Formlabs Form 3 VS Anycubic Photon

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Additive manufacturing is getting popular because the machine is also becoming more affordable nowadays such as the Formlabs Form 3 Vs Anycubic Photon. These printers are using liquid resin as the materials and often used to achieve greater details or when users want to make small working parts on larger items. These printers are still easy to use but not exactly the same so if you are also interested, let’s see below about what they can offer.

In this comparison, we are going to talk about:

  • What are Resin 3D Printers
  • What are Formlabs Form 3 and Anycubic Photon
  • How are the Design of Formlabs Form 3 and Anycubic Photon
  • How are the Volume of Formlabs Form 3 and Anycubic Photon
  • How are the Build Platform of Formlabs Form 3 and Anycubic Photon
  • How are the Performance of Formlabs Form 3 and Anycubic Photon
  • Formlabs Form 3 Vs Anycubic Photon

Resin 3D Printers

Many people have heard about 3D printers and with how fast information is spreading around nowadays it is just easy to find what you need to know about them. For those who are not yet familiar with the technology, the way they are said to be able to make anything is probably what makes many interested to know the method better. It is not completely true but not false either because we can indeed make anything, from the compatible materials.

One of the limitations of 3D printing is their materials itself because not all typical materials can be used in this manufacturing process. While plastic is the most common to work with, other common materials like fabric are still a challenge because regardless of the mechanism, this material needs to achieve a melting point before being able to be deposited to build the design. Most of us are familiar with FDM such as XYZPrinting Da Vinci 1.0 Vs 2.0 but there are also resin printers which material is already liquid.

Unlike the FDM printers, there is no need to heat the material again but it needs to be cured or hardened to build the design. This type of machine is working with a vat of photosensitive liquid resin and exposing it to UV LED light beams layer by layer to cure it and building the plastic model. It is known as stereolithography which is very popular for being known to achieve a great detail up to 0.01mm layer height while most FDM printers can achieve 0.05mm.

In modern days the most common type of resin printer is MSLA or Masked SLA based on how the resin is cured or the light source of the machine because there are several of them. In this type of machine the UV beams or light will come from the LEDs that go shine through the LCD screen which work like a mask thus the name. This technology makes resin printers cheaper and more affordable for a wide range of new users, making it more popular as well.

Just like with FDM printers, you will need to work on the software as well because not all is decided by the machine. It is also best to consider your options based on what you will use the machine for such as the capacity of the machine, the material they can work with, or the ease of use. It may sound like a lot but not all machines are made the same and not all of us will be using them for the same type of application.

 Formlabs Form 3Anycubic Photon
Product Dimensions15.9 × 20.9 × 30.7 inches7.87 x 8.66 x 15.75 inches
Shipping Weight38.5 pounds 15.87 Pounds
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About Formlabs Form 3 and Anycubic Photon

If your goal is speed and compatibility with various materials, FDM printers are the choice but if you only make hard plastic based products while speed is not really a concern, MSLA printers or resin printers are the ideal options. Formlabs and Anycubic are some of the most popular options you can rely on and this is because these brands are not only offering affordable printers but also reliable and easy to use both for beginner and experienced makers.

For those who want a compact machine that can make detailed prints, the Formlabs Form 3 and Anycubic Photon are two amazing printers to consider. These printers are small compared to most similarly affordable FDM so the usage is probably limited to modelling or creating small but detailed items like figures. However, just like most resin printers, you will need more time to maintain the machine and treat the printed products.

Note that liquid material is naturally messier to work with compared to the solid filament but if your goal is achieving greater details, the Formlabs Form 3 and Anycubic Photon are surely working really well. In comparison, both machines are mostly the same but they are also inherently different based on the light source since the Form 3 is laser based while the latter is a DLP, meaning the light source comes from a digital projection surface instead of laser.

Performance wise these printers are amazing as you can create models with high details but also with minimum support and in general it is setup and leave as the machines are very easy to use. They are also convenient but Form 3 is much more expensive compared to Photon so we do think it is wise to consider how much you can spend because it makes more sense to choose Form 3 as something we will use professionally while for introduction we can spend less with machines like Photon and many other similar alternatives.

