Formlabs next printer?

I don’t own a Formlabs printer but I want to buy one however the only issue I have with the current one is the resin tank doesn’t last that long. I hope they can address this issue with the next printer. Or is that an impossible task? Technically I have the money to buy a Form2 but I think Formlabs is due for a product update. Does anyone know when the next Formlabs printer might be seeing the light of day? Q1 2017,Q2? Not sure if I should buy a Form2 now or wait a few months for a product update.

I received a sample of the tough resin,which really impress me and for my needs it’s perfect. Does anyone know if the sample come post UV cure? or are they straight out of the printer?

I (OK well my company) own a Form 2, purchased about 6 months ago. Love it so far.

As far as using less resin? I guess the only way you can accomplish this is print with minimal/no supports…but that will get you into trouble for various reasons. I have nearly 100 prints and gone through nearly a dozen resin cartridges. While there is always room for improvement I can’t complain too much about resin use (although it’s not my $$$ I’m spending :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:)

I have not seen or heard anything about a possible Form 2+ or Form 3. Based on their prior release dates My guess would be an announcement early to mid next year, shipping by end of the year. Please keep in mind this is wild speculation. As far as I know they announced the F2 in September of '15 and started shipping after the first of the year (someone correct me if I am wrong), so the timing seems logical.

It’s a hard decision to buy now feeling that they might have a new one soon, but trust me you won’t be disappointed in your F2 should you pull the trigger soon.

The samples they send are all washed in an alcohol bath and post cured.

I had the same concerns but I went ahead and ordered a Form 2 for my business. I have requirements that I need to have prototypes by the end of December so I can’t wait any longer.

I suspect we’ll see more Resin types before we see another machine but that’s just speculation on my part.

I guess I should of been more specific when I mention the resin tank, I was referring to the vat I think that’s what its call. After a short while you need to buy a one because it gets cloudy. I heard the M1 Carbon resin printer doesn’t have this issue. I don’t mind so much the price of the resin itself :slight_smile:

@kevinduhe: I’m curious of the nearly 100 prints how many fail prints did you encounter? My sample actually was still kinda sticky, so that’s why I ask if it’s cured.

I guess I can always buy the Form2 and sell it when the new printer comes out! Is there a demand for used Formlabs printer? If there is I can see myself buying now. Buying a Form2 would not be a issue if I haven’t already spent money on my Ultimaker 3 :stuck_out_tongue:

@MakerKurt, that’s cool also - I definitely want to see more engineering resins. Make the tough resin even tougher(if possible)

@SonKim LOL, here I was thinking you had your terminology wrong (tank vs cartridge) and you were actually correct. The resin tanks do wear down quicker than I had anticipated. I’ve gone thru maybe 15 resin tanks, admittedly a few were my fault. There are several things you can do regarding this. When printing don’t continuously print the same items in the same places. Vary the spots on the build platform. Also the PDMS layer (the silicone stuff at the bottom) is user replaceable if you are apt at doing so. You can search the forums on exactly how to do this. Lastly ZVat Industries makes glass bottom tanks which are supposed to last a lot longer. I do not own one yet, others can give reviews on them.

I haven’t kept a good log (I know, I know the dashboard does but I didn’t have it linked to my printer initially), i’d say about 12 of my prints have been failures. However of those 12, the majority of them happened in the first 2 weeks of owning the printer. For me there was a learning curve. Looking at my dashboard now, in my last 56 prints I have 2 failures. Now that I have a better understanding of everything, the reliability has dramatically improved!

I have seen several buying and selling of Form 1+ printers here since joining the forums. I’d say you shouldn’t have a hard time selling an F2 at a later date. Of course don’t quote me on that!!! (but it is a fine machine)

BTW they just released new versions of their engineering resins. Check them out if you haven’t already!

  • Kevin

I think I’m sold I will buy it sometime next month! :slight_smile: I do see lots of people selling their used printer.

Most of the stuff I want to print with this printer will be small prototype, 3" in diameter or smaller. I will use my Ultimaker 3 for the larger parts.

