Form 3 Unboxing and First Impressions!


100% agree. Such a large product and not one big media review that I’ve seen. That’s pathetic at best.


Como dice Mouriño, porque…?
Porque aun no hemos visto ningun video real de la f3 trabajando???


Well I guess the reviews speak for them self’s lol.


Not sure if folks seen one of the first reviews, from Make Magazine.


Have seen this review and it is a great one. Sadly it is one of very few that shows a fairly comprehensive view of the new printer. Sadly this needs to be in the hands of more industry professionals to get the word out and for sure more consumers so they can get to printing.


This is a decent review but again, its just a feature review of all the things we already know. I would like to see a review from a actual daily user of the form 3 machine producing parts and would be even better if that user came from using a form 2 printing daily. Giving the machine to a user just because of followers to get views is… to me at least… not a good review. They just highlight all the bells and whistles & do not know the frustrations of printing with previous versions of the machine & how this version is actually better. I’m sure as soon as people actually receive there form 3 …we will see some good real end users reviews with notable comparisons between the 2 machines.


@dave55rc agreed - only value in that review is for people who’re not familiar with Formlabs. There’s no information besides what’s already in the sales brochures.


have a little patience-
how many of you got great results from the get go with your first printer?
Being a new device- I read several folks saying they had some issues that it took some time and support to clear up.
Another saying that after the first firmware update that its running much better.

Formlabs is obviously trying to rely on the early adopters to help trouble shoot potential issues that will only become visible when Lots of different individual are trying to set the thing up and get it running.

And frankly- I don’t really care about ANY review from someone who’s had the thing a month.

I will wait for reviews of its operation over a year. I need more than slightly better prints in the first few weeks of ownership… I need long term reliability.

I am happy, however to see the new design is clearly aimed at eliminating the need to ship printers to Formlabs for repair. I am sure servicing Form 2s has been a major loss leader for Formlabs. User replaceable optics units is a huge improvement- most of us who make stuff are handy enough to swap a module.


How many of you had a Maserati as your first car?


Can you explain the maserati analogy? Maybe I have it wrong, but the Form 3 is hardly a maserati if that is what you mean. At best it is a Lexus. Maybe even just a top of line package to a base Corolla. Not an insult to the Form 3, but a real SLA system (maserati) is $100k.


Fair enough, but my point is that for most folks, their first 3D printer is not a Form, it’s a cheap FDM model. We can and should expect more from something more expensive.


I was one of the first to receive the Form 3 and have been working with for a while now. There are issues with the printer… some new… some Formlabs is aware of. Im surprised at the lack of input from the forum in sharing the issues… unless im literally the only one with problems. I have been printing since the early 90s and have had every iteration of the Form printer so ill be speaking on issues only and not just on how beautiful the Form 3 can print.

I have videos and pics i have sent into Formlabs. But ill share what ive seen so far.

  1. First, the printer does print beautifully but does not show a noticeable difference between the Form 2 and 3 in either 50 or 25 microns. Just want to be clear with that.

  2. It is loud during x axis motor travel… mainly during the rapid movements. Since the housing is completely open inside, it acts like a megaphone. Now, my machine has an issue with the stepper so the noise is even worse. The Form lab techs watch my video and confirmed it was extremely loud. They also were aware of the noise for X travel and are working to solve the issue with a software update.

  3. Dashboard and the printer fail to update the firmware. It stated, in the beginning, that the firmware was up to date… even though it wasn’t. I had to manually go in and update the firmware. Now, when i check it, it states an unrecognizable firmware.

  4. The printer, when placing setting up a new tank, kept ejecting the mixer/wiper to the right. Even though the mixer was placed in correctly, it kept popping off to the right as it was wiping to the left. What i did was bend the little snap arms back and forth on each end of the mixer/wiper to soften up the plastic. Almost like forming a bending hinge so that the mixer snaps in place to the left easier. This kind of solved the issue. It still kept giving errors to put the mixer in correctly. It gives you an option to ignore and proceed. During video taping for Formlabs, it took about 30 min to eventually get the printer to start printing. Once the tank had resin in it, the mixer popping off stopped.

  5. When starting a new print, i would get a fail to start print error. It didn’t matter if i chose to reprint the last print from the printers screen menu, from the dashboard, or uploaded the same print again, i would get this error and the only way to fix it, was to reboot the printer by unplugging the power.

