Formlabs – a United States company that produces resin-based 3D printers – is now going to be officially offering their new Form 2 printer in South Africa thanks to a distribution partnership with Johannesburg company Build Volume.
The Form series of printers began with a Kickstarter campaign for the 3D printer – the Form 1. Unlike “traditional” printers which use plastic fillament such as PLA and ABS, the Form 1 uses a process called Stereolithography (SL), in which a laser is used to solidify certain points in a pool of liquid plastic risen, which then hardens into a print.
This process provides fantastic quality and resolution thanks to layer thickness as thin as 25 microns and a minimum feature size (the smallest possible distinguishable parts a printers can produce) of 300 microns. The downside to this accuracy and quality is price, which was previously hundreds of thousands of rands. The Form 1, on the other hand cost around R35 000 to buy in the US when it was available.
The Form 1 has since been superseded by the Form 1+ and now the Form 2. The Form 2 – which costs $3 500 (R48 200) in the US – improves on its predecessors with a larger build volume, touch-screen controls, Wifi connectivity, and a host of other improvements. And it’s magical to watch:
Build Volume, a company offering everything needed to get going with 3D printing, including hardware, software and training is now an official reseller of the Form 2. Currently, the Form 1+ is still available for purchase for R51 850 from their online store. Build Volume has told us that the Form 2 will be available from next year and, while the price has not been confirmed as yet, pre-order pricing should be available before the end of 2015. The various types of resin needed for Formlabs’ printers are also available from Build Volume.
This partnership is part of Formlabs’ growth around the world and the addition of four other distribution partners: Creative Tools ,Systematics, 3bFAB and 3Developer will be providing Formlabs products to the Scandinavian, Middle East, EMEA and South Asian markets respectively.
Strangely, Europe, the Middle East and Africa (known as EMEA) usually include South Africa, so its a welcome change for our little country to get its own distributor – and hopefully more comprehensive, local support.[Source – 3D Printing Industry]