Form 3 - using alternative resins/universal cartridges

Hi All,

I have a Form 3 that I use for my research, we are approaching the time that we need to order new resins and have a few questions. Is there a reason that I can’t use biocompatible resins on my Form 3? I’ve heard that there is no difference to the Form 3B, is this just a software restriction?
Also, has anyone used universal cartridges to use 3rd party resins? Do they work aswell as they claim?

Thank you,

Some users here have had success with the universal cartridges. I have not tried them, but a quick search should bring up some threads with commentary on them.

I tend to just refill formlabs cartridges with other resins I’m interested in using. As long as the resins are not wildly different, it usually works fine.

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The form 3 vs form 3B is just a software lock from formlabs. You cannot use their biocompatible resin on the form 3.

The unversal cartridge works great. You can find some reviews on this forum and on the facebook groups.

Refilling empty cartridges can work but the cartridge will be locked out quickly so you can’t print a lot with one empty cartridge.

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We have used the Universal Cartridges for some time and think they are great, so totally agree with Fantasy 2.

They help greatly with giving the owner of the printer control over what he/she purchases and uses after the initial purchase of the printer. We regard the printer as belonging to us after we have bought it, and should therefore be able to decide upon its use.

When I buy a car I would be very upset to find I could only ever use “X” brand of petrol and also find it intrusive if the manufacturer monitored my use of the car and emailed me frequently to tell me how many miles I had done, where I had been and when I need to go and buy more of “X” brand petrol, even though brand W, Z, U and V offers better prices and sometimes better performance for what I want to do.

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There are two different types of Form 3 and I’m not talking about Form 3B.

The early version of Form 3 can use all kinds of resins. On the other hand, the latest version of Form 3 does not, as they are not certified for bio compatibility. (Confirmed by Formlabs)

For such reason, I asked for early version of Form 3 when I ordered mine.

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So the questions would then be: what is the mechanical difference between an early F3 and a late F3? Is the early F3 printing differently than a late F3? If there is none(which I suspect) then the not certified thing isn’t true.

The pertinent question is certified by WHO??

From Formlabs own web pages:

Odd thing is that i believe F2 can handle most of bio compatible resins. I’m wondering Why latest F3 can’t?

They want to rip you off by charging extra if you want to print biocompatible materials. As simple as that.

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Probably not Formlabs, but more likely insurance companies insisting on the relevant paper trail for people working in the medical or dental fields.


Hm, then why, oh why, wasn’t this ever a problem with the Form 2? No, this was a business decision by Formlabs themselves, and one that was made only after the Form 3 came out (or we wouldn’t have those early models still capable of biocompatible resins). Now you pay them extra twice: Once for the printer with the rigth bits set in the firmware, and the second time for the not-exactly-cheap biocompatible materials.

I have brand new one I’m looking to sell. Never used. Send me a PM if you’re interested. Good price and I’ll include an empty resin tank to convert if you want it.

I would just add that any resin leak or damage that occurs to the machine while using third-party materials could invalidate one’s warranty. Apparently, even adding Formlabs resin back to the cartridge is not allowed. See subsections A, C, and E from their TOS.

This warranty does not apply: a) to damage caused by use with non-Formlabs products including third-party resins; b) to damage caused by accident, abuse, misuse, flood, fire, earthquake, or other external causes; c) to damage caused by operating the Hardware Product outside the permitted or intended uses described by Formlabs; d) to damage caused by service (including upgrades and expansions) performed by anyone who is not a representative of Formlabs; e) to a Hardware Product or part that has been modified to alter functionality or capability without the written permission of Formlabs including the refilling of resin cartridges even with Formlabs resins; f) to consumable parts (e.g. build platforms and resin tanks), unless damage has occurred due to a defect in materials or workmanship; g) to cosmetic damage, including but not limited to scratches and dents; h) if any Formlabs serial number has been removed or defaced; or i) Hardware Products purchased outside of Europe or North America.

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I have a Universal Kit and an empty Resin Cartridge I’d like to sell. The Universal is brand new and never used. Everything is there as came from the seller. Send me a PM if you are interested.