Formlabs Form 3+ 3D Printer Review: The Best Resin Printer You Can Buy (2023)

Tom's Guide Verdict

The Form 3+ improves the ease and speed of printing over its predecessor, the Form 3, which was already our first choice as a resin-based 3D printer for professionals. There are cheaper options like the Photon Mono X, but they require a lot more tweaking than the Form 3+.


  • +

    quick pressure

  • +

    quality results

  • +

    Many materials available, including flexible, stainable, and biosafe.


  • -

    Expensive for both the printer and the resin.

  • -

    Third party resins cannot be used.

Why you can trust Tom's GuideOur experts spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best one for you.Learn more about how we test.

Formlabs Form 3+ 3D Printer Specifications

Preis:3.499 $
Size:20.9 x 15.9 x 14.8 inches
print size:5.7 x 5.7 x 7.3 inches (237 cu in)
Type:Resina LFS (similar a SLA)

The Formlabs Form 3+ replaces theformula 3, one ofThe best resin-based 3D printerswe've tested This is an area of ​​3D printing that has seen a lot of competition in recent years, as a number of lower-cost models have emerged looking to challenge Formlabs' pricier printers.

(Video) Formlabs Form 3 SLA 3D Printer Review!

While devices like thatPhoton Mono XOffering a more affordable entry point into SLA printing, the Form 3+ continues to be the 3D printer of choice for professionals who need high-quality, reliable 3D printing. Formlabs latest printer inherits all the great features of the Form 3, while improving ease of use and printing speed to remain the best resin 3D printer.

Formlabs Form 3+ Review: Price and Availability

The Form 3+ originally cost $3,499, but Formlabs later announced that the price of the printer would increase to $3,750, citing supply chain issues. The printer will remain available immediately.Formlabs. Even before the cost increase, $3,500+ is a lot of money for a printer, especially compared to the Photon Mono X, which now costs around $500.

There are optional add-ons for the Form 3+. The Build Platform 2, designed to help you remove parts from the build platform, is $229, while post-processing kits like Form Wash and Form Cure are $599 and $750, respectively. (That $750 reflects a $50 increase in the price of the Form Cure.)

Formlabs Form 3+ Review: Design

Formlabs describes the Form 3+ as an LFS (Low Force Stereolithography) printer that uses a 250mA UV laser to transform resin into a solid. The Form 3+ retains the same heavy-duty industrial design of previous Formlabs models, with a clear, orange plastic cover that flips up from the front to allow access to the build area.

Formlabs Form 3+ 3D Printer Review: The Best Resin Printer You Can Buy (1)

The Form 3+ has a total build area of ​​5.7 x 5.7 x 7.3 inches, a total of 237 cubic inches, with a layer size ranging from 25 to 300 microns (0.001 to 0.012 inches). This is much smaller than most FDM printers and many SLA printers. If you need something bigger, Formlabs has that too.Formulario 3L, an improved model that can print up to 13.2 x 7.9 x 11.8 inches: 1,230 cubic inches total.

Beneath the Form 3+'s hinged cover, you'll find a large, uncluttered touchscreen that displays print status and lets you monitor prints in progress. Prints can be sent to a computer running PreForm software via Wi-Fi, Ethernet, or a USB connection to the Form 3+. There is also a USB port on the back of the printer for a USB drive.

Formlabs Form 3+ 3D Printer Review: The Best Resin Printer You Can Buy (2)

On the back of the Form 3+, slide the resin cartridge in as well. It holds one liter of resin, and each cartridge is coded to tell the printer what type of resin it contains. The design means you don't have to touch the resin yourself: a small pressure-controlled valve at the bottom drains the resin from the tank into the build chamber. This is much easier than filling the tray by hand and means that the Form 3+ only dispenses the amount of resin needed for the print. This is important as residual resin in the build chamber can break down over time.

The build bay design is also new for the Form 3+, with an improved mixer that agitates the resin before printing and a floating level sensor that measures how much resin is in the build bay. Like your toilet float, this last feature controls the flow of resin so that there is just enough resin to get the job done, but no more.

Formlabs Form 3+ 3D Printer Review: The Best Resin Printer You Can Buy (3)

The other new feature we tested on the Form 3+ is Build Platform 2, a revised design for the platform the print is built on. This is the part that sinks into the ground on which the impression is formed layer by layer.

This is usually a solid, flat sheet of metal. When the print is done, you need to pry the print off with a scraper. Build Platform 2's new design uses a flexible metal plate held in place by magnets. After printing, use the handles on each side to separate the panel from the magnets and flex it, which makes removal of the print much easier - it usually just comes off without prying or other persuasion. It's an optional extra, but worth the $229 if you do a lot of printing.

Most of the other enhancements to the Form 3+ are primarily for the user; these include an improved laser for faster printing and the addition of a heater.

(Video) This resin 3D printer is built different! (Form 3+ overview)

Formlabs Form 3+ Review: Accessories

In addition to testing the Form 3+, we also tested the Form Wash and the Form Cure. Both of these devices wash prints in alcohol to remove unbound resin and cure the print in ultraviolet light to finish it.

