Vs. the B9Creator

It came up in another thread that some people were weighing the B9C vs. the Form1 as a place to spend your hard earned cash.  I considered it too and ended up pretty far on the Form1 side of the fence, but I’m curious what criteria others judged by.

The B9C is interesting, but there does seem to be some real downsides (aside from the size of it and that it looks like something I’d make in the garage myself ;-). The Form1 is using a laser galvonometer setup, so they’re able to plot two endpoints on a ‘line’ drawn with the laser. The upside is that while the position of the points is limited to the resolution of the DAC and positional accuracy of the scanners, the line that is drawn between the two points has the potential to be essentially ‘analog’-- it’s basically free of ‘resolution’ limits as the mirror sweeps to a new position. (So the endpoints of a line in a slice are subject to the units positioning resolution, but the sweep of the beam between them is effectively infinitely smooth.  That’s *if* they’re plotting endpoints and letting the galvos slew to the new position.  They may be running the DACs in more of an absolute deflection mode (taking each ‘step’ one ‘pixel’ at a time), but if they leave the laser on the mirrors still move and ‘sweep’ the beam, so you still get an anti-aliasing type effect from that.  Either way, it still seems like it would give superior performance vs. a pixel based exposure from a DLP projector.)

The B9C is using a commercial projector focused in a rectangular area for activation of the resin, so if it supported an HD projector (1920x1080) and you want 50 micron resolution along the X and Y axis… 50 microns = 0.00196850394 inches… So 1920 x 0.00196850394 = 3.77" and 1080 x 0.00196850394 = 2.12". That’s a pretty small build envelope compared to the Form1 (4.9" x 4.9"). With the specs on their webpage, they claim only a 2.02" x 1.51" envelope at 50 microns now-- so that would work out to be a 1024x768 (XGA) resolution projector.

One neat thing is that the B9C could expose an entire slice at once which is pretty cool, so it might be able to print faster.

Comparing the B9C’s usable build space with a 50 micron ‘pixel’ resolution (1024x768 projector) it covers ~3 square inches vs. the Form1’s ~24 sq/in. That really puts them in different classes for the kind of things I want to do. If you just want to make little pieces (like jewelry) the 2"x 1.5" working size might not be a big deal, but it kills it for me…  Put another way, the B9C needs to be at least 8x faster than the Form1 for me, because I can array muliple parts in the Form1’s envelope and print all at once vs. needing to make multiple prints with the B9C.  Which is better likely depends entirely on what you plan on using it for…

One thing I am curious about on the Form1 is what it’s “limited” by. If I were to wager a guess, I’d assume that they’re using a 12bit DAC (or ~12 bits of usable resolution anyway) for the scanners-- so that gives them positioning accuracy that’s presumably 4.9" / 4096 = 0.00122", which is really close to 30 microns. Judging by the pictures in Bunnie’s teardown, it just looks like they have off the shelf Chinese sourced galvos and deflection amps. I wonder if there would be performance gains to be had by upgrading the scanners (say, to faster/higher precision Cambridge Tech galvos and drivers) and some optics on the laser to focus to a tighter spot (and/or higher output to pump out the same amount of UV per unit area given a faster scanning rate). Alas, there’d likely need to be firmware changes made to take advantage of it (so probably nothing we could “DIY” hack), but you can see where a Form2 might be achievable with a similar architecture and just more expensive components.

