Looks like Form1 has some competition now


#41

@Nick_Eide oh, absolutely, I always degas silicone - and in fact I’m building a machine to combine vacuum degassing and mold injection which I intend to put on kickstarter probably next spring. Obviously I’ll be announcing it here on the forums since I’m using the F1+ to make most of the mold plugs for its parts…


#42

@KevinHolmes Sounds very interesting! I’ll be waiting for the announcement - Good luck!


#43

All,
Just an update on this. I have given up on my FSL3D Pegasus and just put in an order for a Form 2 along with the Pro Service Plan. Here’s hoping for more reliability from the 2nd generation machine. FSL3D did just release a water washable clear resin ( http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/10/prweb13045487.htm ; https://fslaser.com/Products/Accessory/200 ) that I find rather intriguing. I wonder about the differences this will have for chemical compatibility of the prints, which is an important factor for me.


#44

Hello Kevin, I’ve read a number of your posts regarding laser flare and ran the diagnostic tool on a Form 1+ and indeed observed the presence of flare. You’re clearly knowledgeable on the subject. I’m interested in the cause of the issue as you described misalignment of the laser with the focal lens. Can you recommend any technical papers I can read on the subject please?


#45

Hi @3D_Builder - the simple answer is no, all my posts here were from my experiences and experiments with the F1, F1+ and the F2, so I can’t link you any technical papers.

The long answer is - forget about desktop Laser SLA printers with print volumes less than 15cm in X or Y - they’re obsolete now. The way forward is 4k mono screen MSLA printers (Mask SLA).

4k 8.9inch Mono LCD screens in LCD printers just changed the game - now there is no reason for the F3 (and F2) to exist, except in extreme edge cases.

Take a look at the Elegoo Saturn, Epax E10, Anycubic Mono X, and Phrozen Mighty 4k. All printers with Mono 4K 8.9in masking LCDs.

They print about twice the speed of the F2/F3 (and even faster with full built plates), cost about $550 vs $3300+, and work with Siraya Tech resins which are 1/4 price of Formlabs resins and have much better physical properties.

I know because I’ve been using the Saturn for almost a month now, and I just sold my Form2. Siraya Tech resins are an absolute revelation.


#46

also if you’re posting because you’re trying to fix your F1+ - just sell it now on ebay, you should get a few hundred dollars for it, maybe even 400? which is very nearly the cost of a 4k 8.9in mono printer.

You’ll save time on messing with your F1+ - and it’s value on ebay is going to drop through the floor by 2021.


#47

Thanks Kevin!,

That’s useful. Will take that on board when looking at replacing our kit in the near future.

Thanks again, for posting your findings!


#48

Cheap - Fast - Good.

What’s the saying? You can choose 2 of the 3? Unfortunately with formlabs you can MAYBE circle “good” but only if you ignore the warping/layer waves problem at 25nm. If you need to print at 25nm you cant circle any.

However with Anycubic 4k mono you CAN circle all three. It does 35nm VERY fast and to a really high quality. And its insanely cheap by comparison to Formlabs.

In my area of film/television Formlabs made sense a year and a half ago (expected reliability, 25nm printing and quick release supports put it ahead) but that was before I knew about the poor quality of prints below 50nm and how slow the prints would be - Now with the recent 4K monos successfully printing quickly without warping below 50nm it really leaves the Form3 in the dust.

Formlabs are really behind.

I`ve got a feeling Formlabs will go deep into the DENTAL printing business. Then there will be specialty resins to a smaller manufacturing/academic group However it is only time before an SLA manufacturer produces a widely accepted dental resin and promotes a printer in the same way Formlabs do.

Competition is usually good so hopefully this will push Formlabs to match or surpass the competition. My guess is with the Form4 they might ditch the LFS tech and try another method - it will be interesting to see if lasers are still the way forward for the Form4. At the rate of progress in SLA I`d give it a year/18 months till 25nm 5K screen printers hit the market.


#49

Check this out - nearly 17 hours on the F2 - Exact same file on the Saturn (its built plate is more rectangular) just finished at 4hours 16mins, and that’s with conservative speeds not yet dialed into the print.

Quality is at least the equal if not better than F2 prints, and the resin (Siraya Tech Fast ABS-like) is far more durable, AND the cost of the resin was 1/4 that of Formlabs resin - final icing on the cake is that the resin washes clean almost instantly in IPA, whereas FL resin parts needed a ton more post processing.


#50

Thanks for this info. Any recommendations on large format printers that might be an alternative to the 3L? I was checking out the Phenom L, Phrozen Transform or maybe LC Magna. Still waiting for a large-format 8K mono.