Like Build Platform 2, they are optional add-ons to your Form 3+ setup: you can wash and cure prints without them, using a plastic container and a UV light. But adding them makes things easier and more effective: the Form Wash mixes the isopropyl alcohol to ensure all the nooks and crannies of the print are cleaned, and the Form Cure heats the print as it cures to ensure the resin is fully cured. Together they form a complete production line from 3D model loading to fixed, ready-to-use printing.

Formlabs Form 3+ Review: Software and Controls

The Form 3+ is controlled in three ways: via the device's own touchscreen, via PreForm software, and via the panel's web interface. The Form 3+'s touchscreen is big, bright, and easy to read. From here you can start and stop printing, as well as set up and hibernate the printer if you don't use it for a while.

Formlabs Form 3+ 3D Printer Review: The Best Resin Printer You Can Buy (4)

PreForm software (availablefree for Windows and Mac) provides the primary method of configuring printing and controlling the printer. This will load the 3D models, align them for printing, and create the print file that will be sent to the Form 3+.

It's an easy process, especially if you use the one-touch feature that does most of the work for you. Since the Form 3+ communicates with the PreForm app, you don't have to configure anything: it knows what type of resin is installed and how to configure printing for it. You have to press a few more keys to send the file (and then go to the printer and start printing), so it's not a touch, but it's pretty close.

Formlabs Form 3+ 3D Printer Review: The Best Resin Printer You Can Buy (5)

If you prefer to set things up yourself. With PreForm, you can load multiple models, reduce or enlarge them, and move them around on the build plate. Alternatively, you can upload a model and clone it to print several in a single print, a process called veneering. You can also add pressure supports or let the program add them automatically. Once your model is complete, you can send it directly to the Form 3+, save it, or transfer it to a USB drive.

Dashboard is a web-based service that allows you to monitor and control multiple printers, stop or start printing, monitor supplies, and review printing statistics. The board can have multiple users, allowing more than one person to use a single printer or to queue print across multiple devices.

Formlabs Form 3+ review: Printing process

Once the print file has been sent to the Form 3+, it's time to start printing. Again, this process is pretty straightforward: select print and do a few preparatory steps (for example, open a valve on the resin tank and confirm the build plate is in place); then the printer continues. The preparation process can also be done ahead of time: If you know you'll start printing in a few minutes, you can prepare the printer ahead of time and then start printing from the PreForm software.

Formlabs Form 3+ 3D Printer Review: The Best Resin Printer You Can Buy (6)

The printing process itself is automated: you don't have to look. The Form 3+ also includes a heater that warms the inside of the printer, a definite plus for the cool basement I use to test printers, since resin doesn't flow as well when cold.

However, this heater does not extend to the resin tank, so filling the tank's pressure housing sometimes took a long time, especially when switching materials. Formlabs informed me that they recommend users place the Form 3+ in an air conditioned or heated room, and that from time to time users should remove the resin tank, check the valve from which the resin is dispensed, and shake the tank to make sure the valve is not blocked.

After several prints timed out while waiting for cold resin to drip from the resin tank, I manually filled the tray before the first print, another process recommended by Formlabs. However, that's more of a nuisance than a common problem with the Form 3+, especially for those who live in more civilized climates than New England in late winter.

Once the print is complete, you can remove the print bed and finish the print. On the Form Wash and Form Cure machines, this involved putting the entire print bed in the wash and running it, which involves dipping the print in IPA (isopropyl alcohol) and rinsing it to remove any liquid resin adhering to the service. This process takes about 20 minutes.

(Video) New Form 3+ SLA Resin 3D Printer Review!

Formlabs Form 3+ 3D Printer Review: The Best Resin Printer You Can Buy (7)

The Form Was automatically circulates the IPA into the print and then lifts the print out of the liquid to allow it to dry. Next, remove the print from the build plate and cut the supports (a set of scissors and other tools are included with the Form Wash for this purpose). Finally, you place it in the Form Cure, which heats the print and submerges it in ultraviolet light to harden the resin. After that, the print is complete.

Formlabs Form 3+ review: Printing speed

The Form 3+ is a pretty fast printer when it wants to be. Our 4-inch Thinker review sample took just over 2.5 hours to print using Draft resin. It's fast because Draft resin is designed for rapid prototyping. The flexible resin took a little longer: 8 hours and 52 minutes for the same model, since the elastic resin uses thinner layers that take a little longer to set.

This time is slightly faster than the Form 3, which took between 10 and 17 hours to print. However, we can't make a direct comparison because different printers use different resins. Still, it's safe to say that the Form 3+ is slightly faster than the Form 3.

The Form 3+'s print speeds also compare well with other resin printers. The Photon Mono X, for example, took over 7 hours to produce the same size print. Much of the Form 3+'s speed is due to the tensile-resistant resin we tested it with, but it's obviously a fast printer that can produce prints on demand.

