Ongoing Support for the Form 2


#21

That’s not really what this is about. Tank and consumables we can deal with without Formlabs, it’s the internal components which are an issue. From simple things like the optical window to more complex stuff like the galvo/galvo drivers as well as the laser which definitely has a finite lifetime.

The main reason why I am not buying a Formlabs product for myself (I use them at work and have chosen them myself) is that in 2022 if I need to change the laser I would rather either spend 500 bucks through Formlabs to replace it or replace it myself but none of these options are available as Formlabs doesn’t supply the information / hardware or software material to perform these repairs.


#22

Wow, very, very dissapointing. I love my Form2, just had it refurbished last year, that was about $1000. I thought thst was fair, even though it was only 2yrs old.
It’s not about the tanks and consumables, it is about sticking by your product. It’s about the integrity of a company. My Rav4 is over 10 years old, they don’t make a V6 anymore but Toyota still services it and keeps it in mint condition. I mourn the throw away society we have become.

I think my next printer will have to respond to the voice command, “Earl Grey tea, hot”


#23

Add another user here that is very disappointed in this announcement. I don’t run a company but am a propmaker/hobbyist and will be paying off my Form 2 long after support has ended.

After having been very apprehensive on entering the realm of SLA, having read all the problems associated with it, compared with the laboring workhorse nature of FDM in the Ultimaker machines which I have used for several years (to results that often come close to competing with SLA), I was just barely convinced by the reseller that it would be a sound investment for my activities.

Formlabs’ support has for the most part been great, and has been the only thing that has kept me from demanding to return/refund my Form 2 in what has been 10 months of (expensive) tinkering and experimenting that so far have yielded precious few usable results. Yes, there is a learning curve and yes, this is still a new(-ish) technology, but as of yet the hardware has not (yet) done for me ‘what it says on the tin’.

Naturally, Formlabs have to make money to survive, but with tens of thousands of machines sold, and more to sell, there must surely be enough of a market to supply parts and service machines for more than just two more years!

I have sent them a long letter voicing my concern.

Hopefully, if enough customers let them know, they will reevaluate and extend the lifespan.


#24

HI JoatrashFX, I have been following your thread where you complained about the major wrapping. It is closed now so I have no choice to reply you here.

First of all, did you managed to solve that problem? I’m asking because I ran into the same problem recently and I suspect it’s because the pulling force on the first few layers. Measurements showed good precision on the layers printed later.

Since I’m replying you in this thread, I should also say, yes, I agree with your opinion that the printers are very disappointing. I’m an engineer and I am seeing results from the form 2 being worse than a Prusa maker, because of the wrapping.


#26

After en exhaustive testing period, using my machine, another one here locally and one at Formlabs, we concluded that the warping was due to limitations in the Tough resin. It simply isn’t capable of doing what I needed it to do, so I switched to Grey Pro which has been great so far (albeit expensive since it takes out resin tanks faster than Rambo kills his enemies)!


#27

Have you tried the LT resin tanks?


#28

Well, that’s disappointing, they shouldn’t release such material without better testing it. I am actually trying to hollow the parts and give them 2mm walls to see if the problem can be solved. Have you tried this? I really hope that would work considering the fact that I still have 2 tanks left…


#29

Grey Pro demands LT tanks- you can’t use regular ones with it. The LT tanks only last for around 3, maybe 4 liters (the official number is 1-2 liters).

I’m sure the Tough material is great for some things, just not for the stuff I do. Printing thicker parts is a good idea. Thin parts in Tough will warp. As will longer parts. If you’re printing ‘organic’ shapes the warping will not be as much of an issue, but if you need great dimensional accuracy, it’s a problem.


#30

WELL NOW I KNOW what the Form 1 users felt after the Form 2 was introduced.


#31

But I still have my GlowForge Plus that I can use with my FL2 .


#32

Just a quick update, I tried to change all my designs to “2mm shell” structures, with necessary support on the inside of course and the results were way better. Not perfect but the edge curving have been reduced to a satisfied degree.


