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Form 3L Worth?

Long time Form user. Kickstarted Form1, got Form 2 and 3 on day one. I am starting to think about the 3L. Its obviously a ton a money so I want to hear what the vibe is over here. Worth? Is it as dependable as the standard Form 2 or 3? I simply would not not be able to afford beta testing a machine at this price range and spending all my money trouble shooting and buying more resin to troubleshoot some more. Do we have users here that has one and also print with it non stop?

Any and all help welcome. It would be either 3L or the Phenom L.

Thanks,
Colus
www.colus.co

Many of us did have a log beta testing of the 3L but I hardly see any report nowadays and, as far as I’m concerned, nothing but excellent prints for the past months.

Just don’t get any v1 tank as those were the cause for most issues I had and read about.

Same as what @Eks said. There was a bit of pain at the start but mines printing wonderfully. Only gripe is that Preform needs some new tools to make support editing better for large models. I know their team is working on that though.

@Eks @leonhart88
Very good to hear! Thank you for replying.

Would you recommend doing a pro service plan for longer than one year?

It really depends if you’re keeping it for more than a year.
I usually choose the 1 year option for all printers on purchase and then renew it before it expires.

I REALLY have nothing but good things to say about support handling issues with a Pro plan. Any issue is not only quickly addressed but also compensated. I do work with dozens of suppliers in many areas and FormLabs has been the best one I dealt with when an issue arises in the past years. They’re not the usual “It’s probably your fault” but rather “Let’s replace it because your time is important”. They do own up to the issues and have went way beyond my expectations many times.

But yeah, unless you get an excellent deal on multi-year renewals, an anual renewal before expiration is also an option they offer.

That makes a lot of sense to me. Thank you.
My personal experience with Formlabs support has also been exceptional over the years. I’m going to have a good sleep on this this make a decision tomorrow.

Thanks again.

I second what Eks and leonhart88 wrote.
My problem is still having hard printed parts to remove, in some case.
And to much supports created around the part by Preform automatic settings.

I don’t have a pro plan and find thag support is still excellent…but I’m am ambassador so maybe I get some special treatment :sweat_smile:

That would definitely help haha!

I agree with what most have said here. Although we seem to have paid a hefty price for being beta testers the 3L is a phenomenal machine. Once all the quirks are ironed out it will be a big workhorse.

Preform needs work though. Hate that my machine’s always are disconnected and I have to go through the process of waiting until there recognized again. There connected through wifi though. I guess if I connected them hard wired maybe that would change.

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As the machine ages, it’s more important to have Pro support. My guess is they won’t have a new machine for another two years. Add in another year after release for them to get a reliable machine; so a longer term pro plan makes sense, as you’ll probably still retain the machine.

I am really happy with my 3L. It’s printing things I didn’t expect would succeed. And the pro support people have been excellent.

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I have a Form 3L that i’ve had for a few months now - It had a faulty LPU straight out of the box. That was an easy swap and support was happy to send a replacement along with a couple of liters of resin to test the new LPU free of charge. I also had an issue with their V1 resin tank causing sagging parts - Support was again happy to send a replacement V2 resin tank which fixed the issue.

I havent had any problems since and i’ve been printing non-stop, nearly 24 hours a day 5 days a week. Prints are looking great and consistent.

I would say if you have a need for the printer and will be utilizing the space it provides, it is a solid purchase. The support plan is a must, it has helped me numerous times and has been extremely easy to work with.

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@dscheloski @Rob_Steinberg Noted, thank you for sharing your experiences. Im definitely taking the pro support more seriously in consideration when/if I pull the trigger on a 3L.

I purchased the pro support right from the start. Best investment other than the machine I made.

:slight_smile:

the 3L where I work has been nothing but trouble… We got it pretty much right at launch, and it was a couple of months before we got a finished part out of it. Either tanks or a combination of tanks and minor machine faults. Sending it back to the distributor for testing didn’t reveal anything conclusive.

We went through 9 V1 tanks and only 1 ever worked, and even then it only lasted about 6 weeks with grey resin. We now have a V2 tank and it’s still not printing properly. So we’ve had a 10% success rate with the tanks, and roughly 20-25% up time.

The wiper coupler has been making a horrible creaking straining noise for months. Support say they’ll remote in and fix it, but never do. One of the dust filters has detached from the chassis and is rubbing against a cooling fan. Support want a recording of the fan rubbing noise before they agree there’s a problem or make any recommendations for fixing it.

The 3 is a decent machine, even if it’s slower and more expensive than competing models, with a much higher running cost and the raster laser path gives a worse finish than on faces planar to the machine’s axes than an MSLA printer. At least it’s reliable for the most part. But I can’t personally recommend the 3L. There are just too many issues and not enough up-time to justify the time and monetary costs of buying and running this thing. If you’re heavily in the FormLabs ecosystem and want a big printer, then I’d wait a while for things to settle down fully. The issues are getting better, but I don’t think they’re quite there yet to justify the costs.

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After carefully reviewing everything over the last 10 days I have pulled the trigger on a different machine that practically has the same print size but is way cheaper. Honestly, the pro service plan killed it for me. I understood that it was a necessary thing to have included but a pro plan alone which is $5000 (discounted) for 3 years is something I cannot wrap my head around. I spent roughly that same amount ($5500) which included; the printer, XL cure station, a ton of consumable replacements, 20 liters of resin and shipping.

This is not a knock against Formlabs, rather its me not being in the circles the 3L is intended for. And yes, I understand we are talking about two VERY different machines. Sadly, for me at this stage I will have to go with plan B. I still have my trusty Form 2 and 3 for smaller tasks.

Now I have to go navigate the dark murky waters of a new ecosystem and printers and slicing software I’ve never used before. Gulp. But for the savings, I think it might be worth the extra effort.

I want to thank everyone for their time giving their input and help.

Best,
Colus