Form 3 Unboxing and First Impressions!


There you guys are, the apologists. Usually you fan boy types are out much sooner, your lagging.


Thanks Mark for sharing your journey.

Brilliant post with "mostly " good close ups and heads up on snagging. Blurred pictures were probably because you were so excited that you could not avoid some camera shake!

Cant wait till you have some quality samples of F2 vs F3 soon.


If stuff is shipping out of order it’s probably due to some logistics, rather than just doing it randomly


Agreed that I would sand most things. It’s always gonna improve aesthetics and gives the parts a great finish. Even though the support marks are smaller on the Form 3, it’s a fair comment that it’s a good idea to plan ahead to allocate a workbench for some hand finishing work if a space will allow it. We’ve definitely had examples of parts which are ‘ready to use’ without finishing in that they’ll fit together and be functional so to some extent it’s a preference. The parts will still look a little nicer if you sand the small nubbins, but I am curious to see if people do change their workflow more dramatically with the potential reduction in cleanup.


Isn’t this just typical FormLabs, never get involved in something that is “controversial” or somehow reflects on the company practice.

Deflect, deflect, deflect! That’s the Formlabs way of dealing with it.

Form 3 Production Update

Let me try to clear up some of the concern. Firstly thank you @Mark_Harrison for the great write up and unboxing experience. It’s really cool for you to call out some of the improvements - like the change to level sensing - we’re excited about the new float mechanism it just felt a little too in the weeds to highlight in the major marketing announcement :wink:

@Zenica We are absolutely shipping orders in the order they were placed. @CarterTG We do not treat phone and web orders differently. There is one exception to this - for the very first units (the first 30) that came off the line, we reached out to a subset of customers and asked if they were ready and willing to receive one of the very first units in exchange for providing their feedback by logging prints in Dashboard and keeping an open dialogue with our service team.

This early release group was selected from those who had placed orders in the first month, were in the US, and we bumped a few people up who were in the MA area, where we would be able to easily perform site visits to learn about their initial experience if needed. Most people we reached out to opted in.

Beyond that, we have begun shipping, and we are ramping up production, producing significantly more printers each week. We are communicating any delays on a rolling basis, so that we give you the most accurate updated ship date we can.

Thanks for the patience of this community, many of whom we anticipate will be some of our earliest Form 3 customers. Please keep us honest by reporting your issues to our services team. The quality team is hard at work responding to, escalating, and implementing fixes, and there will be continuous improvements delivered through software updates. Some of these early connectivity issues we hope to resolve VERY quickly.

At Formlabs we pride ourselves in bringing innovative products to market and getting them in the hands of users quickly. We move fast but we don’t cut corners. While we apologize for any delay, we are committed to delivering a great product. If you have concerns about when your printer will ship, please reach out to our customer team, otherwise we will keep you updated as your initial ship date approaches.


This is an empty statement and seems contrary to comments made publicly by those that announced when they ordered and when they received the Form3.

First, you know no one outside of Formlabs can verify it as no one has the required data.
Second, I was given one date via email from my rep and then a few hours later, an email comes with a date a month later. Not a week, not two weeks. A month.

I inquired with my rep, he tells me that the date he gave me is the most accurate
and that the email was a mass email sent to everyone, again, not something I can disprove but my gut says he doesn’t want an order for 15K cancelled and figures once he gets me to the hump point, I’ll just wait out the last month but that is also a red herring because this can may get kicked down the road yet again further delaying the arrival date.

When you started with the Form1 via the crowd funded campaign, I understood the need to in effect, pre-sale the printer but by now Formlabs should have the capital to not require customer money 6 months in advance.

Things can happen and we will be the ones holding the bag.

Think Bluesmart, myIDkey, Kreyos, Eyez and Lunatick just to name a few. All of them left consumers paying in advance with zero to show for it. In the case of Bluesmart, they actually made and delivered the suitcases BUT the airline industry and airlines made changes just before deliveries of the luggage that rendered them unusable. The company, like Formlabs was successful with its first product and by some account, the second one too but due to changes outside of their control, folded them up. With our money.

I’m not saying that is happening here but there are parallels. Next time, when the Form4 is passing from prototype to consumer product, use your own money.


@zenica - if you look at my post history you will see that I am definitively not an FL fanboy or apologist. For example go to “Support and Troubleshooting” and sort the threads by replies or views; I have the top two threads in both cases (3 different posts).

Despite my criticisms here in the forums, I do still think FL (mostly) stands alone in value and capability with their printer, and having owned an F1, F1+, and now an F2 I’m looking foward to the F3.

I think a constructively critical element here in the community has really helped them make the improvements they have so far, and hopefully it will continue to help them hold on to pole position for most capable, best value desktop resin printer.

I also hope you won’t take offense if I suggest you are letting your frustration get on top of you. Keep the critical spirit - never be a fanboy - but maybe this particular instance isn’t the “good fight”.

Jennifer was quite open in her reply saying that they had prioritized shipping to a selection of US (and especially local to Massachusetts) based orders from the first month in return for feedback on their prints, and that seems quite reasonable for a product with so much new technology.

