After years of research and advancements that included a handful of new material releases, an incremental device upgrade and sales expanding to Europe, Formlabs is ready to push 3D printing even further with the announcement of the Form 2, its second laser-drawn resin 3D printer that enables bigger builds and higher print resolutions.
Whereas most 3D printers mold filament layer by layer, building from the ground up to produce a plastic object, the Form 2 operates on a different 3D-printing process called stereolithography that uses an ultraviolet laser to harden layers of sticky resin until the object is fully built.
The Form 2 also has a new touchscreen display for managing print jobs and Wi-Fi connectivity that automatically sends job notifications to desktops and mobile devices for households and offices with multiple users.
The chemical reaction is still an additive process, but the laser can be tuned to a fine point that allows for objects with a much higher resolution than you would get with a traditional fused-deposition modeling, or FDM machines.
The resulting projects are also printed with less visible "seams" that give away the laying process and can require a lot of post-production sanding to smooth.
The early Form 1 reviews had some users complaining about getting their hands dirty to refill the resin tank before starting a new project. The beauty of Kickstarter is that Formlabs customers have a direct line of customer support to the company, and the Form 2 addresses those issues and more with a new cartridge-based resin delivery system that mirrors the simplicity and basic ink cartridge design of standard 2D printers.
The Formlabs Form 2 3D printer is available to purchase now for $3,499, which includes Formlabs' PreForm software, one liter of resin and a finish kit for post-processing.