Formlabs is shaking up the industry once again with the release of not one, but three new products. With these latest offerings, Formlabs is expanding the capabilities of its Form 3 series printers, bringing new options for printing materials, build platforms, and file formats to the table.
Announced at RAPID + TCT, the release of its first Flame Retardant Resin (FR Resin) for the Form 3 series printers, its new Build Platform 2L with Quick Release Technology for the Form 3L and Form 3BL printers, and PreForm support for 3MF (3D Manufacturing Format) files, are designed to offer unprecedented flexibility, speed, and accuracy for a wide range of 3D printing applications. Let’s dive deeper into the details of each product and explore how they can enhance users’ 3D printing experience.
Formlabs Chief Product Officer Dávid Lakatos said that with the brand’s first-ever FR Resin, they are opening up 3D printing to industries that must adhere to product regulations and certifications for flame retardancy, particularly aviation and transportation.
As Formlabs’ first UL (Underwriters Laboratories) 94 V-0 certified resin and first self-extinguishing material, the FR Resin can 3D print strong, durable plastic parts that can withstand high temperatures. Ideal for making airplane, automobile, and railway interior parts, as well as electronic components and industrial parts, the material eliminates the need for expensive traditional manufacturing methods for making flame retardant parts, ascertains Formlabs.
Furthermore, the company established that the resin is certified to have good flame, smoke, and toxicity ratings, which makes it a safe choice for many applications. It also allows for detailed, high-quality parts with a smooth finish that looks like they were made using injection molding but at a much lower cost.
“Being able to get a 3D printed part that truly mimics a thermoplastic, finishes well, has fine feature details, and behaves mechanically similar to molded parts is a huge benefit and time saver,” added Tony Parker, Principal at Avance Design, a 3D printing product design group. “With Flame Retardant Resin we can go from CAD design to finished part without the additional work we had to do with other methods.”
Also being introduced is Build Platform 2L, Formlabs’ next-generation build platform specifically designed for the Form 3L and Form 3BL printers. The Build Platform 2L enables users to more efficiently produce large parts with the same post-processing efficiency Form 3/B/+ users have enjoyed since the launch of the first Build Platform 2 last year, specifying the brand.
According to the new product’s description, thanks to its patented Quick Release Technology, users can easily and quickly remove large-format parts from the platform without tools in seconds. In addition, by printing directly to the platform without needed onsite support, users save on material costs and post-process their prints even faster.
For example, Formlabs user Siemens Energy has implemented the Build Platform 2L to print large parts, including molds and manufacturing aids, directly from the platform without onsite support. The company is using the platform at its Orlando Innovation Campus (OIC), an R&D facility that is developing new technologies and solutions to address the evolving needs of the energy industry. With this new build platform, the leading global energy technology provider can reduce print time, shorten hands-on labor time, and open up entirely new applications.
According to Siemens Energy OIC Additive Manufacturing Technician Matthew Deutsch: “We’re able to print full kilogram parts all at one time and flex them off the plate with no supports, and we couldn’t do that before — the only other option was machining the mold inserts. The wait was worth it. With mold inserts, we can print and then start pumping out injection molded plastic parts within 24 hours. This is a genesis for the entire industry.”
Lastly, by adding 3MF support to its PreForm software, the company expects to make it easier than ever for users to turn their designs into physical products. According to the company, this allows for smaller file sizes and storing multiple models in one file to streamline the 3D printing process further. In addition, with 3MF support in PreForm, Formlabs users are expected to work with 3MF files and take advantage of their advanced features and capabilities.
Since its founding in 2011, Formlabs has continued to innovate and meet customer needs, including reaching 100 million innovations printed on Formlabs 3D printers and growing from Kickstarter stealth mode to a $2 billion valuation. More recently, Formlabs opened a new Midwest regional headquarters, expanded its medical and dental division, and released new materials to expand printer capabilities and applications. The company also just announced the appointment of Nick Graham, formerly of EverQuote, as its new Chief Revenue Officer (CRO).
With its continued focus on customer-centered innovations, Formlabs will remain a leading player in the 3D printing industry. Its emphasis on democratizing access to 3D printing technology and making it more accessible and affordable for everyone has made the brand a driving force in the industry.
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