Please stick around - there are too many fanboys here - my fear for FL is that they still have that “we’re going to be the Apple of 3D printers” motto that Maxim dropped back in the day.




Thank you for your constructive reply and I certainly take no offense as you are correct, I am frustrated.
If it is getting the better of me, perhaps but not to the extent I’d be on the 5 o-clock news, even if I lived 2 blocks from Formlabs.

I understand the need to prioritize the first few shipments to ensure a seamless roll-out but it is a handful of units and from my conversations with them prior, they have perhaps that many printers in a lab undergoing print tests.

My issue is the lack of proficiency in how this roll out is being handled. If it was done without my money, I’d have a lot less concern and it would simply be another case of waiting for the next bit of tech to hit the market. I’m on a wait list for the Mission E and while I did put down a few thousand, it is 2% of the expected cost, not 100%.

As one person sarcastically stated, I can’t help but ponder if there is any truth to it, that my order seemingly was pushed back a day after voicing concerns here. If it is in fact pushed to September, while others that ordered within the same week as I did receiving theirs in August, it would certainly look like the case.


I think it’s time we went back to the original topic.

@Mark_Harrison. Did you ever get all the issues squared away? How did they fix the USB connection issue (Printer Unavilable)?

Did you ever get any prints out of it? How do they look? I’ve read somwhere that prints showstepping on the curves (which could be an issue with a low res STL), but I’d love to see some photos.


Where did you read this? That source did not include a photograph?

I’ve not heard or read this until your comment and am as interested as you.


@greymatter commented on this in a different thread:

Got to see the machine (it was not running) but more importantly had a chance to look at F2 vs F3 print quality on clear resin as that was what I was interested in. The edges are much sharper and more “digital” so curved surfaces may seem more stepped. A lot of discussion about the peal strength. It is reportedly 70% lower than the F2.


Just to keep things in context. under normal eyeballing conditions you cannot see these crisps steps. As I am always interested in super fine detail I always carry a loupe with me so under x3.5 magnification I could see these very crisp steps. The F2 has them too but not so crisp.

It is not a feature of the quality of the stl file.

I think the best non too tech way of describing it is that the F3 prints everything in pin sharp focus and the f2 prints as if you have forgotten your glasses and it is ever so slightly fuzzy, From my point of view, the F2 sharpness is great but the F3 is better. We are pushing the capabilities of our F2 so the F3 capability is very exciting for us.

Sorry no pics. My phone was not capable of getting any v close ups.


Is this perhaps attributable to the new optical filter and perpendicular beam improvements in the F3 LPU?

If I had a worry about the F3 it’s that there would be differences in precision or accuracy comparing the galvanometer in the LPU to the linear tracking of the LPU itself - that there would be dimensional distortions depending on how the part is oriented.

Any signs of anything like that?


My feed back was my first impression observation, so did not do an in depth analysis. We would do that in house when we get one.

The optic path physics makes a lot of sense to me. A vertical slightly diverging circular column of light energy will be more consistent across the build area than a very slightly diverging elliptical column of light. Ie in centre of build platform projected beam in centre will be circular and towards the edges elliptical in theory. I have not sat down and modelled the distortion!

We work with this by mapping the build accuracy of thin walled printed 25 vertical cylinders across the build platform once a week. Yes we are very anal, but we print thin walled features. So coming back to the precision and consistency of beam on build platform the physics gets my thumbs up on the F3. The positioning accuracy problem then gets transfered to the stepper motor and lead screw that moves the LPU!

We will run tracking experiments when we get one. We do that on our micro 4 axis cnc mill so it is already in our mindset!

So sorry no exact data, but observations only.


It’s possible there could be some slight stepping due to changes in how the laser moves around, but it’s going to be less than a DLP printer still.
I had gotten a print sample from the Form 3 of a butterfly and it looked pretty great, no stepping that I could see, and the wings weren’t supported which was interesting since normally you would want to add some points there to keep it stable, but there weren’t any signs of layer misalignment like you would probably get on the Form2 due to the sliding of the tray when it separates the print from the tray. I’m guessing that’s due to how the new peeling method puts much less stress on the print.


Ordered my Form 3 April 2nd, arrived today. Much better delivery schedule than a lot of their previous products.

Unboxing and physical install was easy enough, screws for LPU were tight but able to take out with hands. Connected to wireless network without issue.


Machine is not recognized on Preform, same issue as OP. ANY SOLUTION YOU CAN SHARE?? This seems like an amateur mistake on Formlabs’ part.

Sadly my tank and useless finishing station (please allow me to not get this with future printers, I don’t need more landfill) were shipped separately and are a few days behind so I can’t print anything anyway.


Stupid question: do you have the latest Preform? The latest is 3.0.2.


Yes I do. I was able to briefly connect through a wireless connection but then it gives the same error when trying to connect via wireless or USB now.


That’s disheartening, more so that the issue persists with a wired connection.