B9Creator vs. Form 2
The capabilities of the B9 and Form 2 ultimately depend on the types of models you are printing. If you are in the jewelry industry, we believe the B9Creator is a better fit. The Form2 is a proficient printer but it was not designed with Jewelry-level capabilities. Based on the technology used to build the machine, Formlab's design is better suited for consumers or prototypers, not jewelers.
Let us explain why the B9Creator is a better fit for Jewelers:
1 – resolution and print quality
All Formlabs machines use a laser to cure resin, including the Form2. This substantially limits their resolution in the XY (horizontal) plane. Form 2's laser is 140 microns in diameter, meaning that the smallest area in the XY (horizontal) plane that they can cure is 140 microns. While this works for some models, prototypes or large jewelry items, it is not sufficient for small detailed jewelry features like micro prongs, mill grain, filigree, etc.
The B9Creator uses a projected image, which can maintain control of the curing process down to a 30 micron by 30 micron square in the XY axis. This enables building much finer features and gives better surface finish on curved models (rings, etc).
Formlab's Z axis (vertical) resolution is 25-200 microns, but the XY of 140 microns does not compare to other jewelry compatible printers as you can see by the comparison chart below.
All machines have an XY resolution of 10-56 microns. Research other manufacturer’s jewelry machines and you’ll see that 140 micron XY resolution cannot work for jewelry.
2 – Speed
Formlabs laser technology must “paint” every surface it intends to cure, the B9Creator projects the entire layer at once.
With the laser approach, if printing one ring at a time took 2 hours to print, 2 rings takes 4 hours, 4 rings takes 8 hours, etc. With the projection approach, the B9Creator prints all parts as one layer on the build table, it will print 8 models in the same time as one model.
3 – Operating Costs
Formlabs Castable Resin for the Form2 is $299/liter:
B9 Creator's castable resin is $139/liter. $299 - $139= $160/liter savings.
Most 3D printing companies are lowering the cost of the printer but raising the cost of consumables, so the longevity of using expensive consumables will add up considerably over time.
There are some advantages of the Form2:
- larger build area – but because of laser-curing, using the entire build area would produce extremely long print times.
- wireless connectivity
- appearance – the new design is very attractive.