Anyway, the B9C seemed to me to be at a real disadvantage for working envelope at similar resolutions and the size and “hacky-ness” of the machine really turned me off given the price point (higher than the Kickstarter priced Form1 I decided to go with).  I might need to try their resin, though. :wink:

in the end, just stick with what you bought. :)  Form2? oh god… let’s not talk about that xD

Clay - that is an excellent mathematical analysis but the physics of UV bouncing/diffusing in the photopolymer makes the drawing a fine line at the 50-20 micron range equal in both machines.  If the LASER and galvos and deflection amps were tweaked and you had access to the dwell and intensity settings then the Form1 could be dialed in…

I have both the Form1 and B9Creator and have done quite a bit of a comparison/hacking between the two (will do a write up in a bit when I get my 3rd photopolymer 3DP and the time)

Keep in mind I’m a bit biased coming from using professional FDM equipment (+8 years) and find photopolymers extremely messy and difficult to use but the results are of a much higher surface resolution (not as strong or useful depending on application)

I find that in general, the photopolymer 3D Printed object’s quality are the same though -

The Form1 is polished - much like an apple - where the result is predictable with no freedom to “hang one’s self” while providing a useful tool for exploring what you created in the computer.

The B9Creator is more desirable/usable if one is into working outside the “box”, free from the manufactures constraints with the ability to really mess up, but it’s that flexibility and freedom that gives it an edge - IMO.

So like every other 3D Printer there is a place for each one (which is why I got both) and am expecting a delivery soon of the mVUe_1 (which will have even more knobs to twiddle…)

Best regards,


John (jay) H. Morewood
Owner / CTO / Rapid Prototyping Engineer
+1 408.839.4252

Looking at the B9 yesterday I found that video to replace the vat silicon:

What strikes me is they are taking about replacing the coating every 5/20 prints (50c~few bucks cost per print) around 8m30 in the video…

Does anyone has a life expectancy for the Form1 vat coating as it seems very low?

I didn’t understood the vat was a such a high frequency consumable item, so hopefully the form1 vat is more resistant.


It’s a matter of 3DP quality - you can get more 3DP parts, but each time the 3D part is “pulled” off the PDMS layer there is a cavitation which puts a tiny pit in the surface and over time causes the LASER beam to de-collimate / diffuse degrading the quality of the 3DP part.

Best regards,


John (jay) H. Morewood
Owner / CTO / Rapid Prototyping Engineer
+1 408.839.4252


great insight, so you think the slice process used by the b9 is more destructive for the PDMS than the peel process in the Form1?

Also I still feel there is limitations introduced by Preform, I’ve seen a lot of complex geometries printed on the B9 like:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7xDdjeCw5g   (Source John Hart rapid prototyping page: http://www.georgehart.com/rp/rp.html)

But I’ve yet to see one of these prints with a form1. My own try ended-up in a mess (but I may have reduced the model too much).

The fact that I get large ‘red areas’ anytime I try to load one of these model is not very encouraging.

So do you think these complex geometries limitations are soft related or hardware?


I think the slice process of the b9 is not necessarily more destructive for the PDMS than the peel process in the Form1…  The way the sliding VAT clears the PDMS off resin and oxygenates it for the next print layer doesn’t degrade the VAT where the light shines through…  PDMS of the b9 is easily replacable.  I don’t have my form1 printer yet so don’t know how it really works but from what John described, "each time the 3D part is “pulled” off the (FORM1) PDMS layer there is a cavitation which puts a tiny pit in the surface and over time causes the (FORM1) LASER beam to de-collimate / diffuse degrading the quality of the 3DP part…   It is certainly cheaper to replace and obtain a new surface of the PDMS layer after a few prints than trying to replace the entire VAT after its surface has degraded from the peeling process.

Hi All,

I’ll reiterate that for both the Form1 and B9Creator, the process of peeling the 3DP part from the PDMS each time creates tiny pits through cavitation which over time causes the LASER beam to de-collimate / diffuse degrading the quality of the 3DP part.  This is highly variable based on the number and size of the build both processes do it (I do not have enough data on which process is optimal).

I have already replaced the PDMS on my 1st Form1 “Resin Vat” (gorilla testing can be a pain), and have done it a number of times on my B9 Creator - it’s no big deal - but there is a caveat - the PDMS ( SYLGARD 184 Silicone Elastomer) has a very short shelf life and is expensive so you need a number of “Resin Vats” ~5/10 to process at once to make it cost effective.