#33

they shouldn’t release such material without better testing it.

Formlabs does do a lot of print testing internally before releasing a resin, and an ongoing sort of testing in the continuous production of sample parts in all the resins for prospective customers. Each resin has quirks, though, so a resin that’s proven good enough on whatever metrics are deemed important to make it worth making/selling/buying won’t necessarily be able to do the exact same thing as a resin developed for a different family of applications. At the limits of each resin’s capabilities, the only way to figure out whether a print will work is to try it.

I tried to change all my designs to “2mm shell” structures, with necessary support on the inside of course and the results were way better. Not perfect but the edge curving have been reduced to a satisfied degree.

I’m glad to hear that worked well enough for you!


#34

Agreed, I am new to Formlabs and was thinking of buying a Form 3 but looking at how quickly they cut support for the Form 2 consumables. I’m concerned I’ll be buying something for over 3k that will be unusable in no time.


#35

You still have 2 years for the form 2. There are already 3rd party tanks and other solutions available and the cartridge is the same as the form 3. So you don’t have to expect too much difficulty keeping the machine operating.

There are still plenty of form 1 &1+ in use so I don’t expect issues for at least 5 years.


#36

You still have 2 years for the form 2.
I doubt the Form 2 has more than a year in it. If it’s anything like the Form 1+, it will be done 1 year after the original announcement of the Form 2 demise. After that they will sell off their supplies inventory, and that will be that.

There are already 3rd party tanks and other solutions available
I don’t know of any 3rd party resin tanks. I know there are a few vendors that 'recondition" existing, used tanks by cleaning them and replacing the PDMS, but if you want a new tank, Formlabs is the only source I know of. if you know of a source, please let us know.

There are still plenty of form 1 &1+
Yes, and the only reason that is, is becuase these were open systems and did not have all the lock down features like RFIDs and such. Also there were a few Formlabs clones out there like the Moai that used the similar tanks.

I don’t expect issues for at least 5 years.
Yeah, that’s extremely wishful thinking. Where do you propose to by parts if you need repairs? Formlabs has always refused to sell certain parts, and if they stop offering repairs, and they will, like they did with the Form 1, then you SOL.


#37

This comes from an official statement from Formlabs. They will keep stock of parts and consumables for 2 more years.

Reconditioned tanks indeed. There are many tanks around and reconditioning is a pretty smart move as it saves a lot of costs.

Form 1 and 1+ were not open systems before. Only when OpenFL was released(during phasing out of the Form 1’s) they allowed people to change settings. Formlabs has responded before that this is an option they’re exploring.

With more than 50.000 form 2’s world wide, there will be people collecting old printers and selling the parts separate or making new ones. It’s no rocket science.

That all being said… In 5 years, we probably won’t use our form 2’s anyway. 3D printing technology is going so fast that they will be old and slow by then and most users will have replaced them already. I’m not worried in any way and I’m sure Formlabs will find a solution.


#38

You certainly have a much rosier outlook than a lot of us do.

Anyway, if the statement from Formlabs makes sleep well at night, than by all means go with it.

A lot of the users of the form 2 are industrial, dental and such. Those are the users that will not bother reconditioning their tanks. They’ll want to buy new ones and that’s it. Formlabs tanks don’t last forever. From personal experience I can tell you you can recondition a tank about 4-6 times. After that it simply begins to deteriorate.

When I referred to an Open system I wasn’t referring to the software, rather the fact that it did not have a bunch of features designed to prevent 3rd party manufacturers from manufacturing aftermarket products. That is the whole purpose of the RFIDs in the tanks and the cartridge. This is also the reason why there are no after market tanks and cartridge based resins.

As I said above, the bulk of these printers were bought by companies that will not be bothered with trying to salvage parts from the printer once it’s decommissioned, they’ll simply toss it or recycle it and that will be the end of it. Parts will be come impossible to find.