Form 3 vs. Form 2 Faceoff!


DizzyRuff, CuriousSnail and BrilliantBeast lined up and ready to go head to head. I’m running comparisons between my Form 2 and Form 3 to explore any edge cases that could use some tweaks in the latest product.

I’m only testing in Clear, for now, until my backordered Form 3 tanks arrive.

Feel free to suggest prints for me to try. I’ll pick out a few, favoring those you identify as coming out better on the Form 2. Better yet, if you have both printers, do your own comparisons and share the results.

3DMon Resolution Test

First discussed in this thread. Some early Form 3 users reported fused fins, and missing gaps between the diamond and adjacent shapes. Also blurring of the edges of negative features and surface quality issues. More recent firmware has improved things, and in my Clear test the Form 3 did significantly better.

# Printer Resin Layer Estimate Actual Preform Firmware
1 Form 3 Clear v4 50μm 1h 5m 1h 22m 3.2.1 rc-1.4.3-462
2 Form 2 Clear v2 50μm 2h 2m 2h 4m 3.2.1 rc-1.19.12-75

Gaps are accounted for:

The prominent outline seen around edges of positive and negative features on horizontal surfaces printed on the Form 2, is no longer visible on the Form 3:

Note the “nubs” near the top of the circle and diamond in the next photo are remnants from where I added three supports (0.35mm contacts for Form 3, and 0.45mm for Form 2).

Correct dimensions kindly provided by @Joonghyun_Cho

Here’s what I measured. Note I haven’t yet done any X/Y Fine Tuning on this Form 2.

On both machines, the part was printed directly on the base, with the fins colinear to the wiper/mixer path.

Here’s the form file and stl.

Tapered Holes Through Ring

In this thread, @TravisRogers reported problems with layer shifting and holes getting partially filled in, compared to clean results on the Form 2.

# Printer Resin Layer Estimate Actual Preform Firmware File
3 Form 3 Clear v4 25μm 4h 18m 3.2.1 rc-1.4.3-462 F3.form
4 Form 2 Clear v2 25μm 4h 15m 4h 36m 3.2.1 rc-1.19.12-75 F2.form

I saw similar layer shifting in my test:

But the holes looked pretty good:

I printed two rings on each machine, oriented 90° to each other around the Z axis. The layer shifts were present on both Form 3 models, but seemed a tad less severe on the one where the bulk of the ring was more in line with the path traveled by the mixer/LPU.

Syringe Bumper

This is my own design, and includes a tapered channel running through the model, ending with a diameter of 0.5mm. It snaps onto the syringe of a Voltera V-One and is intended to curtail nozzle breaks.

# Printer Resin Layer Estimate Actual Preform Firmware
5 Form 3 Clear v4 25μm 3h 25m 3.2.1 rc-1.4.3-462
6 Form 2 Clear v2 25μm 3h 15m 2h 55m 3.2.1 rc-1.19.12-75

Layer shifting was observed again on the Form 3:

Though the final part still fit nice and snug:

Geometric Shapes

A few shapes discussed in this thread.

# Printer Resin Layer Estimate Actual Preform Firmware File
7 Form 3 Clear v4 25μm 4h 39m 4h 57m 3.2.1 rc-1.4.3-462
8 Form 2 Clear v2 25μm 4h 21m 4h 14m 3.2.1 rc-1.19.12-75

The shelled rectangular prism had pretty significant layer shifting on the Form 3, similar to that reported by @darbyvet.

The pyramids are better, but shifting is still observed on the Form 3 parts if you look closely.

UPDATE Nov 26: I printed the rectangles again, direct-on-base this time with the shell walls pointing away from the build platform. I used 50μm layer height, and applied 0.5mm Z-Compression Correction. I added a vent near the base on one sidewall to avoid cupping, and chamfered one corner to ease removal.

# Printer Resin Layer Estimate Actual Preform Firmware File
13 Form 3 Clear v4 50μm 1h 3m 1h 15m 3.2.1 rc-1.4.3-462
14 Form 2 Clear v2 50μm 2h 12m 2h 12m 3.2.1 rc-1.19.12-75

Here are the results:


This post simply wouldn’t be complete without a canine entry. Amidst complaints of the Form 3 being slower than the Form 2, it’s interesting to note this print completed significantly faster on the Form 3. I ran the test twice to confirm the result.

