Formlabs 3D Printer: Unlocking Limitless Possibilities


As an avid enthusiast and advisor in the world of 3D printing, I have had the pleasure of exploring various printers and their capabilities. Today, I want to share with you my review of the Formlabs 3D printer, an innovative device that has captured the attention of professionals and hobbyists alike. In this article, I will take you through the features, benefits, and applications of the Formlabs 3D printer, providing helpful suggestions based on my personal experience.

Understanding Formlabs 3D Printer

The Formlabs 3D printer is a remarkable piece of technology that utilizes the stereolithography (SLA) printing process. Unlike traditional filament-based printers, the Formlabs printer uses a liquid resin that is selectively cured by a precise laser, resulting in highly detailed and accurate prints. This advanced printing method allows for intricate designs and a smooth surface finish, making it an ideal choice for professionals in various industries.

Features and Specifications

The Formlabs 3D printer stands out in the market due to its array of advanced features and specifications. Below is a detailed exploration of these aspects to provide a comprehensive understanding of what makes this printer unique.

Print Volume and Size

  • Generous Dimensions: The printer boasts a print volume of 145 x 145 x 175 mm. This size is significant for 3D printing, allowing users to create moderately sized objects.
  • Detailing Capabilities: The spacious print volume doesn’t compromise on detail, enabling the production of objects with intricate designs.

Print Resolution

  • Layer Thickness Range: With a variable layer thickness from 25 to 100 microns, the printer can achieve high-resolution prints.
  • Precision and Accuracy: This range of thickness ensures that even the most intricate designs are accurately reproduced, making it ideal for detailed work.

User-Friendly Interface

  • Simplified Printing Process: The software accompanying the Formlabs printer is designed to be user-friendly. Even beginners can navigate through its features with ease.
  • Intuitive Design: Users can prepare models, adjust print settings, and monitor progress through an intuitive interface, making the printing process more efficient and less intimidating.

Material Compatibility

  • Diverse Resin Options: Formlabs offers a variety of specialized resins to suit different printing needs. These include:
    • Standard Resins: Ideal for general-purpose printing, these resins are versatile.
    • Flexible Resins: For objects that require bendability and elasticity.
    • Biocompatible Resins: Specially designed for applications that demand biocompatibility, such as medical equipment.
  • Application Versatility: This range of materials makes the printer suitable for a wide array of applications, from hobbyist projects to professional-grade prototypes and medical models.

Understanding the Formlabs 3D Printer: Quality, User Experience, and Material Compatibility

The Formlabs 3D printer is a state-of-the-art device known for its high-quality prints, user-friendly interface, and diverse material compatibility. Let’s delve into these aspects to understand how they contribute to its overall performance and user experience.

Print Quality and Precision

  • Superior SLA Technology: The printer uses Stereolithography (SLA) technology, which ensures precision in curing each layer of the print.
  • Smooth Surfaces and Sharp Details: Due to the meticulous layer curing process, the prints exhibit smooth surfaces, sharp details, and minimal visible layer lines.
  • High Accuracy for Intricate Projects: The precision of the Formlabs printer makes it ideal for projects that require fine details, such as intricate models, jewelry prototypes, and dental applications.

User-Friendly Interface and Workflow

  • Intuitive Software – PreForm: The printer is equipped with PreForm software, known for its user-friendly interface.
  • Simplified Model Preparation: Users can effortlessly import 3D models, orient them for optimal printing, and tweak various parameters.
  • Accessible to All Skill Levels: Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced user, the intuitive workflow of PreForm ensures a smooth printing experience from the initial setup to the final print.

Material Compatibility

  • Diverse Resin Options: The Formlabs printer supports a wide range of resin materials, catering to various project needs.
    • Standard Resins: Perfect for general prototyping and everyday printing tasks.
    • Specialized Resins: These include options for dental, engineering, and jewelry applications, offering specific properties tailored to these fields.
  • Flexibility in Creative Projects: With such a wide array of material choices, users can explore different possibilities and effectively bring their creative visions to life, regardless of the complexity or specificity of the project.

In summary, the Formlabs 3D printer is a remarkable tool in the realm of 3D printing, offering unparalleled print quality and precision, a user-friendly interface, and a wide range of compatible materials. Whether for professional use in dental or engineering applications, or for personal creative projects, its capabilities make it a top choice for those seeking quality, ease of use, and versatility in their 3D printing endeavors.

