Hmmm tough question, we are an engineering company and possibly have too high expectations. We bought a Form 2 and initially it was great. Perfect for prototyping and the occasional real part. However, after 12 months we started getting some failures and reliability issues. Culminating in a major internal resin leak. Formlabs support was pretty good and we organised a repair. However, since the repair it’s not been very reliable. The constant software/firmware updates are a pain and even with them we experience regular problems. The new resins seem unusable on the Form2 despite the software saying it’s happy we have nothing but rubbish coming from the printer. So not sure, the level of effort required to own the machine compared to other 3D printers we own is quite significant. When they work they are fantastic, when they don’t they absorb time, money and effort. We were thinking of a Form3 but I’m not convinced at the moment based on the reliability issues we have with the Form 2.
I’ve had really good success with the new resins from FL on my Form 2 (Rigid, Tough 2000, Tough 1500 in particular).
Since the problems started after the repair, have you checked for smudges on the glass or dust that might block the laser? I started having problems with my Form 2 a few months ago, and it turned out to be accumulated dust. Once I cleaned it (with a PEC pad – there are instructions for cleaning on the FL site) everything went back to normal.
Which are the other 3D printers you own?
I would give a resounding NO here.
I have purchased a Formlabs 3 for our company with Wash & Cure. It should take our production to a new level in terms of surfaces and accuracy. I have been working with Ultimaker3 FDM printers for 3 years. After the first delivered FL3 had such a bad print image. He was changed. I used up material for about 600 euros together with the Super Support from FL. And a lot of working hours.
The FL3 then delivered did not have a power cord with it. OK, i have much in my office. The first test prints looked good at first. When we then measured the tolerances, we found 0.4mm. This is a no go for me and my customers. Since our components must always have top quality on both sides, it is almost impossible to achieve this with the alignment on the construction plate. It takes three to four times the time to achieve the same results as with the FDM printer. I am in a lively exchange with FL Support. At first you kept saying that it was because of the orientation of the models. Then the support team printed the components themselves and they were all unusable. But they were so honest and sent me the results and I had them in my hand. The tolerances are just as bad. It is assumed that my replacement device is also defective, but I really don’t feel like it anymore. I’ve tested Basic Black, Tough2000, and Draft. Tough delivers the worst results between Black and Tough2000. We are a small company and unfortunately we do not have the opportunity to invest 5500 euros as a beta tester for Formlabs. I had the components printed on a cheap photon at a friendly company. The result was much better. How can that be ?
If the support team weren’t so good and helpful, I would have long since resigned from the purchase.
I can put two components in the forum. Maybe someone knows what to do. But if the FL Support fails either, then the second FL3 is probably broken too.
Hell yes I would buy it again . But we are on the opposite side of the tolerance requirement (not that huge of importance) . We use it to get the feel and shape corrected. Once we go to production mode we send out most of our parts if we can’t machine them inhouse. We have the Form 2 (just one machine) for 3 years and still going . We purchased the Form 3 this year Feb (knock on wood - its going without issues). It is a tiny bit slower but it gets the job done. FDM is not an option for us, some of our parts have too small of details for that to visually see and we did try the Chinese machines to save a penny and wasted so much time trying to reinvent the wheel.
But I am very worried about the Form3L . Looks like I will wait a long while after whenever it gets released to get feedback from community. For now we send out our oversize prints if we can’t machine or produce it in house.
MicPic , Sorry to hear your experience. I feel your pain like our experience with the Chinese machine but the lose was much less (like 8 times less) but the time it took to come to our senses was bad enough. Imagine no support - it’s figure it out yourself kind of support. Or pray someone has solved it online .
You are the IDEAL Formlabs customer - tolerances do not matter to you.
Another industry where close enough tolerances are acceptable is dentistry. “Close enough” is ok for dental appliances. I guess that is why dental industry fits so well with Formlabs and the success of Form3 in that area.
From my experience (and others posting here) it seems if you want accuracy you have an expensive struggle ahead. Wasted time and liters of resin. Figuring out how to compensate for poor print tolerances by adjusting your model is a WAY OF LIFE with a Form3.
My Form 3`s sole purpose in life is to print test prints to check updates. I bought a Form3 for the 25nm printing which has NEVER worked. I come to this forum to check for updates and news on fixes. I usually skip a couple updates then do a test a print to confirm the update didnt magically fix 25nm printing quality. Then I turn the printer off (or rather I pull the plug from the wall as it doesnt have a power button)
I`ve noticed the forum is getting less and less posts. Less busy over the year. I know there are other owners like me who have had to mothball the printer waiting for fixes to detail and tolerances at sub 50nm.
Yes without the expletives.
My FL2 is in my home workshop. Wish I could remote print with it like I can with the FL3.
Keep your eyes peeled, maybe one day soon.
