I just noticed a new + version of the Form 3 is available, does anyone have more information on what has been upgraded and how it compares with the original models?
From one of the many news online:
Today at CES: Form 3+ and Form 3B +. As the name implies, the new printer is a Form 3 and 3B update announced in 2019. The main update here is speed. This promises up to 40% faster exposure and printing than previous models. This is due to the more powerful and high intensity lasers for the resin curing process. Meanwhile, the new Build Platform 2 promises to make print removal faster and easier.
And a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s94KgsbGmzc
This is what you want: What’s Improved on My Form 3+ and Form 3B+ Printer?
It’s not completely clear but my impression is the speed improvements are purely software (i.e. adaptive layers and the extensive resin tuning they’ve been doing since the 3 was released), so regular Form 3/3B devices already benefit.
I think the main difference will be surface quality, resulting from the hardware enhancements to LPU stabilization, redesigned airflow and temperature sensors being closer to the print bed.
Surface quality was a stumble out of the gate for the Form 3. It’s gotten better over time with the software tweaks but I expected some hardware refinements would be required to fully resolve it (which I genuinely hope the new platform does).
I also expect the reduced laser exposure on early layers on the 3+/3B+ will help with the “bleed” / “elephant foot” that you see on direct-on-base parts.
The new build platform with a flexible, stainless steel quick release plate is available for both the old and new printers (and even the Form 2 - kudos on that one Formlabs).
I think all who bought the Form 3 acted as a BETA testers and the new 3+ is the result of fixing all the issues based on all the users feedback.
Build Platform 2 seem to have sold out right away, I thought I was being quick, but it shows a 10 week lead time now and my order fulfillment date seems to concur on that.
I took delivery of this 3B(+) last week without knowing it was a + model. I’ve been using an older Form 3 prior and immediately I noticed it sounded different, more solid. Most noticeable is the tanke tensioner, it was so obvious I even took a video of it.
I haven’t had time to print so much on it and without knowing it should be different I haven’t re-printed any old models to compare. But I intend todo tests with Clear as that should have been improved.
I’ve spoked a bit with support and beside those hardware changes listed above they also confirmed the tank tensioner mechanism has been updated.
Prior to todays firmware & PreForm updates it showed as a normal 3B, both in PreForm and on the display but now it’s listed as a 3B+. Another way of knowing if you have a + model is by checking the qr code in the back, it’ll have a + sign in the lower right corner if it’s the new model.
Well, well, well… Formlabs has finally introduced a Flex build plate.
Way to go!
Anyone know if the buld platform 2 is included in the 3+ ? when i went to purchase it looked like it was just shipping with the standard one…really.?.? thats a nasty move if true?
I can see the improved platform for more rigid and harder resins; that stick tighter to the platform.
However, I use Gray4. I array my models close together on purpose so that I can take them off in one piece with the supports and base intact.
It makes the small pieces easier to spray paint.
That is a good point…
Thank you for your interest in Build Platform 2! Unfortunately, for the time being Build Platform 2 will not be included as part of the Basic or Complete packages for the Form 3+ printer.
As the lead-time on Build Platform 2 decreases to be similar to that of the Form 3+ printer we may look into revising these packages, but for the time being Build Platform 2 will only be available as a standalone product.
I think that FORM 3 printers are unfinished products, and FORM 3+ is the real solution to some problems, and that is closer to the finished product.
I feel that they use the FORM 3 users as guinea pig to test LPU stabilization.
In my opinion, Form 3+ it is not like an “upgrade”, but just fixes some parts that shouldn’t be problematic.
Interesting, I just spoke to a rep from Formlabs who stated:
“In reference to your request for pictures on the difference in parts. You will not see anything between the two if you were to print the same parts. The main improvements are on the machine’s speed of printing as well as performance when it comes to workflow set up etc.”
So he is implying that you won’t actually get any difference in parts?
The rep you spoke with is mistaken.
Their marketing material plainly advertises Clear parts as having a difference (Form 3+ is more transparent). And I haven’t seen anything yet to convince me it’s significantly faster than a Form 3 with fully updated firmware, aside from the early layers which may save you like 15 mins (not substantially significant unless doing very small parts).
A couple highlights from the What’s Improved link I posted above:
Form 3+ and Form 3B+ include an updated stabilization component for the LPU, which results in smoother travel and improved alignment between layers. This improves the surface quality of many parts and enhances the optical clarity of translucent resins.
This difference in optical clarity is especially noticeable in Clear Resin, as shown below.
The new Form 3+ and Form 3B+ also entails new hardware components and subsystems which produce parts with smoother, clearer surfaces, increase printer reliability…
Love to know what “performance when it comes to workflow set up etc” is supposed to mean. Sounds like fluent marketing speak to me.
I invite customers with a F3+ to jump in and contradict me.
Matt from the Product Marketing team at Formlabs here. As rkagerer mentioned , improvement in part quality is most noticeable with translucent materials such as Clear Resin.
From a technical perspective, the improvement in stabilization of the LPU ensures layers are better aligned one on top of the other. For clear materials in particular, this improved alignment causes less distortion of light so your parts will look more clear. It is more so that the improvement of part quality is more apparent with clear materials, but these improvements are applicable across the board. I’ve attached an example of a more extreme case in part clarity we saw during testing.
I think what the rep was trying to get across was that as an existing Form 3/Form 3B user, we are not trying to tell you that the difference in part quality is so incremental that you should feel like you 100% need to upgrade your Form 3/3B to a Form 3+/3B+. There are so many software features that were released with the Form 3+/3B+ that we are excited we were able to bring to the Form 3/3B as well such as improvements to print speed, support removal, preheating, sleep mode, and more. What we want to encourage you to do is upgrade your printer to the latest firmware and download the latest version of Preform to take advantage of these improvements!
Hope this helps clarify some things.
Indeed that does clarify some points!
I usually need to polish my prints to a mirror finish, so with the clear resin that means it usually comes out like glass at the end. Hopefully as prints come off clearer to begin with the surface is also marginally improved so this will take less post processing.
Thank you for clearing that up for me though.
The story repeating: Form1 → Form1 +. Now Form3 → Form3 +
The “+” sounds ad correction and finalization of a product.
That’s a pity that the new LPU isn’t mountable as replacement on the Form3 machines so who have the “not evolved” machine can’t have a the benefits of something that have contributed to be tested.
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