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Form2 3D Printer in the Maker Space

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
  • Expensive
  • Extremely Slow
  • Support Structures may cause defects


Main Article : Processing 3D Files
Good STL in Netfabb

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.

Cleaning Parts

Washing and curing station for Form2 printed models
"Main Article : Removing and Cleaning a Part"

Safety Notice: Uncured resin is toxic, and should not come into contact with skin or eyes. Always wear gloves and safety glasses when near uncured resin.

Once printing is complete, the part is removed from the printer and placed in an Isopropyl Alcohol bath to remove any extra, uncured resin. Some parts may also require post-curing (heating) to stabilize the component. Please refer to for curing settings. Afterwards, the student will be responsible for removing supports; any marks left by the supports may be sanded away.

Machine Proficiency

In order for an individual to advance in machine proficiency they must demonstrate ability to perform certain actions or tasks. All levels include abilities and concepts from lower levels.

This section is primarily for student workers.

Level 0

Individual has demonstrated they are capable of:

  • choosing the Form2

Individual understands the concepts:

  • The Form2 uses a UV laser to cure the resin to create the print.

Level 1

Individual has demonstrated they are capable of:

  • Uploading correct file type to Netfabb.
  • Check for shells
  • Check for holes
  • Check for correct wall thickness.
  • Export as STL

Individual understands the concepts:

  • Wall thickness must be at or exceed the minimum or the part will fail.
  • One shell per one part is necessary.
  • Holes can be problematic

Level 2

Individual has demonstrated they are capable of:

  • Fixing shells and holes
  • Correctly loading and sending file to Form2

Individual understands the concepts:

  • Boolean operations are used to correct shell problems.
  • They need to have a remote desktop account to send the file to the printer.

Level 3

Individual has demonstrated they are capable of:

  • Changing support material
  • Setting correcting settings of the wash and the UV baking portions of the process.

Individual understands the concepts:

  • each support material has different settings to make the best print possible.
  • There must be an extra 30 min in between the wash and the bake in order to make sure all alcohol has evaporated (minimize combustion probability.