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Dr. Mike

Formlabs Fuse 1 SLS printer

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It can only be used with dark colors (to make it more low-cost). You can only use one color at a time. And you still have all the SLS disadvantages like post processing the parts.

Imo SLS printers are nowadays a bad choice for clinic in house 3d printing.

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In the next few months we will see some multi material solutions coming to FDM printing. For example, the Multi Material Unit 2 from Prusa or the Palette 2 from Mosaic.  For patient specific anatomical models that could be huge. (Colors + soluble supports)

For guides there are a lot of FDM printing materials which can be sterilized (e.g. heat resistant to > 125°C) but you really have to know how to set up the printer so that the part doesn’t have for example small holes. Or you can use a SLS printer like the Form 2 with resin that can be sterilized (formlabs sells that resin too) and you won’t have problems with small holes/defects on the parts. Sadly most SLA slicers are missing a lot of features like variable z-high.

As far as I know SLS is the only technology right know that is producing high quality parts made out of PEEK. FDM PEEK printers are getting better but they are not a solution for endoprosthesis at the moment.

 

 

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Nice comment Flaviu. I agree that FDM seems to be where a lot of innovation is happening. The Form 2 was stunningly innovative for its day. Now only a few years later it is beginning to look dated.

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There is a game changer on the SLA front - Josef Prusa made an open source SLA printer - Prusa SL1.  You can buy two of those and one Prusa MK3 with the money for one Form 2. It prints down to 10 microns layer thickness (after some tweaking of the slicer). It is open source, which means that the wave of cheap prusa clones is coming. This will change the whole SLA sector because let's face it - with the money for one Form 2 you can buy a whole 3D printer farm with the best printer of Winter 2018 (Prusa MK3) or you can buy two printers of the same class, with the same parameters, which requires more tinkering and experienced staff.  The bad side about the Prusa printers are the limited Wi Fi options...

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I'd like to warn everyone from using Prusas SLA or other cheap (Chinese) SLA printers instead of a Form 2.

 

The Form 2 has a cartridge system for the resin. The cheaper SLA printers don't have that so you are a lot more "in contact" with the resin. This makes the whole process a lot more difficult/complex and might even be harmful to your health. 😐

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Good point. The in-contact concern seems similar to the form 1 and form 1+ printers. Always wear gloves. I know if several people who have developed allergies to resin.

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This is why I'm not doing Electron Microscopy and SLA 3D printing - they are too hazardous. Besides, you can convert a simple FDM to print with biologicals and cells, but you can't convert any SLA printer to do the same :)

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