@formlabs : I was wondering why did you choose to put the laser below the resin tank ? All the SLA machines i saw are not like this but look like the diagram i put on my message.

That will fix a lot of problems we have with the form1 : no more peel process, no resin tank to change because the platform are metallic, parts can be heavier, support structure less important.

The only concern are to keep the resin to the exact same level ( i think the sweeper help to do that ) but if 3D system succeed, why not you ?

Maybe it’s because of some patents ?

We’re certainly aware of the various ideas around peel processes – and a number of SLA machines have found different solutions for the challenges there. With a system like that above, you have to confront different issues, like the size of the resin reservoir, the difficulty of changing materials, and the leveling of the machine. Thanks for the suggestion, though. We’re definitely always looking at ways to improve the Form 1.

Thanks sam for this quick answer.
And yes you’r right about the difficulty to change the material ect … but it’s more logistical problems and are not affecting the print quality ( and would tend to be better with a system like this )
Just to answer the 3 points :
-the size of the reservoir is not really a problem, ok it will be bigger but that’s all

  • For changing the material: you could always have a small exist at the bottom of the vat with a stopper to block the resin when it’s full.
  • i don’t know how you level the machine but a heavier vat will just need stronger stepper motor.

for me the real problems are :

  • the fact that we won’t see the print until it’s finish, so if we have a fail print at the begining that could be an issue
  • a huge vat will make it harder to clean the residue BUT in a sense easier too because we won’t have to take care of glass or anything else. So we could theoretically clean it like a “pig” with everything we want …
  • and because the resin is cure on top of the vat i suppose all the residues or blobs will fall to the bottom, so won’t affect the laser.

For me that system would drastically increase the succes of all prints, make it easier to clean, and have less maintenance.

I agree you Gilles, that is much stable design than current design, not a good design for Form1 since they will lost the market on selling vat. About the leveling, I suggest to have an adjustable stand on the button of the printer, it could look like with 3 feet make by steel and with high percision screw to adjust each foot to make it perfectly level, or use a special laser system control by the printer to measure the distance and automatically level itself to perfect level. Also use an adjustable platform and best with automatically level system, thus any customer will calibrate their printer very fast and successfully, the only thing needs to be taken cake is where the printer stands on, it should be no vibration at all, best on floor, but if you choose a table, you need to be careful.

About changing material, I think it could still use a vat, it dosen’t need to be fixed on the machine, you can swap it with a whole new vat with different material just like current Form1,  and you can clear it easily this way. You can still see the progress if you use an orange vat with a window opened on one or two sides of the machine.

This machine could be heavier but still small enough to be portable.

The best of it is the print quality and percision of the print output…

Just like this, the stand and printer can be separated an assembled by the user, so the package won’t be too large.

Formlabs can still sell vats to customers for quick swapping material purpose and avoid material contamination use, We will by extra vat since we don’t want our material to be contaminated, especially much more material is used every time. Besides, more material is used so material will be sold more.

With this design, the vat should have a lid or a container as company and when swap to other material, the vat can be used to keep the material.

And of course, Formlabs need to have various size of vats and platform for printing different size object, so customer want need to fill the big tank full every time,  and when need printing larger object, customer swap to bigger vat, in this case, vats and ;platfomr will sold very well, consider it formlabs!

The biggest problem with this design is making sure you always have exactly the right layer thickness of liquid resin on top of the model before the laser starts, for every layer.   When it prints upside down, the build platform lifts the correct amount, and liquid immediately fills the space underneath.   When you print right side up like this, you’ll need some sort of system to modulate exact layer thicknesses, right?

Whoops, I just saw the sweeper.  Still, the extremely high viscosity and surface tension of this liquid seems like it could create problems there.