This year Formlabs announced the Form 3, the next generation of stereolithography (SLA) 3D printing. After spending years optimizing the Form 2, we were ready to take industrial level desktop printing to the next level, with with easy support removal, improved accuracy and reliability, and easier printer maintenance.
Over the summer of 2019, we began to send review printers to various media outlets. After waiting with anticipation, the first reviews are in. Find out what experts are saying about the Form 3 in this review roundup.
All3DP - 4.5 Stars out of Five
“For a small or medium business in need of a high-detail workhorse, the Form 3 is an easy recommendation. It expects nothing of you, and consistently produces high-detail prints (and thanks to new resins, large drafts) of the 3D models you throw at it.”
All3DP’s review is in-depth, covering everything from tech specs, setup, material selection, and more. Grey Resin prints were impressive to the team, claiming final products had near injection mold quality. Despite weeks of printing, they did not experience a single print failure on the Form 3. "It speaks to the Form 3’s reliability that after weeks of testing we experienced not one single print failure or print-related error." However, All3DP did require a call to Formlabs support due to dust partials interfering with the LPU. The support team was helpful, solved the problem, and the Form 3 was back up and running.
“Across our testing, however, we reserve special praise for Formlabs’ new Draft resin, a radical solution to even faster parts … Honestly, if we could spend the rest of our printing days with the Form 3 and a lifetime’s supply of Draft resin, we’d be in heaven. “
All3DP specifically pointed out their pleasure of using Draft Resin. Draft Resin launched the same day as the Form 3, and was designed to enable truly rapid prototyping. With print times three to four times faster than other resin available on the Form 3, the material balances speed with accuracy.
“The prints were fantastic. I was really impressed with them.”
Sean Charlesworth of Tested had positive things to say about print quality on the Form 3, noting that prints looked better than they did on the Form 2. He particularly liked Clear Resin, which prints with greater transparency than on previous Formlabs machines.
“The surface finish is finer than I would get on the [Form] 2.”
Sean walked the audience through the tech specs of the Form 3, explaining why Low Force Stereolithography (LFS) matters, and how to best avoid printing errors. He noted a few areas he felt the Form 3 was lacking in features, but he trusts Formlabs will continue to update and improve the entire printing experience.
The Form 2 of 2019 is vastly improved over the original Form 2 of 2015, thanks to refined print quality, speed improvements, and expanded materials selection. Formlabs has a history of continuous updates and improvements, and the Form 3 is going to continue that commitment to our products.
“The selling point of a machine like this is the extreme resolution.”
Caleb Kraft of Make Magazine highlighted the print quality of Grey Resin on the Form 3, which was a common theme across all reviews.
“In researching for this video, I saw the same questions popping up over and over. Why should I buy a Form 3 for thousands of dollars when there are cheaper SLA printers on the market?”
What made the Make Magazine review unique was Caleb discussing one of the most common questions around buying a SLA printer: why not buy the cheapest printer on the market? Caleb compared the situation to buying car. You can buy the cheapest car on the market, or you can get a Tesla. The Tesla offers better performance, high quality across the board, and comes with support and warranties in case anything goes wrong. According to Caleb, the Form 3 is the Tesla of SLA printers.
“Budget SLA printers often require a lot of experimentation and maintenance to produce quality prints. The Form 3 requires little of either: It just works.”
The Form 3 review from Tom’s Guide covered everything a potential buyer needs to know about the printer, from setup to maintenance. The review highlighted the ease of use of the printer, along with its high-quality prints. Tom’s Guide wanted to really test the print quality of the Form 3 by creating a few non-standard objects. This included planetary gears to test interlocking parts and a geometric sculpture as a test of hard edges and points.
Review the Form 3 Yourself
Overall, we are pleased with how reviewers and users are reacting to the Form 3. Reading or watching a review is a great first step in understanding if our latest printer is right for your business or workflow, but nothing beats getting to hold and see a print for yourself. If you’re interested in seeing the quality of Form 3 up close, request a free sample part below.