Looks like Form1 has some competition now


#21

Right. And I also contacted the Owl 3d printer people and they said…quote …not to pay attention to the order button on their website and the price of $4900. The printer is not even ready to ship. They are reworking the prototype. But the good news is, they claim that they will release a better printer in 6-8 weeks but it will cost a little shy of $10k instead.

So I vote for proclaiming all “announced” “super duper great” 3d printers as fakes, until they are actually physically available for sale and shipping.


#22

the ‘cartridge’ is another word for vendor lock-in, and the warranty does not extend to north american nations, only to cee nations, so if it gets borked, you’re likely eating the cost. seems risky in that sense, although the material selection is intriguing. I think though that we can expect a broadening of the materials selection across all sla devices in the near future. I’m still thinking I made the right choice with the Form1+.


#23

Hi All,
I am an owner (or technically my employer is and I am the sole user) of an FSL3D Pegasus Touch printer of about 10months. Despite the fact that I have made a good number of very impressive prints that have (with support from my Type A Machines Series 1 FDM machine) pushed along my research work, I have also realized I have paid for the machine many times over in wasted time and failed prints. I am nearing the end of my willingness to keep ‘playing’ with it and am beginning to investigate other options. A professional machine (the EnvisionTec Ultra 3SP HD looks impressive) is not out of the range of possibilities, but I am wondering if my experience with a Form1+ would be different. I went with the Pegasus for the larger build volume since there were parts that I might print with a size in X/Y of 7"–I have yet to print these parts, so realistically, that may not be a big driver for my future usage. Here is a description of the issues I have had with the printer:

  • bent z-axis threaded rod (right out of the box, not a confidence builder)
  • flimsy case, misaligned lid
  • laser diode failure(s)
  • poor resin batch consistency - variable shrinkage, variable hardness (I have printed mostly in clear resin)
  • Inherent issues with PDMS clouding limiting usable build height (or layer thickness) for certain parts requiring vertical orientation
  • Warping of so-called ‘SuperVat’ technology leading to wavy layered prints.
  • poor dimensional accuracy–nearly every time I have got it calibrated, I would run out of resin, get a new batch and have to start from scratch
  • software/firmware hiccups
  • print failures due to permanent ‘pause for resin refill’ in the middle of the night (when I am home asleep…)
  • resin in vat turning goopy and leading to gunky uncleanable prints–meaning I end up wasting quite a bit of resin if it sits in the vat for more than a few prints

These are the issues that come to mind. Nearly every time I think I have a reliable workflow down, I get just a few good prints and something changes to make things start failing. And, every time I am about ready to toss the whole thing in the trash, it prints out something absolutely stunning. Waiting for that stunning print right about now…

Basically, I am interested to hear from Form 1(+) users whether you have had these same range of issues or whether I should take a chance and try one out. At this point, I am inclined to pass. I have browsed the forum and it seems to me that many users have had these same issues along with many other problems I have luckily avoided though I know are problems other Pegasus users have had (e.g. non-flat build plate). Sorry for the extended treatise. Thanks for reading. I look forward to your comments.
-Kent


#24

Hi @Kent_Wardle

I’ve been one of the primary critics of the F1 and now the F1+ on the forums here - documenting such issues as failing galvo’s and lasers on the original F1, and more recently the sometimes slightly “blurred” laser dot on the F1+

However - the F1+ did pretty much solve the major two issues of the F1 - which is to say failed lasers, and failed galvos.

As far as I can tell the machine is now quite reliable, there is still a significant issue in varying quality of laser dot between different machines - see here: Form1+ laser flare issues illustrated - pics and video and a solution I found that works for me here : A laser flare solution and initial results. At least I believe that issue remains; FL haven’t told us if they have fixed that issue on new builds.

That said - many users won’t even notice if their dot is not optimal - it’s not a show-stopper in the same ballpark as some of the issues you list above.

Resin consistency - I’ve used over 10 litres of FL resin, and haven’t noticed differences between bottles.

PDMS clouding - with FL resins you can just detect clouding by holding the empty vat against a bright light after about 2 thousand layers, but you should be able to get at least 4 thousand layers or more on one spot before clouding starts to affect the print. With other resins fatal clouding can occur much faster; during a single tall print, as I found with early batches of madesolid resin.