# Printer Resin Layer Estimate Actual Act. 2nd Preform Firmware File
9 Form 3 Clear v4 100μm 2h 30m 2h 40m 2h 45m 3.2.1 rc-1.4.3-462
10 Form 2 Clear v2 100μm 3h 44m 3h 39m 3h 47m 3.2.1 rc-1.19.12-75

Some faint layer shift lines on the Form 3 print.

Thin Cross

An old test from back in the day. Another print where the Form 3 beat the Form 2 time by a wide margin.

# Printer Resin Layer Estimate Actual Preform Firmware File
11 Form 3 Clear v4 100μm 3h 04m 3h 20m 3.2.1 rc-1.4.3-462
12 Form 2 Clear v2 100μm 4h 29m 4h 33m 3.2.1 rc-1.19.12-75

I though the tall walls might be a good way to explore any layer shifting, but they both came out pretty good. The only significant shifting is toward the base on the Form 3 version. I’m not sure what’s up with the vertical “stripe” down the Form 3 print above - guessing it occurred during washing / handling.

Miniature Cups (added Nov 29)

This test recreates results similar to those observed by folks here.

# Printer Resin Layer Estimate Actual Preform Firmware File
15 Form 3 Clear v4 50μm 2h 05m 2h 22m 3.2.2 rc-1.4.3-462
16 Form 2 Clear v2 50μm 2h 12m 3h 08m 3.2.2 rc-1.19.12-75

The Form 3 print shows severe rippling / layer shifting on both sides of the cup. For scale, note the cups are about 2.5cm tall.


  • Where time estimates were unavailable in Preform, they were read from the machine at beginning of print
  • Actual print times were taken from Dashboard print history
  • Brand new tanks were used for both printers
  • Prints were washed by hand in IPA (approx 15-20mins). No post-curing was performed on the Clear prints.

Form3 evaluation
Form 3 blurred details and layer shifting
Form 3 for Jewelry Production: Is it better than Form 2?
Form3 evaluation
Bad prints out of brand New Form 3
What resin for highly detailed small figures
Print Quality Issue with Black Resin
Form3 evaluation
Form 3 Review Roundup
Form 3 print looks like it has cake icing on it
Form 2 vs Form 3 print quality, am I missing something?
Part accuracy and tolerances on F3

Formlabs have admitted that they have tuned the Form3 to print well at 100 microns, and that there are problems printing at 50 and 25 microns. So is printing test at a resolution that is known to have problems a fair comparison?


In the mean time they have released several firmware updates to improve printing quality. So I think it is fair.


I am having the same issues on my Form 3. Tons of layer shifting. Direct comparisons to identical prints on my Form 2 show the Form 2 prints to be completely free of these issues.

Here is my post about it with pictures: Bad prints out of brand New Form 3

I contacted support and was told that I don’t have enough supports. I am having a hard time accepting this considering how well these printed on the Form 2. I have been nothing but frustrated with the Form 3 and am regretting my purchase so far.


Where did formlabs admit there was a problem with 50 and 25 microns.I didnt get any notification of that. I did print my boxes at 100 micron and they still had layer shifting.I tried adding more supports and I still had layer shifting. This machine is clearly not ready for re;lease and yet here we are wasting time and money on test prints to prove something to formlabs that they apparently already know.Thank goodness I still have my form2.I sell aftermarket parts for sci fi models and I cant use my form3 for those parts because the print quality is just not there. I can live with slower print times and/or firmware tweaks, but the Form3 fails at printing simple geometric shapes. Anyone used to a Form2 is going to be very disappointed with the Form3.

At this point I have used almost a complete liter of resin and have wear on my build tank and I dont have a single saleable print from it.


Thinking about it, there are only really two ways these layer shifts can be happening if extra supports make no difference.

  1. The LPU unit is pushing against the prints causing distortion, if this is the case then Formlabs saying add more supports makes sense as it sounds like they know this might be happening.
  2. The drive system which has different drive types for X and Y will have different acceleration - deceleration factors when sharply changing direction and if these are even slightly out will cause errors.

Can I ask, not sure if it’s just the way the light is hitting, but in this pic

The supports on the perpendicular print look more uneven?


Great question! Here are a couple more closeups. The supports are identical in Preform. The layer shifts largely occur at the same height (makes sense; they were printed at the same time), but due to the rotation their effects predominate in perpendicular directions. In fairness that might contribute to one looking more severe than the other depending on the angle viewed. Examining the supports more closely, I did notice the two right next to each other on the parallel print have a pretty bad “wobble” in the middle.


