Is it good idea to use Form 2 prints for end user products?

I’m designing a device and my plan is start to manufacture and sell that devise. Can’t tell yet what it is. There is few 3D-printed parts in my designs and I wonder is it good idea to use Form 2 to produce these parts? How long Form 2 prints will last good? There’s no much strain in these parts. One part is functional but most of the time it’s not used.
I think best materials would be Tough or Durable resin if I use my Form 2.

I really need that my 3D-printed parts last at least 5 years. My plan is use the Form 2 if it’s suitable and if bisnes grow up then I think Fuse 1 will be possible option. Now my parts cost is me about 40€ for Form2 and it’s bit too much but I can live with it.

I have seen those robotic hands which is made Tough resin and I really like what I see.

In general i would say that printed parts in end-products are not a good option (yet). you could print a mould and inject thermoplastic polymer into that mould. That would defeniatelly generate long lasting polymers.

The parts are too complicated for molding. That’s a reason why I need to 3D-print them.

If the parts don’t break, and they don’t have any motion-induced wear, and they’re painted they should pretty much last forever. I have some parts that are a few years old, still look like they did the day they were printed.

Resins these days are much better than few years ago.
Paint because of UV?

Yeah. That’s my thinking.

No matter what, the printed parts won’t be as strong as injection molded plastic, but depending on your design you can “cheat” this by making load bearing features a bit thicker.

My main concern is that Durable or Tough dry out or transform someway over the years.
But I think I just use my Form 2 to producing this parts and see what is gonna happen. I think UV is not problem because the product is indoor use only. Maybe I paint those parts, I don’t know yet.
If my design is good and people like it I move forward and go Fuse 1 or something else if Fuse 1 is too expensive to use.

I really like the idea of digital factory what includes CNC, laser cutting, 3D printing, robotic arms and so on. Small scale production and continuing product design or tailoring. I think that’s the way you create jobs on western world.

I do too. That’s why I own two Form printers, a MakerBot, a 4-axis benchtop CNC, a 3-axis large gantry mill, and a (small) Laser Cutter. I’ve been thinking of getting a CNC lathe, but I can do turning with the 4th axis of my CNC so I haven’t bothered yet.

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If I were you, I would strongly consider performing some simulated lifetime testing with your parts. Estimate the number of cycles, etc.

Depending on the cost and volume of your product I might strongly recommend generating a design spec and validation procedure. I know it’s a pain, but consumers now expect perfection. When I was growing up if a car hit 100k miles it was a miracle. Now if something fails before 200k people feel like they got a lemon…

My experience with using the formlabs prints in end-products is not good. They are to brittle compared to injection moulding. I have tried both regular and tough, however no experience with durable. If you want to use 3D printing for end-products, i have good experience with Nylon and SLS-printing. A rough estimate is that SLS is 90% as durable as injection molding.

My experience is that the parts get brittle over time. I found this out from randomly accidentally dropping them. When they are new the parts mostly bounce. After a few months sitting on a table in my office, the tend to break when they hit the floor. Now this is with unpainted parts. Painting may solve that.

Personally I think 3D-printing hasn’t reached the level of mass manufacturing - at least wayyyyy inferior than the manufacturing rate of injection molding, which could be 3 min/part or less, with a wide selection of materials. Besides, injection molding could use the orientation of injection direction to strengthen a particular structure (for example DVD box hinge). If the part design is too complex for ordinary injection molding, have you considered 2-shot or 3-shot injection molding? If it has to be 3D printed, perhaps adding different types of (micron- or nano-size) fillers into resin in open mode to see if that increases the durability? An example of work done: If you have access to some material testing facilities, perhaps you could do some accelerated degradation test, either under extreme temperature, UV or chemical exposure? There are models that allows you to estimate the lifespan based on the degradation test results.

I would say It strongly depends on your design and the price for the end user, If you can print the product without support, like formlabs sample “tower” then the end price might be acceptable. If you have a lot of work with postprocessing, finishing the part, you should have a look on other technologies.
I would reccomend to ask someone for a test print of your product and as mention test your product under real life conditions.

