3D Printing

Everything You Need to Know About the Form 2 3D Printer

30 November 2018 | Team EACPDS

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You asked we answered. Check out what makes the Form 2 3D Printer the best SLA 3D printer on the market.    

What’s the difference between the Form 2 3D printer and a filament printer? 

FDM or FFM (fused deposition and fused filament) 3D printers melt a plastic filament, whereas the Form 2 uses a liquid photopolymer resin which is cured with a UV laser.  

What makes the Form 2 printer better than a filament (FDM) printer? 

The Form 2 3D printer can achieve a much finer X, Y, and Z accuracy than most FDM printers because it does not extrude a thick bead of hot plastic onto the build platform. The Formlabs Fo allows the 3D printer to create dense, isotropic parts with greater strength, smoothness, and detail. 

How much calibration does the Form 2 require? 

Virtually none. Formlabs’ factory calibration rig ensures that printers are fully calibrated. You do not need to do any tray-leveling. The printer is ready to print within 10 minutes of unboxing. 

What is the X/Y accuracy on the Form 2 Formlabs 3D Printer? 

The Form 2 printer has an accuracy as fine as .002” or 0.050 mm.  

What is the tolerance and fit of Formlabs Form 2 Printer?  

You can read all about the Formlabs Form 2 tolerance and fit on this accuracy, precision and tolerance in 3D printing guide.

What is the resolution of the Form 2 printer?  

The Formlabs Form 2 3D printer is not an FDM printer, therefore resolution doesn’t pertain to the printer itself. What may be most helpful for you about the Form 2 is the laser spot size, z-axis layer height and the layer thickness (all mentioned in the next few questions below).  

What is the Form 2 laser spot size?  

The Formlabs Form 2 Laser spot size is 140 microns.   

What is the Form 2 3d Printer layer thickness?  

The Form 2 has a layer thickness of 25, 50, and 100 microns.  

What is the minimum feature size of the Form 2 Formlabs 3D Printer?  

The Form 2 has a 150µm minimum feature size.   

How big can you print on the Form 2?  

The Form 2 build volume is 145 mm x 145mm x175mm (5.7” x 5.7” x 6.9”). 

What Form 2 materials can you use with the 3D printer?  

The Form 2 3D printer has many standard resins options as well as engineering resins that deliver specific material properties. You can use standard resins that are available in clear, grey, black, and white. The Form 2 also has functional resins that are ideal for a wide range of applications.  

The Form 2 flexible resin is ideal for prototyping functional grips, seals, and soft robotics.  

The Formlabs tough resin is a durable and impact-resistant material for sturdy engineering prototypes. The Form 2 castable resin material is a great for printing detailed jewelry models that can be burned out in investment casting. The Formlabs Dental SG resin material is a Class I Biocompatible material suitable for printing surgical guides. 

What Formlabs Dental resins are available?  

There are a few different Formlabs dental resins available for a range of applications. The Form 2 Dental Model Resin is designed for crown and bridge models with removable dies. It is a very high accuracy resin with a smooth matte finish. The Dental SG Formlabs resin is Class 1 biocompatible and is designed for printing surgical guides. The Dental LT Clear Formlabs resin is Class IIa long-term biocompatible and is designed for splints, retainers, and other direct-printed long-term orthodontic applications.  

Will the resin harden on the Form 2 3D Printer and how does that work?  

The Formlabs resin contains a photo initiator which when activated causes short chain monomers and oligomers to bind together into long-chain polymers which cause the resin to solidify.  

How many prints can you get on the Formlabs Form 2 3D printer from 1 liter of resin?  

Our standard rook uses about 11ml of resin, so you could get about 90 3D prints from 1L of resin. 

What do I do with unused resin after I finish a print job on the Form 2 3D Printer?  

Resin left in the Form 2 tank after a print job should stay in the tank. It does not need to be poured back into the cartridge.  

What is the shelf life of the Form 2 resin materials?  

If the Formlabs resin materials are stored within the cartridge, the resin has a shelf life of about a year, and if stored within the light-blocking resin tank it can be stored safely for about 2-3 months.  

How does finishing work on the Form 2 by Formlabs?  

When a 3D print from the Form 2 is finished, there is a thin layer of uncured resin which needs to be washed off. When the print is complete, simply soak the part in a bath of isopropyl alcohol for about 15-20 minutes to wash off the uncured resin.  

Why do I need the Form Wash and Form Cure units?  

When you remove a part from the Form 2 printer there will be a thin layer of uncured resin that you’ll need to rinse off. The FormWash unit uses an impeller to agitate Isopropyl alcohol to get your part clean (see attached FormWash guide -called wash and cure sell sheet).  The FormCure unit cures the part to bring it to its maximum mechanical properties. See guide (attached as How mechanical properties of SLA 3D prints are affected by UV curing) 

What is the recommended Formlabs cure time?  

This all depends on your design. Check out our guide on post-curing with the FormCure for specifics.  

How do I get a free Formlabs sample?  

See the quality of a Formlabs Form 2 3D prints for yourself. You can request a free Form 2 3D printed sample here.

What maintenance does the Form 2 3D Printer machine require?  

The Form 2 requires very little maintenance. The calibration process is done at the factory. The resin tank is a consumable component which will eventually need to be replaced after about 2L of prints.  The resin tank costs $60 to replace.  

What is the difference between laser SLA and DLP?  

Laser SLA printing uses a round laser point to trace out the area to be solidified in each layer. DLP projects a single image of each layer, composed of rectangular pixels, in a flash of light. DLP pros: smaller minimum exposure size, faster prints. DLP cons: build volume is constrained by x/y resolution; projector bulbs are consumable and need to be replaced; pixels lead to voxelization/aliasing error in x/y plane. Also, the Form 2 has a much smaller footprint than most DLP printers and can fit more comfortably in most workspaces.   

Why should I consider a Formlabs Form 2 3D printer if I’m already using a Stratasys or an Objet printer?  

We’ve found that Form 2 is much less expensive to operate than larger-volume printers, and usually fits nicely within most workflows. This is exactly why we decided to partner with Formlabs adding their 3D printers into our product line.  Even if you’re happy with your Stratasys or Objet printer, you may find that using the Form 2 for prototyping smaller parts will save you money in the long term by reducing the operating time and materials cost on your larger machine, while producing parts of a similar quality.

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