The Advantages of Using the Formlabs 3D Printer

The Formlabs 3D printer is a high-performance tool that offers numerous benefits, making it a valuable asset for professionals and hobbyists alike. Below is an in-depth look at its key advantages:

High-Quality Prints

  • Exceptional Print Quality with SLA Technology: The Formlabs printer employs Stereolithography (SLA) technology, renowned for producing high-quality prints. This feature places it ahead of many competitors in the 3D printing market.
  • Ideal for Complex Designs: Whether you are creating detailed jewelry, intricate architectural models, or any other sophisticated designs, this printer ensures your final product is stunning and accurate.

Accuracy and Precision

  • Laser Curing System: The precision of the printer’s laser curing system is a standout feature. It guarantees that even the most intricate details of a design are accurately reproduced.
  • Ideal for Delicate and Complex Designs: This level of precision makes the printer especially suitable for complex and delicate designs, where every micron counts.

Versatile Material Options

  • Wide Range of Resins: The Formlabs printer supports a diverse array of resin materials, catering to various needs and applications.
  • Adaptability to Different Projects: From standard prototyping to creating functional parts, and even producing biocompatible prints for medical applications, the versatility in material compatibility allows users to explore a broad spectrum of creative and professional projects.

User-Friendly Workflow

  • Intuitive Interface and Software: The printer comes with user-friendly software, making the setup and printing process straightforward and accessible to users of all skill levels.
  • Efficient Model Preparation and Monitoring: Users can import models, adjust settings, and monitor print progress with ease. The efficiency and intuitiveness of the workflow contribute significantly to a hassle-free 3D printing experience.

Diverse Applications of the Formlabs 3D Printer

The Formlabs 3D printer is a versatile tool that finds its utility in various sectors, ranging from product design to medical applications. Its advanced features make it suitable for a wide range of professional and educational uses. Here’s a closer look at some of its key applications:

Product Design and Prototyping

  • High-Resolution Prints: The printer’s high print resolution and accuracy are ideal for creating detailed prototypes. This feature is crucial during the product development phase where precision is paramount.
  • Functional Part Creation: It enables designers to produce functional parts that can be tested for form, fit, and function, significantly aiding in the iterative design process.

Jewelry Design and Production

  • Intricate Design Capabilities: Jewelers can use the Formlabs printer to create highly intricate jewelry designs. The printer’s capability to handle detailed work is perfect for the fine and precise nature of jewelry.
  • Smooth Surface Finishes: The SLA technology ensures smooth surface finishes, a critical aspect in jewelry production, providing a high-quality look and feel to the final product.

Dental and Medical Applications

  • Biocompatible Resins: The availability of biocompatible resins means the Formlabs printer can be used for medical applications, such as dental models, surgical guides, and custom prosthetics.
  • Precision and Accuracy: In these fields, precision is crucial. The printer’s ability to reproduce intricate designs accurately is highly beneficial for creating customized medical and dental solutions.

Education and Research

  • Tool for Exploration: Educational institutions and research centers benefit from the Formlabs printer as it provides a means to explore new concepts and ideas in a tangible form.
  • Prototyping and Experimentation: It is an invaluable resource for creating prototypes for experiments, allowing students and researchers to test theories and visualize outcomes in a hands-on manner.

Review of Formlabs 3D Printers

Formlabs offers a range of 3D printers, each tailored to specific needs and applications. Here’s an overview and review of their current lineup:

Form 3+

  • Affordable, Industrial-Quality Desktop 3D Printer
  • Pros:
    • High-Quality Prints: Leveraging SLA technology, it delivers excellent print quality, making it suitable for detailed prototypes and end-use parts.
    • Versatile Material Options: Supports a wide range of high-performance materials.
    • User-Friendly: Easy setup and maintenance with an intuitive workflow.
  • Cons:
    • Limited Build Volume: 14.5 × 14.5 × 18.5 cm may not be sufficient for larger projects.
  • Price: Starting at $2,499.00
  • Ideal for: Rapid prototyping, small-scale production, and model making.

Form 3L

  • Large Format 3D Printer
  • Pros:
    • Full-Scale Production: Large build volume of 33.5 × 20 × 30 cm.
    • Detail-Oriented: Maintains detail without compromising on size.
  • Cons:
    • Higher Price Point: Starting at $8,700.00.
  • Ideal for: Full-size prototyping, large-scale models, and manufacturing aids.

Form 3B+

  • Advanced Desktop 3D Printer for Healthcare
  • Pros:
    • Specialized for Healthcare: Compatible with biocompatible, sterilizable materials.
    • Precision: Suited for patient-specific models and surgical instruments.
  • Cons:
    • Niche Focus: Primarily tailored for medical and dental professionals.
  • Ideal for: Medical device prototypes, patient-specific anatomical models, and surgical planning models.