Dimensional Accuracy - much improved with the F1+. Not perfect, on my printer there is some variation in dimensions printing smaller parts on different areas of the build platform, eg 20mm squares with up to +/- 0.3mm variation fresh off the platform. Larger parts printed in the centre however such as 80mm bars, are so close as to be within measurement error using digital vernier callipers. Generally, post cure warping is going to be a bigger issue than print dimensional accuracy.

Resin turning goopy over course of multiple prints - this depends on your definition of goopy. If you mean a universal increase in viscosity for the entire vat, then no, I’ve not seen or heard of this with any FL printer. If on the other hand you mean increasing numbers of partially cured jello flakes in the vat with each print, then yes this can be an issue with the F1+ if you have a machine with a “flared” laser dot. I do, I have reduced the flare significantly with a diy solution, however I still get flaking and I find it pays to filter the resin through a paint strainer after every print.

I think the F1+ still has no serious competition at the price point - as evidenced by it’s dominance on 3dhubs.com

My take is - if the difference in cost between the F1+ and an EvisionTec machine (which I assume is sginificant) is an important factor, then you should be well served by an F1+. The original F1 had significant issues, but even then it was backed by replacements from FL support. Not quite no-questions asked, and initially only for 3 months, but even so, they definitely stood behind their product. The F1+ now has a full year warranty, and I believe support still stands firmly behind the machine. In fact I’d bet support is even better now - given the machine is now actually reliable.

regards,
Kevin.


#25

Kevin,
Thanks so much for your detailed response. It does sound like the ~1yr headstart of the FL team puts them in a better place with the F1+ as compared to current fleet of FSL3D printers. Then again, mine is an early model with upgrades, so perhaps it is best compared with the F1. Regardless, it does sound like the reliability is higher, though not without problems. It does sound like issues with the lasers have been and continue to be a problem on both products. Recently, the FSL3D has gone to using lasers with feedback loop control on power, not sure if that will solve some problems or not. My machine is dead at the moment. Anyway, the fact that you and others have gone to such lengths to re-engineer solutions to improve the machine makes me hesitate. As for the point of cost versus an EnvisionTec machine–the Ultra 3SP is $50K-75$ depending on the model (SD or HD) though I am told the difference in quality between the two is not noticeable. 3D Systems also offers professional machines in this range (Projet 3510). If I consider my time is ~$1K per day, then is doesn’t take too many failed prints and wasted days of fiddling with a printer to make a reliable, but costly one look more and more attractive.
I would be happy to hear other opinions on the reliability of the F1+. Any former FSL3D users out there?


#26

@Kent_Wardle if you have $50k to spend on a printer then I think you’re playing in a different league from most of us here. Even so I’m not sure if you read through those two threads (they are enormous, with much noise…) I linked, but I feel compelled to clarify in case I’ve given a false impression.

F1+'s with a bad case of flare will still produce mostly fine prints, often blemish free, it’s only on tall (1000 layers+) steeply vertical oriented prints, that flaking becomes a real issue with flared lasers. Even then most such prints will be fine.

Basically what I’m trying to say is that modification wasn’t necessary to make my machine useful. Prior to the mod - nearly all flaking on parts would easily scrub off in the IPA bath, only very rarely would flaking cause a print failure. Even after the mod, with almost no flaking, I still scrub my parts anyway. But, once I’d diagnosed the issue I became obsessed with fixing it. Also going by all the replies in those threads I believe I have a printer at the worse end of the bell curve for laser flare…

@Formlabs - care to comment - have you tightened up the laser manufacturing process?


#27

@KevinHolmes Well, if you mean I am not doing this as a hobby or small business in my basement, correct, this is for R&D at a government lab. However, that does not mean getting together $50K for equipment is a simple thing. And just because I may be able to do so, does NOT at all mean I want to if I can get a machine for less than a tenth of the cost that can meet my needs…


#28

@Kent_Wardle sounds a little damned if you do damned if you don’t then :slight_smile:


#29

@Kent_Wardle I am probably an equally if not louder dissenting voice in these forums as @KevinHolmes, and while he and I usually agree, in this case I have to completely disagree with him. If you are concerned about calibration and parts being accurate I would have to say DO NOT BUY A FORM1+. There are many many problems getting parts to be dimensionally accurate, not to mention most of them print crooked to varying degrees, this is mostly thanks to poor tolerances, and calibration equipment, and QC standards. On top of this the following points are all also issues with the Form1+ for some or all users.

