What would you choose as a printer for private use?


#1

With the experience of having use a Form1/1+/2 machine, considering the price and ecosystem associated with it, would you buy a Formlabs machine for personnal/hobby use ? Would you buy another SLA/resin machine or an FDM one ?

I would love to know the views of this amazing little community we have here, before looking for answers from a broader audience :slight_smile:

A little unnecessary background : I am contemplating the idea of buying a printer for myself. Use-cases would be numerous… I’ve been tinkering with RC planes/gliders since I was a child and would love to get back into it seriously, with the added power of 3D printing which I didn’t have at the time. Home improvement/repairs would be a thing. There are interesting projects/ideas having to do with 3D printed parts in aquariums (saltwater). I have a few friends who are into tabletop roleplaying so obviously I could lend a hand there.
I would also like to start experimenting with polymer and aluminium casting, and eventually plastics injection moulding, out of pure personal interest at first but also to build up experience in industrial prototyping processes (I’m a mechanical engineer, product designer by force of circumstances). In that regard a printer would be usefull to print masters or molds.


#2

It all depends on what your intended use is. If it’s to be basic “around the house” type stuff then a filament printer will work OK. But if you’re trying to do quality finished pieces possibly in scale then an SLA printer like the Form 2 is called for.


#3

I use it for hobby stuff, but my main target is high detail, so if you want something for things that don’t need much detail and need to be more functional then it’s an expensive printer for that purpose and an FDM printer would be better.


#4

I agree with that, which is why I’m considering other resin offering, like Peopoly’s Moai (Laser SLA, 130x130x180 with FEP vats and open source design, ~1300 bucks) or Anicubic Photon (LCD, 115x65x155, 500 bucks) or the upcoming LCD resin printer from Prusa, the SL1 (120×68×150, sensors and auto calibration à la Form 2, about 1000€ for the printer or 1600€ for printer + washing/curing machine).

I’m reluctant to buy an FDM machine, I consider SLA resin to be pretty functional if chosen and used wisely (speaking about Tough, Durable and Rigid offerings from Formlabs, but there are other equivalents) and value the isotropic mechanical properties way more than being able to use “real” plastics to create laminated, highly anisotropic parts.

I imagine none of these printers were available when you bought Formlabs hardware, given that you have been active here since 2015… still, have you kept up to date with the latest releases ? I’m pretty impressed by the community over on Peopoly’s forums (Moai maker) and the openness of the printer hardware and software-wise is tempting for experimenting with exotic stuff…

@Walter_Gillespie thanks for the input ! This does confirm my thoughts, and at this point I would only consider an FDM machine if I had no other choice price-wise I think.


#5

One of the things with SLA though is that the resin is much more expensive than FDM machines, so if you’re making large stuff that’s not detailed, it’s not very economical. The parts can be pretty durable too. You can certainly do that kind of thing with the Form2, but it’s more than necessary.

As far as other SLA printers go, I haven’t seen any as good as Form2, the laser is a big advantage since that effectively eliminates any jagged edges on the x/y axis. It can also print a fairly good sized object without sacrificing detail. Another main thing for me was how easy it is to use, other printers don’t go through enough testing to get their material settings right and I don’t want to be spending a bunch of time experimenting. Form2 is designed to be usable out of the box without building anything or experimenting.


#6

You might want to look at the Phrozen Transform- due to come out in summer this year.

Its an LCD projector type- but uses a better optics system than most that results in faster printing,
And has an 18" Z height and 13" long bed- tho only 6" front to back.

Its not a daylight printer as I understand it- so it can use most UV resins.
Though it does not have any of the automatic features like resin dispensing and sensing that the Form 2 has.

If large print volume is not a requirement- at present i would not even consider any Printer other than the Form 2- the form 1 you could get cheap- but it is obsolete and only going to become more problematic in consumables availability.
If going for a filament printer- do NOT go cheap- buy something like the Raise3D with a temperature controlled enclosure and dual heads that Retract so that you can print both support materials and hard in the same print- print really large items that take more than one standard spool- or mix different filaments in a single print.
the enclosure nets better results and the ability to get good prints using ABS and other filaments that need to stay hot as the part gets built.


#7

Well I would never go back to FDM, well almost never. Might try DLP since the newer 4K projectors are out.


#8

The Phrozen is a 4K machine.

However- be aware that you need a 4K graphics card to run DLPs at 4K.