Formlabs Form 2 SLA 3D Printer

The Form 2 is an SLA 3D printer, meaning that it focuses a laser onto photosensitive resin, instead of using a plastic filament, in order to fabricate solid objects with exceptional levels of detail.

How SLA Works

All 3D printing technologies create solid parts from 3D models, layer by layer, among them is SLA. SLA stands for stereolithography, a 3D printing process that uses a UV laser to cure liquid resin into hardened plastic.

Upside-down or inverted stereolithography is the most common SLA-system. Depending on the machine, resin is either poured into a tank by a user or dispensed automatically from a cartridge. At the beginning of the print, a build platform is lowered into the resin, leaving only a thin layer of liquid in between the platform and the bottom of the tank. Galvanometers direct the UV laser through a transparent window at the bottom of the resin tank, drawing a cross section of the 3D model and selectively hardening the material. The print is built in consecutive layers, each less than a hundred microns thick. When a layer is complete, the part is peeled from the bottom of the tank, letting fresh resin flow beneath, and the platform is lowered once again.

Originally developed in the 80s, SLA was confined to large industrial machines until recently. Today, desktop stereolithography offers affordable, high resolution 3D printing that fits conveniently in your workspace. SLA allows for the use of a wide range of materials with diverse physical properties. Whether you are an engineer, product designer, sculptor, jeweler, or dentist, there's a material for your application.

[Source: Formlabs]

Benefits & Limitations of SLA

The key advantages and disadvantages of the technology are summarised below:

  • SLA can produce parts with very high dimensional accuracy and with intricate details.
  • SLA parts have a very smooth surface finish, making them ideal for visual prototypes.
  • Speciality SLA materials are available, such as clear, flexible and castable resins.
  • SLA parts are generally brittle and not suitable for functional prototypes.
  • The mechanical properties and visual appearance of SLA parts will degrade overtime when the parts are exposed to sunlight.
  • Support structures are always required and post-processing is necessary to remove the visual marks left on the SLA part.

[Source: 3D Hubs]

Examples of Objects Made on the Form 2

Coming soon!