Heavy use of Form1

Has anyone here really USED your Form1. I am guessing most of us here are hobbyists of 1 kind or another and they get run in our spare time.

Has anyone just wore your machine out trying to make it run at a 24/7 commercial level?? What happened to it? Did you get it rebuilt? What wears out?

I was heading in that direction myself, but was probably getting more than one Form1. You would need a bank of them to have any real output. A change of job status has altered that plan at least for now. I am very happy with the one unit.


I’d call myself a medium user - 30/40 hours a week and I’m up to printer number 4.

Since I got mine in Sept. I would run it almost 24/7. I am on printer 3 and it is now toast. I only get about 10 days of good prints then everything goes to hell.

Has anyone tried getting a refund for the purchase of their Form1+? We are super unhappy. We had a couple prints that were okay, but everything has gone significantly downhill. We sent a machine back for a replacement, but things have just gotten worse with the new one. It seems like Formlabs is just turning bad screws. Replacing busted with busted to put customers off until they have a better solution.

No and most definitely NO. If you are relying on formlabs for business, I would run the other way. I got my first printer in may, have been through 4. My most recent, I had 2-3 weeks of pure bliss. 2 8 hour prints a day, for almost every day of those 3 weeks. Other than that, it has been a massive money pit that has left me broke and desperate. If I had the $$ to buy more machines, I definitely would, because then I know I would have one that would always work. The quality of the prints is really incredible, but there is a lot that there is a lot left to be desired.

I looked at getting a refund after printer no. 2 died and was told that wasn’t possible - not sure what the legality of that position is but I’m in the UK and an original backer. If it had been sold from the UK directly the law would be on my side and a refund would have been (relatively) straight forward. Knowing what I know now I would not have backed it and it’s put me completely off backing any other tech hardware startups.

I’m not sure yet what the legalities of it are either, but we/they may be finding out soon from someone. I just want to be one of the first ones they refund before they run out of money and go belly up. When a company is run by a bunch of twenty-somethings like myself, what do you really expect? I cut them some slack due to their inexperience, but it doesn’t change the fact that we have a $3000 paperweight and customers that are demanding prototypes we’re now having to outsource.

I hear the frustration here, and I wanted to share a few broad thoughts (as well as some specific ones):

First, some of you have had printers that span several generations. We’ve been aware and improving our QA since we first started shipping, which is now over 18 months ago. In that time, we’ve made numerous changes to both the Form 1 and Form 1+, and we continue to iterate upon and improve our designs. Of course, that’s poor comfort for those of you who have ended up with malfunctioning printers, and our support team is always working hard to help you out. Many of you have had personal exchanges with members of our team, there, and I think can vouch for that. Early backers, customers, & others—if you’ll work with us in resolving the issues your seeing, we’ll take care of you.

Second, to the original point asked here, the Form 1+ certainly can be a workhouse, and we’ve seen printers with hundreds, if not thousands of prints, but it does require care and maintenance when being heavily used (which is great, of course). We don’t sell the Form 1+ with an expensive annual service contract or have factory-certified technicians, and we’ve done our best to document the procedures required for maintenance in our support site, and we’re continuing to add to that body of knowledge. Let us know what else you want to see!

Our support engineers are empowered to take care of you guys, and we do ask that you work with them in resolving the issues your seeing—I know that we’re asking you for more patience when that’s in short supply, but we’ve worked through many challenges in the past and we’ve always strived to get right with you guys, and the rest of the printing community. It’s not ideal, we know, for sure, but whether it’s replacing a faulty machine, or walking you through replacing a component, we are devoted to making sure you guys have a good experience.

That’s all a long way of saying that we hear you, we’re here, and we understand your frustrations. We’re developing a powerful tool at a an accessible price and that’s simply a genuine challenge. I know that many of you have businesses of your own and can certainly appreciate the myriad challenges involved. We’re doing our best to do right.

@Alex_Thompson, and others with malfunctioning machines, please, reach out to support@formlabs.com. I know it can be frustrating to go through the process (several times) in some cases, but I promise you, if you work our team in resolving the issues your printer is having, we won’t leave you in a lurch.