  • poor resin batch consistency - variable shrinkage, variable hardness (I have printed mostly in clear resin)
  • Inherent issues with PDMS clouding limiting usable build height (or layer thickness) for certain parts requiring vertical orientation
  • poor dimensional accuracy
  • software/firmware hiccups
  • resin in vat turning goopy and leading to gunky uncleanable prints–meaning I end up wasting quite a bit of resin if it sits in the vat for more than a few prints

You can also add flawed var design that causes the vats to eventually crack in one particular corner sometimes resulting in resin leaking into the printer.

As for the so-called ‘SuperVat’ with the Form1+ there is no equivalent and there can never be one, as it has long been there policy to not bother to align the tray holder to be parallel to the platform and to just depend on the softness of the PDMS layer and the thickness of the printed base to “compensate” for any error. They also did not design the printer to alloy you to adjust the angle of the plaform or the tray holder so you get what they give you. They also falsely claim that this will have no effect except on the first layers of the print, however since both of those planes are also not calibrated to be perpendicular to the z-axis you get skewing of the layers. On top of this the x, y, and z axis are usually pretty far off from being dimensionally accurate, while they do have an X and a Y scale setting to fix those they don’t have on for Z, so users have taken to scaling their whole print to scale Z and then adjust X, and Y so with the whole scale and their individual X and Y scales it comes out close.

All in all if you are trying to print busts of people or digital sculptures and are willing to fight with it and get past the learning curve and deal with failed prints, and have to return it multiple times (I’m on my 5th or 6th I can’t remember), and occasionally strain, filter, and comb out your resin, maybe it is for you. If you need a dependable machine that won’t have to go on “vacation” occasionally and will reliably print dimensionally accurate parts you really probably do not want this printer.


#30

Also in reference to the resin consistency issues you have had doesn’t FSL3D sell a third party resin feature, allowing the use of any resin. If so you could use a different more reliable resin (even FormLabs resin if it is any more reliable) so isn’t really an issue with the printer, however FormLabs does not allow for any third party resins and has stated they do not ever intend to and that using them may void your warranty, so with FormLabs you only get what they give you, thus making the quality of there resin an issue with their printer.


#31

@RocusHalbasch, thank you very much for the honest post. I guess maybe the FL forum admins are friendlier to dissenting voices than those who run the comparable FSL3D forum. Seems like there are a lot of censored posts over there.
Yes, they do offer a 3rd party resin option for $1500. They claim that they open some options in the software to control laser power, cure time to enable this and the fee is for cost recovery of resin purchases lost. However, if they cannot control the batch consistency such that the user would need to tweak these settings even to make their own resin work reliably, then these settings should be available by default. Not going to happen, but that is my view. I have been tempted to buy the extra license, but have not done so just yet.


#32

@Kent_Wardle glad to be of help. While I have had lots of problems with FormLabs they have always been astoundingly good about allowing their users to speak openly and freely in the forums. I would be really interested to know how the two printers actually do compare. I know I can list a long list of problems with the Form1+ and it seems you can do similarly for the Pegasus Touch. It also seems there is a fair amount of overlap. But I would like to know what an in depth and unbiased comparison would look like. One that covered, options, materials, software, configurability, quality of output using like materials, success/failure rates… unfortunately I don’t think such a thing is likely to ever exist.

One more thing the users on these forums have found filtering their resin prevents buildup of goop, you can search the forums for details. In general you might find answers to some of your problems on these forums.


#33

We really do need a consumer reports for 3d printers. Can’t believe that doesn’t exist actually.

At any rate, while you have had issues with your printer @RocusHalbasch others like myself have had very little trouble with theirs. Just a fair warning to @Kent_Wardle because it sounds a little like you’re speaking for everyone here with your posts.

