Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Formlabs Introducing Two New 3D Printers and New Draft Resin at AMUG and Hannover Messe

ST Medical Devices

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It’s been over four years since Formlabs first introduced the Form 2 SLA 3D printer. But at this week’s AMUG Conference and Hannover Messe trade fair, the company is sharing some pretty big news – it’s adding two professional Low Force Stereolithography (LFS) systems to its hardware series. The new Form 3 and Form 3L 3D printers, announced today, were built on next generation technology, and will help Formlabs continue to advance digital fabrication.

3D printed speaker on Form 3

“We’ve completely re-engineered our approach to resin 3D printing with the Low Force Stereolithography (LFS) print process behind the Form 3 and Form 3L. We entered the industry seven years ago with the first powerful, affordable desktop SLA 3D printer and since then have shipped more than 50 thousand printers, and our customers have printed more than 40 million parts. Now users are leading the way in how to grow 3D printing from one machine to many, from prototyping tool to game changer,” said Max Lobovsky, CEO and Co-Founder of Formlabs. “We’re excited to take another huge leap forward with LFS 3D printing, dramatically improving the print quality and reliability people can expect while still offering the most powerful and affordable 3D printer on the market.”

LFS, an advanced, powerful form of SLA technology, decreases the forces of the peel process with a flexible tank. This allows the Form 3 and Form 3L to create parts that are consistently accurate and flawless, with amazing detail and surface finish, every single time. LFS 3D printing provides linear illumination, and tear-away, light-touch supports make for smoother parts and a quick clean-up.

Form 3L

The LFS process that drives the Form 3 is built to scale, as the Form 3L makes it possible to rapidly print large parts with two times the laser power of the Form 3. The Form 3L also has five times the build volume, and uses two Light Processing Units (LPUs) at the same time to make large-format 3D printing possible in-house.

Formlabs’ online Dashboard makes it possible to 3D print parts remotely, and LFS 3D printing uses integrated sensors to ensure nonstop printing, as they send alerts about your 3D printer in an effort to maintain the ideal print conditions. The LPU achieves accurate, repeatable prints by maintaining a uniform, high-density laser spot, and upgradeable, modular components, paired with what Formlabs calls a “foolproof design,” round out these two new 3D printers.

But the Form 3 and Form 3L aren’t the only new products Formlabs announced today. Draft Resin is the latest addition to the company’s resin library, in the Engineering family, and is three to four times faster than its other Standard Resins – perfect for rapid prototyping.

Formlabs’ engineering materials

The new Draft Resin, named for its ability to quickly print large parts and complete several design iterations (drafts) in a day, prints in 300 micron layers to meet customer needs for speed balanced with accurate prototyping; after all, as Formlabs put it, “turnaround time is key.” Another way to put it – time is money.

3D printing has already reduced the time and cost of prototyping projects, since many professional systems fit the office setting and negate the need for outsourcing. But, since SLA machines are typically used to create models with high fidelity, while FDM systems are good for initial concept prototyping, this adds some time back into the design cycle. But now, instead of switching machines, all you need to do is switch materials – use Draft Resin for early prototypes, and then Standard or Engineering Resins for functional models.

In terms of 3D printing large objects, or multiple parts on one build platform, it can take up to 20 hours to complete the job using Standard Resin. But 3D printing the same build volume, at 300 micron layers using Draft Resin, takes less than six hours. Another example of this material’s speed – a jig prototype printed on the Form 2 or new Form 3 can be completed 73% faster when using Draft Resin, so it takes less time to complete multiple design iterations.

Formlabs’ new Draft Resin is a good choice for printing parts with flat surfaces, as its accuracy in the X and Y axes is as good as the company’s Standard Resins. The material can also be used to print raised or embossed text and curved features, though Formlabs still recommends its Standard and Engineering resins for any parts that have fine surface details.

“With the launch of Draft Resin, we’re excited to continue our mission to increase the speed of 3D printing and enable faster designs and better products,” Formlabs wrote in a press release.

Starting today, Formlabs is accepting global orders for its Draft Resin. To learn more about this material, and the company’s new Form 3 and Form 3L 3D printers, visit Formlabs at booth D4 in Chicago during the AMUG Conference, or at Hannover Messe in booth G08, Hall 6.

Discuss this story and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com, or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below.

[Images provided by Formlabs]

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