2019 was a monumental year for 3D printing and Formlabs. We are now at a crossroads for 3D printing--it’s no longer a buzzword, but industries and brands are still grappling with how to incorporate 3D printing into their businesses. This year, Formlabs spearheaded the 3D printing revolution by launching new 3D printers and materials, collaborating with major brands, and bringing together Formlabs users and 3D printing industry leaders. Here are our top moments of 2019.
We Launched Two Revolutionary New Printers
The Form 3 alongside the Form 3L
In April, we added the Form 3 and Form 3L to our Stereolithography (SLA) line of 3D printers. The Form 3 is a professional desktop printer, and heir to the Form 2, while the Form 3L is our first affordable large format resin printer. Both the Form 3 and Form 3L are powered by Low Force Stereolithography (LFS)™, a new technology that reduces the forces on your part during printing, which leads to higher quality prints with a superb surface finish. These new printers unlocked 3D printing capabilities and materials that span a wide range of industries and use cases. The Form 3 and Form 3L raised the bar for industrial quality 3D printing while ensuring the ease of use that Formlabs printers are known for. With the Form 3 and Form 3L, 3D printing became smarter, better, faster, and stronger.
The reception has been tremendous--upon the Form 3 release, numerous outlets have noted the high quality prints, ease of printing with different resins, and overall efficiency.
Dentists go Digital With Formlabs Dental
Clear aligners produced by 3D printing
The dental industry has increasingly embraced 3D printing to efficiently produce surgical guides, crowns, trays, dentures, and more. In November, we launched Formlabs Dental, our dental business unit, and Form 3B, our 3D printer for the dental industry. Prior to the launch, dentists have already been using Formlabs. But Formlabs Dental gave dentists something new to smile about. "By bringing down the cost for entry, Formlabs revolutionized the dental market,” said Dr. Jay Burton, DMD, MBA, Board Certified Orthodontist at SmileMaker Orthodontics. “The incredibly accurate Form 3B produces crisp and consistent dental parts and Dental Service Plan provides the confidence to go digital.”
New Balance Made the FuelCell Echo Triple Sneaker With Formlabs
The New Balance FuelCell Echo Triple
What do you get when you combine a renowned sports apparel company and Formlabs? The New Balance and Formlabs partnership started in 2017 to develop a 3D printing production system. Powered by Formlabs’ printers, New Balance launched the FuelCell Echo Triple this year, a sneaker made with custom, high performance Rebound Resin. Rebound Resin was custom made by New Balance and Formlabs to produce a springy quality with sturdy support, making it withstand wear and tear. With a one-of-a-kind lattice structure, the FuelCell Echo Triple heralded a new frontier for athletic shoes.
Ashley Furniture Used Form 2 to Speed up Manufacturing
3D printed parts from Ashley Furniture’s factory floor
Ashley Furniture is the world’s largest furniture manufacturer. Unsurprisingly, their manufacturing volume is enormous--they manufacture over 300,000 pieces of furniture a week. For continuous improvement, Ashley Furniture has turned to 3D printing. Initially, the company used fused deposition modeling (FDM) printers. But when they needed higher quality printing, they upgraded to Formlabs’ stereolithography (SLA) Form 2 3D printer. “We realized that we were looking for a little better surface quality and closer tolerances. SLA 3D printing on the Form 2 allowed us to create things like snap fit features for different fastening components,” said Brian Konkel, production engineer at Ashley Furniture.
We Made a Splash at CES With Live Demos and More
We kicked off 2019 at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), an annual technology trade show. At CES, we announced two new resin materials--Elastic Resin and Digital Dentures, presented our Gillette partnership that produced Razor Maker™, and featured live demos from leading industry creature designers.
We Launched New Materials
The design possibilities are endless with the launch of Elastic and Draft Resin.
Resin is typically thought of as a hard material. However, Elastic Resin has the consistency of a silicone mold without sacrificing durability. The most pliable engineering resin, Elastic Resin boasts high elongation and energy return. Elastic Resin’s flexibility makes it ideal for medical models and devices, wearables and consumer goods prototyping, and special effects models and props.
With the ability to print three to four times faster than most resins, Draft Resin is ideal for rapid prototyping. Draft Resin can print in record speeds with high accuracy, eliminating the need for fused deposition modeling (FDM) printers that were once valued for their speed.
Suffice to say, our new materials resonated with our customers.
We Brought Formlabs Users and Industry Leaders Together
The Formlabs User Summit brought together digital manufacturing leaders and Formlabs users. Speakers from Gillette, New Balance, Coach, Foundry Group, Northwell Health, and Nervous System shared their 3D printing insights.
In addition to the User Summit, we hosted the Digital Factory to share insights about the future of manufacturing. Together, these events showcased 3D printing’s possibilities and provided opportunities to connect.