Frequently Asked Questions
What is 3D printing?
3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is a method for fabricating a physical object from a digital model. Whereas traditional “subtractive manufacturing” cuts material away from a solid piece of material (i.e. wood carving or metal machining) to create an object, 3D printing adds layer upon layer of material to gradually build an object. For a simple visualization, imagine placing successive circular sheets of paper on top of one another until the stack becomes a three dimensional cylinder.
Why is the Form 2 better than other 3D printers?
The Form 2 is a high-resolution desktop machine that matches the print quality of large, industrial printers at a far lower cost. The Form 2 uses stereolithography (SLA) technology to achieve a professional print quality that plastic extrusion printers just can’t match. Stereolithography is the gold standard for accuracy and resolution in 3D printing. Our custom PreForm software and single button interface make the entire print experience simple, intuitive, and enjoyable. Learn more about the Form 2 printer.
What is the difference between stereolithography/SL and plastic extrusion/FDM?
Plastic extrusion, or fused deposition modeling (FDM), is the most common desktop 3d printer technology; FDM printers melt plastic and use an extruder to print each layer with molten plastic. The vast majority of desktop plastic extrusion machines lack the finish and resolution for professional-grade output. SL can outperform the print quality of even high-end FDM machines. In our photopolymer-based process, a high precision system directs a laser across a tray of liquid resin and causes a thin layer to solidify. This chemical reaction allows for the creation of water-tight printed parts. Until now, a professional SL printer has been far out of reach for the individual designer.
The Form 2
What is the difference between the Formlabs Form 2 and Form 1+ desktop SLA printers?
The Form 2 brings more advanced technology to desktop printing. Combined with a bigger build volume and more powerful components, the printer’s integrated resin system and sealed optics make the Form 2 easy to maintain and operate. The Form 2 also offers constant connectivity with wireless print uploading, job queuing and access to your personal online printer dashboard. For a detailed comparison, review the tech specs for each printer.
How fast does the Form 2 print?
The build speed is comparable to FDM machines when comparing layer thickness and density. The speed of the Form 2 is also comparable to the Form 1+, with continuous improvements through regular firmware updates. As a general rule, the build speed is 1-3 cm/hour along the Z axis when printing at 100 microns. Our rook, as an example, takes around 1.5 hours to print at 100 micron layer-height. The 200 micron layer-height setting works with our Clear resin to reduce print times. The same rook at 200 microns takes 45 minutes to print. To calculate the print speed of any specific part, please download our PreForm print preparation software, load the model, and calculate the print time.
When can I buy the Form 2?
Place your order as soon as possible. Form 2 shipments began in 2015. The lead time for orders is listed alongside the product in the webstore.
The Form 1+
What is the resolution of the printer?
Different 3D printer manufacturers use different metrics to define “resolution”, but layer thickness is one commonly cited standard. The Form 1+ can create layers as thin as 25 microns, which is much finer than other desktop machines. Minimum feature size, on the other hand, refers to the thinnest wall or finest point, which can be as small as 300 microns on the Form 1+ or Form 2. Our design specifications explore the minimum features you can expect. The Form 1+’s laser beam can move in steps of fewer than 10 microns, creating extremely precise movements and an impressively smooth surface finish that FDM machines can’t match.
What are the dimensions of the Form 1+’s build volume?
The build envelope dimensions are 125 x 125 x 165 mm (4.9 x 4.9 x 6.5 in). For larger models, you may be able to print multiple segments.
How fast does the Form 1+ print?
The build speed is comparable to FDM machines when comparing layer thickness and density. As a general rule, the build speed is 1-3 cm/hour along the Z axis when printing at 100 microns. Our rook, as an example, takes around 1.5 hours to print at 100 micron layer-height. The 200 micron layer-height setting works with our Clear resin to reduce print times. The same rook at 200 microns takes 45 minutes to print. To calculate the print speed of any specific part, please download our PreForm print preparation software, load the model, and calculate the print time.
What do I need to use the Form 1+?
The Form 1+ arrives fully assembled, calibrated, and ready to use! Each Form 1+ order also includes 1 liter of resin and a kit to help finish your prints. All you need is a laptop with our PreForm software installed, a 3D model to print, and isopropyl alcohol (IPA), to rinse your printed model. Refer to our Help Pages for detailed instructions.
What are the technical specifications of the Form 1+?
Read our full list of technical specifications.
What consumables does the Form 1+ have?
The Form 1+ uses a liquid photopolymer resin, which is described in detail in the Materials section. Resin tanks wear with use and need to be replaced periodically, typically after being used with 2 L of resin.
How much maintenance is required for the Form 1+?
The Form 1+ was designed for ease of use and low maintenance. We streamlined the number of moving parts to reduce wear on the machine while making operation of the printer simple and intuitive. We have also compiled instructions that describe how to care for your Form 1+.
Where can I see a printer?
Check out the Form 2 and Form 1+ in action at one of our upcoming International events! To see when we will be in your area, keep an eye on our events page.
Placing an Order
How do I place an order?
When is my credit card charged?
Full payment is required to place your order. We accept payment by credit card, PayPal, check, or wire transfer. For wire transfers, we require proof of payment to confirm and complete the order.
Can I cancel my order?
You can cancel your order any time before your printer ships by filling out our web form. Please include your order number. Keep in mind that orders are shipped on a first-come, first-serve basis, and order cancellations cannot be reversed. Orders cancelled after shipment must be processed as returns.
Does Formlabs offer any discounts?
The Formlabs printers are the lowest priced professional stereolithography printers on the market. We do not offer discounts for printers or accessories.
Can you help with purchase orders, quotes, or invoices?
Contact our sales team and we'll do our best to work with you.
Where else can I buy a Formlabs printer?
Formlabs is the exclusive manufacturer of the Formlabs printers, with authorized partners in some geographic regions. Printers purchased from non-authorized third-party sellers may not be supported by Formlabs warranty or terms of service.
Do I have to pay tax/VAT?
All orders with a Massachusetts or California shipping address will include sales tax on the merchandise portion of your order, unless you provide us with proof of tax exempt status.
Orders shipped outside of the United Kingdom and within the European Union are eligible for VAT exemption for VAT-registered customers.
For orders shipped within the UK, VAT must be paid at the time of purchase, but VAT-registered businesses can reclaim these costs when filing taxes.
For orders shipped to Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Turkey, no VAT is due on purchase, but local customs authorities may charge duties or fees upon import.
When do orders ship?
Each order is shipped as soon as possible, on a first-come, first-served basis. See our shipping page for more information.
What countries do you ship to?
See our shipping page for more information.
When will you ship to other countries?
Sign up for our newsletter in the footer of this page, to be the first to know when we expand our range for shipping and product support.
How much does shipping cost and what shipping options do you offer?
Each order’s shipping cost is calculated during the checkout process. You can review the final shipping cost before completing your purchase in the Form Store. Domestic orders are shipped via FedEx and the shipping carrier for international orders varies by country.
Can I use my own shipping account number or request a specific carrier?
At this time, our order fulfillment processes do not support special shipping arrangements.
Do you offer shipping insurance?
All orders ship with insurance. For more information, see our shipping policy.
Can I arrange to pick up the printer at the Formlabs office?
Formlabs utilizes a separate fulfillment center for processing and completing orders, so we are unable to offer pick-up in lieu of shipping.
What are the dimensions and shipping weights of the packages?
What resin does the Form 1+ print with?
Formlabs offers Black, Grey, Clear and White standard resins for general prototyping. These carefully-engineered resins produce accurate and robust physical models. Formlabs also offers functional resins with varying mechanical properties such as Castable, Flexible, and Tough. These materials are designed to print only one at a time, and the support structures always use the same resin as the rest of the print. Based on our users’ needs, Formlabs is actively developing new materials with varying aesthetic and mechanical properties. To purchase resin or obtain an MSDS, check out more information on our materials.
How many parts can I print with 1 bottle of resin?
Depending on your print size, 1 liter of resin can print various quantities of models. For example, our standard rook measures 53 mm tall and uses about 11 cubic centimeters (or 11 mL) of resin. One liter of resin could produce about 90 rooks!
Our PreForm print preparation software will tell you how much resin the model you are printing will use before your start each print.
What are the material properties of the resin and how does it compare with other materials?
Formlabs’ photopolymer resins are ideal for product development and rapid prototyping. In combination with stereolithographic technology, these materials exhibit smooth surface finishes and excellently capture fine details on your prints. Our standard resins are great general purpose rapid prototyping resins. Our Castable Resin is optimized to burn out cleanly for investment casting applications, while our Flexible Resin has great compression characteristics for a host of engineering applications. For detailed material properties, please download our material datasheets from our materials page.
What is the shelf-life of the resin?
Our bottled resin has a shelf life of at least one year. You can leave unused resin in the Form 1+ resin tank for as many as two months, which means you won’t have to waste any material.
How can I store the resin?
You can reuse resin that is in your tank after a print, but it should not be returned to the bottle to avoid potential contamination. The Form 1+’s orange cover will protect your unused resin from ambient light. Outside of the printer or bottle, resin can be stored in the orange resin tank with the lid on.
Where can I find the material MSDS?
For more information about safely handling our resin, see our materials page.
Can the resin be burnt-out, for lost-wax casting?
Our Castable Resin was developed specifically for investment casting. The material burns out cleanly with very low shrinkage. Parts printed on the Form 1+ must be post-cured before casting. Please follow our recommended burnout schedule when working with this material for optimal results.
Can I use third party resins with my Form 1+?
Maybe. The resin properties we’ve engineered in house are closely linked with the Form 1+ design. PreForm has options to input print settings for Formlabs resins. Third party resins may recommend print settings but are unlikely to perform as well and may actually damage the printer or void the warranty.
How do Formlabs resins perform in different solvents?
Learn more about solvent compatibility from results of tests performed by Formlabs.
What software do I need to operate a Formlabs printer?
Formlabs’ custom built PreForm software makes setting up and creating your print simple and intuitive. After importing an .STL or .OBJ file, you can scale, rotate, duplicate and align the model, then use our one click button to print. Learn more about PreForm.
What kind of software can I use to create 3D CAD models?
There are many professional tools for digital modeling, including Solidworks, Rhino and Inventor. SketchUp and Blender are free and easy to use. Our PreForm print preparation software can import an .STL or .OBJ file from any 3D CAD package that can create them. PreForm is not a modeling software.
What are the minimum computer hardware requirements to run the software and print?
Any computer hardware you can use for 3D CAD should be more than sufficient. PreForm is supported on computers operating Windows 7 or higher and Mac OSX 10.7 or higher.
How much does PreForm Software cost?
PreForm is available free for download. Periodic software updates are also free and include new features as well as performance improvements.
What post processing is required?
SLA technology requires minimal post processing. With each printer, Formlabs includes the basic equipment for finishing your prints in the Finish Kit. Learn more about how to finish prints with our detailed post processing steps.
What do you recommend for UV curing after printing?
Depending on the type of material and the intended use, some prints benefit from or require an additional UV cure cycle. Learn more about post-print UV curing from our in-depth research.
What support is included with the printer?
In addition to our extensive community-supported knowledge-base, Formlabs offers freely-available tutorials and email support. To access these resources, visit our dedicated Support site or learn more about additional options for support.
Where can I share my work and learn from other users?
Formlabs has a very active community of users. Join the conversation online at forum.formlabs.com.
What warranty does Formlabs offer for the printers?
The Form 1+ and the Form 2 ship with a one-year warranty.
What service is offered at the end of the warranty period?
Our Support team is always standing by to assist and we will do everything in our power to ensure your machine is printing. If our support team determines a repair is needed outside of warranty, the repair arrangements and costs are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
What if my printer arrives damaged or I experience issues printing?
Please use our web form to contact us as soon as possible with details about the problem. You can also submit photos of any visual damage.