Form1 reliability and service record to date

I’d be really curious to learn the ratio of Forms in the wild, versus the Forms in service … and what the product revisions have been made on the hardware side to increase reliability. Since I use the Form for professional, paid work, I can’t afford to treat it like a hobby machine. Thus it needs to have a great uptime to downtime ratio … and have a great service record when a number of operational hours have been put on it …

I just had a conversation with someone about their experiences, and I want to determine if it was operator error and miscare, or in fact, that the machine itself (or significant parts) is/are a consumable. :frowning:

I’d also love to see notes that indicate that the Form team is iterating on the design (i.e. what changes have been made, etc) … from the outside it looks like the same bot, but what is changing inside the bot to make sure it’s a quality product that gives the awesome result it should, consistently? Is some of this publicly posted?

I know parts managing/sourcing can be a challenging part of building a machine, and finding good supplies is always an adventure, but I want to know that Form is giving it everything to live up to expectations from the pricepoint investment of their machines … yes, I have been scanning the forums, and yes, I have an indication of the answer that what I’m asking, but I’d like to hear from more operators … especially ones doing daily builds, and putting a lot of hours on their bots.

Maybe I’ll put a link to a webmonkey survey?

Please post respectfully and thoroughly on your experiences.




What exactly are you looking for with the ratio?  I can tell you from my experience Formlabs has made changes.  As you have noted, the outside is the same.  I do not think there is a difference in treating the machine like a hobby machine compared to a production machine.  I expect production quality results even though my uses are hobby related.  I want better then great uptime.  I expect no down time.  I also know that sometimes my expectations are a bit farfetched.

You would have to elaborate on the individuals experiences for me to make a judgement on where I felt the issues lie.

I can not speak for FL but I can almost guarantee you will not find anything documented from them on design iterations and what they are doing to produce a better machine.  I would consider that confidential internal information not to be shared.

I can say they have done a lot to live up to my expectations.  I usually run my machine 4-7 days a week for 8 - 16 hours.

I will also say that not everything has always been perfect.  I think it has been a long road with many hurdles but I think they have come a  long way.  They also have a long road ahead of them.


Hi David. Thanks for your feedback. Yes, confidential info is a given from FL. I hadn’t delved to see if anyone community wise is actively tearing their Form1’s down to see what’s changing over time, very recently. There’s a bit of it, but not a lot out in the open.

I dunno about hobbyist vs. business use cases … not that it’s even remotely in the same category, but if I buy a printrbot for a couple hundred or whatever it costs, I’m less likely to feel bad about issues as I can chalk it up to “you get what you pay for”. Still, the ultimate goal is to get the best product possible, and for the investment in a Form, I expect a good deal over a ply laser cut contraption.

Form1 is more than a machine, it’s a platform … so getting the software, hardware, community, support, and many other aspects complete a good customer experience. Overall I’ve been happy with the machine, despite some problems. Support has been fantastic, and the team seems committed to producing a really awesome experience.

I’m just trying to figure out why this particular person decided to slam Formlabs on their series 1, and whether it was due to operator error, mis-care of the machines, or other factors. I will try to find out more info.

It’s nice to hear you have that kind of setup! I may ping you later with some questions.


I have not opened up a machine but looking at machines over time… There have been changes.

I would be pissed if I spent a couple of hundred on a plywood contraption… Oh wait… I did.  I will not buy another makerbot again.  I was pissed and still am 5 years later.  So maybe it is just me.  I buy a product and I expect it to work.  I really do not care what market it was designed for.  But that is just me.

If you post up your email address, we can discuss some of this more in-depth.


I was talking about early printrbots, actually.

I have a Replicator 2. The Replicator 1 and 2 are actually pretty good despite having issues. Not sure on their latest 5th gen bots … but I imagine there’s a new problem set to deal with that lineage. :wink: As an experienced operator, they (i.e. the R1&2’s) are very easy to troubleshoot and easily fixable yourself. :slight_smile:

MakerBot has dead simple software and the cash infusion into things like software and support have made the platform a lot more attractive to people who just want to print … People may hate on MakerBot for going closed source and hating on Bre for selling out, but it’s still a nice platform IMO … especially for “dumb” (mechanical) parts. I agree that very early MakerBot as a little bleeding edge … I was an early adopter to the ToM, and had tons of issues early as a new user, but it was a good machine to learn on. They’ve gotten better.

As one who works under both platforms, I see formlabs in the same league as MakerBot in some respects … especially support, and recent software …

  • sj

I have a cupcake.  One day I will take a baseball bat to it.  I got good at making it work for 1 or 2 prints at a time.  It just sucked.  Support was lacking.  It was not a quality product.  It was an open source POS.  Great for some.  Terrible for me.  I really do not care about them going closed source.  It was a business decision.  I also do not blame Bre.  I would have done the same as he did.

I do not think they are in the same league.  Makerbot basically told me to go to hell and give them more money.  Formlabs has been awesome to work with.  I also have a 3D Systems  Invision LD.  That requires no tinkering either.  It does take skill, knowledge and time to get the best results from my 2 printers but I do not have to worry about rebuilding a print head after each print as well as messing around with curling material and all the other bs I put up with trying to get the cupcake to work.

David. Ha. I know someone that recently acquired a broken cupcake thinking they could resurrect it. I didn’t have the heart to tell them what they were up against quite yet. They seemed to be having “fun”, initially, learning about 3-d printing :wink: I guess they will soon find out why I charge as much as I do for services and prints.

I didn’t mean to imply that you had view points I had in my email. Rather that that’s what the consensus I hear from people I talk with.

I have to say that after I invested into my R1 MakerBot has been fantastic about supporting me. They send me free parts, and answer emails very quickly. It’s a different company now.

Whoa. I’d take something even used and old from 3D Systems any day of the week … in fact, there is a ZCorp down from me that’s just sitting around gathering dust … I should help put hours into getting it operational. ok, maybe not. I hate going to 3D Systems site. I don’t have that kind of budget.

If he wants to purchase a spare for parts…  :-)  I know where he can buy one…

I was curious what was said in the emails.  I figured you did not want to publicly share exactly what was said so I was offering to discuss privately.  Your choice.

I am glad to hear that Makerbot is doing as much as they can to keep customers happy now.  Maybe one day I will give them a second chance.

… A Zcorp down from you… I would love one of those powder printers.  I would be happy to have to purchase cornstarch and HP printer cartridges from them.

Cupcake: David, it’s probably a bad stepper based on how he explained the horrible noise it was making. I don’t think that bot has/had limit switches (without mods), so it could also be operator error with homing and calibration. I’ll let them know of your offer if they haven’t yet taken a hammer to it.

Form1: wasn’t in emails. It was a conversation in person, and I’m not entirely sure on the full story. I will probe more. I just want to make sure I have done my due diligence before investing more time and money into the Form platform. Overall, I was very happy with the result and 1st machine, despite having even an earlier kickstarter model that suffered from known problems. I just want to make sure this next machine lasts, and can justify my needs for it before unboxing it.

Makerbot: Not sure on their latest generation (5th?) bots. All the problems on the R1 and R2 are known and fairly well documented, so in the case of support and maintenance, they are probably better from that stand point. The new machines are tempting, but early adoption has it’s price … I think of it like new computer OS upgrades … do you really need all the bells & whistles for a next revision of software, or if it screws up your workflow because of bugs, how much time are you going to waste fixing and eventually rolling back …

ZCorp: There are some founders of ZCorp where I’m at. They are some of the original patent holders on the SLS (or variations) process … which is interesting, because some of the those (in part) are soon expiring from what I’ve heard. :slight_smile: