Formlabs Form 3 vs. Form 2
Formlabs Form 3 vs. Form 2
Learn about What's New, What's The Same, and The Improvements made with the new Formlabs Form 3 LFS 3D Printer.
We will take a look at what's new, what's the same, and some of the improvements made to the print quality and more thanks to the LFS or Low Force Stereolithography found in the Form 3.
Formlabs Printer Specs Comparison
First off, Let's Talk About What's New.
Linear illumination: The higher-powered laser from the LPU coupled with the parabolic mirror provides a crisp completely perpendicular curing source during the LFS 3D printing process. This helps to create high detail prints and easy to remove support structures
The redesigned Form 3 resin tank: The bottom of the Form 3 resin tank is a dual-layer film that creates a robust surface that can withstand print failures. This film also enables a massive reduction in peel forces while printing.
Mixer: Each Form 3 resin tank includes a mixer that improves print consistency by clearing the build area and mixing the resin (somewhat similar to the Form 2 wiper). However, the Form 3 mixer only goes across the build area once before the print starts where the Form 2 wiper did so between each layer.
Light Processing Unit (LPU): This interchangeable assembly located in the main printer body holds almost every optical component of the printer into a small metal housing unit. The LPU contains the laser, mirrors, and motors that control the beam path. Formlabs has made this part easy to replace because with the Form 2 you were required to send your printer to Formlabs if you had this issue.
Form 3 new features to maximize your uptime:
Even more integrated sensors across the printer detect and maintain ideal print conditions and alert you when the printer needs your attention. Now compared to the Form 2, which has four integrated sensors, the Form 3 has over 20. The optical sensor can even detect dust!
These sensors include:
Build platform detection
Resin cartridge weighing
Resin level sensing
Optical power sensing
The Light Processing Unit, resin tank, rollers, and optics window are designed to be easy to replace in-house. Previously with the Form 2, very few of the components were user-replaceable, but Formlabs has worked with users to make many of the parts on the Form 3 very intuitive to replace.
Improved failure detection and handling mean you can experiment with challenging geometries with ease. If a print fails, the Form 3 can print a cleaning mesh for easy removal.
New interaction features on the Form 3:
A larger, higher-resolution touchscreen. The Form 3 can be controlled entirely digitally from the screen, while the Form 2 includes an additional button. A larger screen also enables future translations of the interface into new languages.
The Form 3 features two LED status indicators and a speaker for ambient visual and audio alerts ideal for drawing the attention of anyone passing by.
For those who receive urgent or last-minute print requests, the Form 3 can start prints from anywhere in the world. Prime the printer before you leave, then start the next print job from anywhere in the world (not just the local network).
Now let's explore what has stayed the same!
Build platform: The aluminum base which provides a surface for prints to attach to is cross-compatible between Form 2, Form 3, and Form Wash.
Galvanometer: The completely redesigned steering mirror for the laser beam, contained within the optics module, the LPU. Unlike previous Formlabs printers, however, the Form 3 and Form 3L optics only have one of these mirrors!
Isotropic prints: As an advanced form of SLA 3D printing, LFS 3D printing creates chemical bonds that are formed between layers, so parts are uniformly strong, watertight, and fully dense.
Resin: The liquid raw material that forms a solid part during the print process, contained in a cartridge. Although, some of the future materials will only be compatible with the Form 3.
Resin cartridge: This container holds the resin before dispensing into the resin tank. The cartridge is compatible across Form 2, Form 3, and Form 3L.
Benefits of the Form 3
Decreased peel forces lead to incredible surface quality, easier support removal, and cutting-edge material possibilities. Choose the Form 3 for the better surface finish and the easier post-processing.
The improvements to the light-touch supports that break away easily are game-changing. You will notice a big difference the first time you finish a print and pull at it and it just seamlessly pops completely free. It takes the stress out of building and post-processing and lets you keep your focus on design and creation