Form 1 vs. Shapeways Frosted Ultra Detail

How does the Form 1’s quality compare to Shapeways Frosted Ultra Detail. I’ve printed 1-inch tall gaming figures, and found the surface to be too bumpy and grainy, even though the detail was good (wish I had a photo). Anyone had the opportunity to compare?

This was going to be the first thing I tested as well.  I’d love to see if anyone has already done it and could show some side by sides.  At 25 microns the form1 models should be slightly better then the ultra frosted even with the laser head size being 300 microns.  What was the frosted rez like .2mm I think?

It s not a miniatures print but you can see the errors I am getting on my prints


are the FUD specs.  Not sure which ones would be directly comparable to the .2mm resolution. I found that on a 28mm figure, the detail was pretty good, but the finish was too grainy for my liking. If you look at the prints that the Moddler service does (, they are as smooth as polished marble. They suggested hitting grainy masters with a coat of primer before putting them in the vulcanizer (I would be making masters for metal casting).

I’ve been doing some test prints for PrettySmallThings ( ) to test exactly this. She will be taking some side-by-side pics as soon as I ship the Form 1 prints to her. Here’s a teaser (Form 1 print @ 0.025mm with a light coating of Krylon Plastic Matte White):

Sorry for the rotated pic… :-\

Could you take another picture? The camera has seemed to focus on everything else BUT the miniature.

@Justin - yes I know… thus, a “teaser” :wink:

Here are a couple of new pics before I ship them off. Even with the penny in the pic, it’s really hard to get the scope of the size without resting one of the tip of your finger :slight_smile:

I’m super-impressed that the fine details came out, but whether or not they are the quality of Shapeways FUD I can’t say; I’ll let you know when I see the side-by-sides. These were printed at 0.025mm gray setting.

Very nice prints indeed Gregg.

It will be interesting to see them alongside Shapeways printed parts.  I am just sorting some prints from them myself as I don’t expect to see my machine for some time.


The detail on the left chair is amazing.  Is the diameter of those back rungs close the the printer’s limit?

@Aric - VERY close. Each one measures 0.35mm diameter printed (I don’t know what the modeled size is, the STL is on a different computer).

Wow, great prints, Gregg!  I’ve been struggling to find the best orientation for various models, and also the right support settings.  It looks like you changed the support tip setting so it’s quite small, do you mind sharing the support settings?  I’ve had prints detached from the supports during the peel phase when making them too small, yet the default tip size leaves a notable “dome”.

Beautiful prints. Do the subtle streaks in the material have a noticeable texture on the surface?

@Forrest - I would say that yes, overall there is a texture. However, at 0.025mm layer height, it is not bumpy or ridged, but rather like paper. Clear, glossy paper. :slight_smile:

I got the pics back comparing the Form 1 to Shapeways FUD and overall it is quite positive, but still not quite the same. I’d say it’s definitely a close contest, just depends if you require ultra-ultra detail or good detail in a fraction of the time is okay. For me I’m fine with good detail in a few hours, because I can quickly iterate designs. But that is not everyone’s needs.

Two of the pieces broke where the supports were attached to the finest details (like the spindles in the chair on the left pictured above). I am not surprised by this, and may be something that could be aided by extra UV exposure in sun or exposure box. Anyway, I will be writing up thoughts and sharing more pics this weekend, but here are a few pics to get started. BTW - the spiderweb looking stuff is remnants of the cotton balls I packed them in to ship. :slight_smile:

It seems the shapeway is more ‘solid’ while the chair made by form 1 looks like a melting ice. Is there anything to do with the finishing?

@Jimmy - not so much the finishing as much as the raw material. Formlabs’ “clear” resin is very, very clear. Shapeways’ “frosted ultra detail” is very, very frosted :slight_smile: It is possible to get the clear to appear frosted with a light sanding, but that still won’t be frosted through and through, just superficially. You could also use a frosted glass spray paint to get a similar effect. You can see the effects a matte white spray paint has on the chair above.

I think there is a problem with the clear resin. It’s too viscous, so it gets stuck to the part especially if there is tight spots, angles or details and gets cured on somehow during printing. This is more evident on thin small parts. If the resin was more watery and with dark pigment or more light blockers then we would get results like the shapeways or high end professional printers.

Hi Gregg, I try to compare the back plane of the chairs. it seems the  formlabs chair is less regular and smooth. (may be it is an illusion of photo takingof transparent object). But I am thinking whether it is due to rinsing the “not yet” cured chair with alcohol and wash away the details, or FUD has higher details still? I am still waiting for my Form One, therefore I am eager to see the pioneer’s findings like you guys.



Hey Jimmy - I have a theory which I have not tested (it’s impossible until we have colored resin): I get the feeling that printing with the gray setting is actually causing a little bit of extra “bleed through” exposure, which makes some sharp details soft. With my robot pendent, the 0.05mm print with the clear resin setting had noticeable layers, but it seemed a tiny bit sharper than the 0.025mm print with the gray settings. I have to do more tests to see if I can validate the hypothesis or not. Maybe this weekend.