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Bigger & Faster: Formlabs Announce Their “Form 2” 3D Printer

Formlabs Form 2

Formlabs announced the launch of their Formlabs “Form” 2 today. It’s the company’s second-generation high-resolution, desktop stereolithography (SLA) 3D printer. The professional desktop machine is aimed at engineers, designers and creators.

The Formlabs Form 2 is available for purchase on September 22 for €3,299. It includes Formlabs’ PreForm software, one liter of resin for printing, and a finish kit for post-processing the parts.

A Bigger, Better Builder

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Up to 40 percent bigger prints: The Form 2 (image: Formlabs)

According to Formlabs these are the specifications of the Form 2:

  • Bigger prints: Over 40% bigger build volume from its predecessor the Form 1+.
  • More powerful laser: 50% more powerful laser yielding higher print resolution.
  • New print process: A new sliding peel mechanism, wiper and heated resin tank make it possible to print large, solid parts with intricate details.
  • Automated resin system: New resin cartridges will automatically refill the resin tank during the printing process.
  • 1-click print: An update to Formlabs’ PreForm Software. This feature will prepare prints and simplify the printing process.
  • Connected capabilities: The Form 2 offers wireless printing via Wi-Fi, creating custom notifications and mobile alerts. The new dashboard enables print progress to be monitored across multiple printers on desktop, mobile or tablet.
  • Touchscreen display: Full-color touchscreen for managing print queues and viewing print status.

Max Lobovsky, co-founder of Formlabs noted: “We believe that this is the ‘next wave’ of the 3D printing industry: high-resolution output with a simple user experience packaged in a desktop footprint. In many ways, 3D printing technology is following a similar path to the desktop computer. It started with mainframes, was adopted by the hobbyist and then evolved into the powerful desktop machines everyone uses today. The Form 2 represents the next wave of 3D printing technology.”

Formlabs use the stereolithography (SLA) approach to create high-resolution physical objects from digital designs. The company was founded in 2012 by a team of engineers and designers from the MIT Media Lab and Center for Bits and Atoms. Then they made Kickstarter history: They launched their first printer with a record-breaking $2.8 million campaign. Today the company has grown to over 100 employees. They expanded sales and operations from the US into the EU, Australia and Asia, and raised nearly $20 million in venture capital.

2. Our First Impression

All3DP’s Senior Editor Bulent Yusuf has seen the printer at Euromold. Without having reviewed the Form 2 properly, the specifications and the first impression alone are tempting.

The measurements of the printer are much bigger than a Form 1+, so get some room on your desk for it. It also comes with some interesting redesign features (i.e. the touchscreen in the front).  Also, the software update features (Wi-fi prints, 1-click-print, notifications, company dashboard) are very welcome additions to the desktop manufacturing machine.

Here is an image from the launch press conference.

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When the printer has completed a job, it asks the user if the build turned out successful – this is completely optional to answer. According to Formlabs, they want to get more information on user behaviour to improve their systems.

The Form 1+ was already known for its accurate build detail down to 25 microns. The resolution hasn’t changed, but the speed should improve with the new improved laser system and the wiper arm.

The drawback of any SLA printer is the costly and difficult replacement of resin and resin tanks. Formlabs introduces a new cartridge system, which could help a lot with resin change and problems with running out of material. You can buy these cartridges at Formlabs directly or refill them with your own resin type.

One drawback: The price tag is quite high. The Form 2 retails for now for the same price of €3299 /$3499. The price of the Form 1+ gets lowered to €2799 / $2799. The 1-liter resin cartridges have a price range from €135 / $149 for standard resin to €279 / $299 for castable resin (prices from Formlabs website).

For sure, the new Form 2 meets tough competitors. First, there’s competition from SLS printers like the new Sharebot SnowWhite, which is open for pre-orders at the same day. Also, if other printers like the Moonray and cheaper SLA printers enter the market, it will become extremely competitive.

All3DP will keep you updated.

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