First print + first impressions

Got my Form 1 this past Tuesday but my resin on Wednesday, of course. It seemed fitting that the first thing I should print on it is a bit of sci-fi/virtuality made real: my Xbox 360 avatar (knowing the right people to ask is a perk of working at Microsoft). I’ve done this print before on my Makerbot Thing-o-Matic, but not surprisingly the detail difference is astounding; it got the wedding ring on my finger, though not my earrings or glasses’ frames. This print took 5.5 hours.

Some first impressions and observations:

  • The build quality of the Form 1 is great. It’s solid, heavy but not too heavy, and all the moving parts move easily and fluidly.
  • I have a little concern over the open space below the resin tank – there is no glass or anything below it. I totally understand the need for that given how the technology works, but when I first opened it up I noticed there was already dust and other particles on the mirror. I have four cats… this is only going to get worse over time. I suppose a can of spray air will be a necessary requirement.
  • If you have a filament-based 3D printer you’re used to the “instant gratification” of seeing a form come together after just a minute or two. I printed this at the medium setting of 0.05mm which means there’s 20 layers per-millimeter – in other words, it takes a really long time to see anything emerging, definitely NOT instant, though the results are worth the wait
  • The printer started out totally silent the first few layers, but by layer 400 in, there was a high-pitched whining sound while the laser was firing. I’ll assume that is normal. It’s only noticeable if you sit right next to it, looking at every layer print, like I do :slight_smile:
  • While the object appeared solid in most viewers I have, and was printed solid on my Makerbot, the head portion on this print is hollow. The uncured resin kind of slowly moves around as you play with it. It’s a fun bonus, but not expected. If you want solid objects, make sure they object is really solid, or reskin in an app that will ensure that.
  • A few of my support beams didn’t print solidly at various points, and there are what appear to be shifts in some of the layers of the object. It’s possible one of the cats bumped or jumped on the table while I slept. I’ll print a smaller object next time and see what’s what.
  • The overall aesthetics of the machine are such that I really don’t want to print useful things on it… I want to print artistic, cool things, leaving the mundane items to my Makerbot.

Overall, this thing rocks. :slight_smile:


Nice setup, Gregg! I like the Futurama poster behind the Form 1!

Thanks - it’s really just a small table in an unfinished garage, but it works. The Futurama poster has been a guiding principle for some time. :wink:

Are all those dots on the chest from support strutures? I’m kinda surprised that details like the glasses and earings aren’t showing up on a print that size.

@Lucas - yes, the small bumps are support dots. This is pretty much immediately after removing them, so no cleanup. As for the details, I’m not surprised – the avatar model was intended for display only, so there wasn’t much thickness to the glasses (they may even just be single-sided faces). The entire print is only 3.7-inches tall, so the earrings would be .2mm or so; not surprised they disappeared. I’m more concerned over the layer shifts visible in the legs and shoes.

Hi Gregg,

The layer shifts are actually due to self intersecting shells in the model (I promise your cats didn’t do it :slight_smile: ).  For now, you can repair that in external software, but we’ve got a bunch of improvements coming to how we handle models like that soon.

@Maxim - thanks for the investigation. I know I ran the model through Netfabb when I first got it, but in my haste to print last night didn’t check to see if it was the right one. I figured since PreForm didn’t complain that it was the good one :wink: I’ll see if I can find the fixed version, or just re-fix this one, and print it again. I’m excited to see what you add to the software, though I love the “load->create supports->print” easy workflow.

I’m afraid Netfabb basic does not repair these kind of issues and PreForm doesn’t detect them automatically.  The best way to see them is by scrolling through layers with slice viewer and you will see parts where the offsets are in the wrong.  We’ll have it fixed soon.

Great to know - both the cause and that detection is coming.

If you want to solidify the resin inside the undrained hollow, put the model under a ~400nm UV lamp or out in bright sunlight.

The “Design Models For Printability” guide suggests adding a drainage hole for hollow models to allow resin to escape:

Otherwise, good work!

My wife has a UV exposure box for alt-photography work, so I’ll be making good use of it :slight_smile: I didn’t expect this model to be hollow, otherwise I would have definitely left a whole. All sorts of new things to learn.

@ Maxim

Please explain us how we can fix the layer shifts in another software.

Could you take a look at my thread  and explain the seam line that is showing up vertically ?



Can you explain why the laser scan is designed to alternate x/y direction on each layer?  Is this related to surface quality or to avoid wearing out one of the galvos perhaps?


the alternate scan is probably for structural strength.

One of the remaining failure mode Formlabs are working on is to make sure the perimeters stick to this filling.

You may have seen some pictures were the objects are ‘peeled’ and the smooth skin is missing…

A lot’s of my prints are lost this way for the moment


Ahh, interesting Damien.  So you’ve seen the outer contoured layers peel off, exposing the rough back&forth paths underneath?

Yup, see for example:

But from the answer to the bug report I submitted, we should have a fix in next Preform revision :slight_smile: