Form 3 Unboxing and First Impressions!


#112

I have done 67 prints on Form 3 and have no complaints about print quality. It is superior to my two Form 2’s especially on Draft (huge difference) but also on white, grey, and flexible resins. I have had no print failures that weren’t egregious errors on the support design side, I typically use smaller supports on Form 3 in fact. Importantly, my Form 2 machines have been in operation for at least a year so they are a bit worn (we run three printers almost 24/5).

In terms of print speed, I haven’t done a proper comparison. I don’t think it is fair to just look at the estimated time because the Form 2 massively underestimates actual print time.

Noise or smell doesn’t matter to us.


#113

Unless you have the golden printer, I can’t help but find this post disingenuous as it smacks of “fan-boy” language.

I say this emphatically because the smell is a physical fact. It can’t be on one without being on all, as all use the same heating methods and its that method which is a direct contributor to the odors. Now granted, you could be using 3rd party resins if you are re-using spent cartridges to trick the printer but I doubt this is the case.

Secondly, it is slower. Formlabs admits this and again, it is a characteristic of the printer tied to software they all share, yous can’t be faster unless you have a special firmware, again —very unlikely.

My Form2 printers (all of them that I have had) have printed within 10% of the stated time. My Form3, like others that have posted on the subject, is outside of 30%.

Next I bet you want to tell us your Form3 whistles Dixie while printing as it serves you a macchiato.


#114

I’ve completed my first print with my new form 3. I’ve got no previous Form experience - what printing I have done has been FDM (and not a lot of it).

It’s only one print, of course, but that print went entirely to plan. The time estimate was within about 15 minutes of the actual print time (of a bit more than 12 hours). I don’t think the printer is “noisy.” I don’t have much to compare it to. The Form Wash is substantially louder than the printer (but not in an abnormal or unexpected way).

The print tore away from the supports in a manner that was substantially similar to the video Form shows of tearing a printed case piece off a tree of supports with just one hand and a wrenching movement. The result for me was some internal supports left behind, but a substantially completed print with good surface finish. My engraved lettering did not come through (1/32" depth in a 1/16" thick wall), but perhaps I need to iterate on my design.

If I have anything to complain about, it’s that after printing and a trip through the wash, the print still seems tacky and unfinished (I don’t think this is 3 specific, of course). I don’t have a Form Cure, but I do have a UV source. I’m going to try irradiating it for a while to see if a combination of a bit of UV and just letting the IPA evaporate will finish the print properly. Then I’ll assemble the print the rest of the way and post a picture of the result.

The dashboard doesn’t do a great job on reporting status when a job is near completion it sort of prematurely says it’s done, but if you refresh the page it’s still at 90+%. However, I did get the SMS notification at the point where the job actually finished.

Meanwhile, the printer is back at work on the next thing.


#115

Some pictures from the second print, which is somewhat more interesting. It’s a button.
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#116

A 12 hour print and it printed with 15 minutes of the stated time?

You have a golden printer too!

I have a real world printer. The exact same .form file, changed only to add supports applicable to the Form2 and the Form3 while retaining orientation and location. Same print level of .1 in the same resin, standard grey v4 and both started at the exact same time. The Form2 printed over three hours sooner. Total print time for the Form3 was 9 hours and the Form2 was 5 hours and 38 minutes.


#117

I didn’t say it printed in the same time as a Form 2. I don’t have and have never used one, so I can’t make that comparison.

I’ve printed a half dozen more things since I posted and the time estimates from Preform have been equally as accurate. I’ve printed exclusively at 100 microns so far. All I can say is that my experience thus far differs from your stated experience.


#118

Dearest Zenica,

For every fanboy there is a hater I guess. I find your post completely useless (my opinion, not a fact).

Smell and noise disruption is definitely an opinion/preference. I don’t care about the smell because our lab reeks of pig guts and IPA. I don’t care about the noise because it is in an area with music and talking and other machinery. I didn’t say there was no smell, learn to read. I said it doesn’t matter to us.

