years.

Hey Kevin,

Just a  quick question, do you have any experience with other 3d printers?  The big monstrosities from 3D systems and the lot require anywhere of $5-10k in SERVICE costs each year (usually with the company upping the costs ever other year or so for something new).  Additionally those machines are an order of magnitude harder to take apart or figure out the problem.  I’d say for almost half of the servicing costs of a big printer, we are getting a home based unit that performs almost as well and are pretty lucky.  Of course the FormLabs attitude is the machine is not user serviceable, that’s why a lot of people backed it on Kickstarter and continue to buy it.  They wanted the “iPod” of 3d printers to use your analogy, and for the most part they have delivered.  Sure there are problems here and there but compared to setting up an FDM printer, getting it all leveled, and then proving out programs its miles ahead of that.

@Dylan if you had read the full sequence here you would have seen that by pointing out the Formlabs attitude towards user servicing, I was explaining to Etienne and any other readers that it seems extremely unlikely that Formlabs will be selling spare parts - therefore it is up to us to source them.

As for asserting that they have nearly succeeded in building something that “just works” - I find that ludicrous. As you might realise too if you weren’t so obviously connected to 3D printing industry. You probably breezed through any issues you encountered - or perhaps you’ve been lucky and had no issues at all with your machine so far.

I’m not criticising Formlabs for not being the Apple of the 3D printing world, rather I’m saying - for the price of the Form1 - it’s an unrealistic ambition, and it’s against the interests of both Formlabs and their customers to attempt it. In fact I seriously question whether it’s currently possible to build a 3D printer at any price that “just works”. Certainly as you point out - the big boys require very expensive service contracts.

A more practical approach would be to take a more open approach to user servicing - this would make customers like me happy, and would save Formlabs a considerable number of machine replacements. They might even then be able to afford to offer a decent warranty.

Certainly I can’t think of any IP in the Form1 that’s worth protecting by trying to treat it as a closed unit. The Form1 is only part of a wave of commoditisation that’s happening with SL printers, they weren’t even the first.


I seriously doubt that when Sam said “The Form 1 was not designed to be user serviceable” it meant that you have to buy a new Form1.

It just means you would have to send you machine back to them to be repaired and for the part to be replaced. Whether or not we have to pay for the new part, etc, would obviously mean on the warranty and such.

Oh and when you say “Being the Apple of the 3D world…” I wish they are not going for that. Apple is a terrible company and their bottom line is money at all cost. I used to be a huge apple nerd, but have dropped all their products a long time ago. I much rather Form Labs be the their own company who care about their users and focus more on innovation. Kinda like the early Apple lol

Hope I didn’t start a Mac vs PC war here…lol

@MD & @David - agreed, or rather maybe I agree.

I see no sign of plans of a paid out-of-warranty service program from Formlabs yet. Also the costs of sending and receiving a machine back to the states from the UK is going to be considerable, never mind whatever the servicing costs themselves would be.

Given the low cost of the Form1 - I wonder if any such a paid-for servicing program did eventuate - whether it wouldn’t end up costing a very significant part of the cost of a new machine. It’s hard to see how Formlabs could make money from it - and hence whether they’d have any motivation to do so.

So - I think that for users so inclined - we should be looking at documenting where to source parts and how to repair our machines.

Despite Sam’s claims that the Form1 was not designed to be user serviceable - it is in fact very well laid out, simple and modular in construction. It’s very, very easy to take apart and put back together.

To put it another way - the Form1 is thoroughly beautiful, **inside **and out. But components still fail.

For Formlabs to try and treat it as a closed box is doing themselves, their customers, and the machine a disservice. It costs them, it costs us, - and for what benefit?

@MD - I’m very much afraid that is their thinking, I have a vague memory of Maxim Lobovsky using the phrase “Just works” more than once. I too am a fallen Apple evangelist. The first computer I bought was the LC II, but I became frustrated with the “not invented here”, and closed box attitude on their products, while still admiring all the changes they’re wrought across industries.