I am starting this post as my evaluation of the form3. I have owned a form2 and I am actually on my second form2 and I recently received my Form3. I use the printer for model making and I have probably gone through about 8 liters of clear resin and hundreds of printed parts with the Form2.My first Form2 performed flawlessly, but eventually the optics degraded and I got a hot swap.I have had my new form2 for 5 months and it is working flawlessly. I print exclusively using clear resin and since I print a lot of small highly detailed parts most of my prints are at 50 or 25 microns.
I am not a fanboy of Formlabs, but I have been very happy with my Form2.The number one reason for getting a Form3 was the easier support removal.The most frustrating part about the Form2 and clear resin is removing the supports without chipping the resin.
My Form3 arrived and set up was a breeze.The lack of an on and off button was a bit disappointing.It is quite a bit bigger in size than the Form2.
I performed the optical test and the results were excellent-A little sharper than the form2.
My first print was a small bust that had a lot of detail. I compared the form2 to the form3 and the form3 was a bit sharper than the Form2 and the surface was smoother.I will post pictures after the summary so you can draw your own conclusions.
I think tried printing a larger part and the form3 print failed.I did a print of the form2 and at the exact point where the form3 print failed there was a crack in the Form2 print. I reoriented the print and it printed fine of the form3.
Since I had a print failure I decided to clean the tank.I followed the directions and used the new tool and it was quite easy to clean.I removed a large raft of cured resin for the tank and then filtered the clear resin and refilled the tank.
I then tried to print a box for a friend.he has 2 form3 and the box was failing on his form3.
I printed it using the 1 click print function so preform selected the orientation and supports.The print had really bad print lines on it and despite trying various orientations and supports I still cannot get clean prints.One or more of the sides of the box has defects.
I then made some simple geometric shapes in Rhino6 and did some test prints. What I found was the prints that had few supports printed perfectly.However, the prints that had more supports all had surface detail issues including rippling on the surface of the parts and defects in the wall.
I printed the same parts on the form2 with exactly the same orientation and at the same resolution (25 microns) and every one of them printed perfectly.
I have updated the firmware on the form3 twice and apart from a marginal improvement in the print speed there has been no change in the quality of the prints.
Larger parts take about 30% longer with the form3 and there are more layers in the form3 vs the form2 print even though the parts are orientated exactly the same.
Preform tells you the support touchpoints are not compatible between the form2 and form3 so it redoes them if you use the same model that you had already .However they do look identical.
As far as removing the part from the supports that does seem to be easier than with the form2, but for really delicate parts I still use the cutters
I called my sales rep about the issues and she recommended posting here.I hope some of the formlabs tech team will look at these prints and help me to figure out why they are not printing well.
So at this point my opinion of the Form3 is mixed.Some prints are excellent quality with crisp detail and the clear resin prints are much clearer than with the form 2. However some prints are not good at all and at least based on my experiments it seems the issue is with the supports.
If you are looking for the reliability and consistency of the Form2 you are likely going to be disappointed with the form3.
I have now used almost 500ml of resin just testing the printer and still would not use the Form3 for the parts that I sell. if it cant reliably print basic shapes then it is in no way an improvement over the Form2 and it certainly does not live up to the hype on the website.I really cant understand why this printer has been released if it cant even print a simple geometric design like an open box.
I hope the formlabs engineers will look at my prints and offer some input.
I will be posting photos of all my prints over the next couple of days, but for clarity I wanted to summarize everything first.