The Formlabs Form 2 is the most advanced SLA desktop 3D printer available. So, what sets it apart from other types of 3D printers?
The world of 3D printing has been turned upside down with the Formlabs Form 2 3D printer - literally.
Most traditional printers adhere to the same basic design: Filament is fed into the machine where it is heated to the proper temperature and laid down, layer by layer, until the project is complete. That's not the case with the Form 2. Let's take a closer look and see what happens when a 3D printer is flipped on its head.
Where's the filament?
Ultimaker, Makerbot and other similar printers use the Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) method of printing. FFF printing generally involves lower costs, but it sacrifices accuracy in the process.
The Form 2, on the other hand, uses stereolithography - more commonly known as SLA. With this method, the project is printed from the top down. A high-precision layer shoots up from underneath the resin tank and draws each layer of the project on the printing bed. The resin cures in each spot hit by the laser, and the project is lifted out of the tanks. The laser completes each layer in this fashion until the printing is complete. While this is currently more expensive than FFF printing, it offers far greater precision - one of the reasons Formlabs labels the Form 2 a high-resolution printer.
More than microns
An impressive print definition isn't the only feature making the Form 2 a worthwhile purchase. It offers a number of next-generation features that put it ahead of other SLA printers.
A major drawback to SLA printers is the hassle of ensuring proper resin levels. The Form 2 overcomes this with a level sensor and cartridge ID chip. These work together to automatically refill the resin tank and notify the user when supplies are running low. The Form 2 can also be used with a wide range of functional resins, including castable, flexible and dental-grade options.
The printer also takes advantage of the growing internet of things, providing connectivity with other smart devices for better project management and collaboration.