  6. I have print shifts and surface anomalies when using 50 microns. This can be the result of the X axis stepper issue. However, when printing in 25 microns, i can’t really see print shifts or anomalies… there was a couple tiny issues but because of the layer height, its not really noticeable.

  7. The Form 3 is no way faster than the Form 2 and Formlabs has confirmed that. An example: I printed the same form file on the Form 2 and Form 3. I did not change orientation, or density, or point size, or layer height, or material. Its exactly the same print. I printed this file at 50 microns. On the Form 2, the print was a tad over 9 hours. On the Form 3, it was a tad over 16 hours. Again, Formlabs is aware and has stated the Form 3 is not faster than the Form 2 and told me their working on a software update to help with that.

  8. The software on the Form 3 currently has no idle mode… it stays on and the fan runs constantly. Formlabs recommends just leaving it on all the time or to shut the machine off, you just unplug it. There is no off button or a setting to place the printer in idle mode. So, the fan noise is normal. If its on your office desk, it may bother some but its not too loud.

  9. Dashboard does not, at least at the time i was running prints, give you feedback on print times on the Form 3. You have to rely on the estimated time on the printers screen after you upload a print. Print times are actually longer… as i was running an independent timer going.

There ya go guys. I have tested the machine and compare it to the form 2 and have only mentioned the issues with the printer in this post. Formlabs is aware of the issues… again… some new… and some they already were aware of. One of my main concerns was the release of this printer with a non final software package. I was told that the software will be an ongoing update to address the issues, add features, but also to speed the printer up to speeds equivalent to what you see in the Form 2. I have recommended adding a feature to allow you to control the mixer/wiper arm. This way you could set the printer to heat and mix the resin in the tank periodically when the printer is not in use. This way you dont have resin settling if you dont print every single day. I think the tank will last longer and the resin will always be mixed.


@Kenneth_Palkow thanks for that, very informative - but you don’t touch on the peel.

The primary attraction for me is the the new low force peel mechanism - in theory it allows fewer and finer support contact points.

However there’s been at least one comment from a F3 user saying they’re not seeing any practical reduction in supports. What is your experience?


I’m hoping it allows more direct platform prints without supports and reduces failures on large parts. We regularly need to print 300-600 ml parts and have had issues with peel forces.


I have seen do difference in density or touch point size as a direct result of the newer peel technology. In fact, I had to use just as much density and touch point as I did on the form 2s. I intentionally decreased touch point and desnity to see how far I could push it and as a result, there were additional print issues due to not having enough support. The print did remove easier from the supports but at a cost of print quality. Now, keep in mind… my printer has mechincal issues and Formlabs is aware of it and replacing the machine as we speak. Maybe the mechincal issues like my X motor travel noise is a main part of the problem.

To Formlabs credit, I really can’t give a good base line review if the machine has mechanical issues right out of the box. That is why I did not go into what’s good about the machine. My review is on what my experience has been so far with a brand new piece of tech right out of the box. Sure I can say I love the concept of the membrane vs a hard bottom tank. Yes I love the concept of the new mixer/wiper which is designed to do an initial scrape of the build tray prior to starting the prints. It has a scraper facing up to scrape the build tray but also a wiper facing towards the membrane. It also has built in vanes to mix the resin as it moves side to side. Yes I love the peel idea of low force vs breaking the surface tension of the part surface to tank surface that you encounter on a form 2… especially when prints are large and have a large surface area. I love the new layout of the screen. The touch sensitivity is very nice. I could go on… however my printer has issues right out of the box and I can’t talk about what it’s supposed to do vs what it is doing… at least for me.

People were asking why everyone was so quiet. I figured I would let you know what im experienceing if you are considering upgrading or purchasing a brand new tech during the initial ship. I’m not telling you to hold off… but… I would love to see what the machine can do once I have my new machine to replace this one before I recommend investing in a new tech. Everything looks promising tho. During my discussions with Fortmlabs techs, they told me they were seeing some of my issues with other printers. However, the other printers usually had one of the three main issues I have where my machine has all. I’m only referring to the main issues. Again, they’re working on it. Software updates are regular so by the time my new replacement shows up, I’m assuming most of what I found would have been addressed.

Another feature I absolutely LOVE is the fact that most issues will likely be related to the LPU unit and that is what would be replaced. For the most part the entire machine would not have to be sent back to Formlabs. You woul dget a new LPU unit and there is a built in proceedure through the printers screen to walk you through switching that out. So, no more boxing up the entire printer and shipping back.

There is almost 4 gb of memory built into the machine and you can check how much memory you have via “system” - “printer details” - “storage”.

