The Formlabs Type 2 is our Spring 2019 decide for the “Greatest Resin 3D Printer”. Take a look at our evaluation to seek out out why it is merely one of the best SLA printer right now.
In terms of 3D printing, FDM printers take all the glory; Ultimakers, Prusas, and Crealitys are talked about always. Their machines supply makers, hobbyists, and semi-pros great artistic instruments. But FDM printers aren’t the only selection on the subject of 3D printing.
In case you are on the lookout for professional printers that may ship beautiful details, stereolithography (SLA) machines are the correct selection. They work with resin as an alternative of thermoplastics. As of 2018, there are low cost SLA machines concentrating on hobbyist – after which there’s the category of SLA 3D printers that may be found in labs, professional fabs, universities, and engineering spaces.
Formlabs holds the number one position for a number of years now. At $Three,500 / €Three,925, their flagship 3D printer Type 2 doesn’t come low cost. Nevertheless it’s a fraction of the worth you’d pay for a 3D Methods ProJet 6000 HD.
Additionally for a desktop machine, the Formlabs Type 2 has a quite highly effective optical engine. The 250mW violet laser is guided by custom-built galvanometers, delivering prints in spectacular high quality. For the purposes of this Formlabs Type 2 evaluate, we didn’t encounter a single misprint.
- 1 Formlabs Type 2 Evaluation: Execs
- 2 Formlabs Type 2 Assessment: Cons
- 3 Formlabs Type 2 Evaluate: The Verdict
- 4 Formlabs Type 2 Assessment: The Long Read
- 5 Formlabs Type 2 Assessment: Wrapping up
Formlabs Type 2 Evaluation: Execs
Print high quality is sensible
Straightforward to arrange and keep
Great interplay of hard- and software
Reliable and predictable results
Good software program slicer
Nice consumer interface
Relatively silent operation
Formlabs Type 2 Assessment: Cons
No print without post-processing
Not quicker than FFF 3D printers
Commonplace help buildings are very dense
Altering resin is simpler than with the Type 1+, however nonetheless no trivial activity
Consumables (resin and tank) and the printer are costly
Formlabs Type 2 Evaluate: The Verdict
In case you’re in search of a reliable, professional, high-quality SLA 3D printer, look no further. The Formlabs Type 2 is a workhorse that delivers beautiful outcomes.
This high-class SLA 3D printer isn’t aimed at the regular shopper who needs to dabble in 3D printing. It’s for people who have a clear use case and a price range — so we’re speaking about semi-professional and professional customers.
Nevertheless, this SLA 3D printer is a wonderful machine for prototyping. The Formlabs Type 2 is usually a invaluable addition to an engineer’s workplace, a dental lab or a jewellery designer — it actually does flip your ideas into actuality. It even can be used to manufacture (very) small batches.
What makes this SLA 3D printer fascinating is the constant quality. While FFF printers need a continuing balancing of parameters, temperatures, filaments, and extruders, the Formlabs Type 2 just delivers with out you having to worry about quality. When you keep in mind the previous “Get a Mac” Apple Advertisements mentioning the differences between Apple and Windows-PCs — that pretty much sums it up.
But there are drawbacks, they usually need to do with SLA know-how itself. To start with, working with resin means you will have to do some post-processing. Formlabs presents a particular post-production package for the Type 2, which we discovered expensive however invaluable.
Secondly, neither the printer nor the resins are a steal. For most individuals, the worth of $150 for a liter of resin is just too excessive, and over the long run the price of consumables will add up. Thirdly, the print dimensions are restricted to 125 × 125 × 165 mm — in case you are prototyping in greater dimensions, it’s a must to seek for various solutions.
However in case you are in search of a 3D printer that simply delivers with (almost) every single print, you will have found your match.
Formlabs Type 2 Assessment: The Long Read
Earlier than we dig deeper in this Formlabs Type 2 evaluate, right here’s a brief preamble on the variations between an SLA 3D printer and FFF 3D printer.
Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) is the most typical desktop 3D printer know-how. A FFF printer feeds plastic filament right into a heated extruder and prints layers with the molten materials. FFF 3D printers are versatile machines and may use totally different supplies. But most of them lack predictability on the subject of results.
Exactly this predictability is likely one of the strengths of SLA 3D printers like the Formlabs Type 2. It factors a excessive precision laser on a tray of liquid resin, which causes a thin layer to solidify. This chemical reaction permits for the creation of water-tight printed elements. The 3D printing velocity is corresponding to FFF machines when comparing layer thickness and density. SLA printers are also recognized for printing high-detailed objects.
