That is a mighty tall order and if anyone tells you that you will get that all the time, they’re lying to you. Neither FormLabs nor Anycubic, or anyone else for that matter can make that claim, at least not in good conscience.
I previously owned 2 Form 1+ printers and was happy with them. When the first one failed, I found that support at Formlabs is geared primarily toward the business enterprise, not the hobbyist, which is what I am. I found that FormLabs tries to help as much as they can, but ultimately if they can’t solve the problem, the only option is to plunk $800 for a replacement, because they refuse to sell you spare parts to do it yourself.
While this model may well be fine for businesses that can justify the repair/replacement cost as part of doing business, for someone like me it was a non-starter. I also toyed with the idea of getting a used Form 2, but then again, all the issues that people were having with them made me give that up.
So a couple of years ago, I bought a original Photon printer, just to see what they can do, and found that it was printing perfectly fine for me. So much so, that the still functioning Form 1+ printer went unused for nearly a year. When the new monochrome printers became available, I sold my last functioning Form 1, and bought a Photon X. And I’ve been quite happy ever since.
It’s anywhere from 3-5 times faster than the Form 3 printer, the resolution (or rather it’s ability to resolve fine features is on the par, if not better than the Form 3, and the cost of ownership is about 1/10the the cost of owning a Form labs printer.
In the TCO I inlcude the cost of materials (20% the cost of Formlabs), the cost of repairs (I can buy almost 6 Photon Xs for the cost of one Form 3), or repair one for about $300.
The SOFTWARE. Preform is an amazing piece of software, and 2-3 years ago had no equal, but today, there are alternatives like ChiTu Box, that does the same thing that Preform does, and IF YOU CHOOSE TO LEARN, it offers functionality that Preform simply does not.
Suffice it to say, the flexibility that ChiTu Box offers led me to use it to generate print ready files which I then imported into Preform for printing, when I was still using the Form printer.
So which one should you get?
If you need to use specialty resins like castable, dental, touch, elastic, etc, then FormLabs material library is simply unmatched. Also if you don’t like to dabble with settings and such, and you like the automated “magic wand” and hand-holding that Preform does, then again, the Formlabs is your go to printer.
If on the other hand you find yourself using primarily basic resins and you like to have more control over how you print, then give Anycubic or Elegoo a shot. The only advice I have is get a monochrome LCD model. Don’t bother with the color LCD models. The monochrome is a game changer, faster printing and most importantly, much longer life span for the LCD which, by the way, is a consumable.