I use **componentsandmore21030 as my supplier off of eBay -


Best regards,


John (jay) H. Morewood
Owner / CTO / Rapid Prototyping Engineer
+1 408.839.4252

1 Like

Jay I’m not quite sure I understand what you meant by:

"The Form1 is polished - much like an apple - where the result is predictable with no freedom to “hang one’s self” while providing a useful tool for exploring what you created in the computer.

The B9Creator is more desirable/usable if one is into working outside the “box”, free from the manufactures constraints with the ability to really mess up, but it’s that flexibility and freedom that gives it an edge - IMO."
could you clarify for me please?
And what is a mVUe_1? I searched for it but couldnt find anything.


thanks for the kit reference, while the process is not complex, I’m still wondering how you make sure you have the right thickness of  PDMS at the bottom of the vat. I’ve not seen any Z calibration procedure in the documentation.


the difference between the B9 and the Form1 is like comparing a MAC computer to a self built PC with linux.

On one side you have a shiny polish piece of HW, with a perfect GUI and the user has no control on the details. Printing is (should be in the case of form1, Preform is still buggy…) as simple as clicking a single button.

On the other side, the box is bulky, raw performance are potentially the same or even better and you have to tweak everything. The soft and drivers (firmware in B9 case) are open source. You can change everything but before printing you have to setup 50 different parameters (or hope to find a shared profile build by a old timer) but you have control over everything. This is probably not for the faint of heart as you could destroy your printer if you ask it to do something radical.

What would be the best is to have the great form1 HW with some more config options/open protocol to let the user explore and create 3d printing feats…


Thanks Damien, I get it now, and while I’d be thrilled to have any printer at the moment I’m more decided on waiting for my form1 now. I like advanced control options but I dont want to have to get a second degree just to run one piece of equipment! Only printer that I have used is a Dimension and the software for it isnt much different from Preform.

One of the benefits of the DLP approach not mentioned in the op is there are no seams in closed loop geometries as there are in extrusion or laser curing machines. Also, the use of off-the-shelf projectors rather than custom galvo assy also means repairs are probably easier. Projectors are standalone mature products that have been tested to stay in calibration, and consumables (e.g. bulbs or led modules) are cheap and easy to source. OTOH if any part of the galvo assy fails or the laser dies, I wouldn’t expect that to be user serviceable. Setting aside lemons and shipping damage, we won’t know for a while until the the first production FORM 1s start developing failures, but it may be a huge problem for the users who are relying on it as business-critical equipment.

Since their print qualities seemed to be fairly similar, I chose to go with the FORM 1 because it seemed to be more like a turnkey solution. The nature of the B9C using open source slicers, arduino, the DLP projector, all seemed a little hacked together. But that could also be a selling point for users who want to easily hack or modify the mechanics of the machine. And certainly in the end printed results speak for themselves.

Jason I have to agree with most of what you said.  The B9C has advantages in that the spare parts should be more universally available and there are no problems opening it up to work on.  Having never owned anything with an apple logo in my life and I doubt I am going to start  at 52 LOL.  I have no issues with the appearance of the B9C, but I think for me the biggest issue I will have is the noise it makes when the tray is transported horizontally for the peel.

My machine will be in the next room to me when I am asleep and I heard a B9C running on some video which has taken some of the interest away for me.  I hear the Form1 is almost silent when it’s running which will be a major factor for me as many of my prints will be using the full height of the machine regularly meaning long runs.

We all have different needs and requirements from our printers (which is great) so we all make decisions on criteria others ignore or have no interest in.  While I still have a pre-order in the system for a form1, I am getting more and more interested in the B9C.  I will be getting a test piece printed soon to see how it works with my main product  of interest which is a 1/3 scale Spandau machime gun.  That’s a model by the way just in case the FBI are watching :slight_smile:


(PS - Yes I make my own PC’s as clone units.  Much easier to manage than any badged machine out there IMHO)

(Great comments from everyone-- I knew I wouldn’t be the only person weighing the pros and cons!)

