May 8, 2017 | By Julia

These days it’s common knowledge that 3D printing saves endless time and energy compared to traditional manufacturing methods. Yet the issue of post-processing remains a "dirty" industry secret, and a problem that frequently goes undiscussed.

Sterolithography (SLA) is especially tricky here. 3D prints done through SLA often demand intense cleaning, and each part must be cured with light. It’s a time-consuming process that leaves a lot to be desired, as few industry solutions have really taken hold.

But that may all be about to change: desktop SLA system manufacturer Formlabs has just launched its own solution for cleaning and curing parts. The first units of their kind, the Form Wash and Form Cure systems have been making serious waves at the RAPID + TCT 2017 event, where they were just unveiled.

“Anyone who’s used a 3D printer knows the dirty secret of the process: a lot happens in between hitting ‘print’ and holding a final product,” says Formlabs Chief Product Officer Dávid Lakatos. “We know our users’ time is better spent designing and creating, so we developed Form Wash and Form Cure to bridge that missing gap; making it easier than ever to go from finished print to ready-to-use part.”

Currently priced at $499 USD, the Form Wash features an automated cleaning system that oversees every step of the process. The innovation revolves around an impeller agitating isopropyl alcohol to flow around the 3D printed parts inside, but the key is in the user-friendly details: system users simply place the Form 2’s build platform (or printed parts) into the Form Wash and select a time; the system then performs a full cleaning procedure evenly and consistently, and finishes with raising the newly cleaned basket or platform, now ready for post-curing. Extra bonuses include the Form Wash storage area, ideal for storing finishing tools, as well as the attached hydrometer for monitoring chemical levels in the isopropyl solution.

The Form Wash

The Form Cure, on the other hand, goes for $699 and compliments the Form Wash nicely. Using a 405 nm light and a state-of-the-art heating system to post-cure 3D printed parts, the Form Cure enables increased strength when working with standard resins and heightened performance when working with professional engineering resins. The Form Cure is also key for finishing biocompatible resins (such as Formlabs’ Dental Resins), and ensuring a successful burnout in Castable 3D prints. Customizable settings are unique to each material, and a precise temperature control promises to perfectly post-cure every 3D printed part.

The Form Cure

How the competition will play out over the next few months remains to be seen, but one thing’s for sure: the new Formlabs innovations are quickly being established as serious game-changers. To see Form Wash and Form Cure for yourself, check out the Formlabs booth at RAPID + TCT 2017. Both units are now available for pre-order, with shipping set to begin in September of this year.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printer Accessories

 

 

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