Form 3L Feedback


#1

To those that have received the Form 3L i’d like to know what your thoughts are on it?

Wondering if it’s worth the jump.

Thanks!


#2

Not yet, I have had mine for just over 2 weeks and have had an 80% fail rate, problems with the resin tank is likely the cause.


#3

Did they send you a replacement tank? If it’s any encouragement, I had a pretty bad skewing problem with Tough 2000 prints from a 3L tank but the new one they sent fixed it.


#4

They have sent several so far, but with no luck. They are trying to get to the bottom of this….


#5

Ouch…not sounding promising yet!


#6

after 2 weeks of trouble shooting and trying several new tanks still no luck with fixing the problem. 90% fail rate this point…in the fact the only thing that has printed was 3d benchy like parts. :frowning:


#7

Sorry to hear you have issues. We only tried Grey V4 so far and had a 100% succes rate. Even the last prints with much reduced touchpoint size came out great. Very happy with this machine. It’s unfortunately not running all the time mostly due to the 50micron setting that is not yet available. Really looking forward to that in Q2.


#8

Even while getting the 3L i believe i will hold onto my Form 2. Since working out the kinks with even the 2 it has been printing flawlessly in the last few months. Finer detail parts will still have to be pushed through it since the 3L can only print at .1.

Mine is supposed to ship in the next few weeks. Hope to get a good one out of the box!


#9

I’ll share my feedback on my 3BL which I received around end of January, and frankly there’s little to be positive about. For the parts that I run, I have a long/skinny part file and started with some initial test runs with it. We ran some initial runs to test the print quality across the build plate and for whatever reason, the front wiper side has been consistently crappy. I’ll attach a few pictures below.

After a month of going back and forth with Formlabs about part orientation and me routinely pointing out that I can get really decent quality on the rest of the build plate but eats poop right in that one location clearly indicates that it’s not part orientation that is the issue. Two weeks ago they admitted that they are having issues with trays and anyone with a 3L/3BL can request replacement trays at anytime, no cost.

A replacement tray did help clean things up a bit, but now the probable issue could be the LPU, or somehow there is a shudder or misalignment somewhere. All said, I’m a month an half in and can’t qualify the printer as okay for production. It was just revealed to me today that there are only 3 tech’s available to handle all 3L/3BL issues and they have not been able to keep up, so responses have taken days, not hours… to get back to me.

The one upside of the 3BL has been that the print quality (in the good parts of the plate) are actually good, if not really good. We use T2000 and it’s still in Beta, but if I can’t use the whole build plate for production, then the 3BL is generally worthless to me.

As @rkagerer knows, I’m in a unique position that I purchased a Peopoly Phenom L before I received the Form 3BL. Once I figured out that I should only stick with the Peopoly Deft resin families, I’ve been able to create some great and dimensionally accurate prints. It prints at 50 micron layers automatically and if you’re doing large models and prototype prints, it’s actually a great deal at $3K. A bit quirky on the vats and no mixer, which is actually a pretty big disadvantage with the Deft resins since the colored pigment will settle out on the FEP film if left for greater than 24 hours and create it’s own issues. I’d argue that ChituBox is better than Preform any day of the week with the ability to hollow out parts.

As @rkagerer pointed out, the vegetable steamer basket that Form included for the 3L/3BL sucks (I’m trying to be polite here).

So, if the question is, should you buy the 3L right now? I guess it depends. The print quality that I’ve seem from other 3L/3BL users is pretty darn good and there are definitely hints on other areas of my build plates that I would agree with a claim of better print quality over the Phenom L. Form has some major product/production and material issues that they need to work through. The 3L is half-baked and frankly, understaffed for rolling out a new product like this. I think time will tell if Form can put their big-boy pants on and take care of the clients.

If you’re looking for a large format printer to do prototyping for fit and finish, or willing to put in the time to finish parts, better money right now is the Phenom L. I bought the 3BL and have over $13K in the purchase. I could have bought 3 Phenom’s and still have had money left over.

3L.pdf (217.2 KB)
3l1.pdf (341.5 KB)


#10

jdubose,

Thanks a lot for sharing your input. I did initially look at the Phenom products but i kept going back to the Form 3L.
Although the resin cartridge system can be a pain and price is not the best i do like the cartridge system from Formlabs. Probably one of the main reason’s to go with the 3L. Now i am hoping that the experience i am seeing with ALLOnScales print success is exactly how my experience will be. Understandable that seems outside the norm but again so little feedback across the spectrum that i guess i will soon be seeing it for myself.

Like buying a car i guess there is also going to be lemons that come out of production. Hopefully these will not become a brick in the end.


#11

We also had a look at Phenom and Photocentric. But a bit shocked at LCD lifespan. At current rate I would be swapping out LCD panels every month. 12 panels a year :open_mouth:


#12

That’s crazy!

Hopefully the machine works well out of the box!


#13

Thought I would share this with you. I didn’t expect this model to succeed at 100 micron but it freaking did. Printed at about 45 degree angle in 18h. Hope you get your 3L sorted because its an amazing unit.


#14

:astonished:

Fantastic!


#15

Should ask. Are you using standard Gray or one of the other resins?


#16

All std Grey V4


#17

Sounds good…thanks!


#18

I doubt that you’d be going through those panels at the rate you’re thinking.

Assuming you’d be looking at a monochrome MSLA printer, those screens last 1200 hours on an average. They’re currently too new to have any meningful data.

But, you have to understand that during a relatively long print (let’s say, 5 hours), the panel may only be exposed for 4000 ~ 5000 seconds. At this rate you can print 1000 of these jobs or more.

Also do not confuse Form print times with MSLA print times, which on the average are 3 ~ 5 times faster. So what takes 15 hours on a Form 3 or 3L might only take 4 to 5 hours.

Then there’s the cost of consumables. Resin is 1/4 the price, FEP replacement is 1/4 the cost of the Formlabs vat and lasts longer, and the LCD replacement is a fraction of what you would pay for the Form labs consumables during the same usable time.

So if economics is what’s holding you back you should get your calculator out and do some more math.

About the only reason to stick with Formlabs today, is the shear breadth of resins. Their selection is unmatched, and if you need those specialty resins, there’s simply no substitute.

Edit:
I did a few, more accurate calculations, so for a model that is 2000 layers tall (100mm in height), it takes about 4:20 minutes to print. The exposure time is fixed, but there might be variances in actual print time due to mechanical capabilities of the printer. Anyway, assuming the printer is set up to expose the first 6 layers for 40sec each, the remaining layers for 2 seconds each, the total exposure time is 4228sec or 1hr and 10 minutes. So I could pack the whole build surface with models and they would still take just 1:10 hours of exposure time. The Form would take a lot more time to print those. At this rate (~ 1 hour of actual exposure for every 4 hours), assuming I print 24/7 non-stop, it would take 200 days or more to burn through the LCD screen

How many hours of actual use is the laser in the LPU good for? And how much does it cost for a LPU replacement? The monochrome LCD in my Photon Mono X costs about $150 to replace.


#19

We are also having problems, we have been sent a replacement tank, but so far we have yet to start another print since we also have things to do other than beta-testing what is supposed to be a production ready printer…