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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:
Material : Plastic Resin (Liquid)
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


Processing 3D Files

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.
  • In Netfabb, the default repair is decent at fixing holes, border edges, and invalid orientations. Then try performing a boolean join to reduce shells down to 1.
  • If performing a boolean join results in multiple shells then most likely the shells are not contiguous, or connected. 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 (not recommended).

Printing a Part

Main Article : Printing a Part

Once a file has been processed and is ready to be printed, find an Idea Shop Staff member 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 exact printing time will be shown before your part is added to the queue

Cleaning and Curing Parts

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

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 will be removed from the printer by an Idea Shop Staff member 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.

Using the Form 2 Cure is optional, but highly recommended to ensure that the part is cured uniformly. 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:

  • Analyzing a student's file with a Netfab proficiency level of 3 to prepare for printing

Individual understands the concepts:

  • The Form2 uses a UV laser to cure the resin to create the print.
  • Wall thickness requirement for Form2.

Level 1

Individual has demonstrated they are capable of:

  • Correctly loading and sending file to Form2 queue
  • Correctly starting a print job

Individual understands the concepts:

  • A remote desktop account is required to send the file to the printer.
  • When placing part on build plate, don't orient the bottom of the part to hang parallel with the plate. Rather, angle large flat surfaces to make the part less likely to peel off during printing.

Level 2

Individual has demonstrated they are capable of:

  • Removing a printed part from inside the Form2
  • Post-processing in the IPA bath and heater

Individual understands the concepts:

  • Removing a part involves: wearing gloves, removing build plate, removing part from plate, removing any particles of cured resin from liquid resin bath, using correct settings for IPA bath and heating.
  • If IPA comes in contact with orange plastic window, the plastic will become brittle and crack. DO NOT clean orange material with IPA!
  • There must be an extra 30 min in between the wash and the bake in order to make sure all alcohol has evaporated to minimize combustion risk.
  • Any tools used to remove the part must be scrubbed down with IPA to clean off uncured resin.

Level 3

Individual has demonstrated they are capable of:

  • Changing material type in resin tray

Individual understands the concepts:

  • Each material has different settings for optimal results.
  • Liquid resin is toxic. IPA should be used to clean any tools used in the exchange process if they come in contact with uncured resin.