Form 3 vs. Form 2 Faceoff!

You mean Preform release notes.

You could always set up a monitoring service to notify you when the Preform release notes or Firmware release notes pages change. I just set up alerts on trackly.io, which watches up to 3 pages for free.

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I really like your usage of the term warping to describe what’s happening here. I think that’s a much better descriptor than layer shift, as shift implies a discrete, but permanent change in x/y position. In all the examples I have seen, the artifacts appear to be regions of distortion or potentially erosion, but often times the outer bounds of the part are congruous, and usually the print continues on without indicating a true loss of position. It also usually seems to happen for at least several layers at a time before returning to normal, so it affects more than one layer before subsiding.

“Warping” does seem to be a better description.

Very useful post. The parts appear to be more clear on the Form 3 but there are issues with shift lines that could be a problem for some users.

I would like to print a small fluid reservoir (50mm height, 50 mm diameter) in clear resin on the Form 3. Can anyone on this forum do this? I will pay for the part and shipping.

yo puedo

Since my original post, Formlabs has released several software and firmware updates. Sifting through the release notes, I tallied improvements for:

Black: 25μm, 50μm (twice), 100μm
White: 50μm, 100μm
Tough V5: 50μm, 100μm
Dental Model: 100μm
Castable Wax: 50μm
Grey: 100μm (especially small features)

So I decided to do some fresh comparisons in Black. The items below were all printed at the same time at 50μm, using firmware rc-1.5.17-573 on the Form 3 and 1.19.15 on the Form 2, with Preform 3.4.5, and default support settings for each printer. They were cured for ~30 mins at 60°C in the Form Cure.

One thing I noticed right off the bat is Black prints seem a little overcured on the Form 3. They were very difficult to remove from the build platform, and in most cases the raft cracked, leaving bits stuck to the platform. We really need a way to adjust build platform adhesion on the Form 3. You can also see the exposure difference on the surface texture.

The really good news is, any rippling or shifting artifacts seem all but gone. The only place I noticed any, was in the front-right corner of the box on the last photo, and it was extremely faint.

I was encouraged by this, and re-ran a few of the original prints in Clear (again, at 50μm, but I updated the Form 3 firmware to 1.6.2 in between this print and the last run). Note all of the prints below are from the Form 3:

The rippling seems a little better, but is definitely still present for Clear. I hope Formlabs is close to releasing a Preform update targeting Clear, with similar fine tuning as Black and other resins have received. I’ll try again once I see that.

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Thanks for the tests - without side by side its hard to tell, but it looks like the ripples are less deep?

Still very obvious but a bit shallower?

I think that’s a fair description, yes.

I posted a detailed, side-by-side of @larsenstephen’s ship model in Black V4 here:

Here are some quick photos of a 25μm print in Black v4. Sorry for the dust (it’s been a few days since I washed these) and subpar photography. The results parallel what I’ve seen at 50μm and 100μm and are barely distinguishable. Form 3 is on the right.

We’ve been using a Form 2 for the past 3 years now and had our fair share of problems. When we can get it to print, it does produce a nice quality part. Although, now it takes upwards of 3 hours to heat up before we’re able to start the print job.

We are thinking about switching to a Form 3 but are curious if they’ve solved a lot of the reliability issues.

What do you say? Switch to Form 3, yay or nay??

Does it time out and require you to restart the job a few times?

My heater is taking an hour lately and I thought that’s a long time.

That’s a tough one. If I could rewind backward I’d probably just keep my Form 2 and wait for a Form 4. But the story isn’t over yet - Formlabs really has made tremendous progress tuning the resins, and part of my decision to buy the Form 3 was anticipation that new resin formulations and features would only be introduced on the new platform going forward. We’ll see how that plays out over the next year or two.

Do NOT bother. Form 3 is not ready for BETA even today. I havent had an acceptable print YET.

However if you lower your standards to accept that the Formlabs advertised performance/function and quality wont be met, then you`ll LOVE the Form 3.

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One thing I was thinking - I will not be surprised if the Form 4 does NOT use the flexible trays or the Low Force “tech”.

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Form 2 by much

To compare how high precision objects can be printed, we created fine resolution data and printed it at 50 microns for both 2 and 3B with DentalSG.

1st pic is by form2, 2nd is by 3B.

Fine details were maintained in 2 but not in 3B

Hope that the 3&3B will be able to output higher resolution in future firmware updates.

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Goodmorning everyone,
I have the form 2 form 4 years used without problems. For 2 months approx. the quality of my prints decreased a lot and after an evaluation the assistance explained the laser is exhausted.
Now I have two options:

  1. repair my form 2 or
  2. buy the form 3.
    From what I read I should hold my form 2, but your last comment is quite old… The situation today how is it?, the form 3 improved?
    Thanks in advance for your feedback

Hands down, repair your Form2.
Do not bother purchasing Form3 even after 2 years from the initial release
I bought a Form3 back in 2019 as a test machine hoping to replace all 4 Form2s I have.
I was so disappointed (raging actually…) with the quality of prints and got a refund for it.
I recently asked my friend (who still bought a Form3 after my rant) to print few test pieces hoping to see some improvements over time but big NO. They look exactly the same as 2 years ago - terrible, at least in the eyes of heavy Form2 user since 2016.

At this point, I don’t think it’s a matter of software/firmware update because Form2’s software/firmware update was noticeably better between 2016-2018.

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in light of the release of the Form3+

Do we think enough has matured?
I know its early days …but there are some in the wild already…

I’ve made some back-to-back tests with a Form 3 (early 2019) and a Form 3B+, both running firmware 1.17, PreForm 3.22 and used the same tank, cartridge and build platform. Tests were done the same day and room.

I did the tests in Clear v4 with 0.100mm layer height, washed in IPA but not cured.

From what I can tell there are improvements, the F3B+ parts are clearer and they do print a little faster, but it’s not a big difference.

Print time on the F3 was 3:24h vs 3:05h on the F3B+, that was including everything and straight from my dashboard. I do think most of the extra time on the F3 was spent on heating.

F3 on the left and F3B+ on the right.
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Here’s another test, this time with the little cup model. Everything else the same.
This time I measures just the actual time it took to print, no heating or filling.

F3 took 2:13h and F3B+ 2:07h.
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And last of all we have the official test prints for Clear v4. I’ve tried to get my hands on the stl but with no luck so these are straight from Formlabs.

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Here it’s more obvious differences but the models are not identical, the F3+ model (on the right) is 5.9mm thick vs the old 5mm.

Beside the differences seen above there are clear mechanical differences that you can hear, the new + model sounds much more solid especially when tensioning (or what ever it does) the tank.

Let me know if you have any other question I might help with.

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