Form2 printer usage

I would like to use the Form2 printer. I have hands-on experience with FDM printing, and I’m familiar with SLA printers, but have never operated one myself.

I have Preform installed, and I see it shows me the volume of resin used for a print. I’m happy to pay for my resin usage, but I’m not sure how that works, practically. Can I buy $50 of resin and try some small prints until I use that up? If I need to iterate on a design (so I don’t know an exact volume yet), can I pay after printing?

When starting a job, do I need someone’s assistance (every print? first print only?), or can I just do it myself?

I don’t have a feel for how long prints take - can I leave a job running while I’m not at the shop?

What kind of postprocessing is needed for prints on the Form2, and do we have any tools/materials/whatever available to help with that? Or will I need to figure that out on my own?


PS. I’ve been a member for a while, but I haven’t been in to the shop since last May, and I’m only vaguely aware of all of the changes since then - feel free to point me to any update info that’s relevant here.

I believe using the 3D printers requires taking a class. I’m going to hijack this thread and suggest that the current class be split in two. Part 1 isn’t necessary for people with previous 3D printing experience. Part 2 is what you (and myself) are looking for which is just an overview of how the machines work and their individual eccentricities as well as rules and best practices for the space.

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I’m totally onboard with the idea of this second class and would sign up in a heartbeat.

As the new setup of the 3d printers coming to fruition after a few months of construction, the first part now provides additional information on how to operate the printers via octoprint. This includes but not limited to, the log-in credentials needed, how to connect wirelessly to them from the shop computer or your own laptop, connecting to them remotely from home so you can check print times, and if printers are currently in use so members don’t waste a trip to the shop for no reason.

I of all people know how exciting it is to learn about basics, as well as go over slicer settings. Not to mention having to explain it to others and to do it over a zoom meeting makes it exponentially that much more exciting. (Sarcasm)

However, everyone has had different experiences and from those acquired different possible solutions. To this day I learn something new from someone I’ve met or interacted with on a subject that, as a functioning adult, should be a pro at. If you are at the pro level of using 3D printers, I personally have no problem with someone skipping out on the first portion of the class. The board may feel differently on that topic.

However, if that route is taken, then you shouldn’t expect to come to the second part and ask questions regarding topics that were addressed in the previous session, such as the information on logging in to octoprint and remotely from home, for example. That would be counter-productive and unfair to those that spent the time during the first portion.

“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” William Penn

I like the idea of different class, and I would also sign up for the soonest time I can. I personally don’t plan to use any FDM machines at the shop. Would it make sense to have the second class be resin-printer specific? I know octoprint was just one example, but last I checked octoprint doesn’t work with Formlabs machines, and it’s unnecessary because they have their own cloud system (I’d prefer something open, but whatever). I’m not sure about octoprint with other brands of resin machines, but regardless it seems like resin vs filament is a reasonable way to split the classes?

If a second class is too much extra effort at the moment, how can I sign up for the existing class?

It seems I am unable to post links (even to other threads?), but the Neon signup page at IP that I found through a Discourse thread is not loading for me.

Another Form2 question: I know that we can only use the provided resin, and one of the reasons for that is because it requires changing out parts. Would it be feasible to buy additional parts to get multiple resins available? There is plenty I would like to do with the basic clear resin, but Formlabs has some interesting resin options, including “tough”, “flexible” and “castable”, which I would also like to try. I have a sample part in flexible material, and while I don’t know how much postprocessing it had, the result is amazing.

I don’t quite know what would be involved, but I’d be happy to contribute to the cost.

Frankly, Alan, these would make interesting extra classes.
If not formal classes then special interest group (SIG) themes.
I could see gathering once a month around topics of resin printing.

I totally get that. However without knowing what’s in the first class it’s impossible to ensure I’d not accidentally drag down a second class with inadvertent ASMBLY-specific questions. I’ve owned and hacked many 3D printers but mostly FDM and in the Prusa family. I’ve set up Octoprint systems. I’ve been teaching an introductory 3D printing class for years.

That said, it doesn’t mean I’m not totally capable of asking stupid questions. :blush:

I can find out about the parts need for the separate resins.

The basic information about what is covered in the class is listed on the class signup page in Neon. As I said, if you can get the @board approval for not being required to attend the first portion of the class, then by all means I urge you to do so. The instructions I received stated that to be cleared on the 3D printers every one has to take the class.

I understand where you are coming from regarding your experience with previous endeavors. I once had my own workshop and was also a site foreman for a home construction company. However, to get access to space(the keys to the city), I had to show up at 9 am on a Sunday and take part in the woodshop course.

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On the form2 swapping resins isn’t as clean like with the regular FDM printers each resin requires its own tray which costs $60 or $99 depending on the resin you want to use. Also you are wasting some resin every-time you swap over. Due to these things we don’t allow regular swapping of resins.
If you want to swap resins you need to get permission and pay an additional fee.

Just an overview of cost, you pay for the resin in Neon store. There is a base fee for each time you click print and than you also pay for the quantity of resin in mL that you used $.30/ml the mL usage. Use the estimate that it shows on the Form 2 screen or Preform.

@dash3811 and I chatted on this among other things this evening. I think with all the growing interest in 3D printing at the space (thanks to Greg’s efforts to clean our setup and steward that space!) it certainly makes sense to add some variety to the class offerings here. A class just on the resin printer would be great, as well as a 3D printer class geared towards people who have some experience with 3D printing already. Tagging @wynd so it’s on his radar and we can work out more of the class stuff over email.

Hopefully at some point in the future we can get a second resin printer and set it up on a rotation schedule to swap the resin types based on what people are interested in.


@EricP If I remember correctly, not all the resins require a different tray (some do because of different optical properties), but you certainly have to waste the tray (a non-trivial amount of resin gets lost) and spend time cleaning it.

Another problem is that quite a few of the different resins require curing to reach their final properties, and I don’t believe we have the equipment for that.

Finally, the other resins tend to be more expensive and often can be out of stock at Formlabs.