Form 1 vs Form 2 for commercial

Hi everyone. I would like an SLA printer for commercial uses. I will be doing 250mL a week worth of prints out of clear, black, and tough. Can anyone make a recommendation over Form 1 vs Form 2? Is there a reliability benefit to either?

It seems like I can buy two Form 1+ instead of a single Form 2 with service plan, and I don’t have to worry about auto-dispense leaking everywhere with a Form 1+…

My only experience is the Form2 machine, and I use it for commercial purposes. I received my Form2 on the Early Release program almost 1 year ago, and have been very happy with it. I use the Clear resin for my prints. I print prototype parts, tooling for forming prototype sheet metal parts (tooling is used in an arbor press), and fixturing for testing prototype subassemblies. It is a very durable, reliable, and accurate machine for me. I only have a point of reference with the Form2 machine. You will need to get responses from people who might have both the Form 1+ and the Form2 machines, or maybe people who upgraded from the Form 1+ to the Form2.

Thank you. Did you opt for the support package?

I can only echo what @Ken_Smith stated. I too only have a Form 2 for business (prototyping new items, and replacement parts).

I am mainly chiming in to answer your second post, I did opt for the support package and I am very glad I did. The ability to call them any time (within EST business hours of course). Support is very friendly and for the most part very knowledgeable. I say mostly only because they are growing so fast and newer support reps are not as experienced with the products/technology. I have to say, however not one time have I been left high and dry. If they don’t know they answer…they ask and get back to you ASAP with the answer/solution.

I think your concerns of overflow are valid although probably few and far between. I know you have probably read several nightmare stories here on the forums, however I am sure its a very small percentage of actual Form 2 owners. As a point of reference I have gone through roughly 15 total tanks, using clear, white, black, grey, and flexible. I have nearly 100 prints under my belt with roughly a 95% success rate.

Hopefully others who have had experience with both printers will voice their opinions.

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Thank you Kevin for chiming in. I make consumer products and currently pay $40 for a 5mL part from an industrial SLA shop. I’m hoping to bring this production in house. Any chance you can comment on the quality of the print as compared to something coming from a machine the likes of 3d Systems iPro 8000 XL?

Unfortunately I cannot comment from personal experience as I only have experience with this printer. That being said I have clients for whom I have printed numerous parts. They have switched only to using me (or another Form 2 printer) as they claim the quality is far superb. It should be noted they were coming from an FDM printer and are printing 2 completely different sized parts. One was 4cm x 2 cm, the other 20cm by 18cm by 9 cm. I cannot post parts for legal reasons.

I can think of 536,000 reasons the Form 2 is better then the iPro 8000.

Ok, so I am guessing at the price. The Form 1 and 2 really are great machines.

I have had a Form 1 and have a Form 1+. I love the printer. I would have a Form 2 if I could justify the purchase.
The form 1+ has proven to be reliable and when I have had problems tech support has always taken care of me. I don’t have the pro plan as it didn’t exist when I purchased the machines (at least I don’t think it did). I am using the machine to make prototypes and prove out designs. It is great to be able to edit a drawing and then print the part out. Figure out what has to change and re-print all within a few hours. No more waiting for parts to arrive. I think you would be happy with either model. Which one will fit your needs more? Do you see needing 2 machines? On the other hand. Having 1 printer dedicated to 1 resin type and the other to another does sound nice. Then if you need to, just swap out the vats and change it up. I have had times where I was looking to start a print while I was waiting for a 12 hour print to finish.

I own a Form1+ and a Form2. The Form2 is a better machine. The sealed optical deck means it will be more reliable in the long run (I have had to disassemble my Form1+ to clean the optics). It prints a larger volume and the resin cartridge allows for larger unattended prints. But The Form2 takes longer to print (primarily due to the way the base is generated, the way the peel works, and because of the resin pre-heat cycle).

If your budget is limited, buy a Form1+, preferably one from FL (they sometimes have refurbished units at a discounted price, that’s how I got mine). It’s a fine machine and produced excellent quality prints. If you can afford the Form2, though, buy that instead,. It’s a better “production” machine.

That being said, 250ml isn’t much. That’s a resin cartridge per month. I burn through that doing just random stuff.

Thank you all for your comments. @Randy_Cohen do you find the beam width makes a difference? Are there any appreciable difference in part tolerances? Aside from keeping the vat full, is the Form 2 any less fiddly?

When I bought my first desktop 3d printer I went for the most hands-off model I could find that produced good parts. Ended up with a Flashforge Dreamer. This was definitely the way to go for me. I have leveled the bed twice in two years and it’s paid for itself 1000 times over.

Finally getting back to this thread after being offline since late yesterday afternoon…I did purchase the support package and I am glad that I did. I got very responsive phone support so I did not have to wait for a response to a support request via email. When you get the support package you can dial into a support phone number and speak with someone right on the spot. Very timely. In addition, about 2 months ago my Form2 began to act strange in that it indicated that it was not level, when I knew it was level. I called support and they did a quick check and determined that the accelerometers of some of the Early Release machines had issues. So they said that they would send a replacement machine, which they did. The nice thing about having the service plan is that Formlabs will send a replacement machine to you, and you can continue to limp along with your existing machine (if you choose to do so) until your replacement machine arrives. With the support plan, you can receive your replacement machine and then return your old machine (Formlabs will not wait until they receive your old machine before they send the new one to you). That, to me, is a nice value…especially since I am a commercial user and want my uptime to be optimized.


