New Form2 Long-Term Use Tray!

Details Here

Dear Formlabs, let’s play a little innocent friendly game. Just complete the following word:

“‘Orange is the new Black’ as ‘----- is the new PDMS’”. :slight_smile:

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That is very cool

Anyone know what they are using for the materials here for the non-stick layer and optical window?

Very interesting.

Hopefully recoating is still an option. Even if the lifetime is 20X, I would rather not throw it into the landfill.

Nice and right on time as I was about to try z-vat 2 :grinning:

Of course the price went up to $100 even thought it cost them like $5 to change materials. 8 week lead time, they better get on it. Does this mean clouding stays away or it just doesn’t get broken down from the wiper?

assuming that it was 5 $ to switch materials is just nonsense. They might be charging slightly more on this due to less trays sold, but The simple existence of a tray that can do 20-40 liters of resin lowers operating costs to a point that it might start to be viable for production use. Thank you FormLabs. Thank you!

What grounds would that be nonsense? Simply going to a flexible vat or Teflon coat would be a drastic improvement for very cheap. The original vats were marked up to make up for assembly and the materials cost. The new tanks aren’t drastically different in design nor was PDMS expensive to begin with. A $40 price hike may be to help cover less vats sold, but that would be about it. Perhaps it was more that they got tired of people discovering Zvats as a means to bring down operating cost or re-coating our own vats since they can’t make money that way.

The majority of the improvements stem from user suggestions on here and seeing what they have done wrong vs. what the competition has done right. That’s just a smart growth tactic as a small business to stay competitive.

Everything you say has a logic, except the 5 dollars thing, since we don’t even know yet what technology this tray uses for sure. Also saying that the new trays aren’t drastically different is a little bit of a wild guess at the time being. I understand your user point of view. In my opinion though, they always knew that disposable tanks were hard to digest for users, so they might have tried to keep the price as low as they could on the original tray. (from a business perspective a 100 usd disposable tray would have scared potential users off way more, even if the markup to get a decent profit called for it. so it would be reasonable to think that they tried to keep the price as low as possible on that one.) With 20-40 liters to go I think that the price of the tray becomes immensely less relevant. Lowering the operational costs will benefit formlabs in ultimate instance by making the machine more appealing to users with less budget in the prosumer area. It also was very necessary upgrade to keep ahead of competitors and make Form Cell viable as a solution.

This is a premium entry level system in all honestly and with that comes premium pricing for everything. The machine price is spot on, the resin and accessory pricing, not so much. Premium label on things that have been proven to not cost nearly as much for equal quality items. Namely the tanks and build platform. I understand handcrafted with love from a small company, but that only goes so far.
They clearly state the actual difference in tray build being anti-spill geometries and easier to remove wiper. so that lends itself to possibly taller walls or something of that nature by looking at the pictures. As for the wiper, it was an excessively firm hold to begin with so making it easier to remove doesn’t honestly cost anything, but design time.
Overall ROI depends on the use of resin more than anything. A few custom rings and toys won’t get you anywhere, but a couple decent projects and that cost is recouped with some to spare. I guess I don’t look at it from a budget-per-item aspect.

Oh, they can go on all day about improved geometry and wipers, but nobody’s fooling anybody… the one and only significant contribution to tray life will be the new coating. It would simply be in their best interests not to draw too much attention to it because it’s probably something very simple, something users already invented for themselves, or both. I’m sure there’s PTFE involved. But make the other features sound much more important because who doesn’t want to save a little face? :wink:

That said, the financial model of a cheap base mechanism and costly consumables goes back to shaving razors in the 1940s and is most egregiously typified nowadays in… anyone? Printers! Checked inkjet cartridge prices lately? So in this respect, a 3D printer is indeed a printer. Trays and resin may come down in price, but never, ever to where customers will think is fair. And just like ink cartridges, third-party suppliers will always undercut manufacturer prices because they have far less development investment to recoup. It’s the rare wise manufacturer which will address this and attempt to stay relevant in a good way, ala new F2 Resin Trays. As opposed to doing it the extortionate Inkjet way - ala FL using their already-in-place tray chip system to lock out recycling or third-party alternatives. So, IMHO, FL is to be given credit for trying to meet users halfway when it didn’t have to.

