3D Printing

Formlabs Form 3 & Form 3L: Answers to your FAQs

8 April 2019 | Team EACPDS


Formlabs has released two new 3D printers in the additive manufacturing world: Form 3 and Form 3L. Typically there are a lot of questions with a new product release – we’ve got you covered. Here are the most frequently asked questions about the Form 3 and the Form 3L.

Formlabs 3D Printer | Form 3

Formlabs 3D Printer: Form 3

What makes the Form 3 the best 3D printer out there?

The Form 3 combines a flexible tank and linear illumination to deliver incredible print quality and printer reliability through a new Low Force Stereolithography (LFS) process.

The flexible tank lowers the forces exerted on the part during printing to provide incredible detail and surface finish, and allows for light-touch support structures that easily tear away. The Light Processing Unit uses a system of lenses and mirrors to direct a precise, uniform high-density laser spot.

How accurate is the Form 3?

The Form 3 prints with 25 micron XY resolution and 25-300 microns (user selectable) in the Z, using an 85-micron laser. Accuracy depends on many factors such as the print performance of an individual resin.

How fast is the Form 3?

The Form 3 delivers the perfect balance of detail and speed. Print times will be comparable to Form 2. A new material, called Draft Resin, was specifically developed for fast printing at 300-micron layers for engineering parts where a fast turnaround is critical.

How does the optics module work?

The custom-designed Light Processing Unit (LPU) inside the printer is built to deliver accurate, repeatable prints, using a compact system of lenses and mirrors. During printing, the LPU moves in the X direction, while the high-frequency galvanometer inside positions the laser beam in the Y direction, then directs it across a fold mirror and parabolic mirror to deliver a beam that is always perpendicular to the build plane. The high-power-density laser is passed through a spatial filter to guarantee a clean laser spot.

What layer thicknesses are available for Form 3?

25 – 300 microns (.001 – .012 in) . See Form 3 tech specs here.

Formlabs 3D Printer | Form 3L

Formlabs 3D Printer: Form 3L

How much bigger is the Form 3L build volume?

Five times bigger than Formlabs’ desktop printers: W x D x H: 33.5 × 20 × 30 cm (13.2 × 7.9 × 11.8 in)

How does the build volume for Form 3 compare to Form 2?

The Form 3 has the same XY (145 x 145 mm) as the Form 2 with a slightly larger Z (185 mm versus 175 mm). See the comparable tech specs here.

What are the biggest differences between Form 2 and Form 3?

The Form 3 is built around a new print process called Low Force Stereolithography. Reducing the forces on parts is key to taking a big leap forward in part quality and printer reliability.

Formlabs has made the core optics more powerful, robust, and easier to monitor and maintain with the enclosed Light Processing Unit. A series of filters, sensors, and mirrors ensure uniform light for greater precision and better performance over time.

They’ve also added many sensors that help with overall usability, from correcting user error with a UI guided onboarding process, to more precisely measuring remaining resin.

Finally, there are some great features designed to save time, increase throughput and enable new ways of working. Like fine touch supports that reduce part finishing time and improve underside surface finish, and the ability to prime a printer to remotely start a print overnight, allowing you to respond to just in time requests.

That said: the Form 2 is an award-winning, tried-and-true machine, and is now available at an even more affordable price point.

How does the Form 3 peel force compare to the Form 2?

The force on a part depends on the part geometry and material. In their internal testing, Formlabs has seen force reductions anywhere from 3 – 10x compared to the Form 2. Reducing the forces on parts while printing allows you to print with fewer and lighter supports. Lower forces also allow us to better capture fine detail and smooth surfaces with minimal layer lines, and result in improved print success and overall reliability.

What parts are cross-compatible between Form 2 and Form 3?

Many components are cross-compatible between the two printers. The build platform, resin cartridges, Form Wash and Form Cure, PreForm, and Dashboard are compatible across both machines. The standard Finish Kits are comparable with the addition of the tank tool for Form 3.

Formlabs Engineering Brochure | 3D Printing for Engineers & Product Designers

These are the most frequently asked questions for Formlabs’ new 3D printers, the Form 3 and the Form 3L. Please reach out if you have any questions that weren’t answered here.

Don’t forget to follow me on LinkedIn to check out my tips and tricks on how to use Formlabs 3D printers and trends in the additive manufacturing industry!


3D Printing