Formlabs says new 3D printer ‘rivals injection molding’

Formlabs says new 3D printer ‘rivals injection molding’

Formlabs – This month marks five years since the release of the Form 3, Formlabs’ last major 3D printer refresh. To celebrate the occasion, the MIT spinoff has unveiled the long-awaited Form 4. At the top of the notable features list are faster printing speeds (under two hours for most prints, per the company), a 30% build volume increase and a print resolution the company claims rivals injection molding.

Founded in 2011, Formlabs represents a rare prolonged success story in the world of desktop 3D printing. That’s due in no small part to the underlying stereolithography printing, which to that point, had been the domain of massive and wildly expensive industrial 3D printing.

Since then, the company has gone on to become a mainstay in the world of rapid prototyping. It has also increasingly pushed into the medical realm. In March 2020, for instance, systems were deployed to print out nasal swabs for COVID-19 testing. Dental has been an important market for the company, as well, owing to the level of customization offered by additive manufacturing.

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Fittingly, Formlabs says it was able to print 11 dental models in nine minutes and 130 dental crowns in just 20 minutes.

“Fast print speeds do not compromise on dimensional accuracy or surface finish,” Formlabs says in a release. The Form 4’s print quality is nearly indistinguishable from traditional manufacturing methods, such as injection molding, making it the ultimate 3D printer to maximize productivity, move production in-house, and enable users to take more design risks.”

The system is powered by a new print engine that uses a tech called LFD (Low Force Display) to cure the parts at higher speeds. That’s coupled with an increased build area, which allows users to print more small parts simultaneously.

Looks like Formlabs really dogfooded this one, using the Form 3 to prototype parts for its successor. The is up for pre-order today, starting at $4,499. It’s set to start shipping on May. The healthcare-focused Form 4B, meanwhile, starts at $6,299.

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