Formlabs Type 2 Evaluation: Unboxing and Setup
Establishing the Type 2 was a breeze. Our Formlabs Type 2 evaluation sample came securely packaged. We found every part properly labeled. There’s a helpful setup guide on the Formlabs web site. Even for those who’ve never assembled a printer before, you can do this in no time.
Just put the printer on a flat and durable surface (a.okay.a. “table”). The size of the printer are 35 × 33 × 52 cm, which is huge, however not large compared to other 3D printers.
Subsequent, you open the orange cover and fasten the build platform. In case you are new to SLA 3D printers, you could be stunned to seek out that the build platform of the Formlabs Type 2 hangs the wrong way up… that‘s as a result of the item is “drawn out” of the resin, so to talk.
After that, you set the resin tray in place and click on within the tray wiper. The latter is an enchancment over the earlier era Type 1-series. Each time a layer is completed, the print bed strikes up a bit. Then the wiper strikes and makes positive the resin is unfold equally on the tray. The end result? You’ll get fewer misprints.
After this step, you slide the Type 2 resin tank into the printer, plug within the energy twine, and begin the printer. The tray is routinely crammed with resin. We didn’t should do any calibration (in contrast to with the Type 1 and Type 1+).
Last stop is adding the Formlabs Type 2 to your wi-fi community. In its place, you should use the USB- or Ethernet ports to switch information.
All in all, establishing the Formlabs Type 2 didn’t take us greater than 1 hour.
Formlabs Type 2 Evaluate: Out there Resin Varieties
There are several resin varieties to select from. The resins include methacrylic acid esters, photoinitiators, proprietary pigment, and other secret elements. In case you are planning to make use of your personal resins, you’ll run into problems — the cartridge system of the Formlabs Type 2 is proprietary.
Formlabs gives two flavors of ordinary resins. The standard resins are available clear, white, gray, and black. A liter of these “bread and butter” resins costs €160 / $150 — that’s not exactly low cost.
The second sort of resins for the Formlabs Type 2 are useful resins. Additionally they come in several flavors.
Robust Resin is sweet if you want to have extra sturdy or resilient prototypes. The usual resin isn’t robust enough for day by day use. They break easily. So this is the one it is best to order for those who’re constructing useful elements. A 1-liter tank prices €160 / $175.
Versatile resin is bendable and compressible. You pay $199 for a liter.
Castable resin is made with jewelers in mind. The resin burns out with out ash or residue. The worth is $300.
Dental resin is Class 1 biocompatible. It’s designed to immediately print surgical or pilot drill guides. In case you don’t have a clue what that is, you’ll in all probability by no means have to order it. Worth is a whopping $399.
But wait, there are other consumables! First, there’s the resin tank, which — based on Formlabs — must be switched out every 2 liters of resin. A tank will value you €66. It also comes with the wiper.
You can too purchase a second construct platform if you want to velocity up the workflow in an intensive use case state of affairs.
Formlabs Type 2 Evaluate: Software
In our Formlabs Type 2 evaluation course of, we found the interaction between the software and hardware to be the actual great thing about the 3D Printer.
For 3D printing, you want a software slicer to tell the 3D printer what to do. Formlabs have developed their own software referred to as PreForm. As with different 3D slicers, it permits you to import STL information, that are positioned on the print bed and displayed in the software. PreForm also auto-repairs broken meshes.
Typically, you don’t need to 3D print your object instantly on the build plate, as you may by accident scratch it once you attempt to remove it. To stop this, Preform invites you to add helps, which are customizable in density and power. The help buildings on the build plate are bent slightly upwards, so you possibly can slide a removing software beneath them — that’s intelligent!
There‘s also a “One Click Print” button, which must be adequate for many use instances. Until your 3D object doesn’t match the printer, you will in all probability not modify the dimensions. It’s also potential to put several objects onto the build plate and have it 3D printed in a single go.
The software program auto-rotates the thing and adds help buildings where needed. When you’re joyful together with your results, the software will calculate the layers and offer you an estimate on how many layers will probably be printed and how a lot resin you’ll want for it. One factor that was considerably annoying; Preform solely exhibits you the estimated printing time for those who click on the sector… this ought to be a simple choice so as to add.
The print is now transferred wirelessly to the 3D printer. When you‘re printing a highly complicated and enormous model, calculating and transferring can take up a few minutes.
To start out the print, you must press a button on the printer itself.
The Formlabs Type 2 will retain a lot of the 3D prints you’ve already made, so you can start a new print with out having to run to the pc once more. It’s the little issues like these that make this 3D printer a pleasure to make use of.
The software also can notify you by mail when the print is completed — that‘s a factor you’d love to see as commonplace in many FFF 3D printers.
