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Form Labs Form 1 : Finally, A 3D Printer For Home Use

We all want to turn the subject of our creative thinking into real, tangible objects. Now this makes 3d printing an interesting market. There have been a number of 3d printers released and yet most, if not all are not intended for home usage. Many have attempted to create a 3d printer for home use and sadly many have not been successful at their attempt.

Well most except for the Forms Labs form 1 3d printer.

A 3d printer isn’t really anything special anymore, some would say. In fact, we do have plenty of 3d printers that are a lot cheaper than the Form Labs form 1. So why is everybody excited about this new 3D printer?

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Print Technology

Form Labs form 1 uses a method called stereolithography, a process where liquid plastic is blasted with a laser, causing the resin to cure. This is one of the most accurate methods in additive manufacturing and also the most costly, which makes manufacturing a 3d printer for home use almost impossible. The need for high-end optics makes units typically costing tens-of-thousands of dollars.

Form Labs form 1 forms layers as thin as 25 microns (.001 inches) which is about 75% thinner than the new replicator 2, with details as small as 300 microns (.012 inches) in a build volume of 125 x 125 x 165mm (4.9 x 4.9 x 6.5 inches). No longer limited to low-end Frequency Division Multiplexing machines, we can now print parts with the complex geometries, exquisite details, and beautiful surface finish necessary for professional quality design and digital fabrication.

Pricing

As far as a 3d printer for home use is concerned, affordability is one big issue. Addressing that just after a year its development, Form Labs have officially released the first “prosumer” 3D printer for home use.

The Form Labs form 1 can provide professional quality resolution at a price that individual designers and engineers can afford. This 3d printer technology fills the gap between low-end hobbyist machines with limited resolution and high-end printers that cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Rating

Even with a lot of legal issues, I would say Form Labs form 1 is a revolutionary gadget. A must have for those who are into designing and those who have an interest in 3D printing. One device that can deliver professional grade output is something but an affordable one would even better. With patent infringement lawsuits by 3d systems, I give form 1 an 8 for the concept implementation, 9 for the high quality output, 5 – for their efforts on support systems which is not really new for additive manufacturing, a standard method in fact. For the prosumer idea, I definitely give it a 9.

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Form Labs Form 1 is not as cheap as the 3d printers available today in the market. But then again, it s the most high-end/professional grade tool and I think closest one to becoming a 3d printer for home use. At $3,299, the printer just exceeds the 15 inch Retina Display Macbook Pro by $400. If you can afford a Macbook and have a use for a 3D printer, then the Form 1 is a good buy for you.

Photo credit: dreamexplorer via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

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