Can you tell us which printers are able to print to your required tolerances?
We just bought a Formlabs 3L and a formlabs 2, both which have not worked yet. The 3L dispenser doesnt work and the 2L we can’t get off of missing tank error. I am thinking of returning everything as this is a horrible start to me trusting the brand. What are some other good SLA brands that are more reliable?
What did FL support say about the dispenser error on your new 3L? FWIW, the most common cause of failure to dispense resin (particularly with new resin cartridges) is easily fixed, caused by the rubber value at the bottom of the cartridge not being scored deeply enough. The best way to test is to press in the valve on the bottom of the cartridge with your hand to see if it opens fully.
As for the Form 2, the missing tank/cartridge errors are generally due to resin / dirt sticking to the chip / sensor. Since you just received your Form 2, it’s either used or refurbished, so there’s a good chance that’s the cause.
not really that easy.
The dispenser is a whole machine part. It might get problem with the sensor.
For the tank missing. It is time to switch a machine.
The 25um xy resolution is pointless. You motor can move 25um each step doesn’t mean you get the resolution of 25um.
For a consistent accuracy, you will need to go for a high resolution projector printer. However, usueally the higher resolution you go, the smaller printing bed you have.
I end go for the Asiga machine. It is open material machine and the Pro 4k machine does offer a very big printing bed.
For big size SLA print, the reliable printing technology with a reasonable printing bed size, you will need the laser being installed from the top rather than using mirror to redirect the laser from the bottom like Formlabs.
The main good advantage to have laser from top is the elimination of peeling issue for each layer during printing which is the main issue to cause print failure or dimensional distortion. After each layer curing, the platform moves down and raised up to the surface once the whole printing process is done.
Another good thing is there is no consumable parts like tanks for this kind of machine. You clean the bed by removing the finished prints and you are good to go for another print.
The main barrier now to this machine is the cost. It easily goes up to 100k plus another 30-50k value resin depends on the resin type and you vat size you will need to pour inside the machine in order to have the a full vat of material to start printing.
It is all depending on your business and ROI. In the long run, this kind of machine save a lot of money and time. However, the front cost will be a significant decision you need to think about it carefully.
I guess it all depends on what “dispenser failure” means. Some people think their dispenser is broken, but it just turns out to be the bite valve on a new cartridge isn’t cut cleanly.
Also, for missing tank error, I’ve have this on my Form 2 (mine was one of the first made) and it’s always been caused by resin on the sensor. Also, that’s FL’s recommended diagnostic step. So, I think starting with “you need a new machine” is a bit extreme.
Ah, nevermind, I see your subsequent posts and now realize that you’re a partisan here to spread misinformation.
funny thing is none of us works as a service guy in Formlabs
Well, I definitely believe a $400-800 to replace an old problem Form2 is a good deal.
It’s not $400-800. My Form2 is no longer working and not self-serviceable – cost to RMA it (in the form of a refurbished Form2) is $1500. I ended up buying the Form3, and I hope I will not regret my decision after reading many posts here… fingers crossed. I’m doing a test print right now for a customer and am really hoping that it prints well.
It would be a good deal if you could be sure the printer you receive is in excellent condition.
However, I’m reading on a lot of places of people complaining that their newly bought, refurbished printer has issues from the start, resin inside or dirty mirrors… QC doesn’t seem to be highest priority on pushing our refurbs.
What issue do you have? Most parts in the printer are self-serviceable.
I would absolutely buy again. I’ve had a Form 2 for 4-1/2 years now. I print primarily jewelry models and love the flexibility to print larger pieces and with different resins in open mode. The print quality is great, I love that Formlabs continuously improves the products, software, and resins, and the support I’ve received has been awesome.
I have a background in customer service. For my personal experience, I would give them an “A+” for support. I feel like if I had skimped and bought entirely on cost, I would not have received the same level of customer service. I think having US-based support is important (dealing with Creality in China is not fun!)
Sure, there are cheaper printers, but I’m not a fan of hacking together a solution. When I first researched SLA printers, I had found a Solus printer, but it required a separate projector, which for me was a red flag. I don’t like being stuck between companies with finger-pointing anytime something goes wrong. That also meant that the printer needed a dedicated computer to run it, and it wouldn’t run on a Mac. This was several years ago, so it might have changed. But the fact that Formlabs dedicates as much attention to the Mac version as the Windows version was a big selling point for me.
I’ve used other slicing software with another 3D printer I have, so I appreciate having PreForm as a custom solution that works perfectly with the printer. I use Cura on my other printer, but PreForm is elegant. I also like that I don’t have to use the slower 25 micron layer height (even though I can) because Formlabs fine-tuned the 50 micron layer to work so well. I don’t see that level of coordination with cheaper printers.
I think most of us here are talking about the Form 3.