So you have timed every single one of your prints and have never had a resin warning, any other error, differences in heat up time, or anything and they are all within 10%? You must have the golden Form 2 since mine does this very frequently. I also never said it was faster, please do us all a favor and read thoroughly.

The noise my Form 3 makes actually does sound like Dixie!! I don’t drink coffee though, only the tears of haters.


#119

You may want to take a course in “Reading and Comprehension”, I was merely pointing out the smell is there, irrespective to whether or not you care about inhaling a VOC.

My Form2 has been anything but golden. I had several replacements in the year it was purchased and the inference from discussing the relationship of time to print across the latest two models is to exclude outliers and anomalous prints, such as failures. That said, yes, all of my Form2 successful prints have occurred within 10% when aggregated across all prints. You brought up speed when you stated “Form 2 massively underestimates actual print time.” and then cavalierly implied the Form3 is equal to the Form2 in print speed when you said " I don’t think it is fair to just look at the estimated time" which by the way isn’t reflective of what I and others have based the time on. In my case, the time is based on how long the print took.


#120

Hey there @nsayer! Do you mind if I ask what concentration of IPA you’re using in the wash is, and whether it’s fresh IPA?

The most common cause of a tacky part after washing is IPA of a lower than optimal concentration, either through the alcohol % of the IPA itself or because it’s a little dirty.


#121

I started with brand new 95% IPA. If I look at it 8 prints in, it has a white cast to it (I have white resin), but the hydrometer still says it’s "new"ish.

I’ve sprung for a Cure. Maybe it’ll make the difference,


#122

If you have a sticky texture, then try submerging the print in water and cure it for a few minutes that way. Oxygen prevents the resin from curing to some degree so submerging it in water blocks the oxygen and the outside can cure more easily, and it only takes a small amount of time. Be careful though, if you cure one side for too long then that side will end up with a lighter sun-bleached kind of look.


#123

I just took delivery today of a Cure, so we’ll see if that makes a difference (I can’t imagine it won’t).


#124

Plus it opens up the possibility of using engineering resins which would have been problematic otherwise.


#125

Well, step 1 for working with new resins will be getting more tanks, which doesn’t sound like it’s going to be happening this year (I have two orders in).


#126

… And on that, I stand corrected - my first order for an additional resin and tank have shipped. I’ll be able to try out the clear resin shortly!


#127

I have had good luck with a Formlabs distributor having stuff in stock since they make large bulk orders. Pretty sure they have Form 3 tanks in stock. https://sourcegraphics.com/


#128

Yes, we have plenty of Form3 tanks in stock, along with everything for the Form2.


#129

OK, I’ve had mine for a couple of weeks now, and here is my impressions:

OK, for background I have had 2 Uniz Slash Chinese mSLA printers. and for background I am a physician, and we have a lab at the hospital with multiple Form 2s and we even have a Form 1 kicking around somewhere. We have a varied set of applications from medical device design to molding clinical stents, and orthopedic clinical printing.

So the unboxing was super easy, I bought the bundle so also bought wash and cure stations (as I was sick of the swamp cure station I built with 200W of 405nm UV powered by a bench power supply along with tupperware washing).

So, from a hardware standpoint the machine feels very solid compared to my Uniz machines and I like all the sensors that stop stupid errors (haha don’t think I didn’t try and start a job without the build platform still in the wash station… the display stopped be from being that guy). So I decided to try a first print of the medieval castle from Thingiverse as my first print. It is designed for no supports and throwing caution to the wind I printed it straight on the build platform (testing the new low suction thing). Unlike the Slash which made an audible ping when that suction was released causing the table to vibrate, the Form 3 just did it’s thing.

