Form 3BL (and a short rant)

Anyone else notice the Form 3BL go live on the Formlabs store?
Did I miss an announcement?

I can’t help feeling like I got “bait and switched”. When the Form 3B was introduced, I asked my salesperson if they planned to do the same differentiation for the large unit and introduce a special version of the L required for biocompatible materials. He looked into it and told me as far as he could tell the 3L I had on order would be able to print all resins (except of course stuff that will likely never find its way to the 3 series, like ceramic).

A few weeks ago I got a call to arrange shipping for my 3L and found out, “nope, it won’t support bio”. That was really disappointing. At least with the Form 3, Formlabs honored expectations of existing customers and maintained the biocompatible functionality on the early “grandfathered” shipments.

Formlabs: You guys need to get better at product launches. Between the many Form 3 problems (limited resins, initial print quality that was often worse than the Form 2, still no sign of promised open mode, etc), poor planning (the 3B “bifurcation” decision should have occurred well before the 3 lineup was announced, and qualification for the new flexible membrane tanks seemed a bit overoptimistic and reactionary) and poor communication within your company (me and other customers have gotten conflicting information from different people or even the same people at different times, and it’s not hard to tell your own sales team is frustrated), and without even getting into the eternally-delayed Fuse, your product launches of late are really building up caveats of disappointment for customers like myself.

I want to be excited for your new products, but I feel like you’re pouring cold water on me at every turn.

My (new) salesperson has been a hero in trying to do the little he can to sooth the pain. But you might want to consider some large-scale goodwill efforts to boost customer loyalty across the board. Speaking for myself, I’ve been around since the Kickstarter days and I’m definitely not feeling it like I used to.


@kragerer - When I read you’re post I swore I had written it myself. I too, feel like a bait and switch happened and I’m very disappointed in Formlabs, bordering on angry. When we plunked down our $10K deposit several months ago, I got it in writing that the 3L would support bio-resins. Same story as you, a few weeks ago, I got the message that I can pay an additional $1,500 more to get the 3BL, or I can spend $3,500 on the 2-year service plan and they will waive the $1,500. What a gut punch!! The take it or leave it mentality for a simple software switch at the last minute is a good way of how to lose a customer. I know my customers wouldn’t stand for it. Additionally, it was only because I asked my salesman to confirm that the 3L that I purchased was still bio-compatible and he then revealed that they had split the product. What if I hadn’t said anything??

I’ve communicated my clear disappointment and frustration in Formlabs to my salesman and wanted him to pass along my messaging to his manager, which he indicated he did, but no response, so maybe it went nowhere. I hope that others in our same shoes can share their disappointment and I hope that Formlabs will formally respond. I’ve got a Form3 and have been pleased with it and have high hopes for the 3L but this lack of focus around early adopters and customer loyalty, as you mentioned, is not going to make me stick with Formlabs on future printer purchases.

I’m wondering if other 3L purchasers are being clearly communicated to about this split in the units?

Thank you for posting and it feels somewhat comforting and disconcerting that there is at least one other that feels burned by the experience.

Giving an update on my interaction with Formlabs to date regarding the Form 3BL. In short, BUYER BEWARE.

Talked to my salesman today and while he’s been great, his management has continually dogged me about when I’d receive my printer. As per my previous post, communication from Form has been a disaster and it simply continues. I’m probably going to start another post about this out of sheer frustration. The message today from Formlabs was that my Form 3BL will be here between mid/late November and early December!!!

I originally wanted the 3BL but was surprised when I had to pay an extra to get it, but the message at the time was that the line was shorter for the 3BL. Now it seems that the 3L line might be shorter, but who knows because the messaging behind the scenes seems to be utter chaos.

Just wanted to share where things stood with my order.

I got the Form3 as the 1st Grandfather group so it can print both Bio and non-bio materials. I am curious about what’s the changes Formlabs upgraded the machine of 3B to make its price higher? lol

I didn’t even notice the difference until I had some jobs required to print bio materials. I came back to the store and realize they splited the Form3 into two groups. What a smart move!

In general, I am curious about the next move of Formlabs. In my industry, people I know generally think Form3 is not as impressive as the previous Form2. The 3L is kind of too good to be true feeling. For an upside down printing way, I do have a lot of concerns of printing big stuff since the peeling force for each layer will be a big risk to have a stable print for large size and time consume prints. Imagine you spend a couple of hundreds dollars (cheapest resin is $149/L) resin and only get a failed piece due to a tiny printing issue., not to mention the potential of damage to the $350 vat. That hurts.

When I bought the Form2 ( I bought 7 Form 2 in total.) I never even talked with a sales person. Right now, the sales is keep trying to sell me all the new products. I always ask them back where is the Fuse 1? I paid $1000 in 2017 I guess. If I throw the money to buy some fund, I probably get $1500 something now. lol

The 3B hardware is identical to the 3.

$5000 plus shipping / Free Pick up/ Drop off within the Dallas area

FormLab Form 3 3D Printer and Build Platform (Used once for a sample print only)
Form Cure (brand new - never used)
Form Wash (brand new - never used)
Finish Kit (brand new - never used)
Resin Tank (brand new - never used)
Resin Tank (used for sample print in grey resin)
Draft Resin Cartridge (brand new - never used)

Formlabs Extended Pro Service Plan and Extended Warranty till 5/21/2021

I was told by my salesman that there is no material difference between the 3L and 3BL, only a software switch. Ditto for my Form3… I got the “early” model which I purchased in December 2019 and was grandfathered in to print bio-based resins and standard, but again, there is no difference in the construction. It seems that after they split the Form 3 and Form3B, it’s only the control board, but it doesn’t make sense for them to do the same thing this early in the game for the 3L and 3BL.

So far, I’ve spent $10K on the “deposit” for the printer, and another $3500 for the service plan which covers me for 2 years, but they forced me into it because if I didn’t go for that plan, then it would cost an additional $1500 to “upgrade” from the 3L to the 3BL. Definitely frustrated right now and starting to weight my options. I’m starting to communicate with Form’s management now because I know that there are others like me that are getting showboated and I’m really hoping that the 3BL performs beyond my expectations.

I’d like to know who else in the community is starting to feel the burn (cash and feelings)…

I suspect the upcharge is for the piece of paper that says it’s suitable for bio printing and that the money goes to cover the liability policy premiums and regulatory compliance costs associated with anything medical (which is exactly why the company I work for refuses to certify any of our products for medical use, even though we could… it’s a very expensive bureaucratic headache).

If that is the case, then I’m glad they split the product line and don’t make everybody who doesn’t do bio jobs pay the cost of regulatory compliance.

I don’t mind the split; I mind them taking away something they previously promised. In my view it’s a broken commitment; simple as that.

I think some people feel the higher margins on the bio resins already cover the regulatory costs (it’s not like the non-B price went down).

Hey man,

keep us posted once you get the 3BL machine. I think a lot of people like us want to see how the machine perform in real world. I feel your pain and will support you for the “justice”.

@rkagerer - I see you bumping around some of the forums asking about the Phenom L and dumping the order of the 3L. With the latest push of delivery out to Q1 2021, I’m wondering the same thing.

What is your opinion on making a move to Phenom or others? It seems MSLA is still a bit early in the large scale format printing but pricing and availability is attractive.

I’m on the edge of just spending the $3k to just try it out. Can probably have a result in a month and if it doesn’t work I can probably resell the Phenom L at a slight loss but at least I have a data point if it works as a replacement for the 3L.

Where are you at with your decision making?

Hi @jdubose, I haven’t canceled my 3L order, but it’s true that I’m seriously looking at alternatives! I’ll PM you with my contact info so we can share research.