FORM1: a new, $2300 high-resolution 3D resin printer on Kickstarter

FORM1 is a new 3D printer that's taking pre-orders via Kickstarter. It was invented by MIT Media Lab students and brought to product stage through private investment, including some investment from friends of mine whose judgment I trust, like Mitch Kapor, founder of Lotus Software. I've met with some of the founders a few times, and handled the printer's output, and they really do produce of the most amazing 3D printed objects I've ever seen, in a wide variety of low-cost consumable materials. The starting price to get your own is $2300.

The results are amazing: the Form 1 can print layers as thin as 25 microns (0.001 in) with features as small as 300 microns (0.012 in) in a build volume of 125 x 125 x 165 mm (4.9 x 4.9 x 6.5 in). This means you can print complex geometries with the exquisite details and beautiful surface finish that will make your creations stand out...

A key advantage of the Form software is the ability to precisely generate thin, breakable support structures that serve their purpose during printing but are easily removed afterward. Test users have delightfully compared this part removal to a feeling almost like separating Velcro. You can finally print those designs with crazy overhangs!

FORM 1: An affordable, professional 3D printer


      1. Ha, I mean five dollars for the kickstarter. But yeah, that was sloppy phrasing on my part. I too wish I would be able to afford one. 

  1. The grainy textures have been keeping me from 3D printers, but this is an awesome improvement. Opens up a lot to small gear fittings previously not possible…

    1. It certainly does seem like a much worse time to be selling a newly-proprietary-ized filament extruder design… Given that this thing doesn’t even deign to note what OS its software runs on it may not win over the hardcore reprap crew; but makerbot just parted company with them, and photocure resin certainly brings the detail.

    2. Well, the parts coming from a photopolymer printer and a fused-filament printer will be dramatically different, especially with regards to durability and lifetime.

    1. That’s covered in the FAQ, sort of. It doesn’t explicitly state why other than additional costs encountered.

    1.  As long as you bill me for it, payment due only after I’ve had time to print 9,200 items, I can afford this (minus consumables)!

  2. Just for comparison, the Makerbot Replicator 2 that just came out has a fine resolution of 100 microns, has a build volume of 410 in^3 (11.2 x  6.0 x 6.1 inches versus the Form 1’s 156 in^3 (4.9 x 4.9 x 6.1 inches), and retails for $2200.  Just by the numbers on the unit, I would say they are pretty comparable.  The Form 1 resin is estimated to by $129 / liter while the PLA for the Makerbot is $43 – $48 / kg, so printing with PLA should be slightly cheaper (depending on the resin density), but probably not by a huge margin.

    1. 25-micron layers seems quite a bit finer than 100-micron layers. I think you’d definitely notice the difference.

      1. Makerbot Replicator 2 has a 100 micron LAYER resolution, thats marketing talk for the Z (vertical axis) that is set manually by setting the nozzle off the plate using a sheet of paper, layers are squished down on the plate/previous layer. the X/Y resolution is defined by the print head aperture size 4mm, Even the old reprap J-type head is as low as 3.5 mm, but you wouldn’t know that from the slick marketing video. 

        1. First, I think you mean an aperture size of .4mm(400 microns), not 4 mm(4000 microns).
          And second, I thought the replicator has .3mm(300 micron) heads and filament available, if not the new default size since the replicator2 came out.

    2. On Price: assuming the liquid resin is roughly the density of water, and assuming minimal losses as part of the printing process, Isn’t materials cost almost 3x the Makerbot’s?

    3. The costs will be higher because you always need a big pool of liquid resin in the FORM1 (at least as deep as your model) where all the plastic sent to the Replicator 2 is printed. And the liquid probably has a a shelf life once it’s poured in the printer. And you have to scrub off liquid resin from each of the models you make in the FORM1, so there’s another tiny bit of waste plus effort.

      1. As I understand it, you don’t need a deep pool, because the model gets progressively lifted out of it while it prints.

  3. I am intrigued about this following Friday’s article on Kickstarter:
    While it appears to fall within the new RULES established, but I think that this project (as amazingly awesome as it is) is fully at odds with the new spirit that kickstarter is going for:  That is, as BB titled the article “Kickstarter re-commits to ideas instead of pre-orders” this seems to be about as close to a preorder as it gets.  And yes, I do understand we’re talking about different authors here, but I am more critiquing the still-not-resolved aspect that kickstarter is convinced they’re not a store but the only difference I see between this product and a hypothetical of this product as launched last week is that they don’t sell multiples.

    1. I came to post the same thing. This definitely just looks like pre-orders. Pre-orders of something very cool but still…

  4. As much as I really really want this thing, I have to say that the video was terrible. I would have no idea what the level of resolution and kinds of things I could build just looking at out-of-focus pan-shots and many, many, many shots rotating around the device in funky lighting. 

    The photographs were far more compelling in activating the drool-factor.

    1. It does look very cool indeed, but for the money I’m waiting for a Bukobot.  As it looks, the wait will be much, much shorter, too.  The resolution isn’t quite as good, but it does look amazing at 0.05mm.  The price is way less than half as well.

  5. For those who are seriously into 3d printing: Print your latest earthquake? Your favorite song?

    Nay, I say: print your latest statistics!  Hell, I want my springer and elsevier journals with on-demand 3d-printed statistics included in the subscription!

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