I will note that when I went to switch the resin tray out, it didn’t sense it, and I was worried something was broken, so I actually watched the directions (shocking). And noticed there is a little push towards the back after clicking it down. Magically the display beeped and noted a new tray had been inserted. Currently the trays are rarer than unicorns (although I found a 3rd party that had them in stock)


For some reason I bought clear resin as my first resin…

While some are saying the quality isn’t any better than the 2 (which also had amazing quality). I haven’t done any objective testing to decide if that is true. But at least on my printing so far the quality has been gorgeous. And the low suction peel has allowed way more fragile things to print than I was able to do on prior SLA printers. The quality on that first print was stunning (on the castle the roof shingles are all individually visible - yes sorry clear is a terrible resin for photographing details).

One problem I encountered (solved by support) was that the mixer blade would pop off repeatedly on the back stroke to the left before the tray was filled. I tried the mixer from another tray, with the same result. Support was able to document the same issue, and suggested “lubing” the mixer by pouring in some resin manually before starting, which solved it.

I did get one cartridge of gray that didn’t have the bite valve cut (support helped me resolve that). And no it wasn’t just stuck it really was not cut.

So things that I like: easy set up, high quality components. The software chain works well and makes it easy to get succesful prints. The display is very crisp and readable. The speed of printing is basically the same as the Form 2, which is to be expected for a SLA printer. The wash works very well (although I wish it had the resins loaded in, so you just selected clear or whatever and it knew what to do). The Cure seems to work well (same caveat). The one annoying thing about the wash is that to get it between the lines it took just a bit over 2ga of IPA (ugh since I bought 1ga jugs). I had a failure (my fault) and the print made a big booger on the tray, which was so incredibly easy to peel off with my finger compared to the mSLA printers I have used where that was so adhered to the FEP that you often punctured it getting it off.

Things that I didn’t like: The lines on the wash station are almost impossible to see in any normal lighting (black lines on the inside of black tinted acrylic are almost invisible). The Form3 reports it is ready for printing even when it is not (the printer status button will show that something is missing like the platform) It won’t initiate a print in reality, but telling you it’s ready rather than telling you the platform is missing or the like before you upload a job is less useful. I really wish you could upload a job via the dashboard rather than having to be direct connected. This is mostly useful in a complicated work network where you may be many sub-nets away from the printer, at home it’s obviously not an issue (I am on gigabit ethernet at home so super fast). The printer is certainly quite enough for a work environment (I don’t care since it is next to 4 FDM printers and a laser cutter [which seems as loud as my husqvarna chain saw] but could totally be on my desk at work). The time calculation doesn’t show for me in preform (they are trying to figure that out)

Wishes: I wish there was an internal camera to do time-lapses (and monitor the job remotely), I wish form would increase tray production, I wish all the resins worked in the 3 (really want to try elastic!). I wish preform had hollowing/drain hole features (even the Uniz software had that as janky as that was). Better sealing on the wash to prevent evaporation of IPA.

Anyway, very satisfied with the form, and so far have only had 1 failure (which in faireness was my fault as I messed with the support settings and made an error) which is great. I feel very confident that I can start a print, go to sleep and wake up and there will be a succesful part hanging down from the platform waiting for curing/washing.


#130

Wow, I’m glad you wrote that so I don’t have to, as it matches my list of wishes pretty close to perfectly. I’m currently using Formware to hollow/drain but it should be in PreForm.

Also wish: A openmode cartridge. Not just pour in, but sell carts that are chipped and empty, and can have a specific profile associated with them and let me refill them. Said open mode would use the damn heater, etc. and permit refilling. I understand that resin is a revenue stream that formlabs likely needs, but their resin doesn’t cover all needs. Get us to buy their resin because it is ultra reliable and great, and then let us easily and nicely use our own other times.

The surface quality has been amazing. The ability to print delicate features can be surprising; this Eiffel Tower has ludicrously fine railings which mostly printed fine (and at least one of the damage to it was my fault post printing).


#131

Very glad to hear that the Form 3 is producing some good models.