As for replacement parts I guess it can go either way.  On the one hand, consumer projectors also have a pretty finite shelf-life which means eBay for a used one after a few years.  That’s not always a *bad* thing since they’re cheap enough.

As for the Form1’s galvo setup, it would not surprise me in the least if they end up just being ‘off the shelf’ scanners which are quite easily sourced.  (Case in point, eBay for ~$160 for more than you need: http://tinyurl.com/laaroy3 )   (Compare with Bunnie’s photo: ** http://bunniefoo.com/form1/f1td-elec-overview.jpg not necessarily *the* same setup, but clearly derivative!)**

The tricky bit being that you don’t really know what characteristics they were tuning for, so getting a replacement scanner dialed in might be tricky.  (On the other hand someone could probably unplug the Form1’s deflection and laser control outputs and connect it to a PC hosted DAC and see what it does with some ILDA test patterns and a piece of fluorescent green paper for a target-- then just figure out what scan rate it’s optimized for by changing the points per second from the DAC driver on the PC…)

I guess the exercise is somewhat academic for me since the working envelope and the size of the system pretty much ruled out the B9C in my case, but it’s interesting to consider the differences.  Now if the the B9C guys went with a custom made ‘projector’ using the DLP silicon and got the final object working area bigger and the system smaller (and got the price under the Form1’s) then things would get more interesting!

Weird.  I made bold text. I have no idea how I did that. :wink:

I just happened to come across a dual HD DLP printer kit called Ilios but its way out of my price range but solves the B9C build area issue. Only in kits and all open source which is enough to scare me off… I just want my Form 1!

@ John Morewood.

John, Since you have experimented with the B9 red resin in the Form 1… can you post some pictures of prints? I’m also thinking of getting some of the B9 resin to play with (or maybe mix some dyes with the clear resin).

Also, some people in the b9 forums were able to create their own Vats from acrylic and pour the PDMS layer in them. Since we have no idea when Form Labs would be offering parts for sale, it would be great if someone would beat them to it with additional Vats for sale :wink:


I myself Hiren From India. I have seen both the machine B9Creator and The Form1 and its impressive. so we are planning to buy a new machine.
we are a fresher in this field of 3D printing service. We have already purchased a Machine which is Asiga Pico 39+ and we are not getting expected output from the machines.

Our main purpose of the machine is in jewellery output, and we are facing a problem from Asiga pico 39+ is ,

In a Ring holes are not coming properly, some holes of the prong filled and some are visible.

And also in some output we are getting extra particals on the surface of jewelry outputs.

we have printed all the parts at 50 micron and we had also tried at 25 micron but still result is same.

so my question is can we use The Form1 and B9creator in jewellry?

If yes then do we have to face same problems in both the machine.

and final question is which machine should we go for The Form1 or B9 creator.

^ you’re asking that question on a Form1 forum? xDD  good luck… here’s a tip : Choose substance over style.  You already got ripped off buying the Asiga printer it seems… I was looking at their prices…  $350 for a 500ml bottle of resin?   A post-curing device with their company logo being sold for $500 which is actually aka nail UV Light box that can be bought for $20? =o  and whatever does “World’s First Pico 3D Printer” on their page even mean.

sorry for the asking this question on here but thing is that we are looking for machine which gives result better then Asiga.

And Derek, yes they are charging $350 for a 500-ml bottle of resin which is quite high. and their post curing device is actually a nail UV Light box, bought from a beauty shop for just $25.

My main concern is that we have seen some image samples of jewelry from B9C on their website, but with Form1 we haven’t seen yet.

And another thing is Form1 has large build are then B9C which is usefull for production.

so little confused for both the machine which one to buy or not…

so if you can help us choosing right product, already got ripped off buying Asiga…