Prusa SL1 vs Form 3

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At first, Prusa SL1 vs Form 3 may seem very similar to each other due to their orange-hued semi-transparent enclosures and rectangular shapes. However, they are actually two 3D printers with quite different technologies. Below, we will take a look at the differences between Prusa SL1 and Form 3 to help you choose the best 3D printer for your needs.

By the end of this article, you’ll know all about Prusa SL1 vs Form 3, including:

  • What printing technologies that Prusa SL1 and Form 3 use
  • The potential operational costs associated with Prusa SL1 and Form 3
  • The build volumes of Prusa SL1 and Form 3
  • Which one between Prusa SL1 and Form 3 is easier to setup and use
  • The print performance of Prusa SL1 vs Form 3
  • Whether you should get Prusa SL1 or Form 3

Prusa SL1 vs Form 3: Printing Technology

First of all, Prusa SL1 uses the Masked Stereolithography (MSLA) printing technology. While a standard stereolithography printer usually uses ultraviolet light to cure and solidify the liquid resin from point to point, an MSLA printer like Prusa SL1 performs curing or solidification by using an array of LEDs that shine ultraviolet light through an LCD shutter to cure all points of a layer at once.

Once one layer is cured, the printing platform will move upwards by an increment so that the next layer can be cured. The biggest advantage of this technology is that the printer can finish the job much more quickly.

However, Prusa SL1 is not totally perfect. There is one possible downside. The LCD shutter is a consumable, so it will need to be replaced every once in a while. If you operate your printer very frequently, the cost can add up quite quickly. Read also: Formlabs Form 3 VS Form 2 here. 

 Prusa SL1Form 3
Product Dimensions15.7 x 9.3 x 8.9 inches13.2 x 7.9 x 11.8 inches
Shipping Weight9 lbs 38.5 lbs
Best offerCheck priceCheck price

On the other hand, Form 3 uses a Low Force Stereolithography (LFS) printing technology. This is more similar to the standard stereolithography printer, except it has been tweaked to make the process more effective and efficient. Form 3 uses a flexible tank in order to eliminate the peel force, which is a common problem with a standard stereolithography printer. The flexible tank also helps to ensure linear illumination.

Still, Form 3 can’t cure as quickly as its competitor here. But it offers its own advantages, namely the lower operational costs (as it doesn’t require any LCD replacements) and finer finish results. The laser that it uses also has a greater power, which will allow you to work with some advanced professional resins. 

Prusa SL1 vs Form 3: Build Volume

Prusa SL1 will catch anyone’s eyes at the first sight. The black and orange color scheme is quite stylish. The large semi-transparent door flips to reveal the resin tank and build plate. You can find the LCD touchscreen at the base of the printer. The overall size is still small enough to allow Prusa SL1 to get categorized into the group of compact desktop printers.

Prusa SL1 offers a total build volume of 150 x 120 x 68 mm. Indeed, this is not really large. But it should be sufficient if you are normally only printing small-sized items.

Form 3 is similarly eye-catching. It happens to have a similar black and orange color scheme, though the enclosures do have a slightly brighter and slightly more transparent color. You can also find an LCD touchscreen at the base of the printer, on the front and center. Form 3 is also quite compact and space-friendly.

Yet, Form 3 offers a slightly bigger build volume, which measures 185 x 145 x 145 mm. According to the company, they believe that this build volume is sufficient for the needs of the majority of the users. This is still not really large but it still offers more space to print slightly bigger items.

Prusa SL1 vs Form 3: Setup

Prusa SL1 has been equipped with various safety features. It has a UV-protective door, solid metal tank, and lead screws that are very robust. It is also really easy to use. The door can be opened and closed without much effort, and the build plate is easily removable.

This printer takes about 30 minutes to setup, which is fine. There are other 3D printers with much more complicated setups. For connectivity, you can use Wi-Fi, LAN, or USB. Prusa SL1 comes mostly assembled, and it has a removable resin tank. It supports third-party resins, too.

Form 3 is also very serious in terms of safety. The enclosures are UV-protective and feel very sturdy and robust. It is safe for use by beginners. You can also use it at home, as the enclosures will keep the operating parts away from children and on-lookers.

The initial setup of Form 3 is even quicker and simpler. It is plug-and-play, so you really don’t need to deal with any hassle. Then, you can connect the printer to your Wi-Fi for the automatic print bed leveling. You can print directly from the USB or Ethernet port. This printer is compatible with more than 20 materials, available in cartridges from the company.

Prusa SL1 vs Form 3: Performance

Prusa SL1 actually has a decent layer resolution, which can be adjusted between 0.025 mm (25 microns) to 0.1 mm (100 microns). When tested, the print results are impressive. It is able to deliver very fine details with excellent accuracy and precision.

Prusa SL1 is also able to finish printing more quickly. This is mostly because of the way it deals with curing. It cures an entire layer at once so that it can move to the next layer right away. This can be a major benefit if you need to do batch-printing a lot.

Unfortunately, Prusa SL1 does not allow you to pause the printing process to have a look. Once it has started printing, you need to wait until it finishes to check the result. So, make sure that you have set your model correctly before you hit the print button.

Form 3 is just as good, if not better. This printer also has an excellent resolution, with the Z-axis resolution adjustable between 25 microns and 300 microns, and the XY layer having a resolution of 25 microns. This printer can deliver excellent fine details. Printing complex designs won’t be an issue.

The point-to-point laser curing takes time, so Form 3 is not exactly fast. However, it is able to deliver finer finish results. The laser offers higher accuracy and precision that can’t be achieved by an LCD shutter. In addition, it also can deliver greater power, which is needed for working with some advanced professional resins.

Last but not least, Form 3 can be more convenient to use because it can pause an on-going print job. This will allow you to check the progress and make sure that there is no mistake. You can also monitor the print progress via the software dashboard, queue and schedule prints, and cancel a print job.

Conclusion

In general, Form 3 is better and more recommended. This printer offers a larger build volume, which can be essential for printing larger items. It is also easier to setup. The laser curing is not as fast, but it can deliver higher accuracy and precision. It also has more power, which is needed for working on some resins. Plus, it has a pause print function.