Jun 5, 2017 | By Benedict

Massachusetts-based 3D printing company Formlabs has unveiled two new 3D printing systems: the $9,999 Fuse 1, the company’s first selective laser sintering (SLS) 3D printer; and the Form Cell, an automated production solution that uses the popular Form 2 SLA 3D printer.

Well here’s some massive news to start the week. After teasing a mysterious new 3D printer on its website a month ago, beloved SLA 3D printing specialist Formlabs has today lifted the lid on its new machine—and it’s not what everyone expected.

With just a shadowy image to go on, makers have been spending the last month trying to piece together clues about the “Fuse 1.” Formlabs simply promised “something completely different,” leading curious 3D printing fanatics to different conclusions: some thought Formlabs was preparing an FDM 3D printer; others thought it could be a different kind of SLA system; a handful of people even foresaw a 3D scanner in the works.

In fairness to the Formlabs community, many makers hit the nail on the head. Those clever few looked at the name “Fuse” and decided it could only refer to one thing: sintering. Powder particles fusing, you see?

Formlabs' new Fuse 1 SLS 3D printer, complete with built-in camera

Formlabs is today vindicating those makers by unveiling the Fuse 1 SLS 3D printer at the MIT-hosted Digital Factory conference. Regardless of whether you saw it coming, this is big, big news.

But there’s more! In addition to the Fuse 1, Formlabs is also using the Digital Factory conference to present the Form Cell, an automated production solution that integrates the Form 2 SLA 3D printer into an end-to-end 3D printing production line.

While there are currently few technical details available about either new system, Formlabs did provide a few key pieces of information in a press release.

“With Fuse 1, we are taking the same approach [as with the Form 1] to making powerful SLS technology available to a huge range of customers,” commented Max Lobovsky, CEO of Formlabs. “And with Form Cell, we are making an efficient, scalable production solution by leveraging the Form 2, an SLA print engine that’s already stood the test of printing more than 10 million parts.”

The Formlabs Fuse 1 SLS 3D printer

At $9,999, the Fuse 1 becomes the cheapest major SLS 3D printing solution on the market, potentially bringing nylon 3D printing to an entirely new demographic. A $19,999 kit will augment the printer itself with a post-processing station with material recovery, an extra build piston for continuous usage, and an initial material load.

Formlabs says its forthcoming Fuse 1 3D printer will be compatible with materials including Nylon PA 12 and PA 11, with parts printed on the machine set to “meet or exceed the material properties” found on their industrial counterparts.

Just let that news sink in for a moment: Formlabs has made an SLS 3D printer, and it’ll only cost you the price of three Form 2s.

Printing ski goggles with the Formlabs Fuse 1

But that’s only half the story here, with Formlabs also unveiling the Form Cell, a new automated production solution for the Form 2. The SLA specialist says the Form Cell “parallelizes and automates repetitive 3D printing processes” by completely automating the production process, from file to finished part. In just a day, Formlabs has embraced both nylon 3D printing and digital production, taking it into completely new territory.

In its complete form, the exciting new Form Cell system consists of a number of Form 2 3D printers, the Form Wash cleaning unit, a curing unit, and an industrial robotic gantry system. With all these elements working in tandem, businesses will purportedly be able to produce large quantities of 3D printed parts with no manual supervision.

Formlabs says the “Form Cell eliminates repetitive manual processes to finally bring 3D printing into the lights-out, 24-hour digital factory.”

The system will include “smart” software for print job scheduling, error detection, remote monitoring, and part and serial number printing. It’s also “factory ready,” with API endpoints for integration with industry-standard business systems (CRM, ERP, MES) or homegrown systems.

The Formlabs Form Cell automated production system

The Fuse 1 can be reserved from today with a deposit of $1,000, with shipping expected mid-2018. At the time of writing, pricing and delivery details for the Form Cell are not available.

“By enabling teams to easily iterate and also to directly manufacture final products, Fuse 1 and Form Cell open up a wealth of innovation flexibility within the product development cycle, from early prototyping to manufacturing,” said Dávid Lakatos, chief product officer of Formlabs.

Several companies, including Google, are currently testing the new systems. We’ll bet you can’t wait to join them.


Update Jun 6, 2017: an initial version of this story incorrectly reported that the Formlabs Fuse 1 was capable of printing with metal powders. The Fuse 1 is actually designed to print with nylon, including PA 11 and PA 12. The author apologizes for this misinformation.




Posted in 3D Printer



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mr.3dEd wrote at 6/12/2017 12:45:11 PM:

the $9999 is a bit misleading. this should be adverticed with the price of the 'kit': $19999.

Charlie Weiss wrote at 6/6/2017 1:26:04 AM:

Yo, my best friend worked on this project at FormLabs, and apparently the Fuse 1 doesn't print metal. It prints nylon. All those pictures in your article are of nylon. Please fix.

Andreas wrote at 6/5/2017 8:08:43 PM:

Sorry guys, fuse 1 prints in nylon , not metal!

3D printing guy wrote at 6/5/2017 6:19:16 PM:

This article is incorrect. The new formlabs printer is for plastics...not metal!

PlasmidJack wrote at 6/5/2017 6:05:03 PM:

I believe this is nylon only, NOT metal?

Come on now... wrote at 6/5/2017 5:57:57 PM:

Wow, really 3ders? You guys are a 3d printing blog and don't know SLS is not metal... "Fuse 1 SLS 3D printer, its first metal-printing machine". SLS prints with nylon plastic not metal.

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