Another really awesome feature is the heating system. There is ductwork in the containment area which blows and circulates the heated air right above the tank. The screen gives main info about the printer via a pictoral display. It shows cratirdge and level left of resin in it. It then shows platform info… like is it installed or not. Also dsiplays the type of resin in the tank and it’s current temperature. There’s also a “prime” mode which basically allows you to complete print checks in advance so you can print remotely.

As stated the mixer/wiper is connected to the LPU unit via magnets… the tank’s membrane is sandwiched in-between. There is no mechanical connection of the wiper to a moving arm so to speak.

Here is another cool feature which was not mentioned. The tanks come with a kind of tupperware container to store your tanks. They are stackable as well. It’s a container and lid. I never liked the black plastic cover for the from 2 tanks. And the form 3 tank containers are grey with a typical “orange” lid. Very nice setup.

I could do an entire video on the machine. I am surprised no one has done a video on what I have discussed here. Hope this helps.


@Kenneth_Palkow thankyou so much for this, as you say other F3 owners have been so quiet. I’m sure part of this is that FL is deliberately shipping slowly to try and control the growing pains of such a raw product - but also I think owners can be nervous of loss of FL support quality for being critical in the forums.

Personally I don’t think they have such a policy - they are very heavy handed with folks tinkering/repairing their own machines, but I’m fairly sure they don’t penalize folks for raising issues here - but anyway - thank you!

I hope you get your machine replaced/repaired promptly and please update us on how the peel is then?


Mine arrived yesterday but I’m more in the mood to sit tight til extra vats and resin arrive before putting it through its paces. Interestingly, the US store indicates a 3-week lead time on Form 3 Vats, but the order placed a week ago claims to be shipping soon.


I received my printer about a week ago testing everything I could before I gave any kind of review. Honestly I don’t really know what to say about it. I’m not getting the same kind of vibes as I did when I got the form2 as it sort of magically printed everything I threw at it, rather, I come here to read that the 50 microns setting is having anomalies which explains so much as I’ve been having inconsistent success of the prints with no changes to the file.

The silence may be just giving formlabs time to update its software which I hope is the root cause towards all the pains of figuring out the machine, which as of right now, I would say is objectively worse than the form 2 in terms of actual print-ability. It feels as though the printer was rushed out with half-baked optimization which probably needed 6-12 months worth of fine-tuning. I really don’t have anything bad to say about the hardware itself as I feel it’s indeed an upgrade but unsure about the tray.

I specifically work on miniatures and unfortunately i’m getting lower quality prints from the 25 micron setting on the form 3 than the 50 micron setting on the form 2. It’s the same problems people have talked about before of the prints details being softer and losing it’s definition in comparison to the form 2. For this part I don’t know if it’s because of the film from the tray or the resin no longer being optimized for the form 3 or simply needing more time in testing on the firmware.

I agree with about every point that Kenneth put down minus the print quality and loudness problems. Overall, I can see the machine being great but it feels like it was released way too early hence why even the 2 or so months delay in delivery.


**About time! Thank you for an actual end user review with experience on previous models. This post is very informative and confirmed my suspicions about the form 3. Thank you again for taking the time to post this info.


I’ll chime in with a few brief first impressions of my Form 3:
Out of the box experience was pretty good. Setup was a breeze, and Formlabs went overboard on the warnings to make sure the LPU screws are removed before using the printer. The warning stickers on the printer tore and left residue when I pulled them off, but that’s just a minor annoyance. The touchscreen works great and the UI is intuitive. I hope a future firmware update will disable the fan noise while not in use.

Fit and finish leaves a bit to be desired. The bottom chassis cover on the front appears to be warped, and the exterior is now entirely plastic instead of the nice anodized aluminum on previous printers. The industrial design seems a bit strange to me with odd curves and angles. However, what matters is on the inside, and it’s obvious this is a much more complex printer with a lot going on. Time will tell if the additional sensors and complexity have contributed a better and more reliable printer.
The new resin tanks seem great. I like the included storage container.

I’ve only done 3 prints so far (White V4), but the print quality has been underwhelming to say the least. I was expecting to see a jump in quality similar to what I experienced going from the Form 1+ to the Form 2, but sadly it feels like taking a step back. White V4 is probably not the best resin to evaluate the print quality with, but right now I’m kind of wishing I still had my Form 2. I’m sure that, over time, firmware updates and new resin formulations will unlock the true potential of the Form 3.