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Frustrated with Form 2 and OpenMode

I recently had the option of buying a unused Form2 printer with accessories vs. buying an Asian brand resin printer. I weighted my options forth and back, despite the massively higher price the Formlabs won the evaluation.

-Build Quality
-Networkablity
-Open Mode to use this party resins.
-Preform looked great when I just evaluated it

Now after 2 weeks of operation I have bought an Asian machine for a fraction of the cost and i have to say the Asian machine at least is doing what was advertised or what I expected. I even managed in about 1h of tinkering to make the Asian talk Wifi and receive jobs over the network.

Now the Form2 was advertised having an “Open Mode”. In my opinion today the open mode is a lie and false advertisement, there is no way of choosing parameters manually so that I can actually use the machine as intended. Granted, for dental labs where repeatability and plug-and-play is key, it is a great machine.

I am an engineer and designer… Yet I am not allowed to change parameters on the machine I bought, I am stuck essentially with resins that I have to order via AirFreight from the US, that require me to make an state import license for hazardous goods… since I can not use any of the resins that I can actually purchase locally.

A variety of resins found in the local market did not work in which ever Formlabs profile I tried.

I honestly think Formlabs is worse than Apple when it comes to it and I bought a very expensive set of
office decoration that sits beside a Asian machine that actually performs better that what its price and reputation suggests.

Formlabs - I think you suck.

Hi Sakie,

I have to say my experience has been the exact opposite. I’d say my print success rate is probably around 90%. I use the resins that Formlabs sells however and I have no need for Open Mode. I’m wondering, what is it about Open Mode that you need?

As I stated for people like dental centers, that require strict control over process and material, that happy to buy the source material at a premium price from Formlabs - then its a very valuable and powerful machine.

Yet I bought it pretty much exclusively on the idea of using most of the time Open Mode, since I do a lot of experiment with different resin blends, colorants and so forth. I took me a lot of digging and reading, to find out
that all Open Mode does, is turn certain features off - to make the process less error prone - but by no means it opens features to the end user, quiet the opposite it reduces features even further !!!

I am a really long time in the business and I have worked with many different Software and Hardware applications, in many cases there is a ‘beginners’ mode and a ‘expert’ mode, where additional features or settings
are unlocked, so that users that really know what they are doing can dig into the process.
This is by no means exclusive to 3D printing, Audio Workstations, 3D Modeling packages, CAD packages often have the same philosophy.

Hence I am really miffed by having been mislead by the term “open mode” - which most likely should be called “limited mode” instead.

I understand your frustration. I wish the Form2 worked for your needs. I’m glad I now understand what you’re talking about.

You are correct that the Open Mode on the Form 2 is not exactly what most people think of as “open”. Is it false advertisement by Formlabs, well kind of, but on the other hand this is a well known fact that is not hidden by Formlabs and if one digs a little bit on the forums or any other blog out on the internet it is easily found.

My suggestion is to look at the list on these forums for resins that are compatible with the Form 2. There is a whole thread devoted to it.

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Try looking in the “Experimental” section of this forum. It won’t open up the sw to let you fiddle with it, but there are lots of folks having success with third party resin, and they should get your started.

It’s been pretty obvious ever since the Form1+ that FL was after a different user than someone who wants to experiment, and who needs full access to all functions; someone who wants to play with a command line, and be Mr. Wizard with chemistry.

They play to the commercial user who wants production, and needs access to knowledable (and expensive!) support. Given the state of the art, that’s only possible with a closed system. “What if I” questions are deprecated in favor of getting saleable work out the door.

The entire operation is canted towards a successful print; for example, the support structure is way too conservative, which burns time and materials. But a successful print is more likely, so that’s what they lean towards. That’s who they are.

It’s a shame you’ve been disappointed, and wasted your money. But I don’t think you were intentionally deceived by FL. You just made some assumptions that didn’t pan out.

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Thanks for the comment. Well if FL would call it “restricted mode” or something other than “Open Mode” I would not see it as deception, but the word “Open” means open… giving access, letting people in. While in reality it is turning features off - not on.

I spent hours researching the topic, the internet is flooded with Formlabs posts, very few non formlabs site posts turn up even when excluding them (Formlabs.com) for the search.

I have purchased two Chinese printers, they print as good as the Formlabs, fraction of the cost, leaving all options I require.

I am currently considering gutting the Form2, converting it into an “Open System” with my own components, leaving all the desired features in place. By doing so I will loose the laser unit and replace it with an MSLA display, but if this is what it takes to save my nerves, saving potentially thousands of dollars (while showing a finger to Formlabs), then its worth the loss.

Thanks again - I know which resins are designed to work with Formlabs and which not, we just cant get them here in the Middle East, nor can we get them here easily. We are not a Amazon country…

Chemical goods are tightly regulated for obvious reasons.

Exceptions exist or licenses for importing have been granted for more ‘bulk’ items (or resins) and most US brands do not fall into this. If I was to import via container freight, have a facility with chemical storage privileges, then I could just order away.

Funny enough all the MSLA cheap resin works great on Chinese machines, is available here at the same cost or less than in the US (no taxation), but I cant tweak the darn printer to work with anything other than what the Californian Gods permit.