@Sam_Jacoby I have been working with Nicholas from Formlabs for several weeks through support. I understand you need our patience and time. We’re complying and doing all support has asked. Unfortunately our patience grows thin when we have to come out of pocket $1000+ for some prototype parts we should be able to print in-house with the $3000 machine on my desk. I’m trying my best here, but understand we rely on the machine to put food on our table.

WOW - this is all really scary to see a number of forum users with dead units, or presumably replaced units, not purchased replacements. I have had my Form1 for just about a month now. If this turns into a boat anchor in 3 months I will have a big problem with it, Unlike the lemon CUBE I bought with cash this was charged. I will engage my credit card protection.

I hope it will not have to come to that.

Further, I was headed towards the direction of advertising a hobby related printing service. You can’t make real bill paying money with a persnickety machine. Its use and importance has been downgraded a bit with a new job.

I only have access to tech support on nights and weekends now so any fixes or replacements could play out for weeks. I have plenty of patience (I am a model railroader!) but not like that.

All expensive toys will be able to work when I want them to.


I think 3d printing is still too new for people to form strict standards about reliability, heavy use, etc. I have yet to see a 3d printer that doesn’t have problems. It’s all about how a company approaches those problems and how they take care of the customers when those problems come forward. In that regard I think Formlabs is doing a great job.

I know people who have purchased machines that cost 10-20 times more than the form1 and they are not even getting 10% of the support that formlabs offers.

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I consider myself a heavy user. Yeah, the reliability of the Form1+ is (at best) dubious IMHO. But the last round of support tickets for me did help out a lot and I feel like I’ve figured out how to keep it running (hint: it will require a lot of cleaning OR be in a clean room)

When it’s working, my printer is running about 30 hours per week.

I’ll agree that Formlabs did a good job with a very difficult engineering challenge. I think the biggest factor between the larger and more expensive machines is the lack of a theta lens, which means the beam stays fine and dust can really play havoc on the optical properties. I used to make lasers and homemade holograms, and a laser beam can do very wild refractions and patterns when just the slightest dust or imperfection in a mirror takes place. (I’ve made an interferogram, a double exposure hologram that was sensitive enough to plainly see stripes on the ceramic subject simply by getting my hand near to one of the mirrors and heating it up!) It doesn’t take much to mess up one of these beams, and this type of laser was designed to run blue ray players, with a very short optical path.

If they could find a way to do it inexpensively, I think the ultimate solution would be to use a laser that had a custom heat sink made from aluminum plate and have a collimator to beef the beam up to about a pencil width and theta lens setup with the integral third mirror all sealed in as one unit to focus it back down. The mirror dust would be much less of a problem. The glass could be wiped clean with normal glass cleaner, and the laser and first mirrors would be one solid and prealigned unit that simply gets popped into place. The large mirror should be easily removable with a locating frame setup so it could be cleaned more easily.

I have a 4500 watt fiber laser that is air cooled. They mount the diodes directly to a large aluminum plate and this sucks the heat right out of them. If done properly, heat should never kill the diodes. The ones on my laser (IPG) are rated at 100,000 hours. The original ones are STILL running in their test lab after something like 20 years of continuous service.

I do also wonder if it might be best to unplug the Form 1 from the plug and the computer if it’s not being used for a while. In looking through the stories, many of the lasers seem to have been sitting for a while and the lasers tend to change the next time they are used for a large print. Maybe something happens to the electronics over a long time of constant power. I assume there would be no harm in unplugging the machine. When plugging the power cord back in to the unit, I noticed a small spark, which implies that the unit is using power even though the unit is off.

I’m currently working on a direct laser sintering setup for my fiber laser or YAG laser. Talk about a finicky machine! Metal dust everywhere, has to be done in a vacuum, etc. It takes doing something like that to see how far the Form 1 has evolved. I am a mechanical engineer and appreciate the design and simplicity of the unit and software. I love what they are tring to do. I think the dust and the heat affecting the laser are the main obstacles to overcome. I wish I lived closer to work there and hammer it all out.


First, I definitely love my machine, and would not want to live without it. You would have to pry it out of my dead hands. Customer support has always been very courteous, and I definitely agree with Sam, that they are truly doing their best to improve, and they are listening.

I would however disagree with the ability to run this machine as a workhouse.