Finally, as a prolific printer of “custom rings and toys”. I think F2 users who tend toward hobbyist usage shouldn’t be considered inferior to users who obsessively pursue ROI to the exclusion of all else. F2 is clearly designed and targeted for creativity as well as commerce. We all spent the same money on it whether we need to see every penny back or not, and we all have an equal voice in what’s to like and not like in new FL developments. Or do you really want to try and shut me up? :slight_smile:

No idea on what the actual value is, but it can save quite a bit of money, even if it lasted only 2x more then it would save on the cost of buying a second tray.
For the people that use it as part of a printing business it’s a big deal. For hobbyists it’s probably a good idea to figure out how to clean the tray well enough so you can use it for multiple materials.

Wow, the I want it free crowd is out in force on this one.

  1. The old trays are not discontinued so the cost for an average user hasn’t changed at all. The old trays don’t have a life cycle on the chip like the tanks do so if you want to live life on the cheap just re-coat your own tanks and move on. It’s not hard people. Personally I’m not that cheap.

  2. There are plenty of people that use engineering materials that kill the standard PDMS and this may help that a bunch. I’ve clouded high temp trays in one print so anything that lasts longer is a good thing.

  3. There are plenty of costs that haven’t been considered here. Yes, sales volume is one thing to look at but there are several more. The actual molds cost a bunch of cash (could be all three molds). We don’t know what the PDMS change is yet and that could add both process time, labor and material costs.

If the wiper is improved, is it compatible with the old trays? If it is could the wipers be purchased individually for the old trays?

If you’ve never worked in an environment where you design, manufacture and sell a product you may tend to think only in terms of raw material costs. Why does this cost more when it’s basically the same materials in basically the same quantities? Because there are other costs associated with bringing the product to market that have to be amortized.

So yes, the new trays might only cost a few $ more in materials. But there’s a ton of NRE (Non Recurring Engineering) costs associated with developing the new tray. Design, prototyping, evaluation, tweaking, volume tooling and manufacturing all cost a lot, and those costs need to be passed along in the cost of the product.

I don’t see anything wrong with the pricing on these new trays. I ordered 2 of them pretty much the moment they became available for order (which was last week or thereabouts I think). 8-10 week lead time? No problem. They should show up about the time I’m getting ready to retire my current trays.


This was harmless banter to start. Implying that I, or any other owner, are the said “I want it free crowd” is an unnecessarily childish statement. If I wanted it free, I wouldn’t have dished out money for a $3600 setup. That being said, it’s a bit of a reach on price just to make it as it should have been to start.

Think PC video cards. They come up with a design, find its max power then scale it down to sell as a new card. Then after sales level off, unlock the cards and “hey a new product”, up the cost then release. It isn’t a new concept and the same applies that the lesser are still for sale.

The wiper compatibility will be interesting to see as it is intended to make it easier for automated systems according to the description. They are a bit overly firm currently.

Remember that harmless banter can be taken different ways.

My point was that we don’t even have all the details on exactly what changed yet and there are already complaints that the new tray is too expensive.

If I can spend an extra $35 or $40 for a tray and it lasts even 5 times longer it saves enough money for me.

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I will be ordering what looks like 1 for sure

While I already have been recoating my tanks with Silgard, I would certainly pay the $100 for a long term tank.

I think that double the price for 10 times the life is a good deal, regardless of what it really costs to make it.

But why is it that Formlabs is not making them for the Form 1+?

Looks to me like Formlabs has all but abandoned the Form 1 users.

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I think it’s very unlikely that they planned it this way, if they had the ability to make this new tray then it would have been released with the Form2 originally. PDMS is very widely used so it’s not like they were doing it wrong the first time, this is likely using some kind of new coating that people hadn’t used before.

Bigger and better things to focus on with all their new hardware and resins. They aren’t big enough to support old stuff with everything else they need to focus on. V1 resins stop when V2 comes out, Form 1+'s stop when Form 2 comes out. So on and so on. I’m sure Fuse will stop when Fuse 2 comes out too.

And that is the attitude that looses cliehts.

There are a lot of people (read hobbyists) that couldn’t aford a new Formlabs printer, but when the Form 2 came out, a lot of used Form 1’s came on the market, which were bought by those people, and while they might not be the clientele that Formlabs wants to cater to, they certainly are clients for the printer consumables.

But if they disregard the needs of those users, they will alienate them, and they’ll buy their consumables elsewhere, and eventually buy their next printer from the competition.

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