Yup that’s the engineering resin that really impressed me, the sample I got was the new tough resin. It’s really freaking tough ,hopefully tough enough to withstand extreme G-forces,which I need for my prototype.

OK Formlabs…where’s my commission! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I can’t speak directly to this, but @Kenny_Wilson has done considerable testing on the older tough resins. If he is still around I’m sure you can ask him some questions. At minimum browse some of his posts such as this one or this one.


The very earliest that a new printer would be announced would be end of next year I think, but probably later. Manufacturing is really expensive and complex to get set up and they’ll want to get as much out of each release as possible. Maybe they’ll release a different type of printer before then though, like something targeting a different use.

As for the resin tray–the majority of these types of printers have this issue. Technically, you can replace the PDMS on the bottom for very cheap, like less than $10 of material to replace it, but I don’t know of a guide on how to do that–main thing is getting the amount of material right so that it’s the same level as what a new tray has. It’s also difficult to keep the tray clean so that can be an issue doing it yourself. Part of buying a new resin tray is that you get support–so if it is defective then you can work with customer support.

I’m sure they’re experimenting with new materials and techniques to improve stuff like that, but unless it’s very simple then don’t expect a change until the next printer.
The Carbon3D printer has a different type of technique, where it uses oxygen to create a layer of resin on the bottom of their tray that won’t cure which means there’s no suction on the bottom and it won’t really wear out the material on the bottom. However, their pricing scheme is godawful, they charge an insanely high yearly rental fee and all of their parts and materials are insanely expensive. So it’s not really worth it.

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Someone send kevinduhe some some free resin! :smiley: or a small commission. Ah yes I saw Kenny Wilson hammer test, while its not scientific it was enough for me. I didn’t see that nozzle test video, pretty cool!

@Zachary_Brackin, Do you think it’s possible for Formlabs next printer to use a similar technique to Carbon3D or are they legal issue like patents stopping them?

Which is better buying Form2 directly from Formlabs or a reseller?

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We bought our printer and support package through a reseller. There was a minor issue with getting our support package registered with FL, but it was resolved in a day or so. Probably 6 to one half dozen to the other.

@kevinduhe do you guys use any post UV curing? If so what do you use. I saw a bunch of DIY stuff but I was hoping there is something I can buy that just works(I don’t mind paying extra for a ready made solution).

PS I already placed my order for the Form2 with some tough resin.

The technique that Carbon3D uses is probably not an option, they’ve filed for a patent so it’s not going to happen.

What would be the biggest development is if Formlabs made an SLS printer. They don’t use a tray but instead build up the print with a print head that places the material and cures it, it can even use multiple materials (like support material). So it has some of the advantages of an FDM printer but with quality similar to an SLA printer. The patent on SLS expired a couple years ago so hopefully someone will do something like that.

still, I think SLA printers could be improved, like instead of printing into a vat full of resin there could be a technique that would create a thin layer of the resin for each layer which would help a number of issues. And I’m sure there will be a better material to use for the bottom of the tray at some point.

There could be patent issues, it sounds like you are describing an Object.

Yeah, Objet is SLS technology. But the patent expired so anyone could make them, they’re just more complicated to create.

Objet is NOT SLS. It’s PolyJet. Where do you get this stuff from?

Yeah, I guess I’m wrong on the terms, it’s a very similar approach though, but instead of fusing powder it’s just curing the liquid resin, SLS patent is expired but I believe the Polyjet type technology is expired as well

Completely different approach. Can do multi materials and support structures with polyjet. Can’t do that in SLS.

SLS still uses the powder as support. There’s something that Shapeways can probably do that’s similar, there’s several other manufacturers that do similar types of printing as Polyjet

I’m not an expert, if someone says print multiple materials at the same time I think Objet / trade name.

Interesting stuff! I’d always thought SLS was only for metals but plastic powder works with SLS too. I’ve never consider the technology or ever heard of it until now. Checking online Sintratec makes a SLS kit for 4999 Euro still kinda out of my price range and you have to put it together. I’d buy a SLS printer from Formlabs if they ever make one, my upper budget for such a machine would be 4,000 USD.