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From 1 3D printer review


tundrayeti
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Hello all! As mosr of you know I attend Wonderfest in Louisviulle Kentucky every year as a kit designer and dealer. This year I had the pleasure of showing off the new Form ! 3d printer that is due to be released in July. The nice folks at Form 1 let me play with the machine early and I showed it off at wonderfest. I must say it was a big draw to my table and lots of folks seemed very interested in this machine. But the results spoke for themselves. I have been playing with 3d printing for over 6 years now and let me tell you it has come a very long way! This machine is incredible. A lot of you have been marveling over the detail that some of the kits myself, Exo and NeptuneSurvey have been producing and this little powerhouse has been one of the big reasons behind it. Of course the designers have a huge part in it but this machine makes those small, High detail parts a reality. As far as ease of use and reliability, this little machine really does it all! I will break down this review into pros and cons and then basically a final review.

First the Pro's:

This machine prints at 25 microns per layer. That allows for fine detail printing but unlike other machines, you have a lot of control in this area. You can also print at 50 and 100 micron layers as well.

The software allows direct control over the density of the support material as well as touch point size. this means you can have tiny areas touching your model and they break off very easily.

The software is pretty savvy when it comes to aligning your 3d models for maximum printing results.

This machine was also quick to set up and use, I was printing 15 minutes after i opened the box! The forums on their website are full of tips and tricks so that you can use the machine to its full potential!

The resin is very inexpensive and allows you to print small parts very cost effectively

Now the Cons:

The software gets very slow if you load a bunch of high detail models. Not a deal breaker but it does affect setup time.

The build platform has an aluminum surface that the parts are built on. the drawback is that the edges of this are sharp and you have to be carefull when removing models. (I have lost some knuckle skin due to this) I have made Form 1 aware of this and they are looking into it.

The resin tank wears over time, it is basically an acrylic tank with a soft gel in the bottom. After long use the gel can get pitting in it and the clear bottom becomes foggy. I had this happen early on and Form 1 thinks it may be a defective tank. They are sending me a replacement, but at $69 per tank it's not going to break the bank if you want an extra on hand. In fact they recommend having 1 tank for each color.

Overall:

The small drawbacks aside I love this machine! It really has made things easier and allows me to provide small detailed parts without the cost or time of producing a mold and casting copies. I can print several small parts at once, and this machine works while im asleep or at work. Really saves some time!

The build area is 5 inches by 5 inches by 6 inches high. Not very big, but those of us with experience can divide a larger model up and combine the parts after. I'm sure a larger version of this machine will come out. I cant tell you how many folks came up to me at Wonderfest and said "Ive been looking at this machine, but I wasnt sure about it till i saw it in action and held the results in my hands."

The price tag on this machine is $3299 but that price you get the form 1 printer, a cleaning kit that has gloves, a scraper, a pair of snips and some other tools, 2 tanks, and a basket that are used to wash your parts. The cleaning solution in your run-of-the-mill 90% isopropyl alchohol. Not expensive at all. I think this machine was worth every penny i paid for it and the folks at Form 1 have been more than helpful. They are a company that is starting out and they still have a few bugs to work out but keeping that in mind, everyone I have delt with at Form 1 has been very helpful.

Okay well that's my 2 cents here are some pics of my table at Wonderfest showing off the Form 1. Please feel free to PM me with any questions.

post-7782-0-85255300-1402164187_thumb.jpgpost-7782-0-18520700-1402164194_thumb.jpg

Edited by tundrayeti
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Hey, fellow Yeti! I have been following the form since I first heard about it over a year ago. I am glad to hear you like it. I appreciate that there are multiple different 3d printing technologies available at the hobbiest level. The things that have held me off of this type of printer are the build volume, and build material cost.

How much hands on time have you had with it? How many prints?

Edited by ChaoticYeti
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Good question. We'll I have had this printer for over 3 and a half weeks. I have to add this little tidbit since I've had a couple folks tell me about the new ultimaker 2 (I think that's the name) they pretty much told me that it prints in 20 micron layers. Now I have to point out that there are many types of 3d printers out there. This particular unit is an extrusion printer like the maker bot etc... The form 1 is my fourth 3d printer and it is an SLA printer which means it uses a uv laser to harden the resin. Some folks gauge a 3d printer by the layer thickness and I'm not knocking the extrusion printers ( I own one myself) but layer thickness aside, I find it hard to believe that a hot glue gun is more accurate than a laser. Even if they can get the layers that thin, there are a lot of problems with warping and deformation of the parts. A heat bed helps but not much. The laser is also faster being able to cover more area in less time. So it's not just the layer thickness, it the accuracy. I had a guy at wonderfest pull out a magnifying glass and inspect a part. His reaction was basically "damn!" ( in a good way)
Check out some of the prints in the anime section under the 1/350 scale anime post. You can't see the layers. Nuff said on that and I will post some pics of prints I have done.

As far as volume goes, as much as you can fit on the build plate. I've done 50 of the 1/350 bioroids in a single printing which took 12 hours. I could never do that with traditional casting methods. I would suggest you download the software from form 1. It's free and you can play around with it. The software gives estimated volume of your print and time. The resin comes in 1 liter containers which run about $150. After having this unit for over 3 weeks of constant use I finally killed my first liter of resin. It's not as cheap as a pla or abs extruded printer, but the results are spectacular and won't break your wallet. I hope this helps and please feel free to keep the questions coming.

( we Yetis have to stick together!!!) :)

Edited by tundrayeti
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As a machinist, I have a deburring tool that breaks the edges of whatever I am working on. There is one for plastic, copper/brass, aluminum, steel, so forth and so on. I can send you one for aluminum if you want. Just pm me your address. It is the size of a ball point pen. I have a few extras that I get for free, so free of charge.

At 25 microns, it would be very good for small details. Considering that a speck of dust is usually 25 microns. Now, not sure if we are talking about the same thing here, but that's how I was explained a micron some time ago.

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I do envy the SLA printers for their accuracy, unfortunately I just don't personally like the big liquid tank setup, or having to work in resin. Now, if they ever figure out a way to make an SLA capable of using ABS plastic, that would really be something... but I think the temperatures involved would make it very unlikely. :lol:

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