Hi everyone! Next up is my review of my form 3, there are no pictures but I will upload them when the new working machine arrives (more info on that later)
Pre-order and first arrival
First, it was quite overwhelming when we got the machine, one of the reasons was when I started to look at the forums and other places it looked like we got one of the very first ones, which is truly amazing. the machine arrived to a storage facility we have in the US and the crossed down to Mexico and transported by our in-house trucks, this way we avoid the not so careful mail in Mexico. It arrived safely with the box pristine at our local facility in Mexico City.
The Unboxing is incredibly easy, everything is well packed and the instruction stickers are great so you don’t “forget” to do some important steps. The machine was easy to set up, all the extra things (resin tray, resin tanks, build tray and cleanup station) were inspected and were great on arrival. The machine is truly beautiful, it looks great in our printer room and it is an eye-catcher.
Everything was set up and I was ready to move to the next step.
This is where things turn grim, I ran through the start-up in the LCD and everything is again very straight-forward and then i waited for the first steps to print, I uploaded the formlabs print (scaled it 50% because i wanted to test the quality since we are using it for resin casting) and then pressed print. So far this had been the most unique and easy 3d printer i had ever set up. Just as a side-note I use over 6 printers on a day to day basis, from all price ranges available. Both FDM and Resin (dlp, sla and lcd) so yes I know how printers work, we use and Asiga Pico 2 HD for the most quality and I personally have an Anet A8, Prusa i3 mk3, Wanhao di3 plus, Wanhao d7, and a Anycubic Photon. I have built some of those, upgraded them and know their inner workings pretty well (even the asiga as I had to do a deep clean of eveything and it is printing even better after in-house adjustments).
After about 2 hours, i went down and found… nothing, like at all. If there was resin cured on the tank it would be a problem i could see how to fix, falied print? i could also solve that with settings supports etc. But this was something I could not do anything about, this was on a Friday, Support was not able to get back to me, until Monday, i tried as much as can be tried on a Form3, which is basically at this point unplugging it and plugging it back on, to no avail.
After some talk with support the reuslt was i needed to get a new printer.
Great customer support, but some problems anyway
support was great, they told me that they would have to replace the whole unit, the laser was not firing. I intended to use the printer for professional work and we already had some lined up prints for it to do and we were counting on it. So here is the first problem, getting a new printer was going to set us back, after figuring a way to work around not having the form3 (again, it is not like we had it before) we started with some new problems.
Formlabs offers a return label and free shipping on the new unit WITHIN the US, which for me is completely useless, we ended up sending the new unit to our US freight-forwarder (again) and having to ship the very large printer packed back to them (this is the first extra expense paid). Now the new printer has to get to us in Mexico, crossing the printer through the border means a new import fee (second cost) and finally shipping it locally through our couriers also costs money (the third and final cost).
We are in the process of receiving the second printer (it should take about a week or two more). So in total we were set back one full month of work, and a lot of money.
I will update the review to show my actual thoughts on the printer, but so far here is my review:
-looks great, it is easy to unpack and pack again.
Customer Support Review
Now this is a bit weird, the customer support was great, fast and they were extremely helpful (they even waived the holding charge because of this special circumstance) but in the end, no matter how helpful they were, they are just delivering the product we SHOULD have received in the first place at an extra personal cost for the company for 1,000 USD extra, that is a lot of money, that would have probably been used for resin, tanks and some extra things from them (we were even thinking about getting a 3L).
If you are in the US, yeah go ahead and get one, even if it is a dud, you will get a replacement in a week at most, customer support is super helpful and they will help you every step of the way.
Now, if you are outside the US, in hindsight I would wait about one or two extra months, firmware is very basic at the moment, options for 50 and 25 microns are “experimental” at the moment too, even the options on the LCD screen seem super limited, there is still a ton of work to do from their side, and being an early user is sometimes fun (again when if something fails you get a new machine in one week) but if you are non-US, just wait on it, let them iron out their units and factory quality checks, let them get the firmware to a near perfect state, and definitely wait because most importantly it WILL cost YOU more money.
Again I am still excited to get the new printer (albeit less so now) and get it to do some neat stuff and show them off. But for now this is something that someone might read before unfortunately getting the same experience I did (bear in mind that this is probably a 1/100 unit, so there is a greater chance that you will not have this happen to you, but the most important question is, is it worth 1000 USD to wait a couple monts?)
Any way, finally. Again thanks to support you were extremely helpful.