Next "big thing" from Formlabs?

Hey all, the Form 1 was announced around Oct 2012. The Form 1+ was announced around Jun 2014. The Form 2 was announced around Sept 2015. Following this roughly 1.5 yearly update, we’re coming up on the next anticipated announcement period in just a few months.

I’m starting this topic just to see what everyone else is speculating about the next big update from the company (if there is one!)

I hope for/speculate to see:

  1. A larger build envelope
  2. Double laser capability to halve build time (maybe not yet)
  3. Finer spot-size for the laser to improve resolution
  4. Included post-cure setup
  5. Larger touch screen
  6. Improved tank design
  7. Faster axis movement

What do you all expect?

I expect another surge of expansion/improvement of their materials and better options for tinkerers in Open Mode.

Ok, so the second one is just wishful thinking but at this point I don’t read anything on your list as either a.) something the public is demanding or b.) a big exciting announcement.

I think Formlabs will be a bit quieter for a bit, improving and releasing resins here and there, but I don’t expect the completion of a brand new system any time soon. Not only would that be a slap in the face of nearly all Form2 owners but I don’t think there is much demand for bigger and better than the F2. I’m not saying there is NO demand, but Formlabs is good at finding that sweet spot of capability/size/price and I don’t expect them to wander far from their path of success.

I also think this misconception about FL’s development lead time pops up once in a while. The launch of the F1 was so problematic that once all units had been shipped I suspect the development of the F1+ was just about complete and the R&D team was beginning work on the F2. We really shouldn’t be comparing the releases of the F1+ and F2 as if they are even in the same league of development length/complexity.

All that said, let’s fully automate the post-print process eh? I want to wake up and find a build ready for support removal, no mess no fuss no special tricks no YMMV.

My guess is that they may be working on a Form2+ that has some improvements, maybe some fixes to the cartridge system to make it more reliable and other safety measures in place in case of a spill, but other than that I think that other significant changes would be features that people wouldn’t necessarily want.
A multi-laser system could be used to increase print speed or print volume, but I’m guessing the way things work now are fine for most people and a second laser system would increase the cost quite a bit. I’m sure we’ll see multi-laser systems at some point though but probably not the next iteration.
Any improvement to the layer separation system would be great. Maybe adding a built-in webcam for monitoring.

I feel that all of the suggestions on the list are vital to the next release of whatever formlabs comes out with. When I say double lasers, I’m thinking something like the Markforged (which is also relatively inexpensive!). Improvements released with a new product in the future do not necessarily have to cost significantly more money than the machines do now. Other improvements could yield cost savings as well. (IE: increasing the build platform size may increase cost per machine 5 dollars to make, but changing supplier for the orange shield could save the company 10.)

The key selling points for a new printer are (in no particular order):

  1. Ease of use
  2. Footprint
  3. Build envelope
  4. Speed of print
  5. Materials
  6. Cost
  7. Resolution in each axis
  8. Untouched quality
  9. Customer support

To target new users, Formlabs would have to separate themselves from their competitors in each of these areas. Having something new and exciting and state of the art in each would likely place them at the top of the market.

I admit, double lasers is probably not near future, but the speed of the prints is vital to increase, since DLP projecting systems are generally much faster. I take the people who work at Formlabs to be intelligent, and that they have already considered what I just said. So to your second paragraph, I say (a) it is something the public is demanding, and (b) it very well could be exciting.

On that note, it’s likely that there will only be a small iteration next, similar to the Intel tick-tock strategy.
Excited to hear more thoughts!


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Oh and of course, always excited to see more solutions like CLIP that get rid of peel completely. Hopefully ones that don’t involve being a millionaire or large company.

Off topic since we are talking immediate future but i’m sure improving the peel process is always on the continuous improvement list.

can you post a link for this?

Not a DIY product, but really cool for industrial/commercial.

Thanks, just beat me to it.

CLIP stands for Continuous Liquid Interface Production. It’s basically a very expensive window for bottom up DLP that allows them to use oxygen to inhibit curing directly next to the window. The end result is that they can actually continuously move the platform and eliminate layer artifacts (but not DLP grid artifacts, pick your poison).

Very cool stuff but too expensive for non-Ferrari driving individuals at this moment in time.

I feel that probably the next most important update they could make would be the inclusion of a Formlabs cure chamber, that keeps the part curing at the 405nm and near the 45-60C optimal range (based on resin type). Requiring users to construct their own makeshift ovens is both a hassle and causes inconsistency. My resin probably cures differently from all of yours.


That could be something, It seems like a lot of the cure chambers that are being made are ridiculously expensive, it shouldn’t cost too much to make a box with UV LED’s and maybe a heater.

If they can figure out how to get multiple lasers into the same size printer they have now then that could be a possibility.

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Without the heater element, mine was maybe:

  • 11 dollar paint can
  • 45 dollar 3 5W wide angle 405nm LED’s
  • 10 dollar 15W resistors
  • 10 dollar power supply

so like 76 dollars.

The hot plate to get optimal strength though was super expensive at around 350. WIthout it though, I’m not getting the most advertised strength or properties.

I’ll say!


I am definitely looking forward to a larger build envelope as printing in pieces can become a pain, or having to purchase multiple build platforms to speed up build time.

Metal prints
Full layer printing, instead of a single laser
,a screen laser.

I wasn’t suggesting buying a Carbon, I know how prohibitive the expense is. I was suggesting licensing the patent (if possible - FL has licensed several patents for the Form), or to come up with alternate solution that doesn’t require the patent. Its just chemistry! :smiley:

There are many DLP printers on the market - that is a very different approach than SLA. IMHO the laser time per layer is not slow and can rival the cure time per layer of DLP printers (the peel process is slow that SLA relies on as well unless using a CLIP window). Both have pros and cons, but I think SLA is superior technology (thats why I have a SLA printer not a DLP printer)… :wink:

Hello All,

I hope a larger build area is in the works. I could use something measuring about 200 mm x 200 mm x 300mm; this would cover essentially all of what I need to print in-house.

What I expect a better print quality 0.001 work with jewels and measurements are in millimeters so an improvement in resolution will be a great evolution.

1um resolution? Then you will need something like CLIP technology and no slide-peel action.

That would also take forever to print

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Also a smaller laser size considering the spot size is .005" right now. It would be great to have .001" resolution in the XY plane though!