If you can’t make a mold of the parts for silicone rubber molds or eventually injection mold because they are too complex then maybe you need to redesign the part so they can be mass produced.

3d printed parts is usually not a great way to get to market because they are not only painfully slow to get any reasonable quantities out but they are also expensive and the materials themselves are usually not that good over time.

We are using them for extremely short runs on awards etc which makes some sense as the numbers aren’t there for injection moulding etc and have come across various issues, just this morning we have found that Super glue embrittles the material to the point of easy snapping which was never brought up before.

This is going to be dependent on your specific parts and their exposures to different forces. 3D Printing excels at creating individualized and customized objects and this is most evident in industries like Dentistry, Prosthetics, and Custom Jewelry. Parts certainly can be used for mechanical applications like the prosthesis in ‘handsmith’, and Form Cell aims to streamline and scale custom solutions like these. Our resins are resistant to UV degradation and will have better wear resistance than many common engineering thermoplastics.

There are applications where 3D printing isn’t the best process and for static geometries, traditional molding processes will eventually catch up to 3D printing as far as average cost per part goes. Expected part volume and expected wear are going to be the most important parameters to look into when considering the best manufacturing process.

I’m surprised to hear that super glue is weakening your parts. We use cyanoacrylate based glues and they create a fairly strong bond that doesn’t seem to weaken parts. Is it possible there’s a solvent in the glue that’s contributing to the brittleness? Acetone is a common additive and one of the more aggressive solvents against resin.

Another bonding option is to use a bit of resin at the interface between parts and then a UV laser to cure. I tend to do this before UV curing parts as the chamber ensures that the bond is fully cured.

For bonding of two printed components we use a bit of resin from a medicine dropper and a UV gun to cure (also for adding magnets to pockets inside parts and sealing). When adhering a printed component to a non printed component we were using cylindrical extrusions on the base of the print and inserting these into pockets in the other component with a bit of Cyanoacrylate. This was fine initially but over time we were noticing breakages at the join or higher on the print. In the UK I am struggling to find an acetone free cyanoacrylate.

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Durability aside, the cost is the main issue. For an oz of resin vs plastic beads, it is a huge difference. If your doing a small one or two then not bad, but for large quantities, it can become an expensive process and cut into your profit.

I like to think of the printer as a prototyping platform, as well as a first stage manufacturing process (make a mold or part to be molded in plaster or silicone for example).

No one can tell you if it is a good idea. You have some tests that you need to pass internally in order for your device to meet spec and meet your customer’s needs. Build prototypes and put them through those tests and you will know whether or not it is a good idea. 3D printing is just another method of manufacturing and the wide variety of materials have certain properties just like all materials have certain properties.

With that said, some things to look out for/advice:
Fully wash and fully cure your parts. Be religious about it. This is just as important as the printing itself. Change out your IPA regularly, ensure the process is consistent. Probably the most important part when it comes to shelf-life.

Check out this white paper from Formlabs Engineering Fit, and while you are at it, read the rest of them too! Resources, Design/Post Process

Aging is the biggest concern and biggest unknown. “Only time will tell”. So the sooner you start your testing, the sooner you will have your results. I imagine Formlabs is hard at work on this and they should have buckets of tensile dogbones sitting in freezers and ovens and at the bottom of the ocean just waiting to be tested. With accelerated aging just be sure not to go too hot because the Standard, Tough, and Durable have relatively low HDTs and soften. They end up with normal properties when brought to RT but they could have dimensionally distorted.

Consider using 3rd party resins if cost is truly a major factor, they are much cheaper than FL resins but you pay upfront by having to dial in processes on your own. Use the Experiment Forum on here for help.

If you buy multiple Form 2 machines you may want to do some validation runs to ensure the parts are printing to the same quality that was printed on your initial machine. These machines haven’t been around long enough to have proven the quality out of the box, and sadly many of us have had to return units for various reasons.

Launch with a 1 year or 3 year shelf life first to get product out there and prove your market. Try to make the SLA components easily replaceable in case of failure down the road if aging is the only thing concerning you.

Can you say what sort of function that one part performs? Living hinge, bearing, threaded, slides relative to another part, etc.

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