I was promised a certain level of costs and time before I made my purchase. They even did a test run for me and provided stats. I decided to buy my form 3 on those premises
In real life, it takes double the time and 150% of the promised costs.
Are you experiencing the same?
If yes, I suggest a class action suit for bad marketing and sales.
Interested to hear your experience.
So, first off, if you are talking about a class action suit in the US, you aren’t likely to win that. With something like 3D printing, there are a ton of variables that can change the printing time, the software makes it clear that’s an estimate, and you would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they promised you a specific part would print in a specific time, every time. And I’m pretty sure you can’t prove they promised that.
Even in the best case scenario, you would have to prove they refused to let you return the machine (I have talked to multiple people who were able to return theirs), and then could only get damages for the difference between the purchase price, and the resale price, which would definitely not be worth going to court over.
That out of the way, yeah, a lot of the claims about the Form 3 as of launch, were at the very least severely misleading, I have certainly felt lied to at times. I honestly believe they botched the launch, released the machine too soon, and promised a lot they could not deliver at the time. However, I also feel they both have made, and continue to make, good faith efforts to meet the promised performance. It’s been a rough start, but I think you would fail to prove in court that they maliciously defrauded customers in bad faith, which is basically what you have to prove in the US to make false advertising stick.
If the printer doesn’t work for you, I would suggest you talk to Formlabs about the possibility of returning it and get on with your life, or sell it and eat the loss, because these things happen some times. I think you will just be throwing good money after bad, and wasting a lot of your time trying to sue.
Thanks for the advice and interesting to know I am not the only one who was over promised. I spoke to max the CEO (who was very unpolite).
They refused to even provide a partial refund
They provide me support to try to fix my model…after 150$ wasted on tests, I was not able to print it properly…not even close to the promises and the claimed test time they did on my part before I purchased.
The only thing I can say is BUYERS be careful…make sure you know time and material cost is 200% of they say it is.
If that’s not an issue, go for it…
I don’t know that I was deliberately lied to. I think I was told the engineering promises/projections. My biggest issues with reality vs marketing are:
- V1 tanks not being compatible with some resins, causing reduce lifetime and requiring a V2 tank. Even the V2 tanks don’t give significant improvement over the V1.
- Form 3 was not tuned for all the resins. Has required numerous software/firmware fixes.
- Much more trial and error test printing (wrt orientation, supports) is required to achieve high quality prints. This also affects the long term cost of ownership.
- I don’t think LFS is anywhere near the improvement claimed in the marketing hype.
With almost every print, I have to question whether it is worth it to keep the printer.
Great points David.
Just in my case I was deliberately lied.
I send my STL and they print a sample for me. They promised a certain time and costs based on their sample print
I can’t not achieve that even after multiple trials and working with their customer service specialist.
i either get a bad print or 2x time told me it took on their test print before I bought.
For me, this is lying…It’s not just marketing BS on a pamphlet. It’s a real part print test
Hey Marcelo and Others,
Thanks so much for taking the time to post! I’m so sorry to hear you’ve had a frustrating experience thus far.
Speaking generally, I just wanted to say that we really take pointing folks in the right direction seriously, and to the absolute best of our ability we will not mislead in order to make a sale. If our printer isn’t the right tool for the job we’d rather that be addressed before a sale happens and not after. We don’t gain anything by pushing someone to buy a printer they won’t use.
This also continues for print/material estimates pre-sale. We’ll always do our best to set expectations for things like orientation, supports, print time, and resin usage, but as mentioned previously in this thread, there are a lot of factors that are difficult to account for. A small change in orientation, or quantity of parts can drastically affect some of these estimates. This is made more complicated due to misconceptions of SLA printing like the fact that reducing the number of parts, or the size of parts will reduce resin usage/print time in a linear fashion, when it doesn’t quite work that way in practice.
None of this isn’t to say we never make mistakes or can’t improve how we try to point new customers in the right direction, but I wanted to elucidate some of those challenges a bit.
