Top down form 3

I would like for the next Form-labs printer to be designed without the tray and top down design.
There is a video out there on you tube of an individual who made one and I think it could be done.
Needs to be bigger part size than the one in the video.

Thanks, B.

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could you find this video? im interested to see how it would work

One of the biggest issues with the top down approach, is the amount of resin needed to fill a tank the volume of the build area. If the printer had the identical build volume as the Form 2, it would take 3.67 liters of resin to fill it. So if that was Formlabs Castable resin, it would take $1100 in resin just to fill it up. Imagine how much fun changing the resin would be! And of course, I would like to see a larger build volume next model - 220x220x220mm would be great (or bigger). But then it would take 10.68 liters of resin to fill up (which would be $3,193 in Castable resin)!

What makes most sense to me is to either license Carbon’s CLIP patent (up to 100x faster), or develop a similar novel solution that allows continuous printing, eliminates clouding and the peel forces. The only real difference in technology from the current Form 2 would be an oxygen-permeable window in the build tray.


Yes, I am sure it has it’s own set of challenges and I am familiar with carbon’s printer. Carbon looks unavailable to consumers and is wildly expensive.
You pay for resin no matter what printer you use. Add up your cost over time and I bet it is close not to mention all the wasted resin on build structures currently.
Like many people with 3D printers it is hard to get over the cost of materials, If I could use salt water and urine to print with that would be great but I guess unrealistic.

Just a thought., B.

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@Cobaltred, large professional SLA printers work as the video showed and have giant vats, many gallons of resin. You are correct that you don’t use any more resin per part, you just have to fill the vat. The biggest advantage to the top down approach is that the part is supported from the bottom. You can buy a top down SLA today if you really need one but it won’t be an the Pro-sumer price range.

Thanks for the visual on your unique new printing materials. I will now look at an unclean urinals with an additive build process in mind.


I think this ship has sailed. Formlabs undoubtedly had the top down vs bottom up discussion at length many years ago. To go to top down would basically mean starting from scratch. Additionally, we have no reason to believe that Formlabs resins would function with the top down process. The Formlabs printers are good, but they aren’t novel, their important IP lies with their materials. If the materials work with both processes maybe someday FL will offer a parallel top down product line, but to convert for the Form3 would be a massive waste of their development of bottom up.

If you want a good top down DLP that is actually able to rival CLIP printing speeds (geometry dependent) check out Gizmo 3D. Their printers are less polished looking than the Form1/+/2 but they perform well.

Between beta machines and indigogo production I have no idea what lead time on a Gizmo3D printer is but I guarantee you will get one sooner than a top down product from FL. =]

I most certainly do not think I am proposing anything that has not already been considered by all and even done.
I know the ideal printer is in everybody’s vision and it seems so close, yet so far away.
For now quiet happy printing almost anything I can design in CAD or sculpt in Z Brush then print on the Form 2.
Someone make a cheaper resin.
Thanks, B.

I have an idea to form 3 up and down.
I do not know where to send the file to the project.
If there is interest.
Best regards

That is not an issue for professional use as most tend to sell it in 10 litre and never 1 litre cartridge. Because most professional machines tend to have 10 litre tank and will tend to use up less than a year (if not within few months).

There are several quality build reasons to use top down design, where the build platform move downwards (instead of moving up) during printing.

And I don’t think people who own a Professional SLA machine will replace a current Formlab’s machine even if the resin cost is half as much compared to the Pros like Somos bluestone, Accura ClearVue & etc. This is due to build quality like supports location & more flexible build orientations.

Carbon is specifically aimed at professional users not enthusiast machines such as the Form2.

It’s priced that way, but it doesn’t need to be.

Agree, but their Carbon M1 machine price is very competitive in the Professional world (far quicker too) i.e. far cheaper than Stratasys Fortus SLA machines.

If you want fast SLA print look for “desktop DLP” e.g. Nexa3d, Gizmo, Moonray, Morpheus & etc. Not as fast as Carbon, because they use proprietary technology, but these DLP are still faster than Formalbs.

I totally agree with those expressing sentiment towards CLIP approach. Which basically means different coating for the build tank and continuous exposure. I do think there’s where the biggest improvements to the SLA can be made atm.
And this approach is not exclusive to CLIP. Envisiontec already unveiled their next-gen printers. There are also this guys:

I hinted to them about that. Their resins would have be really thin to work well with this type of system but I think it would be far easier in a production sense not to have to fuss with pdms layers.
Most the top downs are dlp now from what I was looking at. Their laser and galvo system might be slower but I think it servers to have a larger build volume with out sacrificing detail.

Sounds like there’s different ways of achieving that kind of technique, if Formlabs can develop a way of doing it that doesn’t infringe on one of the other’s patents then that would be great. Increases speed and quality