Formlabs has added two new Low Force Stereolithography (LFS) 3D printers to its portfolio. The new machines, the Form 3 and Form 3L, are based on the company’s innovative LFS technology which delivers consistent and accurate parts.
A specialist in resin-based stereolithography 3D printing (and a force within the AM industry), Formlabs says its newly developed Low Force Stereolithography process is a more sophisticated version of traditional SLA that integrates a flexible tank to reduce the forces of the peel process. This feature, along with linear illumination, allow for the production of highly detailed, precise and repeatable parts with superior surface finishes.
The LFS approach reengineers Formlabs’ existing SLA configuration (such as that of the Form 2 system), which offers fast, cost efficient 3D printing thanks to its inverted process. The inverted nature of the technique, however, led to more forces being exerted on the printed part, which limited the build volume and material compatibility of the printer.
The new Low Force Stereolithography approach, however, does away with these existing limitations and opens up opportunities for larger-format SLA printing, lighter supports and higher quality surface finishes.
“We’ve completely re-engineered our approach to resin 3D printing with the Low Force Stereolithography (LFS) print process behind the Form 3 and Form 3L,” explained Max Lobovsky, CEO and co-founder of Formlabs. “We entered the industry seven years ago with the first powerful, affordable desktop SLA 3D printer and since then have shipped more than 50 thousand printers, and our customers have printed more than 40 million parts.
“Now users are leading the way in how to grow 3D printing from one machine to many, from prototyping tool to game changer. We’re excited to take another huge leap forward with LFS 3D printing, dramatically improving the print quality and reliability people can expect while still offering the most powerful and affordable 3D printer on the market.”
In addition to the flexible tank, the LFS process is also distinguished for its advanced Light Process Unit (LPU) which ensures a high density, precise laser spot for repeatability; easily removable tear-away, light-touch supports; non-stop printing thanks to integrated sensors that maintain print conditions; and remote print monitoring. Further, Formlabs emphasizes that the new Form 3 and Form 3L 3D printers are fully upgradeable with modular components and a “foolproof design.”
The two new machines, for their part, offer two different print volumes. The Form 3L uses two LPUs to provide large-format 3D printing capabilities. Compared to the Form 3, the 3L has five times the build volume and two times the laser power.
To round off its hardware launch, Formlabs is also introducing a new 3D printing material, Draft Resin, adding to its portfolio of over 20 materials. The new resin prints at 300 micron layer lines and can be processed three to four times faster than other resins, making it suitable for rapid prototyping applications.