#51

Until we get 8k mono screens I think Laser SLA still has a place in printers with X or Y over 25cm. Pixilated slice edges are going to be the drawback of the printers you linked - with pixel pitches approaching 0.1mm. Course that might not matter to you as much as the advantages those printers have …

Not sure when (or if) we’ll get 8k mono though. The platform MSLA is built on is the repurposing of existing LCD screens used in tablets and phones, so I guess we’re waiting on 12inch+ tablets or laptops with 8k screens . Some quick googling “8k tablet” shows someone took a shot at it late 2018 - but that was OLED (which I think is no good for MSLA??), and I assume they flopped since an 8k tablet seems a bit ridiculous?

Maybe 8k laptops will be a thing some day - although again, I suspect OLED won’t work? so I think we’re waiting on an old school 8k LCD screen in the 12-19inch range - so not sure …

Maybe 8k from tiled 4k screens - if they can figure out how to butt them together tightly enough …


#52

Which is exactly what I’m about to do. The actual going price on eBay seems to hover around $700-750 for a functional printer with a extras.

I plan on selling my Form 1+ with a few refurbished trays, as well as the extra build platform that I modified to work with Peopoly trays, and a couple of bottles of ApplyLabWorks resin.

I’ll put it up for auction at $500, and we’ll see what I get for it.


#53

We use a fleet of Phenom Noir. High density of energy makes this LCD printer faster than any others ( impression time twice shorter ).
The resolution is good enough for most of our industrial customers. They only realize the parts were not printed on our F2 when they get large parts printed in one go.

The big problem with these printers is resins not resolution. Limited choice, limited dimensional stability in time. Siraya Tech resins are 1/3 the price of FL ones, but not as good as them. Hankel makes good resins with extremely good dimensional stability, but at 300 + USD per liter…


#54

I’ve read for about a month the messages on two big FB groups of this cheap printers, half of them are messages of problems regarding the functioning, total lack of assistance, the settings, the poor quality of the materials and the software, nothing new will you say, even on this forum there are many problem messages, but at today my F2 has always worked well, even and above all at 0.25, for me it is a perfect “print & forget” 3d printer, you have to convince me that these new “cheap” printers are to be bought, from what I read around i’m not at all convinced of wasting time on these products.


#55

I agree. With one caveat, The large sla printers. I haven’t done much research into those, but they are intriguing.


#56

Yes, that’s right, in the end I’ll take a Saturn just out of curiosity.


#57

One of the things that was important to me was having the software and hardware with one company, and also one that works well on a Mac. My little F2 is now over four years old and it works flawlessly. I just bought an FDM printer for fun for printing larger models for casting in glass, because the materials are significantly less expensive and the resolution is not as important.

As a Mac user, I don’t like to fiddle and tweak. I just like taking it out of the box and letting it do its thing. I think Formlabs has done a great job with that. Support has been responsive, and the product is solid. I would like the castable resins to be a little easier to work with, but Open Mode has solved that issue for me.

I use my Form 2 for jewelry, and even printing at 50 microns I get all the resolution I need. I rarely print at 25 microns. The idea of an LCD screen printing mechanism in a FL printer would probably make me upgrade…


#58

Even my F2 works well after three years, but you can’t know what happens tomorrow, unfortunately the alternative in Formlabs is the F3 which has an exaggerated price considering the little upgrade, not to mention the consumer products. We are talking about 4,000+ euros against 500, and the quality of the Chinese I had to admit it’s really good, it’s almost a choice that I would not want to make but this is the reality of things. It is Formlabs that forces me to change direction.


#59

So I finally sold my Form 1+. Put it up on eBay and got $500 for it and all the accessories. I then bought the new kid on the block the Anycubic Photon Mono X.

That beast uses a 9" 4K LCD, with a build volume of 192 x 120 x 245mm, so it’s substantially larger than the Form1, 2 or 3, although not in the same league as the 3L.

While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the Form 2 and 3 with the automatic wipers and resin dispensers, it does very well without them. Yes, you have to pay attention that you have enough resin to finish the print job, but ti’s not a deal killer for me.

Like other similar printers it’s primary connectivity is via a USB stick. You slice the model, and save the resulting file to a USB stick, which you put in the printer and it reads the file as it prints. Personally I like the idea of the independence from the computer. I don’t have to wait for the file to be sent over or anything like it. I put the USB stick in the printer, select the file to print, then I can put the PC to sleep and not worry about it. This particular machine also has a built in WiFi and can be monitored and controlled from a phone.

These new printers use a monochrome LCD panel. The lack of color filters and special polarizers allows for more UV light to pass through, so exposure time is reduced dramatically. Moreover the lifespan of the panel is increased as well.

So, my first test print was 4 3" tall busts, hollowed out to 1.2mm thick walls, printed without supports using Gray Anycubic resin that is 6 months past the expiration date. As you can see in the photo below the prints are pretty good.

As for printing times, the same identical print done at 0.05 layers, on a Form 2 would take 8:49 hours, on the original Photon 7:10 hours and on the Mono X 3:00 hours. Now that, makes a huge difference.

Check these screenshots out:


#60

For small things like figures, those LCD printers are actually good.