What's out there and the Form 1+ in comparison, as well as general improvements and ideas

I’ve been working with the form 1+ for over 5 months now and it was a hard road. I’m not going to list the problems because most of us know them, some lucky ones before other not so lucky ones after the fact.

The machine has a built in failure point and I don’t know who “invented” that specific technology but I am talking about the peeling action. While it seems clever to use a silicone based bottom layer (as silicone is known to not adhere to anything) it is the most critical part of the machine. So the peeling action really will have to go especially since other companies keep moving on quickly and all Formlabs has done within the last 6 months (apart from improving the already great software) is coming up with castable resin and flexible resin and a 200micron option. While that 200 micron option is helpful for many I personally have absolutely no use for it as a matter of fact I would rather see an even better resolution to the 25 microns, which can only be used on a very limited scale (again the peeling action will do it’s part here, slowing down the building process dramatically, while decreasing success-rate).

First off (again) the peeling action needs to go.
As long as it exists the tanks need to be improved (I will add an example from another company below)

While the machine over all is built quite nicely well thought out and simple there are other short comings.
One is the difficulty to dial in the machine. Tech support stresses that it’s nearly impossible to adjust the laser "in the filed’ because it needs special equipment in order to do that precisely. People on the forum show that they’ve done it and had a working machine afterwards, the question here is how accurate the final adjustment is as it’s all done by eye.

Second - it would be great to be able to just slide in the crucial parts like spare lasers, galvos, which are keyed and therefore lock into the correct position before tightening. I don’t know why that has not been done from the very beginning, which could suggest that the machines, once put together have all slightly different setups, meaning the actual casings and brace parts are too inaccurate.

Third - making spare parts available, like lasers and galvos.
A quick note about the laser - many people will quickly point at the laser when a part fails but important here is as long as the laser cures resin it is working.

Fourth - TANK!! A more durable tank, as long as peeling action is involved. I have not been able to get more than 1 liter out of most of my tanks, except for the one that I’m using Madesolid’s Vorex resin in…

Fifth - RESIN. I have made some extensive tests between Madesolid’s resin (Vorex black) and formlabs’ resin (grey#2).
I would as of now say that the madesolid resin is the superior material - it has not had ONE Failure (tech support has all of the photos) while the grey resin failed on the same parts without exception. When it comes to buildability the black Vorex resin has outperformed the grey#2 in my tests.
Another big problem are small cured particles that I had after every run with my last liter of grey#2. Every run I had to strain the resin. Throughout the entire liter of Vorex I had no cured particles in there - I never had to “comb” through or strain it. The silicone layer also looks in very nice shape after one liter, my grey tank is a complete mess.
Here I also have to mention pricing - I know I am not alone here - but if other companies are capable of making resins that perform at least as well and cost quite a bit less it is hard to support formlabs in that regard.

Before I post some links, which might not be new to some (maybe all) I want to stress that it is important to keep developing into new directions. Big has become the use of DLP units instead of a laser. While the resolution is bound to the mirror count on the DLP module it limits building size to that mirror count.
DLP modules have other than that the advantage of speed, which is what we all hope to increase. It would eliminate the galvos and laser unit altogether. One module against 2. DLP units are readily available and don’t have to be developed in order to work with the system.

As for moving forward with development - making new resins and materials is nothing to throw a party about as most other companies already have those materials available as well. One who is the direct competitor is Full Spectrum Laser’s machine Pegasus, while not as good and well built as the form 1+ they have, within the last months come out with a new machine the “Phoenix” . They made some major improvements over the Pegasus - DLP, and a new Vat that - according to them lasts 10 times longer with less adhesion.

The new approach is what I am looking for NO PEELING ACTION and that’s the future what I would hope Formlabs is investing in also, to not fall off the edge once the other technology takes over, the Carbon 3D

Resins that perform well and cost less:

I don’t have anything that I personally would see significant for the software. As a matter of fact I really like it - it is very easy to use, quite intuitive (I have worked with other 3D manufacturing software) and over all simple, just the way it should be.
One can argue about customizing laser cycles but I would think the guys at formlabs have figured out the best cycles for their resins. That specific option would be for pure experimentation.
What would be nice for beginners, a default setting that comes up for every part that’s loaded into the software, basically rotating and adding support right away as a default. While this default might not be the most perfect setting it would be a setting that should “guarantee” a successful part.

Also for beginners and people who just got their unit. When I opted for the Form 1+ I did that after extensive research and talking to the sales people as well as ordering the sample part AND a custom part. Liked everything about it. The machine is praised as a plug and play unit and I believed that. I had no idea about all the machine’s shortcomings and it was a tough run the first 1.5 months. I had every imaginable failure, tons of resin lost and no successful parts. I eventually had to go to the formlabs’ site and bit by bit found the little helpful videos, as well as constantly being in contact with tech support. I eventually became aware of the many shortcomings and that one has to counter those from the get go in order to get a successful part.
I believe it would have helped me greatly if there was a sheet of paper with the fold out quick start manual, that is a reminder of these shortcomings, with links to each video on the formlabs page.
So that before one starts one realizes what problems can occur and how to counter those from the very beginning.
This might not make the machine look bulletproof but then again it isn’t. Being real about that and have that up front everyone will realize what is important and will be a successful user much quicker, than I was, for example.
Important would be:
Force caused by the peeling action and all the settings to “help” the peeling action.
-Importance of rotation, in direct connection with the peeling force, why it is necessary.
-25 microns should only be used for parts 2"x2" (just as an example) but stating that big parts have a large failure rate due to high volume of peeling.