I’ve had issues with tray corners cracking and occasional print defects but by and large I have had a very high success rate with my prints. I’m generally not checking dimensional accuracy beyond working threads but I think the accuracy is quite good for the price. It pays to be extremely thorough (bordering on OCD) when it comes to cleaning/maintenance/printing but, knock on wood, my printer pretty much works the same as the day I got it.

Of course I completely understand where you’re coming from with your dissatisfaction. For whatever reason you’ve had really bad luck and believe me if I was on my 5th or 6th return I would be pretty upset as well haha. I just think that in general I’m always leery of the influence a vocal minority can have.

I think the Form 1 is a great printer and considering the competition, the quality of prints, and its current price point, it really is a remarkable value.


#34

@Anthony_Huczek it is not just bad luck. If you did try and get dimensionally accurate parts you would quite likely find you have all kinds of problems as well. The problems I have had with dimensional accuracy have all not been covered under warranty as Formlabs just says it’s within expected range. Every machine I have had has had wildly different calibration. I have discussed this at GREAT length with the support team and have even had them try multiple times to calibrate one of my printers and report back to me what the results were, they were wildly different between attempts eventually they stopped trying and just sent it back to me saying it was fine, even though the platform and tray were so far from parallel that items printed to the tray had over a 500um variance in height at different spots on the build areea. They have also explained to me that they use specialized machinery to handle the calibration and can’t do anything to influnce it’s outcome. The sad truth of the matter is that their machinery does a terrible job in most cases and is wildy variable. I have done a much much better job with my own two hands and a relatively inexpensive digital inclinometer on my FDM machines. No printer I have recieved from Formlabs has ever been calibrated well enough to even work if it had been an FDM printer, a 500um variance for example will absolutely not work, my FDM has a variance of less than 10um and a significantly larger build area. I have tried to get enough information to correct the calibration myself but they will not explain or even verify any of the details of how the printer is intended to behave, and have told me if I adjust amything myself that will void my warranty. So I have a ridiculously expensive printer, that is pathologically poorly calibrated that if I try to fix myself will have a voided warranty, that also has a tendency to need warranty service. This is not bad luck it is just the way they do buisness. I am confident the machine can be calibrated to perform exceptionally accuratly, and their lasers can be built to do the same, they just keep their costs down by making no effort to do so, as most of their user will only ever need more accuracy than “working threads” so they stop there. I’ve been here since the kickstarter campain and have had one support ticket or another open almost that entire time, it is ABUNDANTLY clear at this point this is not bad luck.


#35

Hi @RocusHalbasch - I’ve read lots of your posts with interest… have been really happy with such an active, helpful forum.

Am only in my fourth month as Form1+ user, and have been printing (times with problems not withstanding) almost 24/7… I’m in the company sometimes at 1 or 2 in the morning to keep printing… note to self: must get a life :smile:! Approximately 9 litres of resin used and about to place the 4th order… (only 2 tank replacements so far, and one of those was ‘sponsored’ by FormLabs due to cracking from the lid/tank design).

I just cleaned the galvos for the second time at the weekend - saw the same kind of ‘spider web strand’ contamination on the x-galvo as I did the first time… can’t be a coincidence; at the same time I replaced the tilt (or peel) motor… the old one was making slightly odd noises occasionally, support noticed this in a short video I sent. Once I had a new motor to compare, it was easy to see the old one was on the way out. Only about 3 months active (but intensive) printing.

Still, cleaning and motor replacement done and build platform together with x/y/z calibrated (see my dimensional accuracy posts), the models are coming out thick and fast in near-to-perfect quality with zero failures (‘tough’ not yet tried!), WITH high dimensional accuracy (on parts measuring x=60, y=20, z=50 just 0.1 to max. 0.2mm in all directions) and great surface quality - I use a gloved hand to ‘stroke’ the surfaces clean and smooth, then they come out REALLY smooth, depending upon orientation even at 100µ; with a fair degree of practice I am also getting pretty good at placing the support dots to produce support structures that are easy and quick to remove, require next to no reworking and don’t produce much waste.

I am getting repeatable screw thread printing down to M6 no problem (haven’t tried smaller); parts that are supposed to fit into each other do so with small tweaks to the scale and/or x/y - admittedly it often takes one or two trial prints to get it just right; with the ‘flexible’ resin I am having repeatable success with producing air-tight seals for printed clear and black mating parts using magnets as a ‘clamping’ method.