Thanks for the detailed write up. I also appreciate you noting all the specifics including the PreForm and firmware versions used in your comparisons. Our biggest opportunity to improve print performance will be through shipping subsequent versions so this is helpful to understand side by sides over time, strive for apples to apples, and I hope, give us an opportunity to show a positive trend through subsequent releases.

Your dog also kinda reminds me of Charlie the original Formdog:




Do you have any explanation for the printing issues? Are there firmware updates being worked on to address print issues? It would be nice to know these things since I suspect there are form3 buyers like myself considering returning the machine because it simply does not work as advertised.


Hi Jennifer,

Thanks for acknowledging my post, and the kind words. I’m hopeful this helps contribute in some small way toward your team isolating aberrations and effecting improvement. I’m looking forward to running tests in other resins, and would be happy to rerun several after future firmware updates to compare.

The dog does kinda resemble Charlie! I thought him when I took the photos. Fun fact: There’s a Golden Retriever named Charlie in the neighbourhood who’s pals with my pup. And his owner has a Formlabs printer.


Deeply concerned about Form 3 layer shifting.

A Form 3 is expected to be delivered next week. Worried it will not perform.

My designs are small scale models that I sell as a primary business. They are all printed at either 50 or 25 microns on a Form 2 and generally the Form 2 does very well. If the same models are printed at 100 microns on the Form 2, surface smoothness and detail are too rough to be acceptable by customers.

For my business, we need the Form 3 to print models at 50 microns with no appreciable layer shifting. If not, I can’t sell what it prints. Perhaps, for the time being, a refurb Form 2 is the better choice.

I bought a Form 3 earlier this year but canceled the order after repeated delivery delays. After not being able to find a suitable substitute at a comparable price, I recently re-ordered a Form 3 last month. I was delighted to learn that the printer would be delivered the first week of December after just a few week’s wait.

But now, after seeing these posts and the significant layer shifting issues and possible inability of the Form 3 to print at 50 microns, I am very concerned the Form 3 can’t print the products I sell. I wish I had ordered a refurb Form 2 instead.

@Formlabs, please get the Form 3 working at 50 microns and fix the layer shifting issue.

[Edit: Form 3 has arrived. It is not experiencing the layer shift shown in photos above. It is printing well at 50 microns.]


I hate to say it but, if I were you, I would be rightly concerned. I am in the same boat as you… I print mostly miniature… 3D models that I do myself and sell as finished products. The Form 2 has been a workhorse champ fo rthis stuff, but so far I have not gotten a Form 3 print that would be acceptable for a final product. I did hear back from support today but we’re still in the “working on it” stage.


Our new Form 3 arrived a few days ago and we’ve been printing steady with it with small and large models of varying geometric complexity. The models are generally products for scale model ships.

A quick summary for comparison with your experience:

  1. All models have been printed at 50 microns with standard gray resin. Touchpoints are a mix of 0.6 mm and 0.4 mm.

  2. None of our prints have shown any of the layer shifting seen in photos of the posts above. [Edit: subsequent prints all exhibit layer shifting and bulged surfaces. These defects are not present on models printed with a Form 2.]

  3. Surfaces are generally smoother with the Form 3 than with the Form 2.

  4. Small detail looks as good or better on the Form 3 than on the Form 2. [Edit: surface details on subsequent prints appeared misshapen with soft edges.]

  5. Small openings, such as model ship portholes and open doorways and hatches, are not as well defined on the Form 3. Edges look kind of “mushy”. The Form 2 produces small openings with crisper edges and more precise shapes than does the Form 3. [Edit: circular openings are misshapen. The top of the openings is noticeably sunken downward, distorted parallel to the build platform.]

  6. All models attempted so far have been successfully printed except one. That small, failed model routinely prints very well on our Form 2. That model has failed twice out of two attempts on the Form 3. Portions did not form. More supports were added to the model after the first fail but the second attempt failed as well. Perhaps for some models, the Form 3 may require a lot more supports than the Form 2.

Some observations about the printer compared to the Form 2, echoing comments made by others in other threads:

  1. Setup was rather painless. I really like that the optical mechanism is enclosed as a removable cartridge. The Form 3 enclosure is much larger than the Form 2 with lots of accessible space (love that - Form 2 printer maintenance and optical path cleaning are very difficult for me to perform in the small space of the Form 2 enclosure).

