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Formlabs Expands Large-Format 3D-Printer Line for Medical, Dental

Based on the Form 3L printer, which began shipping today, the Form 3BL large-format stereolithography printer is optimized for biocompatible materials. Applications include dental aligners and human-scale anatomical models.

PlasticsToday Staff

September 15, 2020

3 Min Read
Formlabs' Form 3BL printer dental application
Image: Formlabs

Large-format 3D printing for dental and medical applications got a boost today with Formlabs’ introduction of the Form 3BL printer optimized for biocompatible materials. The 3D-printing technology company also announced that it has now begun shipment of its flagship large-format printer, the Form 3L. The expansion of large-format stereolithography (SLA) 3D printers will enable manufacturers and creators to print high-detail large-scale parts or print several smaller parts in a single build.

“Our large-format printers are poised to have the same disruptive effect on the 3D-printing industry as our Form 1 launch did,” said Max Lobovsky, CEO and co-founder of Formlabs, in a prepared statement. “The companies that have dominated large-format printing for the past 20-plus years have lacked the innovation and agility needed to move the 3D-printing industry forward. At Formlabs, we are changing that. With the Form 3L and Form 3BL, we are opening this powerful technology up to a whole new group of users at an accessible price while maintaining a professional quality. We are looking forward to seeing how this new technology will be used in industries like automotive and aerospace that need the large build platform to best utilize 3D printing.”

First announced in the spring of 2019, the Form 3L delivers accurate, repeatable prints across the printers’ larger build platform without compromising cost or quality, said Formlabs. The Low Force Stereolithography (LFS) print process and larger build platform enabled Formlabs user Black Diamond, an outdoor equipment company, to rethink its R+D process. Given early access to Form 3L, Black Diamond determined it would be able to cut prototype development lead times from seven to three days and slash costs by about 85%. 

“The Form 3L makes the product design process more cohesive,” said Matt Tetzl, R+D technician at Black Diamond. “The larger printer enables our designers to make tweaks in CAD and work off a full-scale model to close the gap between feedback and design. We have reduced our costs on full-size prototypes from $425 a print to $70 a print. With that savings, Form 3L would pay for itself in only three months,” said Tetzl.

The Form 3L and Form 3BL have a build volume of 33.5 × 20 × 30 cm (13.2 × 7.9 × 11.8 in), five times larger than the Formlabs Form 3 desktop SLA 3D printer. The printers feature an intuitive workflow, automatic resin dispensing, easy-to-use software, and a robust end-to-end system designed for nonstop throughput with minimal intervention. Users have access to nearly all of Formlabs' materials library, including biocompatible materials on the Form 3BL.

The Form 3BL is optimized for biocompatible materials used in the dental and healthcare industries. It has been thoroughly validated by Formlabs’ dental team to meet the accuracy requirements for dental aligner production, with consistent part quality and accuracy across the entire build plane. The Form 3BL also is capable of printing human-scale anatomical models in-house on a single build platform, allowing healthcare providers to produce custom surgical guides in very tight timeframes. 

The Form 3L is available and shipping today; the Form 3BL is available for pre-order and will begin to ship in October 2020. Formlabs also announced that Wash L + Cure L, a fully automated post-processing system created for large-scale prints, will start to ship in 2021.

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