The Future of the Form 1+


#23

it is quite probable that Formlabs will release the Form3 in the next 18 months and within two years after that the service for the Form2 will be phased out.
What do you expect?? This is what I expect:

  1. A innovative product
  2. Very competitive pricing
  3. A company dedicated to quality

so by logic
-1. New models will come out every two years or so. Anything with a longer cycle will be getting old. They have probably been working on the Form3 since 2016, probably conceptially before the Form2 was even sold.
-2. A highly competitive company can ill afford to keep spares of old products for several years. There will be service spares but even Formlabs will have difficulty saying how long they could sevice for.
-3. To ensure enduring quality, it is imperative that new and better things be looked into, and other methods abandoned.

Considering availabilty of third party trays and material, unless there is a catastrophic issue with a Form1 then users should have no supply problems in the next three years. Formlabs printers are aimed at commercial users and if your 4k investment doesn’t amortisize in 3 years then you are doing something else wrong or your has a hobby value


#24

How about a company dedicated to their customers?

If you just purchased a Form 1 just two weeks ago as @Tr0w did , would you still be supportive about this announcement?


#25

Did you read the opening post? They will keep stock for consumables.

Many here are not reading. You will get support as long as you have warranty, consumables stay to be available… Only change is that the bottle will be a container.

There are many other suppliers for resin which work fine on the F1+ and you can already buy trays on aliexpress.

@3DTOPO how about a company that needs to stay alive in a fast changing world. They will support as long as it’s viable and realistic. FL already opened access through OpenFL and what is happening now is a pretty logic step.


#26

Yeah - specifically it states “for as long as we reasonably can”. That doesn’t exactly sound reassuring to me, especially for customers that very recently purchased a unit.

Umm, I am pretty sure they make a profit off every Form 1 part they sell. As long as there is demand, they should continue to sell them. If they sell less of them, and their cost increases, then they could transfer the cost to the customer.


#27

I think it is a good idea to simplify the product line, especially by discontinuing products that may result in a negative image for the technology or the company.
I also think it is a good idea to invest more time in public relations on how to communicate it to your customers.

I think Form 2 is a huge improvement over Form 1+, especially the tank.
I hope you come up with further reducing the “messiness” and especially the “smell” issues in the Form 3, and I will gladly pay the upgrade fee.


#28

I have saved a lot of money for buying a Form 1+, I use it as a hobby, I don’t have a bussiness about 3D printing…
I can’t save 4000€ to buy a Form 2 printer, plus resins and resin tanks… So, in a couple of years we will only have a very expensive paperweight?
Not everybody can afford a Form 2.
We have to start testing 3rd party resins and 3rd party resin tank cleaning…


#29

The build platform lasts for ages, resin tanks are sold elsewhere as well. Stock will certainly not dry up within a year and if there is sufficient demand: these tanks are easily cut with a lasercutter and you’re done. I’m sure someone will sell these when it becomes interesting to do so. Resin is and stays available… 3rd party as well. As machines are sold very recently, they will have to keep stock of parts for at least a year. That’s a very long time in the 3D printing world.

I understand all the emotion, rationally thinking, I don’t see the problem, sorry.

So as long as you keep buying consumables and they keep making profit, they will keep stock and there should be no reason not to keep selling it.

I suppose you don’t have a smartphone either? Or a Flatscreen? High end versions are similarly priced and are not supported forever. In a couple of years, there are way better machines for half the price making it more interesting to buy that machine than to use old tech and buying expensive consumables.

Again, the beauty of the F1/F1+ is that it’s made from standard, generally available materials. You will be able to find replacements when FL stock dries up. It’s much more challenging for F2 users when than product becomes obsolete.

There are already parts on thingiverse: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1203311
And aliexpress. CTC riverside is an exact clone of the F1+.


#30

FL is not General Electric or Ford.
It’s a smidgen better than a start up…

So it’s still evolving. Obsolescence is not just reasonable is obvious.

To believe that your FL 1 or 2 will be supported for years to come is foolish. Like voting for a president who plainly lies but tells you to believe me.

I never expected the FL2 to last more than 2-3 years.

.


#31

Seriously?
What kind of elitist bullshit is that? You might well be in a position to change your toys every year or two, but I’ll bet you’re in the minority.

My phone doesn’t cost $3000, it’s only $99 or less because it’s subsidized by the carrier, and the reason I did buy a high end TV 3 years ago was because I didn’t want to have to buy another one for 6 or 7 years.

When I spend my hard earned money for a product, I do so with expectation that I can use it for years to come, even if it’s no longer the latest and greatest.

I too bought my Firm 1 a little over a year ago, and it took a while for me to justify the cost, since I’m only using it for a hobby. But I figured I’m buying something that will last for years. Little did I know…

Anyway you also mentioned you can buy parts for the Form 1 which are easily available. Let me know where I can buy the laser and galvos with mirrors attached. And see if you can find any instructions or general specifications on adjusting the laser while you’re at it.


