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Q&A with Michael Baker, Global Communications Lead at Formlabs

Virtual Engineering Week, an all-new digital event presented by the organizers of the nation’s leading manufacturing events scheduled for November 30 through December 4, 2020, is designed to bring together and extend the close-knit manufacturing sector to create a national event that offers technical education, buyer and seller sourcing, and serve as a networking resource for the global design, engineering, and manufacturing communities at a time when an in-person connection is not feasible.

The 3D-printing materials industry is experiencing a rise in demand from healthcare, with vast opportunity for growth fueled by the growing usage of additive manufacturing, new product developments, and complex and customized designs that can be achieved through 3D printing. While the market is expected to undergo slower growth this year due to COVID-19, the global 3D printing materials market size is still projected to grow from $1.6 billion in 2020 to $4.5 billion by 2025 – key sectors supporting the growth of this market include the high demand for 3D printed medical and dental implants and the continued adoption from the aerospace and defense and automotive industries.    

At the forefront of innovation in this rapidly evolving industry, Formlabs is leading the charge in digital fabrication. Advancing 3D printing materials to deliver the highest-quality and custom-formulated output with prototyping materials that meet the demands for engineering and manufacturing sectors, Formlabs offers an expansive library of resins that span a variety of applications including standard, flexible, and elastic materials, tough and durable resins that can handle compression and impact without breaking, professional materials for digital dentistry, high-detail materials for jewelry concept models, specialty resins that feature advanced materials with unique mechanical properties, and medical resins.  

As an exhibitor at the upcoming Virtual Engineering Week, attendees will have exclusive access to more information about their suite of high-performance materials and best-in-class printing software. Virtual Engineering Week, an all-new digital event presented by the organizers of the nation’s leading manufacturing events comprised of brands ATX, D&M, MD&M, PACK, PLASTEC, and Quality scheduled for November 30 through December 4, 2020, is designed to bring together and extend the close-knit manufacturing sector to create a national event that offers technical education, buyer and seller sourcing, and will serve as a much-needed networking resource for the global design, engineering, and manufacturing communities at a time when an in-person connection is not feasible. Register here to schedule a meeting with Formlabs and take advantage of the five-day digital event’s best-in-class education. 

Suzanne Deffree, Group Event Director of Virtual Engineering Week, spoke with Michael Baker, Global Communications Lead at Formlabs, about the leading exhibitor’s product lineup and presence at the all-new digital event.    

Formlabs recently rolled out the Form 3L, a large format printer with 5x the build volume of the Form 3. Can you tell us about this product? 

Baker: The Form 3L is really exciting because it’s our flagship large format printer, and it’s not just big for the sake of big. It opens up new opportunities for users in two key ways: to print large batches and to print large individual prints without compromising quality.  

Like our main line of printers, the Form 3L is built on Low Force Stereolithography (LFS) 3D printing, which is an advanced form of stereolithography (SLA) that delivers incredible surface finish and detail, and linear illumination to deliver accurate, repeatable parts. 

In keeping with our dedication to making very intuitive 3D printers, the Form 3L offers automatic resin dispensing, simple print preparation software, and an interface system that anyone can use (not just experts), enabling users to bring large prints in-house to save money and time.  

A medium to large print job on the Form 3L generally takes 24-72 hours, depending on part volume, height, geometry, and density. The Form 3L can save days compared to outsourcing, and hours compared to the assembly from multiple pieces printed on smaller printers.  

What type of engineering and manufacturing applications with the Form 3L are you looking forward to talking with attendees about at Virtual Engineering Week? 

Baker: The big thing that the Form 3L allows engineering and manufacturing companies to do is bring important processes in-house, like rapid prototyping. Many companies, like the outdoor equipment company Black Diamond, historically rely on service bureaus to create full-size prototypes. The Form 3L, though, allows them to cut prototype development lead times from seven days to three days and slashed costs by about 85%.

Like our other printers, the Form 3L is not only designed to save some companies time and money but also to greatly expand the market for large format 3D printers. We believe that lowering machine costs will increase the feasibility and economic viability of 3D printing across the manufacturing and engineering industries, allowing for more novel and experimental businesses and more mass-customized products.  

For direct access to Formlabs’ product demos, technical conference sessions addressing the Form 3L and the challenges of selecting a 3D printing material, and to schedule a 1:1 meeting, please register as an attendee for Virtual Engineering Week here and reach out to field_marketing@formlabs.com.  

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