Here at the 3DMed Lab, we have had our eye on the Form 2 Desktop SLA 3D Printer for a long while. So when it finally arrived only a few days after it had been ordered, you can guess how excited we were!
FormLabs Form2 Boxes
The Form 2 “Complete Package” consists of the printer itself, one cartridge of Clear resin, a resin tank, a build platform, and a finish kit. We also ordered extra Grey and Flexible resins, as well as an extra build platform and resin tank, as we’ve heard that switching between resins can be a pain. The Form 2 also has “Open” mode which allows you to experiment with third party resins. We will report back when we have done so.
FormLabs Form2 boxes
The Form 2 itself came snugly packed in its box. The cardboard handles on either side were a nice touch which facilitated easy lifting out of the box and onto the table.
FormLabs Form2 in the box
The finish kit was packed full of very handy tools for post-processing, tools that you would have had to purchase anyway from a hardware shop if you’d had any prior experience with 3D printing, but including them was a very nice touch. Included was also a very generous amount of gloves- two packets in fact! Not that we ever run short of gloves in a hospital, but the thoughtfulness was much appreciated.
FormLabs Form2 cleaning kit
My only complaint is that the packaging did not contain an Australian power plug, which was slightly annoying as it meant that I couldn’t start printing straightaway. Just something to keep in mind when purchasing your Form 2- especially if you’re not setting up the printer at home, have a US to Australian adaptor at the ready so you don’t have to delay playing with your new toy! Thankfully the printer has a standard IEC power socket on the back so there is a good chance you have a suitable power cable sitting around from that retired computer, printer etc.
Other than that, assembly was very straightforward and the printer was pretty much plug and play. You have the option of printing via Wifi, ethernet, or directly to the computer via USB.
FormLabs Form2 out of the box
The PreForm software was easily downloaded from the Formlabs website, and was very intuitive and straightforward to use. It has the option to optimally orient your print, which is great for SLA beginners like myself.
Skull and Orbit Model being manipuated in FormLabs PreForm software prior to 3d printing. The lattice network are support structures used to hold the model together during printing.
We had a model that we had prototyped in ABS using our Makerbots, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to try it out in clear resin!
Skull and orbit model being manipulated in Autodesk Meshmixer software.
The original STL file was hollowed out using Meshmixer as per this tutorial on the Formlabs website, which was a relatively simple process. This allows you to shorten the build time and save on resin. As instructed, I reoriented the model to match the position PreForm had oriented it for printing, placing holes on the close to the build platform to allow resin to drain.
In addition to the hollowing tutorial, the Formlabs website has lots of very useful tutorials to help you get started. Formlabs were also very helpful on Twitter, responding to questions and linking me to further tutorials.
And here is the final hollowed model, imported back into PreForm:
FormLabs PreForm software
What have been your experiences with the Form 2, or other SLA/DLP 3D printers in general? Have experiences or advice you would like to share? Leave a comment below or tweet us @3dMedLab!