I can’t comment on your tolerance question. The only data I have are published specifications for the machines. Yes, the Form2 has a smaller, higher powered laser beam. My Form2 has not been fiddly at all. But then, neither was my Form1+ (until it stopped working due to dirty optics).

If you want happy customers who need precision parts, I would not recommend the Form 1 or 1+. I have owned both, and neither are good enough quality for my mechanical designs. I use my Form1+ for early stages and proof of concept, or for low tolerance items, but for precision, I always have to send out to have a “real” SLA make the parts. Towards the end of a project, I won’t even consider using my Form1+. The differences are that huge.

Now, if all of your clients are artists, and not mechanical designers, maybe they won’t care about precision.

I’ve had a big difference in quality and accuracy going from the Form1+ to the Form2

From my experience, dimensional issues are caused in a couple of cases–one is due to light bleed, so downward facing surfaces will be a bit thicker than you planned because it cures extra material due to the laser going through currently printing layer. Another case is due to using very long supports, which aren’t very stable and once it starts printing the part it can end up a little bit out of alignment. After that, warping during post curing is also an issue, especially for large and thin parts.

I recently obtained the Form1+ and the Form2 for less than a brand new Form2 would cost.With that being said, I can still return them both.Of course I’m leaning towards returning the Form1+.I’m also waffling about returning it, it would be nice to have once to do low-key work and the Form2 to do the more detailed and higher end work.

I’d like to hear back from anyone on the forum, with any thoughts about what they’d suggest that I do.Keep both printers and make it work, or return the Form1+ and focus on the Form2.

Any ideas, thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated…thx


I would not keep the Form1+ the Form2 is so much better.
Also, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a new model announced maybe in a couple months

I would keep both. If you don’t want the F1+, and the price is right, I’ll buy it from you.

I know there are a lot of Form 2 diehards here, that have bought into the hype of the F2, but the notion that the F1+ makes inferior prints is simply BS.

Using the right resins, both printers make great prints, the F2 has certain features that some find desirable, but on the flip side, some of these features sometimes break or don’t work as intended and create problems.

If you plan on using some of the more esoteric resins, then the F2 is for you, as there are resins that the F1+ doesn’t work with.

But I just waned to chime in Zach’s comment that the Form 2 is “so much better”. If by that it means it has more features, and a larger print volume, then yes, it’s better, but if you’re referring to the quality of print, I’d debate that.

I was leaning towards keeping them both and I’ve recently decided to do so.If you could include a link to the Form1+ resins, that would be awesome and thx for your input as well…

I have personally stopped buying Formlabs resins, and I’m using ApplyLabWorls resins exclusively. So do a lot of users here, and almost everyone is happy wit their resin.

ALW resin is currently available in standard resins in beige (more like milky white), grey, Tan (similar to dental pink), & black. They also have a n olive grey Modelling plus, which is similar to tough, and a flexible resin, which is similar in flex (and smell) to the FormLabs flexible. They plan on adding a clear, but it’s not available yet.

All these resins were designed to work on both the F1/1+ and the F2. if you want to see what works on the F2, but not on the F1+, you can simply change printers in PreForm and look at the resin selection for the F2 compared to the F1+.

I have a Form1+ and couldn’t justify getting a Form2. I have been really happy with the machine but found the tanks are fragile in the F1. With that being said and the purpose of doing high volume you may want the F2 because you can stack more models in the build area without fear of the tank cracking. F2 also has a newer tank (LT) that will yield more prints before it wears out coming out this fall.
F1+ has been discontinued and they are draining the warehouse of parts so after that your on your own.

So for your requirements id get the F2 with support.

your primary concern should be maintenance and repair moving forward.
Will the parts and service for the form 1 be available when you need them?

Beyond that… the I have used printers since 1997 - the Form2 was the first one I was willing to invest in owning.

This was largely due to rapidly evolving nature and high cost of the printers… but also due to the printers in the past being fiddly, time consuming, and a pain to keep running. The Form 2 has automated features that make it a lot more like an office copier… a regular appliance that doesn’t demand a lot of my time to get a good quality print.

As to resins… I beg to differ with the folks whose only consideration regarding resin is cost. Formlabs revenue model offers a superior quality printer at an affordable price… because a good portion of their profit model comes from resin sales.
If every user buys cheaper 3rd party resin, then Formlabs has a harder time surviving in the marketplace and that might result it their no longer being their to service or supply parts for the machine in which you invested.

Moreover- the software and equipment definitely works better with formlabs own resin formulations and offers more trouble free printing with more automatic features. Buying formlabs resins incentivizes formlabs to continue to develop and refine their software and resin formulations for a wider variety of materials and better quality prints.

If you are running a business… the cost of your resin is folded into your pricing. And the difference between the 3rd party resins and formlabs is only a small percentage- labor and machine time are the main costs of printing pricing on the Form 2

I still argue that the smart move is to support the revenue model of companies that make the tools on which you rely.

Although I agree that the pressure of some users defecting to 3rd party resins does apply pressure on formlabs to keep their resin prices within reason. Unlike the usurious price charged for, say, connex resins.