Form 3BL

  • Large Format 3D Printer for Healthcare
  • Pros:
    • Large-Scale Medical Applications: Build volume of 33.5 × 20 × 30 cm, suitable for full-size anatomical models.
    • Biocompatible Printing: Supports sterilizable resins.
  • Cons:
    • High Cost: Starting at $13,000.00.
  • Ideal for: Large medical device prototypes, surgeon-specific tools, and full-scale anatomical models.

Fuse 1+ 30W

  • High-Performance Compact SLS 3D Printer
  • Pros:
    • Rapid SLS Technology: Fast printing speeds for industrial-grade parts.
    • Efficiency: Designed for maximum output with minimal waste.
  • Cons:
    • Premium Pricing: Starting at $24,649.00.
    • Niche Application: More suitable for professional environments with specific needs.
  • Ideal for: High-speed prototyping, in-house manufacturing, and biocompatible medical devices.

Formlabs’ range of 3D printers, from the affordable Form 3+ to the high-end Fuse 1+ 30W, cater to a wide spectrum of users. Each printer has its specialized applications, from rapid prototyping to large-scale medical models. While they excel in precision, quality, and versatility, the pricing and specific use-cases may limit their appeal to certain professional fields. Overall, Formlabs printers are a solid choice for those looking for industrial-quality printing across various domains.

Maximizing the Potential of Your Formlabs 3D Printer

To fully exploit the capabilities of the Formlabs 3D printer, it’s important to consider various factors from material selection to post-processing. Here’s a detailed guide to help you get the best results from your printer:

Choosing the Right Resin

  • Material Based on Outcome: Select a resin that aligns with the desired properties of your final product. Formlabs offers a range of resins, each with unique characteristics.
    • Flexibility: For parts requiring bendability.
    • Durability: For robust and long-lasting parts.
    • Biocompatibility: For medical or dental applications.
  • Consider the Application: The choice of resin should be guided by the application, whether it’s for functional prototypes, intricate models, or medical-grade prints.

Optimizing Model Orientation

  • Reducing Supports and Printing Time: The orientation of your model on the build platform can significantly impact the number and complexity of support structures needed, as well as the overall printing time.
  • Trial and Error: It often requires experimentation to find the best orientation. The goal is to minimize supports while ensuring the print’s integrity and quality.
  • Software Assistance: Utilize Formlabs’ software to preview and adjust the orientation for optimal results.

Support Structure Optimization

  • Stability During Printing: Proper support structures are crucial for the stability of your print during the printing process.
  • Efficient Support Generation: Use the software provided by Formlabs to automatically generate supports that are both efficient and easy to remove.
  • Balance Between Support and Quality: Ensure that supports are sufficient to hold the structure without being overly dense, which could complicate post-processing.

Post-Processing Techniques

  • Enhancing Appearance and Functionality: Post-processing can significantly improve both the aesthetic and functional qualities of your prints.
    • Sanding: For a smoother surface finish.
    • Polishing: To give a glossy, high-quality appearance.
    • Painting: To add color or specific design elements.
  • Experimentation: Different techniques can be combined or altered based on the specific requirements of your project.


In conclusion, the Formlabs 3D printer is a powerful tool that unlocks limitless possibilities for creators and professionals. Its outstanding print quality, user-friendly interface, and versatile material compatibility make it a top choice for a wide range of applications. By following the provided suggestions and considering your specific needs, you can maximize the potential of the Formlabs printer and take your projects to new heights.


  1. Can the Formlabs 3D printer produce functional parts?
    Absolutely! The Formlabs printer is capable of producing functional parts with high precision and accuracy. Its material compatibility allows for a variety of functional applications.
  2. Is the Formlabs printer suitable for beginners?
    While the Formlabs printer offers advanced features, its user-friendly interface and intuitive workflow make it accessible to beginners. With some practice and experimentation, anyone can achieve impressive results.
  3. Can I use third-party resins with the Formlabs printer?
    Formlabs recommends using their own resins for optimal performance and compatibility. However, some third-party resins may work with the printer, but it’s essential to ensure compatibility and proper settings.
  4. What is the maintenance required for the Formlabs printer?
    Regular maintenance includes cleaning the resin tank, replacing the build platform, and ensuring the printer’s optics are clean. Following the manufacturer’s guidelines will help keep the printer in optimal condition.
  5. Can the Formlabs printer handle large-scale production?
    While the Formlabs printer is suitable for small to medium-scale production, for large-scale production, it’s worth considering printers with faster print speeds and larger build volumes.


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Daniel Brooks

Join me the author of Explore 3D Print, on an exhilarating journey through the captivating world of 3D. Discover the endless possibilities of 3D printing and immerse yourself in a vibrant community of enthusiasts. Explore, learn, and unlock the limitless potential of this fascinating realm.

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