  2. The resin cartridge fits more loosely in the Form 3.

  3. The Form 3 is much louder than the Form 2, producing various sounds during a layer cycle.

  4. The Form 3 requires a lot more resin to fill the tank before the first print.

  5. Preform will import *.form files of models previously printed on the Form 2 but will require a new supports configuration for that model to be printable on the Form 3. This means having a *.form file for the Form 2 and another *.form file for the Form 3 for each design. Since all of my designs’ support configurations are manually adjusted, most quite heavily, a new *.form file with manually adjusted touchpoints will be needed for all of the designs to be printed on the Form 3. This will be a lot of work moving forward since we have over 1400 designs to import. For models with simple geometries where little or no manual support adjustment was needed, the import may not require new work. [Edit: see my post below for the fix - there is a setting which can be enabled to import touchpoint sizes.]

  6. The Form 3 requires a lot more time to generate a print file and upload the file to the printer. Perhaps the new *.form file is much larger than what was needed on the Form 2.

Here are some photos of a few of the models printed so far:


Has the option to import touchpoint locations and size been of help?


Good question.

Until you asked, I had not noticed that there was the possibility to import touchpoint sizes. I erroneously thought only touchpoint locations could be imported. So went looking for it. Here’s what I found:

When Preform imports the supports, it does not import touchpoint sizes by default. When you open a *.form file previously saved for printing with a Form 2, an “import support locations” menu appears. The menu explicitly states “Support settings are incompatible”. Hidden under “Show advanced” options, importing touchpoint sizes is possible. To enable that, you click an open box. The menu states importing touchpoint sizes is “Not Recommended”.

The “Show advanced” options also permit you to “Disable internal supports”.

Thanks for the headsup regarding importing touchpoint sizes. I’ll definitely try it since that would be an enormously helpful and time-saving capability.

A few more observations about the printer compared to a Form 2:

  1. The Form 3 touchscreen is larger. Much easier to operate, especially when wearing gloves. Love that.

  2. Before a print cycle, the Form 3’s touchscreen indicates that the optical path is being checked. I’m not sure what that means exactly, but it sure sounds good.

  3. The Form 3 is about the same height and depth as the Form 2 but much wider side-to-side.

  4. The Form 3 resin tank is much bigger than the Form 1/Form 2 LT tank. It has larger handles on the sides making it easier to hold without touching the bottom of the tank.

  5. The orange Form 3 cover’s plastic is thinner than the cover of my Form 2, It has a lighter feel to it.

  6. When a print is complete, the Form 2 touchscreen displays a trashcan for deleting the file from the printer. The Form 3 does not display the trashcan when the print is complete. To delete a file from the Form 3, open the file from the file list on the touchscreen and you can delete the file.

  7. The sounds the Form 3 makes take a little getting used to. A typical print layer cycle produces various mechanical sounds, one of which is quite loud making me erroneously think at first there was something wrong.

  8. Much has been said in other threads about print times. I have not yet run the Form 2 next to the Form 3 with the same model to compare print times. Having said that, Form 3 print times seem reasonable. The sales rep did tell me that the Form 3 was designed for faster printing but presently the software and/or firmware is set to deliberately slow the print cycle. She explained that Formlabs intends to release “throttled up” firmware in the future.


larsenstephen, thanks for posting your images. It’s the sort of work we are asked to do and we are currently running assorted test parts.

Out of interest, how have you got on with regard to warping or accuracy of straight faces and edges?

I agree that edges seem a little soft.


Straight edge accuracy looks good. None of the models printed so far show any evidence of warping.

{Edit: subsequent prints all exhibit layer shifting and surface bulging. The same models printed on a Form 2 do not have these defects.]

There is a firmware update available today. The next prints will be post-update. Hopefully edges of openings like doors, hatches and portholes will be more precise.


Thanks for the tip! I’ll retry a few prints. Per the 1.4.4 release notes:

Anyone able to elaborate on the refinements and their intended effect?


Im hoping this may help with the terrible layer shifting.

Here are my latest prints…a smal lens and small hollow dome… awful layering/ warping… whatever you want to call it. Been happening in everything i print.


Updated my Form 3’s firmware to the latest 1.4.4 (automatic failed, but manual update worked) and reprinted the cups:

Both of these are from the Form 3. The layer shift ripples are still present. Preform 3.2.2, layer height 50um. I hope we don’t have to wait another month for another firmware update to test :-(.

Bad prints out of brand New Form 3