The Formlabs Form 1+ 3D Printer is another printer that was original conceived on Kickstarter but has grown into the expensive but excellent 3D printing that it is today. It comes from Formlabs, one of the pioneers in the resin 3D printing game.
The printer comes ready to print meaning that setup is both quick and easy, and unlike other FDM-type printers from the market, using the Formlabs printer is easy meaning that with a few simply tweaks you get what you ask for every time without having to spend to much time thinking how how best to set-up and operate the printer. The software is easy to use and more impressively, Formlabs have continually updated the software over the years to ensure that it packs the latest features, but at the same time is still very easy to use.
The Formlabs printer has a build volume of 5” X 5” X 6.5 Inches, and has a fantastic print quality with massively impressive and precise output. Yes, it’s pricey, but if you’re really keen to get your hands on something that can consistently deliver top-notch prints, this is a really excellent choice. For its quality, it’s pretty compact, and is capable of working at very high resolutions.
Formlabs Form 1+ 3D Printer Review
Remember, the Formlabs has been designed to print with resin rather than filament. Whilst resin was the original name in the game, it has been superseded by filament, which is largely inferior to resin. While resin printers were once massively expensive, this one though still somewhat pricey, is absolutely worth the outlay.
Although the software that comes with the printer makes it easy to get going on your models and prints, the finishing kit to get the printer ready to work can be a little tricky to negotiate. If you don’t have experience in this, you might struggle, as it requires gloves, rubbing alcohol and a gentle touch. That said, the software that comes with the machine does offer very good guidance, and the updates that are offered are very easy to install. Once that’s done, this is where this machine really shines. The prints from this look gorgeous, and they almost have a marble-like sheen.
They look massively professional and impressive, and don’t have the gummy or vague shapes that cheaper filament-based models can sometimes have. The resin tray can occasionally cause a misprint, but once this problem is solved, the failure rate is incredibly low. It is worth noting that resin trays and the resin itself do indeed need to be handled with care, which can take a lot of practice.
This can be frustrating for first-time users, and it is a steep learning curve, but it’s absolutely worth the time investment. It’s also of note that this machine comes with only four monochrome colours, and not the bright options that you might find with other filament printers.
During the few days that we had to test the Formlabs printer we tried to complete as many prints as we could possibly do in a range of formats and designs. The first print was a 100 micron small model that did not contain much detail. The printer flew through the print completing it in around 20 minutes which is far quicker that many of the FDM printers that we have printed with in the past.
For the second print, we tried to print the Effiel Tower model that we have used many times before only this time at the 50 Micron level. Considering the detail and resolution we were expecting a long printing time and left it printing over night. 10 hours later, it was complete and came out almost perfect. The finish quality is very good considering the 50 micron resolution and required very little cleaning up after the print.
We have also tested the printer at the 25 Micron level, however it does take a long, long time to print at this resolution which whilst not un-common across all 3D printers, we did think it was a little slower than the best FDM filament printers on the market.
Overall, this isn’t a machine for casuals, as it’s chemical based and somewhat tricky to learn, but if you want top-quality builds with sheen and shine, then you can’t find anything more impressive at this price point. The machine is expensive, as are the materials and running costs, but the print quality justifies the costs and patience required. Beginners might want to stay away, but professionals and experts who are seeking perfection can really look no further than this.
If this is your first foray into expensive 3D printers, you’ll be massively impressed. Because of its capability and its relatively technical design, it’s best suited for professional or experts, but intermediates with experience might have the skills to fully get to grips with it.