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Fun with 3D Printing!

Plunkett Associates has been having great fun experimenting with Formlabs’ latest offering (the Form 1+) for a little while now, and whilst it hasn’t all been smooth sailing, we are starting to successfully build parts.

Formlabs 1+ 3D printerAll in all it’s a great little machine. Whilst not up to production standards, it builds parts at a prototyping level quickly. Tim tells me the parts we’re producing are better than those he was managing back when he started working with SLA in the 90’s. I can believe him, that was a really, really long time ago…. but in all seriousness, they are impressive from a machine the price of the Form 1+.

3D Printed Plunketts logoI remember when I first opened up the box and found a quick start guide boldly sitting on top of the printer. I then spent a good 5 minutes trying to find an actual manual!

Whilst it is possible to set up your printer and get it running fairly quickly, failure to prepare can lead to a lot of mess to clean up…operating this machine can be really messy. The clean and simplistic product videos don’t quite transition into reality. Instead a situation similar to that of a rogue toddler, on a mission to cover every surface imaginable with a tub of glue, transpires. If I spent half the time I spend cleaning tools, on cleaning up at home, my house would be showroom standard.

We may have been a bit ambitious with our parts to start with, and we’ve had minor issues with optics and lasers, however a little bit of research and help from Formlabs support team (who are fantastic by the way), meant these problems were sorted out in a timely manner.Formlabs 1+ 3D printer

A great source of information for anyone with his, or her, hands on a shiny new Form 1+ is the Formlabs forum itself. If you run into a problem, 9 times out of 10 someone else has too. Have a look at old posts and ask the other members, just remember advice can be individual and we all need to find what works for us.

So we’re looking forward to future experiments with our little machine. So far we’ve had the most success with clear resin. It’s easier to see what’s going on inside the resin tank, and final part features that might otherwise be hidden can be seen with ease. Now there is flex and castable; we will be experimenting soon….!

Michael Robinson

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