The Form 2 3D printer,developed by formlabs, is a stereolithography (SLA) machine that creates parts using liquid plastic that is solidified layer by layer using UV light. This results in a resolution of approximately 25 microns per layer.
- General Stats:
- Price : Starts at $0.75/cm^3
- Maximum Part Size : 144mm x 144mm x 175mm (5.7in x 5.7in x 6.9in)
- Layer Thickness : 25, 50, or 100 microns (0.025,0.05, or 0.1 mm)
- Highly Detailed
- Sturdy Parts
- Multiple resins available
- Extremely Slow
- Support Structures may cause defects
- Main Article : Processing 3D Files
After you have designed the 3D model of your desired part, export the part in the STereoLithography (.stl) file format. The STL format describes only the surface geometry of the object instead of the object as a whole. Then open the file in the Autodesk Netfabb software to repair the file.
- We will only process STLs which have:
- 1 shell per continuous part
- 0 border edges
- 0 invalid orientations
- 0 holes.
Even if Netfabb reports no invalid orientations, if we see red triangles in repair mode there is a problem with your model. Print at your own risk.
Fixing a File
- Main Article : Fixing STLs
Students are welcome to use any of our computers for fixing their files in Netfabb or Rhino.
- Here are some tips to get you started at home:
- Ideally in Rhino you want one closed polysurface before meshing.
- NetFabb is better at meshing than Rhino. Consider opening the 3dm file in NetFabb to generate the STL instead.
- Default repair is decent at fixing holes, border edges, and invalid orientations. Then try using boolean join to reduce shells down to 1.
- If boolean join results in multiple shells then most likely the shells are not contiguous. Consider deleting extra shells in model.
- Extended repair wraps an existing STL in a new mesh. This can severely alter geometry and result in thin walled sections.
Printing a Part
- "Main Article : Printing a Part"
Once a file has been processed and is ready to be printed, find a shop supervisor to help add it to the queue. The length of the queue is highly variable, and the time it takes to print a model may range from a few days to being ready by the end of the day it is submitted. Keep in mind that the Form2 queue is very full during finals, midterms, and the time surrounding IPro Day. An estimate of queue length and a time to come pick up the part will be communicated to you once your part is added to the queue. Once a part is successfully in the queue, it is ready to be printed. The average part takes about 2 hours to print, while a very complex part could take full days to print. The webcam livestream on the IdeaShop wiki can be used to check the progress of your part.
- "Main Article : Removing and Cleaning a Part"
Once printing is complete, the part is removed from the printer and placed in a chemical bath to remove any extra, uncured resin. Some parts may also require post-curing to stabilize the component. Please allow 1-2 hours for post-printing treatment. Afterwards, the student will be responsible for removing supports; any marks left by the supports may be sanded away.