More than a year after they introduced the Form 1, Formlabs announced the Form 1+, said to be an “extensive overhaul” of their previous model, the Form 1.
From a quick glance, you’d think the Form 1+ is no different than its predecessor, but that is definitely not the case. The Form 1+ has significantly upgraded internals, leading to very noticeable performance improvements. So what’s different?
The laser system seems to have undergone the most improvement. In fact, Formlabs has replaced the original laser with one that’s four times more powerful. They say this permits printing at 50% greater speeds, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it was more than that.
The second major internal improvement is a “redesigned galvanometer control system”, which controls the mirrors that precisely direct the laser beam toward the resin surface. The company says they’ve made a number of other mechanical improvements all of which should permit printing at even finer detail reliably. Formlabs’ Sam Jacoby told us:
The new control system results in layers that are better-aligned and more accurate, so the surface finish is even smoother and the detail even sharper. We've taken a lot of those benefits into the speed of the printer, which is now scanning significantly faster.
Formlabs has improved the peel process to reduce forces on objects being removed from the printer and provide “better overall control of the peel cycle”.
That’s not all. Formlabs has also reworked the resin tank to include UV-blocking material. You can safely store the resins without fear of premature solidification. In practice this means you might keep several of the USD$49 tanks filled with different resins ready to go; just swap them into the Form 1+.
All this comes at a price. In fact, it’s the SAME price as their previous machine, USD$3,299. No price increase. Meanwhile, for owners of the previous model, Formlabs will offer an upgrade program to convert their Form 1 into a Form 1+, at a price of USD$749.
Finally, buried amidst the Form 1+ announcement was a brief mention that Formlabs now offers Black Resin, priced at USD$149 per liter.
We asked Formlabs Cofounder Maxim Lobovsky how he feels the new machine will fare against the several competing resin-based 3D printers that have recently emerged:
Not only is the Form 1 the best in its class, but we’ve also put an enormous amount of effort into offering a truly comprehensive, all-in-one package. From our finely-tuned materials, to our powerful, easy-to-use PreForm software, the Form 1+ is complete and intuitive in a way that few other SLA pritners are. We’re so confident in the updates we’ve made to the machine, that we’re offering a 1-year warranty with all Form 1+ 3D Printers. We’re the only major desktop 3D printer manufacturer to do that. We’re offering more than a machine -- we’re offering a complete system
that just works, right out of the box. None of our competition is offering that today.