#32

I can understand the printer being discontinued, but it’s important that people get a firm commitment to how long they can get things like resin, it’s fully within Formlabs control in how long that is.


#33

They are not clear about that, and they leave me with the impression that they will not be replenishing stock for the Form 1+.

They were selling the Form 1+ new from their own site until just recently. I bought one (though Amazon) with the reasonable expectation that my expensive new printer would be supported for a reasonable length of time. There was no warning from them about discontinuation of support.

If there had been a warning, I would have just bought a CTC Riverside. Instead I bought a Formlabs printer because I wanted to have support.

What I want from Formlabs at this point is some assurance that they are not throwing me under the bus, now that they have my money.

I think Formlabs needs to commit to supporting their Form 1+ customers by maintaining stocks of build platforms, resin tanks, resin, software updates and new resin profiles whenever technically possible. I think for at least another 3 years would be reasonable.


#34

“elitist” of course. an FL is an elitist product NOW.
if you CAN’T afford to repair the Rolls you shouldn’t have bought it.

In few decades when we all have 3D printers like now we all have flat screens and color laser printers, it will THEN be different; because FL will have been purchased by HP. HP 3D laser printers will cost a few hundred bucks.

But NOW is not THEN; if you are spending money on FL printers that should be going to healthcare premiums you are crazy.


#35

I really like my F1+, and think you will be very happy with yours (especially if you keep it in a very clean dust-free environment, etc. I also have a F2, and am purchasing a second F2 (even though I am confident that it will soon be dated by a newer version). Just get to know your printer well, ask questions, and you will be continue to be happy like the rest of us.


#36

A Form printer is not a Rolls Royce nor is it a Yugo. I can afford to repair my printer without dipping into my healthcare premiums. My issue with this decision is based on repair parts potentially not being available coupled with FL potentially not calibrating printers in 2 years, I may have an issue. Please note, I know FL didn’t say they would stop calibrating the Form 1 series printers. But with the statement, as long as they are able, there is a finite amount of time we are dealing with. The how long is what I would like to know.

I have had 3 Form 1+ printers fail in a year and a half (give or take a few months) My printer is at repair now out of warranty. One definitely had a bad laser and I am waiting on the diagnosis for this printers failed components. It is most likely another laser failure based upon conversations with support.

Someone will make aftermarket parts to repair your Rolls Royce. Who is going to be building lasers keeping me printing after FL stops stocking them? Stepper motors are available as well as most of the boards components. Who will calibrate our printers after we install said aftermarket laser module that currently doesn’t exist?

@Tr0w, I print a lot and love my 1+. You will love your printer. You are not being thrown under the bus. Support is excellent and they will not leave you hanging. I think it is more unfortunate timing in the announcement to your purchase date.


#37

I’m glad to hear that.
I have to say that I really love the quality of prints that I am getting now.

My old CTC Makerbot clone has it’s uses, but the Form 1+ is a quantum leap for me, now I can really refine my work.

I hope to keep my printer running for a long time.


#38

Thanks, that’s good to hear.

You have had 3 printers fail in a year?
You say you print a lot. If you don’t mind me asking, how much is a lot?

How much resin do you use in a month? Do you run multiple printers? Just trying to get an idea about the reliability you have experienced.


#39

If I’m not mistaken then these are standard blueray diodes. We know the rough specs, milliwatts, wavelength, dimensions. I have these same lasers bought on ebay. Or you can buy them elsewhere(thorlabs maybe?).

Calibration is no rocket science. You guys have OpenFL for the form 1+, allowing to modify a lot of setttings. There are plenty of experienced(and/or professional) users here to support if FL can’t do it anymore.


#40

Unfortunately, OpenFL has nothing directly to do with the laser calibration. The calibration table is stored in each printer and would need to be updated when the laser is changed. I am sure I can source the parts and build a replacement. But I can not calibrate the machine rendering my replacement laser useless.

I wonder if I could write to the laser table, I never thought about it before now. Hummm. Now I just have to get my printer back so I can look at it more in depth.

The more I think about it, the galvo scaling is in there as well…


#41

Certainly? How are you so sure of that when FL themselves won’t provide a date or even an estimate?

That isn’t how I interpreted their announcement. It sounds like to me it is being phased out and when their inventory is gone thats all there will be.

Why is that foolish? I can still order replacement parts for my Ultimaker Beta that I purchased 5 years ago.

If they don’t plan on supporting their product after a period of time, they should at least be up front about it.


#42

They have to support users that just bought the machine. As warranty outside of europe is 1 year, parts should be available for at least one year, otherwise they cannot honor this full period.