I ordered my first printer, expecting to send it back for laser failure, and not a heavy use machine. Everything I print is for my own work, I get backed up on orders but dont have clients calling me for prints, which is nice. I did my research, and calculated that, at worst, I would still be able to cover the 1K a month I spent on prints, with just 3-4 successful prints a month from the form 1. It was really a no brainier, sending prints out is so expensive.

Turns out, I ripped through 3 printers in 4 months, and couldn’t even get that work in. Including the time I waited for it to ship, this investment really put me out for the better part of a year. I am now backed up, and more desperately need this printer to be able to handle heavy use. When I expressed my frustration, Jory assured me that my 4th printer would be built personally by him, and torture tested before shipping to me. If there were to be a heavy use form1+ I would hope mine would be up to the task. It has been the best so far, but definitely showed up on my door with issues, as well as showing the most cosmetic wear compared to the others. Again, aside from a few weird situations, I’m thankful that formlabs works with us to resolve these, and replace the printers.

I have just passed my first 90 day warranty, and I had a month there where I used over a L of resin a week. You could say that I had your workhouse printer in that time frame.

Because of this, I think the form1+ is capable, but the second aspect taking away its ability to work in such a way is the support. My complaint is in the lack of phone line, or ability to resolve something quick enough. Even a simple issue requires several back and fourths, which leaves your printer down for days if not even a week or more. I find myself getting upset when im asked for what am I trying to print, or have I cleaned the mirror? I have printed a lot on this machine so far, and just need these interactions to go smoother if you can expect me to consider the form1 a heavy use machine. Sam, you sounded proud about not offering a service contract or having technicians. I would absolutely pay an extra fee to be able to call a technician who is either familiar with my issues, or be able to be brought up to speed quickly.

In my opinion, both printer issues, as well as the way the support is provided keep this printer from being able to be run for long sections of time, and that is what keeps the form1+ from being used as a high use machine, as well as properly providing for businesses that rely on it.

Bill, I know I said run away as fast as you can, but in all reality, if i could do it over again I would have bought 2. I spent way more than 3k in down time, frustration and materials since that first one arrived. Maybe by the time im recovered to do that they will have resolved these issues, or perhaps some have some quality competition.

Attached is my 4 printer logs, if anyone else is willing, feel free to share usage.

They are in order, from left to right being most recent. I have had famouslyrebird for 94 days.

Side note-for the first 3 printers, I only used .05 setting. I now only use .1 The difference run time ect is very noticeable.

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Here’s mine. UnequaledJay (left) = my Form1+, SpiritualNewt (right) = my original Form1

107 printAbortCount?!?! Wow! I didn’t realize how many times I said “oh great! It’s messed up again!!”

EDIT: Oh! On second thought, it probably isn’t fair to compare a Form 1 with Form1+ side-by-side, because the speed is different. That’s how my “printstartcount=170” with a low laser time is more than the 67 on my old Form1 with a higher laser time!

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Thanks for the detailed thoughts, @Kuhns . A lot of here read the forums (even if we’re not always posting), so your feedback is useful. We’re always considering better ways to provide service, and we’re certainly open to the idea of different types of service. Thanks for weighing in on the phone vs. email question — it’s something that we’ve discussed. I’ll make sure your voice is heard on that front.

Also — just a note, if you have a Form 1+ (or purchased an upgrade), as long as you’re in one of our covered service regions, you’ll have a one-year warranty.

UV-LED + LCD designs are VERY limited in both resolution and build volume.
There are currently no high-resolution, UV-resistant and UV-transparent LCDs available on the market.

Why would they want to switch to an unproven technology that is inferior in all aspects and how would that “save” them?


It would be best to actually add a service contract so that people buying a machine and taking the service contract have guarantee of the machine being fixed or replaced.
I have something like this for some very expensive printers we use for work (and yes they are workhorses but still with down time, it is a technology limitation) and it gives peace of mind.


@Francesco_Pessolano, depending on your location, we do that already :smiley: .

To all reading her, we take reliability and performance very seriously, and we’re always looking to improve our products. For those here, frustrated with the troubleshooting process, we hear you, and we’re doing all we can to smooth things over.

As always, if you’re having trouble, please submit a ticket to our support team and they’ll get you on the way to repair!

I’m closing this thread for the time being, so we remain focused — but of course, you’re welcome to begin a new discussion at any time.