3D printing can be time consuming, expensive, and difficult, however that’s not the case with the Form 2 by Formlabs. The Form 2 is transforming the way engineers design, manufacture, connect to, and service their products.
After purchasing the Formlabs Complete Package Plus from EAC, Chris Herman, Principal at Scheme Inc. reported back to EAC – “35-minutes. Un-boxing, hardwire LAN (the machine notified me of the firmware update, by just turning it on), update, joined the WiFi network, sent the print. I then un-boxed the cleaning station while it was printing… and added it to my dashboard.”
Herman works across industries making prototypes for consumer, medical, and industrial goods. Many of his designs and prototypes are destined for human interaction; items that are tactile and handheld. He needed the versatility to meet and exceed his customer’s expectations.
Herman owns and has used a variety of 3D printers. According to him it is the price, build volume, accuracy, fit and finish, and wide variety of materials that set the Form 2 apart from its competition.
“I actually looked at the Form 1 right when [Formlabs] was coming out with it, it was right before the Form 1+. In talking with them I said, you know, it’s close but it’d be great if it was just a little bit bigger.” Formlabs listened to their customers and prospects and developed the Form 2 with a larger build volume of 145 x 145 x 175 mm. (Compared to the Form 1’s 125 x 125 x 165 mm)
When the Form 2 was released with the larger build volume, Herman said it was “totally in the sweet spot. They basically have a build volume I can easily get a handheld remote, consumer good, or anything like that.”
The biggest problem Herman faced with FDM printers is their dimensional accuracy. He stated that the surface finish and accuracy of the Form 2 is unbeatable. “The Form 2 is just a lot easier, the prints are crisp, and they print great,” said Herman.
3D printing with an FDM printer doesn’t work well for parts with very thin walls or delicate features that are very small. The filament is too big. Due to the fact that it’s laying down filament, there is a tendency for pores and air spaces in the part, and potentially pinholes when you get down to those very small scales. “The porosity becomes such a large percentage of what’s laid down, you end up with a weak part. That’s the extreme end of it, beyond getting a poor representation of the part, [FDM printers] just can’t print it,” said Herman.
The Form 2, on the other hand, features high-resolution, laser-sharp prints with an incredible surface finish. “This guy (the Form 2), like any other SLA, is seven-times more accurate in almost every direction. There’s tons of stuff that you can print. And don’t forget about all of the material options” said Herman.
Herman said industrial designers will especially appreciate the Form 2. “They don’t like the FDM because of its rough look. All of the engineers here love it, but we have four industrial designers who want the pretty parts that feel right or are easily sandable. FDM has too many processes: glaze it, sand it, prime it, and possibly fill it.“
Formlabs has two resin types Standard and Functional. Within these categories, there are a variety of resin materials: Standard (Clear, White, Grey, and Black), Flexible, Dental SG, Castable, and Tough.
Herman thinks industrial designers will really benefit from the soft touch (Flexible) material. Formlabs calls it Flexible Resin because it is tactile and impact resistant. It is a Functional Resin that brings versatility to your 3D printer.
When asked to name his favorite thing about the Form 2, Herman proceeded to show us a tray he printed and said “the surface finish and accuracy, that’s four hours of printing and less than an hours worth of hand finishing. You can’t beat it. You can’t beat it”
For more information about the Form 2 by Formlabs, contact our Formlabs Specialist here.