Please keep the feedback coming and we’ll continue to do our best to improve moving forward.
Unfortunately, that was not my case and formlabs is rejecting to take my printer back.
I worked with your pre sales for 1 month. They sent me generic prints and a sample of my part (I sent the STL). They multiple times provided print time and costs that were the reason I made the purchase. Just to realize the same part takes double the time and double the materials + consumables that were dicussed in the pre-sales process over phone and email.
In my particular case. I was lied…period.
That doesn’t necessarily sound like a lie. You’d need to make sure that you’re printing the exact same file with the same resin with the same settings and the same firmware. There’s probably some variance there but if you’re not printing things the same way that they printed your sample file then it’s not going to turn out the same.
The costs are extremely transparent. Not only can you gauge the volume from most CAD programs, you could have downloaded the Preform software and seen how much resin your part would have used. Based on that, it’s very simple to extrapolate the cost of a part.
The print time is going to be based on how many parts and how high the part is placed off the build platform. You probably just hit the magic wand expecting great results, which is a ridiculous expectation if you’ve spent any time with the machine.
Formlabs is by no means perfect, but this sounds like a case of the user being inexperienced and not doing their homework.
I purchased a Form3 system in August 2020 after working with my sales rep at Formlabs for about 2 weeks. I emailed a couple stl files for their evaluation, was told they’d print fine using certain parameters and picked the Clear resin to begin since it had the best replication of fine detail at that time. I received thorough evaluations and detailed emails … enough to make the decision to buy the system.
Based on other responses to your post, I agree with those that state your bad experience sounds more related to your inexperience with 3D printing, creating hi-rez stl files (a LOT of facets are required) and working with the slicing software, which I find to be very user-friendly. I’ve been involved with rapid prototyping since the early 90s and know firsthand how frustrating the entire process can be, including failed prints after trying numerous set ups. Before you go after Formlabs as being guilty of bad marketing and sales, perhaps you can ask colleagues with different experiences in RP, 3D printing, etc. for advice.
As to calculating “true” printing costs, I created an Excel spreadsheet (which changes slightly as I print more parts) that incorporates the price per liter of resin, machine time (from Preform), amount of resin required for each build (from Preform), amortization of the tray (5 liters of resin equals 1 tray’s life) and the amount of time I’d need to set up the parts in Preform and clean/dry/package parts as they run thru the FormWash tank.
I’ve found that the amount of resin is the least costly aspect because my parts are very small. The biggest cost is how you calculate machine time (cost of the printer spread over how long you think it’ll last before needing laser replacement or complete machine replacement). Since this is a new system, there is no “life data” to use so go with 3 to 5 years as a basis. I use $30/hr for printing and my labor to yield an acceptable build. The more parts you put on the platform, the lower the unit price, just like any other “batch process”. If you end up with a bad build, that’s likely your fault, either due to poor maintenance, not properly setting up the machine/slicing software (which does include warnings where poor supports are used), etc. Practice is key. None of this is “rocket science” … 3D printing has been around since 1986 but not in desktop versions. While we can debate if the Form3 was prematurely launched or not, the bottom line is that the system works if used as intended for the VAST majority of geometries. You can’t “push the button” and hope that the system magically spits out acceptable parts. The responsibility to make YOUR system work best for YOUR parts is on YOU, in my opinion.
I am very pleased with my experience with Formlabs tech support, their equipment and resins. Yes, I’ve had a couple oops in printing as I learn what works best for my needs but with nearly 3000 parts printed in Clear resin at .001" and .002" layer thicknesses in the 7 months since installing the system, I can honestly say I’m impressed with the quality of their “desktop system” after working with million-dollar 3D Systems’ “Viper” between 2002 and 2017.
The situation is the patent of “million” dollars Viper is gone.
Now you can pay 50k get an industrial level SLA with 2’ by 2’ printing bed and material as low as $30/kg
Don’t you feel the world is changing so fast?