  • possible formation of cured resin particles in the tank - and how to remove them (link to formlabs videos)
  • Support base hanging off the building platform (link to Formlabs video how to adjust building platform in preform)
  • Parts being torn off supports - possible causes and actions (link to formlabs videos)
  • Resin can get stuck to PDMS (Silicone) layer, why and how to remove it (link to formlabs video)
  • Building platform can get stuck, cause of it and link to formlabs video - including the name of the special grease that should be used to get it going again.
  • Mirrors HAVE TO BE CLEAN AT ALL TIMES - this is not a shortcoming and the only thing that I was aware of as all optical devices need to be clean - but it still should be on there as well, again link to the nice videos on the formlabs site.

Good would also be to add the laser “issue” that often is not there. Basically stating that as long as the laser cures resin the laser is not at fault for an unsuccessful part (which should be logical) and that the problem for that can be found and solved in the above list.

A lot of those points (if not all) will be unnecessary to mention once the peeling technology is gone.

Besides that I am hoping for a NEW machine to be developed - the Form2 and that it will be up and running soon.


To be generous, this is really a Form1+ design knockoff with a DLP instead of a laser. They have had the luxury to rethink some of the individual components after reverse engineering the Form1+, possibly making them a bit more robust and adjustable (if not as elegant design-wise). But, if not for the Form1 already existing, what would their offerings be? They wouldn’t have any. These guys have the luxury of 20/20 hindsight, of Monday Morning Quarterbacking. Even if this machine is really good, I could never buy one on principle alone. They stole it.

edit: I’ll add as well that they are likely reading this forum and listening to issues users are having. They have a huge advantage designing a machine with the R&D on the backs of Formlabs.

I know that they are a knock off of Formlabs’ machine as pretty much every machine is that came after the Form 1 came out. That’s why I am putting this out to let you guys, the formlabs guys know that it’s time to work on a new model. Just like the direct competitors do. Fundamental improvement is key. And now it doesn’t matter if they stole the form 1+ design (even though they did) it’s about staying ahead and not just sitting on what one has.
The point is to keep improving or companies like them might pass the originators.

And I am aware of that as well that everyone who is in the field and business most likely will check out this forum.
Just like Madesolid with their resins.

I also said that the pegasus is not as good as the Form1+, which is a fact. So whoever buys the Pegsaus has a lesser machine in comparison to the form 1+ (despite bigger building size).
No their machine is not more sturdy or stronger it is the opposite.
It doesn’t matter because they came out with a new machine (don’t know how good that one is) and formlabs is still hanging on to the very first design/technology.
That is the essence of what I am trying to get across.
As for me - I do like the company formlabs , great people there in tech support and sales and a good machine with excellent software. Great representation of the FREE sample part and the option of a custom part - while your direct competitor the Pegasus people charge for a sample part and in my case it was not even cleaned properly and still sticky and carelessly thrown in an envelope and most of all a quarter of the size of that of formlabs’. I am really not here do bash other companies I’m here trying to make formalbs realize what needs to be done. Simply put because I like the people there and the product.
Just to show you other companies (typically from china) who don’t even try to hide stealing Formlabs’ design 100%…

With all the complaining about the tanks I was a little worried when I ordered my Form 1+.

Fact is I’ve had zero problems with the resin tanks except when I used some cheap resin. Even then it was relatively painless to replace the silicone layer.

There are alternatives out there to peeling. They mostly involve very large quantities of resin and expensive machines. Can the system be improved? Yes. Is this a major issue for me? No.


This one is the latest development in SLA desktop here is the link again:

Speed, while eliminating all stresses and forces on mechanical parts, eliminating the need of a peeling tank all together.
If they get that system going reliably the SLA game will be on a completely new level and all peeling action machines will become part of the past. That’s what I am trying to get across.

Fred, you and I could exchange our personal experiences on a private level as this here wouldn’t be the right platform. But I am waiting on my 3rd machine (my second replacement machine as of now…), that within 5-6 months. Maybe I just am unlucky , maybe I’m just an idiot who doesn’t know how to use the machine…hard to tell from what’s being revealed here.

In any case, I truly believe, and that’s what this is all about, Formlabs would benefit greatly by coming out with a second, updated machine. I could be wrong but by the way things are developing…

Honestly, apart from one issue which i was helped promptly with, my form1+ is working well. Yes it could be better and I see quality is somewhat lower when tanks and resign get used/old. But I am now printing almost 14 hours per day since 5 weeks. Considering that anything can be cleaned up much easier with FDM printer, I am happy.

However, when i look at the AutoDesk DLP printer i see lot of things a new form needs to have:

  • leveling
  • better calibration
  • a better peeling mechanism with reduced mechanical stress
  • tanks without breaking corners
  • casing that does not crack over time
  • a much much much better white resin
  • better protection form spills
  • etc.

I hope a form2 comes along that does most of the above. Because if it was not that i already had invested a lot in the form1+ and because of a very small build volume, I would move to the Autodesk printer.

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How about the MoonRay? Here is the Kickstarter and here is a link to their page SprintRay

I like that they dont use the same files for all their example, to which look great.

The form1 has been a great machine for me, and I hope they upgrade to a more reliable version shortly.

Kuhns, That Moonray machine looks amazing but it’s also probably a year away from shipping. I’ve been sitting on the sidelines waiting for the Form1 to mature to the point where it’s a logical purchase for my company and I’m literally days away from finally placing my order. I’m not eager to start that process again with a new player. I wish them luck and I’ll have a look at the Moonray in a year or two.

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