Born out of the fertile soils of the MIT Media Lab, the Formlabs Form 1 was something of a gamechanger for desktop 3D printers, shifting the conversation from simple plastic trinkets to complex resin structures.
The company has iterated slightly since (see: the Form 1+), but the small Somerville, Mass.-based operation has primarily focused on spreading the word about its initial offering. That changes today, however, with the arrival of the Form 2, promising a smarter, more powerful and larger take on its predecessor(s).
The printer maintains the Form 1's resin curing system (pioneered by professional-grade additive manufacturing machines), though the process has been streamlined with a heated tank, wiper, and upgraded resin cartridges that refill the tank as the machine prints.
While the printer is still aimed at designers and manufacturers rather than the hobbyists most desktop printer companies are currently targeting, the Form 2's process has been streamlined and made generally more accessible, courtesy of one-click simple printing and Wi-Fi connectivity that allows for print monitoring via smartphones, tablets, and the like.
There's also full-color touchscreen display on-board for monitoring builds and print queues.
The Form 2 features a 50-percent more powerful laser and 40-percent larger build volume, as an entrant in one of those relatively rare consumer electronic spaces where bigger is generally considered better.
The printer is available as of today from the Formlabs site for $3,499, a price that includes printing software and a liter of resin.