Formlabs Unveils Resin Pumping Accessory for Enhanced Large-Scale 3D Printing

By on January 10th, 2024 in Hardware, news

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A Form 3 with the new Resin Pumping System [Source: Formlabs]

Interesting news from Formlabs yesterday: they’ve introduced a resin pumping accessory for large prints.

Existing Formlabs equipment uses standard resin cartridges that have a capacity of 1L. While that amount of resin might be sufficient for many small jobs, it isn’t suitable for larger sized models. In those cases it’s possible the print may pause while waiting for the operator to swap cartridges.

That’s not good news for any operation intending to make full 24/7 use of their Formlabs equipment. That’s also against Formlabs’ recent strategy of providing the means to use their 3D printers for production applications.

Last year they released their Automation Ecosystem, which includes a means to automatically eject print plates. That’s part of the automation covered, but printers would still run out of resin.

But they won’t any longer with the new Resin Pumping System.

The system is compatible with the Formlabs Form 3 and 3L printers, and fits in the back of the machine where the cartridge would normally be mounted. The system includes a tube that slurps resin from a separate resin jug, which is to sit beside the machine.

New 5L resin jug from Formlabs [Source: Formlabs]

The resin jug is also new, and offers a 5L capacity, far greater than the 1L cartridges. This instantly means there will be 5X fewer cartridge swaps taking place. However, only certain resins will be immediately available in this format. I suspect that the company will broaden that in the future.

The economics of this are even more interesting. The resin pumping system is priced at only US$199, and the 5L resin jugs carry pricing that’s “at least 10% lower” than 1L pricing per liter.

If you take into account the lower resin pricing and the reduced labor, it seems that the Resin Pumping System would be a no-brainer for many operations, particularly those with many printers operating 24/7.

Think of it this way: swapping a cartridge would normally take five minutes of labor to walk to the printer, remove the old cartridge, dispose of it, crack open a new cartridge, mount it and press “continue”. If an operator is paid US$25 per hour, that swap costs about US$2 in labor. In that case, if your Resin Pumping System saves you 100 swaps, it pays for itself going forward.

The resin pumping system should be an easy decision for many Formlabs operations.

Wait, there’s more. Formlabs also announced two new materials yesterday as well.

One is polypropylene powder for their Fuse SLS 3D printer. This device has, up to now, been able to use on nylons and TPU. Now with the addition of polypropylene it will have an even wider breadth of possible applications.

Polypropylene is a very interesting printable material, as it can be used in different applications due to its engineering properties and its resistance to oils and solvents.

Finally, the company also announced a new biocompatible FDA-registered resin for the dental market. “Premium Teeth Resin” is said to have improved longevity, better visual appearance and clinical performance.

Via Formlabs

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

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