In the event you’re designing 3D objects, you need to know that the minimum supported wall thickness is 0.four mm, and the unsupported wall thickness is zero.6 mm. A proper design guide might be found at the Formlabs website.
Formlabs Type 2 Evaluate: Printing
It takes the Formlabs Type 2 considerable time to warmth up the resin tray to 30 degrees Celsius / 95 levels Fahrenheit. Should you place the printer in a very popular or very cold setting, you may reconsider taking the printer to a more “average local weather”. When the resin is at the right temperature, the build plate lowers itself into the resin-filled tray.
You’ll be able to maintain monitor of your print on the touchscreen, in your pc, or even on a smartphone. Formlabs makes use of a hoop in lieu of a progress bar. The outer ring exhibits the layers, the internal one the progress of the current layer. Additionally, there’s a continuing time estimate of remaining print time.
Over the course of our Formlabs Type 2 evaluation, we found the graphical consumer interface of the printer to be extraordinarily clear, helpful, and straightforward to know. We additionally favored the LCD touch display — it’s shiny and responsive. The menu isn’t overloaded with info and shows the correct decisions on the proper time. There’s only one button which is used for confirming actions and in addition serves as the facility change.
The construct velocity is similar to FFF machines when comparing layer thickness and density. It’s roughly 1-Three cm/hour along the Z axis when printing at 100 microns. The Formlabs Type 2 can 3D print in 25, 50, and 100 microns.
Formlabs Type 2 Evaluate: Submit-Manufacturing
Publish-production is the place SLA printing turns into ugly. In case you‘re using an FFF printer, you just pluck the model from the build plate, and you’re often able to go. For SLA 3D printers just like the Formlabs Type 2, that‘s not the case.
As you’re printing with liquid resin, you will have to take away the print from the plate, immerse it in chemical compounds, then remove the helps. This could take up a considerable amount of time.
Formlabs provides a ending package, which we found extraordinarily helpful. It consists of a rinse station with two buckets, which you partially ﬁll with isopropyl alcohol (IPA).
Earlier than you start post-processing, it is best to put on protecting gloves and eye safety. Keep away from inhaling fuel, mists, vapors or spray of resin — or some other chemical compounds — and wash your skin completely after dealing with. Working with resin is taken into account to be relatively protected, but in some rare instances, skin irritations and allergic reactions have been reported.
First, you must placed on some rubber gloves. Watch out when removing the construct plate. Because it’s still coated with liquid resin, the “goo” tends to drip. Next, you want the removing device to slide it underneath the “quick release tabs” generated by the PreForm software program. With bigger prints, you’ll have to pry them firmly from the build platform.
Subsequent you rinse the print; drop it in the tank and depart it there for roughly 20 minutes. For smaller elements, scale back the soak time accordingly. A rinse bottle will aid you clean any inner channels of your print.
Permit the (nonetheless sticky) print to dry for a number of hours. As a last step, you remove the help buildings with a pair of “flush” cutters. This may be demanding, because the Preform software has the tendency to make the helps just a little stronger than needed with a view to provide a great print.
In our Formlabs Type 2 evaluation process, we found that too many supports can depart ugly dots on your ultimate print — if you would like good outcomes, you’ll should experiment with the help structure settings and in addition clean them after removing the help. Also, we discovered it quite onerous to take away helps that lie within the inside buildings of a delicate print.
You possibly can even break some delicate items from your print, as we did in this example.
You’ll be able to then end your prints by spraying them with acrylic paint, or post-cure them in UV lightboxes. Formlabs provide good help info on priming prints.
Formlabs Type 2 Assessment: Wrapping up
As we’ve said a number of occasions in our Formlabs Type 2 evaluation — this can be a beautiful machine! We have been very impressed with the quality of outcomes this SLA 3D printer delivered, and it did it continuously.
There are some challengers to their crown. For those who consult this listing of rivals, you’ll find that the majority rival machines start at $5000 — so for small budgets, the Formlabs Type 2 stays “greatest in school.” The most cost effective various we will advocate is XYZ Printing’s Nobel 1, which only prices $1,900, but is claimed to ship less quality (we haven’t reviewed this printer yet).
In case you just need to print out high element models solely sometimes, you may be higher off ordering from a 3D printing service. The prices of the consumables (trays, resin) for the Formlabs Type 2 add up and will dent a gap in a non-professional price range.
However in case you are on the lookout for a dependable, professional, high-quality SLA 3D printer you should use each day, then look no further. The Formlabs Type 2 is a premium printer that delivers beautiful results.
The submit Formlabs Type 2 Assessment â€“ Greatest Resin 3D Printer in 2019 appeared first on All3DP.
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