Local 3D Desktop Printer Company, Formlabs was quite busy last weekend.
First, they were on the road repping their product at Maker Faire in San Francisco and the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (IFCC) in New York. More importantly, however, was the company’s news that on Friday it began shipping their 3D printer to Kickstarter backers and pre-order customers.
With the stated goal of making affordable, high quality 3D printers for designers, engineers, or anyone, Formlabs is off to a great start.
Their initial Kickstarter campaign kicked off in September with a goal to raise $100,000. Amazingly, Formlabs raised nearly $3 million from over 2,000 backers. Over a thousand of the Kickstarter funding was from contributions of $2500 or more, the pledge amount to receive a Form 1, the first of Formlabs 3D printers, as a reward.
A product of the MIT Media Lab, Formlabs dreamt up the Form 1 to counteract both the expensive 3D printing machines as well as more affordable printers that produced low quality creations. The Form 1 relies on technology found in machines that sell for close to $10,000. The Form 1 uses stereolithography (SL) technology that produces high-resolution 3D models and, as Formlabs website states, ”a seamless user experience at a price affordable to the professional designer, engineer and maker.” Specifically, the Form 1 uses a laser to solidify a liquid resin and continually repeats the laser/resin hardening process as a platform gradually lifts the completed portion of the project away from the resin tray.
The printer ships with software as well as a “post processing kit.” The entire Form 1 printing process as well as the device itself is meticulously broken down, taken apart, and examined by Bunnie Huang on his bunnie:studios blog.
Shipping the printers is an enormous step for this promising, young company. Although they fell behind the expected shipment date targeted during the Kickstarter campaign, Formlabs was very apologetic on the company’s blog post announcing the news. On the blog, they thanked the Form 1 pre-order customers and backers for their “patience and encouragement,” for shipping a couple of months late.
Compared to the delays seen with the well-known Pebble watch Kickstarter campaign, Formlabs’ ability to manufacture and ship the Form 1, a far more complex product than the iPhone-connected watch, bodes well for the Cambridge company’s future prospects.
Introducing the Form 1 from Formlabs on Vimeo.
Dennis Keohane is a teacher, journalist and contributor to VentureFizz. You can follow Dennis on Twitter (@DBKeohane) by clicking here.