Formlabs Form 3 and Anycubic Photon Design

Before getting into the machines, let’s take a look into the unit first and one of the best things about resin printers is probably the design because even when they are categorized as an entry-level option, we don’t need to assemble the machine manually like with so many budget FDM printers. They come with this see-through enclosure that can be opened conveniently but we do like the way both printers designed its enclosure which is attached on a hinge so we don’t need to lift all of it.

The mechanism inside is still the same, you will find the vat at the bottom to contain liquid resin, a platform that holds the printing plate, as well as touch-screen at the front for navigating the printer’s menu. There is still some light assembly such as attaching the Photon’s door knob but we also advise to check the parts from any debris like the 2K LCD screen and platform before doing test print because we never know what may get stuck on the machine when they are in a store or warehouse.

Formlabs Form 3 and Anycubic Photon Capacity

Moving further for the most important part, let’s see what the Formlabs Form 3 and Anycubic Photon can offer starting from the capacity because this is a very important part to notice to make sure they are big enough for the item that you will be making. Usually resin printers are smaller than FDM even when they have the same price point including these two that can only print up to 145 x 145 x 185 mm compared to 115 x 65 x 115 mm respectively.

Formlabs Form 3 and Anycubic Photon Build Platform

Next is for the build platform which is kind of similar to most resin printers but are also different and between the two, Form 3 is already using an automatic leveling which removes the need to manually measure the distance between build platform and the screen. To level Photon, you will need a piece of paper and slowly lower the platform closer to the screen by 0.1 mm, 1 mm, or 10 mm until the desired resistance is achieved when you pull the paper.

On the Form 3, this process is automatic because the new LFS technology from this machine is using a highly flexible resin vat bottom layer that stretches to meet the print plate as the model is printing and as it moves along the X axis. Another interesting part is that the vat is not containing all the resin at once like what we are used to but the Form 3 machine is using their own material that loads inside the machine in closed cartridges, making the printing process less messy.

Formlabs Form 3 and Anycubic Photon Performance

Now we want to talk about how these machines are in real life and in the printing process but let us mention that the result is amazing, we do think they are very comparable as resin based printers that can work really well on delivering precise details. What to note is that with all of Form 3 capabilities, also comes the drawback and it is the cost. Not only because it is quite expensive but also because it is using consumables like the resin tank and the resin vats.

The resin vats is special to LFS with its flexible bottom so it can wear out over time or repetitive use. Another possible issue to notice is when small particles get into the LPU and nest on the underside of the window which often go unnoticed since it is parked out of sight when not working.

Formlabs Form 3 Vs Anycubic Photon

Both Formlabs Form 3 and Anycubic Photon are promising options to consider but they seem to be made for different types of users. The Form 3 is much more expensive in comparison and while it also introduces a larger build volume, the use of consumables to support its printing method is going to add more and more into the spending, making it concerning in the long term. On the other hand Photon is very simple, it has no special features but is also impressive with the proper care and maintenance.

- The high-power-density laser is passed through a spatial filter to guarantee a clean laser spot.
- Optical sensors continuously correct for scale and power, and can even detect dust.
- Switch between materials in seconds with a simple cartridge system.
- The Form 3 offers industrial capabilities at a fraction of the price of traditional industrial machines.
- Entry-level:Easy to set up, leveling was a breeze. Software is relatively simple to use. Only 4 settings far fewer settings to adjust vs FDM printer.
- Incredible Resolution:Make tiny parts with accuracy, much smoother detail and quality than the FDM printer.
- Fast Shipping: Multiple models on a build plate don't add to the build time. A larger miniature takes about 2-3 hours, 6 at once takes the same 2-3 hours.
- Industrial Quality: All of the faces have a perfect satin finish. Any curves, chamfers, or bevels are are flawless. All of the blue bits and all of the red knobs are anodized.

Conclusion 

The choice is all yours to make based on which seems to be more advantageous in the application. For professional use Form 3 is incredibly convenient but for beginners or enthusiasts who just want a good machine, the Photon is more than just a good printer.