One thing I will do is resist any move to get me to send my printer back in the future, even if the galvos go belly up - in the meantime I have removed around half of all screws from the printer at least once, know the sounds it should make, etc… the last thing I want to do is to have to start from scratch with a new different printer - posts like yours would convince me of this if I wasn’t already!!

I’ve had zero firmware hiccups, and only once have I had a model cause the printer to repeatedly abort a print job right at the start - other than that, approximately 250-300 print jobs done without software problems (discounting the bug in PreForm 1.8 where the red-shaded areas don’t refresh properly).

Anyway and either way, I am an absolutely convinced Form1+ user… for the money it is amazing value, so long as you are prepared to do maintenance (like it used to be the norm to check oil every 300 miles in a car :smile:!).


#36

@Seagull LOL :slight_smile: I’ve already read your dimensional accuracy posts, and even gave at least one a like. I was actually referring to it above when I mentioned the workarounds that have worked for some of the geometry problems. You got a decent printer to begin with and have put in the work and time to fix and work around it’s flaws to get the geometry pretty good, and it running stable.

However that aside I personally still couldn’t recomend one to someone wanting accuracy and dependability. I feel that how poorly calibrated these printers come from the factory is indicative of the lack of care put into the calibration. And while your workaround can compensate for scale along X, Y, and Z, it still does NOTHING for the skewing which most of these machines suffer, and can’t be reasonably fixed in software, and is the result of a lack of care in the calibration process. Also three months to a motor dieing is not a good sign. It’s good they let you replace it yourself so your downtime was minimized. The problem is not all of the machines come out as “trouble free” as yours. I’m not trying to say that all Form1+ macines are bad, I’d even say the overall design is great, but the QA is poor, the calibration method is abysmal and wildly variable, the parts sourcing is dodgy, the support staff is hit or miss and on more difficult and uncommon problems much much more miss, the overall attitude of the company to bigger problems is dismissive. Perhaps this is still the best option at this price point, however I would not tell someone already dealing with dodgy printers at this price point that switching to Form1+ is going to result in them having a dependable machine. In comparing the Pegasus Touch in specific to the Form1+ I will say even if the SuperVat isn’t all that great they managed to get it so the platform and the tray housing are close enough to parallel that it’s even an option, so they do at least one thing better.

I would be less inclined to speak so ill of the company if they could calibrate one of their machine reliably when they tried, however after having them trying really hard with my machine at headquarters, not at a repair facility, so they could make sure it was right, and they could only run the calibration procedure and tell me how it came out, but couldn’t adjust to get it any better, so if the results came out off all they could do was start over and try again, also the process is controlled by equipment they have little control over. Thus each calibration is like throwing a dart at a dartboard with a dart throwing machine you can’t control or adjust. That coupled with seeing the high variability of the results of the process left me with little confidence in them. It seems to me a poor choice to recommend a company for dependability when they can not, even when trying extra hard and taking extra care dependably produce one good machine.


#37

Hi Guys

I know lots about DWS and even went to their factory in Italy.

They have been talking about a small machine for years but I have never seen it working. I do recon it is a show machine with nothing inside.

I waited two years to buy the DWS 9 and i’m not sure if is still available.

I will keep away from it.


#38

@Kevin, are you using any vacuum for your curing process? (Injected silicone into molds)


#39

@Nick_Eide sorry I don’t really understand the question - but I guess I can answer anyway - no I don’t use vacuum for anything with my F1+.


#40

@KevinHolmes Oops, that question couldn’t have been more unclear! I also asked before I realized this was a gigantic thread! Don’t mean to steer it off course, so I’ll be short…

I was asking about using vacuum to degas your silicone when molding. With a cheap vacuum pump and plastic bell jar it takes a few seconds under vacuum and pulls all of the bubbles out.
It is a recent discovery for me. I had read about this before, but recently came upon the information that one needs only to degas for a minute or less, then when the bubbles are out, no need to keep under vacuum. This allows for multiple runs of molds being done in one go. It really ups the molding game. More molding, less trying.