FormLabs Form 2 (SLA) Resin UV 3D Printer Review
FormLabs released a new 3D printer this September 22 – FormLabs Form 2. The Form 2 3D Printer is not an incremental development over its hugely successful Form 1 model. Instead, FormLabs has noticed all the constraints, and issues afflicting the entire 3D printing industry, and has addressed them expertly in the Form 2 3D Printer.
This 3D printer is a highly optimized machine that is designed for high resolution printing with a single click. Despite packing a series of revolutionary improvements, the new Form 2 3D Printer is priced at the same $3,499 as its predecessor, Form 1.
Design and Build
FormLabs has finally understood that most of the 3D printed models are handheld, and therefore, they need to be of proportional size. With this, they have beefed up the build volume of Form 2 by a massive 40%. While the earlier Form 1 3D Printer had a build volume of 125mm X 125mm X 165mm, the all-new Form 2 3D Printer comes with a build volume of 145mm X 145mm X 175mm. This size meets the sweet spot between a machine that produces large models and one that can still be classified as a desktop. All the machinery, lasers, mirrors, and the environment are separated from the resin vat by a protective glass shielding, which encloses the vat.
The FormLabs Form 2 3D printer is fitted with advanced lasers that are more powerful than anything seen previously on FormLab models. It is also fitted with better galvanometers, which have improved the precision and resolution of the printing process. A sliding peel mechanism and vat wiper remove the debris created during printing.
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The printing process itself is a simple process. It can be initiated with one click on the printer touchscreen interface. Once the printing has started, everything is automated, including the task of changing the vats. Each vat is chipped, so that users and the built-in system can monitor the progress of the printing. When the vat has ran out of resin, the system can automatically transfer more resin into it. The entire process happens such that the resin never comes in contact with any mechanical part of the printer. Users have the option of manually refilling the resin vats, if they need to.
The first FormLabs’ iteration in the Form series, Form 1, was a huge pain to work with. You first had to connect it to your laptop via USB, then upload the design files, and disconnect the laptop. Not anymore. The Form 2 3D Printer supports transfer of files via Wi-Fi or Ethernet. Users can use the FormLabs PreForm software to choose any file on the printer memory to initiate printing, using the user-friendly touchscreen interface. Moreover, the printer can remain connected to the internet permanently. This helps users to track the status of the printing process from anywhere in the world, which is particularly helpful when there are multiple users working on the project.
FormLabs supplies the printing material, resin, in bottles worth $149-$299 each. Professional grade models always require high precision as to which resin is used for making which part of the model. Therefore, users may benefit from buying multiple vats, in order to prevent resin contamination.
FormLabs Form 2 3D Printer is a feature-rich and powerful 3D printer built for professional use. It is a must-have accessory for collaborating teams, especially if they are geographically separated. With a large build volume and completely automated printing process. The new Form 2 3D Printer, has all the qualities of a big hit, just like its predecessors.