I don’t see how a 2-year company started in a garage that was acquired for 0.6 billion dollars could be considered a failure. Makerbot may or may not acknowledge it, but I would bet a large driving development force was the open source community, who as you have mentioned fixed many flaws with their product. It seems that they turned on their core community when they decided to make everything proprietary - including community developed technology. Understandably their base was outraged.
I think to make it all work, have the OEM channels, get it to fit in a little slick box, quality assurance and supporting the product is no trivial task, and neither would be developing a PreForm clone. The firmware for the Form 1 is open source - has that led to flooding the market with clones? How different could the Form 2 firmware possibly be?
I keep saying this, but I am not an advocate for it to be forced upon the buyer. I am saying it would be great if the community could develop improvements. Short of that it could be a valuable add on. I’m not at all suggesting that it is standard equipment.
I respectfully disagree. It seems like the majority of people here are just looking for support for resins, for curing, for print support structures, vat issues, software, and support oriented discussions. Another large portion is people just sharing prints and printable accessories (like the resin combs).
We’re saying the same thing I think - people who are having an issue or who are looking to do something “outside the box” are the ones who participate in the forum the most.
I think we may differ in our assumption about what percentage of FL customers are represented by this group.
I have absolutely no data one way or the other, but it doesn’t feel like there are 1000s of active forum members here, maybe 100s. Highly active members can be counted in the low dozens. You, me, a handful of others are very active. That doesn’t seem like a lot of very active users. If FL has sold 5K printers, at best as a group the active forum members are just a couple of percent of the total user base. It feels to me like a significant majority of FL customers must not be forum members because they have nothing to ask/say - they must be happy with their printers as they are.
The ideas being discussed here all have merit. But if my assumption above is right, the owners looking for these kinds of features are not a very large proportion of the user base. Most users (judging by my admittedly subjective and unsubstantiated opinion that there aren’t a huge number of forum users compared to printers sold) don’t need or want these things, because they’re not on the forum clamoring for them. That’s the demographic FL is targeting, not guys like us. And that’s why FL isn’t jumping all over these ideas.
I’d like to be able to use a Cartridge, the Wiper and Heater with any random resin I’d care to use. There is no technical reason why FL can’t support these things. But their stated business reasons for not offering these capabilities are understandable to me so I suffer in silence.
Randy, you are likely correct… as far as your perspective is concerned.
I am not one of those people. I want a machine that reproduces what I want, when I want… period.
This is a tool. Not an experiment, or hobby. So, as far as many of the topics on this forum, I’m only interested as far as they effect the productivity of the machine.
The first thing that any of us wants are parts… on demand.
Beyond that, there is this forum, which adds to their knowledge. But to think that the bulk of what is written here, should be adopted by FL is silly. FL will direct themselves as they see fit, or as they need to… and do so, to perpetuate themselves (which if they didn’t exist, means you couldn’t complain in the first place). We are going to do things with their machine that are miraculous… even in their eyes.
Thanks SchemeInc , I completely agree with you, I’ve been running 2 , 4axis mills for 15 years to produce custom jewelry, after using this Form 2 for 3 weeks, a dozen or so prints, I feel like I’m coming out of the stone age.
This machine is just another tool in my tool box, a darn good tool but a tool none the less. If I spend 30 or 40 hours drawing a piece for a client the last thing I want is to have an issue or question or a problem with a tool that’s going to produce the model for me, I’m already going to have plenty of those …problems, in producing a finished piece of jewelry.
FL has created a excellent product for me, I’m a goldsmith not a computer engineer I know my way around a CAD program but only enough to make the piece of jewelry that I’m dreaming of. I like to understand how the machine works , but usually only within the parameters set forth by the manufacturers of the machine,
I certainly get some insights from reading the forums, the forums are very important and I have the utmost respect and gratitude for the folks who bring this technology to a guy like myself, the impact it has on my business is incalculable.
I’ve looked the 3D printer business over quite a bit for a long time and I chose Form Labs for a number of reasons, their product and support has already far exceeded my expectations , we’ll see how it works over long period of time because I’m going to work this machine. Thank you all for sharing!
You are making a number of assumptions. Just because these imaginary users might not be discussing ideas here could be because they stopped using the printer for any number of reasons; it does not automatically mean they are all happy. Even if they are all happy, it doesn’t mean they couldn’t be happier. Also, based on the number of times links get clicked on, I am fairly certain there are more lurkers than there are users expressing their views here. I know from experience too, that for every one person asks for something, there are 50-100 more who would like the same thing if offered.
I have also stated that by being a offering a proprietary platform, FL’s has actively excluded the tinkerer and hobbyist demographic by design. I would bet that if they opened up even just the firmware, we would see more active users and more discussion of tweaks and improvements.
In any event, we all know that the product is not perfect and like most products there is room for improvement. All I am arguing for is to make the firmware open source so that those that want to are free to improve their equipment.
If they were open at all, then without any extra work they would also be targeting more broad demographics.
I think you hit the nail on the head the real reason why they exhibit such tight control. They want to do everything practically possible to essentially force customers into using their resin ecosystem. To me that is greedy, and not the way to treat customers. I mean - I just don’t buy their reasons why the heater has to be disabled for 3rd party resin for instance. I also have a hard time believing there are any major source of resins out there that would splash out of the tank if the wiper was used do to extreme viscosity differences.
Me too, though, I am wiling to invest time into making my machine more productive.
If the firmware was open source, it would not adversely affect users that don’t want to improve their machines. But all it would take is one user that was interested in adding CLIP capabilities to the Form 2, making the printer up to 30 times faster (yes, thirty-fold), eliminate the substantial limitations and problems the peel force process inherently has and enabling up to 1 micron layers.
So if someone put in the work, tested and validated a CLIP vat and firmware, you wouldn’t be at all interested in those features?
If Formlabs wasn’t interested in ideas being discussed, why do you think they have dedicated a “Feature Requests & Ideas” section of this forum?
As it turns out, the forum tells us how many users there are - 4100. There are also many other interesting data points, how many posts each user has started, replies they’ve made, etc… But we still don’t know how many printers FL has sold so there’s not a whole lot new to debate…
I did find it curious that a significant number of forum members have never visited the forum and the vast majority have less than 10 posts. Maybe FL had to reset user stats at some point as part of a software update or something…
The biggest thing about the Formlabs printer compared to other is that they’ve done the most testing I’ve seen in any printer. You might find other SLA printers that are cheaper, but I haven’t seen any that give good results right out of the box. And I think that’s partly because they’ve kept things so controlled. Sure, you could possibly get cheaper resins to work well if you messed with it, but I don’t want to spend a bunch of time experimenting with settings and resin mixes.
Thats why in large part FL could still charge a premium for their resins even if they loosened some proprietaries - that and the only resins they would provide support for is their own resins.
That said, I am getting excellent results with MakerJuice WaxCast (I am primarily only interested in castable resins). It is more challenging to print with, but I believe that is just due to its much weaker strength properties. The same challenges would apply to when using FLs’ castable resin.