Formlabs Form 3+ review: Print quality

I was impressed with the print quality of the Form 3+, which consistently produced clean, smooth prints with excellent detail and finish. Print quality is highly dependent on the resin used, and we tested two in our tests: Draft resin and Elastic 50A.

Formlabs Draft Resin produced very clean and smooth prints, but each layer of the print is 0.3mm thick, which is a lot in 3D printing terms.

Formlabs Form 3+ 3D Printer Review: The Best Resin Printer You Can Buy (8)

This means that layers of prints are sometimes more visible on flat edges and surfaces parallel to the print bed. In other areas, our test prints were very smooth, with well-reproduced detail and smooth, organic curves.

Formlabs Form 3+ 3D Printer Review: The Best Resin Printer You Can Buy (9)

Print quality from the Elastic 50A resin was also excellent, with fine details in our test prints. Prints on this material lived up to the elastic name: the transparent resin is flexible and elastic once cured, but not rubbery: it retains its shape in great detail.

Formlabs Form 3+ 3D Printer Review: The Best Resin Printer You Can Buy (10)

The elastic nature of this resin means it's a bit tedious to work with, and we found that the supports for the prints left marks on the final print that were difficult to remove – tiny marks on the smooth surface of the print. a major problem in drawing resin, as the brittleness of cured resin means supports will peel off cleanly.

Formlabs Form 3+ 3D Printer Review: The Best Resin Printer You Can Buy (11)

(Video) You won’t like this Printer, but it’s actually really good! (Form 3+ Review Conclusion)

But the elastic resin does not come off cleanly and I had to cut the surface marks with a sharp knife. However, this could probably be minimized by using less support material to minimize parts to be removed.

Formlabs Form 3+ Evaluation: Materials

The Form 3+ is designed to be usedresinas formlabs, offering a very broad range of resins for special purposes, including high-strength engineering, jewelry, dental, and medical applications. The cost of this ranges from $149 for designer resin to $299 for extra rigid engineering resin or castable jewelry resin. Medicated resins can cost up to $349. That's expensive, but since more specialized resins have gone through tests like the FDA so they can be implanted in your body, that's not unreasonable.

Formlabs does not offer different colored resins: instead, it offers aOf colorsThis includes clear resin and five dyes (cyan, magenta, yellow, black, and white) that you can use to create your own colors. They include 16 recipes as a starting point, but you need to mix a full liter of resin to get the result - you can't mix smaller batches.

Older form printers used to offer a feature called Open Mode that allowed you to use other resins, but this is not available on the Form 3+.

Formlabs Form 3+ Review: Verdict

If 3D printing is part of your day job, the Form 3+ is still the printer to beat. It's fast, easy to set up and use, and it prints with great quality. It's not cheap, though: The package we tested costs just under $5,000. That could buy you two or three other cheaper printers, likePhoton Mono Xand a print finishing system.

But a printer like the Photon Mono X lacks the finish of the Form 3+, and prints from the older machine require more handling and adjustment to produce the best quality. It also doesn't have the ability for multiple users to queue and manage impressions.

Whether you have to pay for Form 3+ depends on time and resources. If you don't mind adjusting the printer, finishing your prints, and then reprinting them to get the results you want, a cheaper SLA printer will do. But if you want to print and move on to the next task, the Form 3+ is the ideal 3D printer.

ricardo baguley

Richard Baguley has been a technology writer and journalist since 1993. In addition to writing for Tom's Guide, he also writes for Cnet, T3, Wired, and many other publications.

no comments yetComment from the forums

(Video) The BEST Resin 3D Printer? | Form 3+


    1. From Design to 3D Print With the Form 3
    2. When Lasers aren’t fast enough: Form 3+ Speed and Quality Benchmarks!
    (Thomas Sanladerer)
    3. Formlabs Form 3 & 3B Review
    (Laser Lines Ltd - 3D Printers & Laser Systems)
    4. Testing One of the Biggest SLA Printers, Formlab’s Form 3L | 3Dnatives Lab
    5. Formlabs Form 3L SLA 3D Printer Review - September 2020
    6. Tech Review: Formlabs CW40
    (Rio Grande)
    Top Articles
    Latest Posts
    Article information

    Author: Mrs. Angelic Larkin

    Last Updated: 02/05/2023

    Views: 6280

    Rating: 4.7 / 5 (67 voted)

    Reviews: 82% of readers found this page helpful

    Author information

    Name: Mrs. Angelic Larkin

    Birthday: 1992-06-28

    Address: Apt. 413 8275 Mueller Overpass, South Magnolia, IA 99527-6023

    Phone: +6824704719725

    Job: District Real-Estate Facilitator

    Hobby: Letterboxing, Vacation, Poi, Homebrewing, Mountain biking, Slacklining, Cabaret

    Introduction: My name is Mrs. Angelic Larkin, I am a cute, charming, funny, determined, inexpensive, joyous, cheerful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.