Formlabs2 Quick Start Guide

TODO: check Issue #54

Formlabs 2 Quick Start Guide

{width=”6.5in” height=”5.042in”} Welcome to the EPL! We’re excited you’re getting started with the Formlabs 3D printer. This guide will provide a walkthrough for how to safely and efficiently use the Formlabs 3D printer so you can get going with your project. If you have any additional questions, please ask any EPL student managers for help, or email us at

Before you get started…

  1. Log into the controller PC for the FormLabs Form 2 3D printer
  2. Ensure that the printer is -
    • not currently working on any other jobs
    • Is clear for a new print (not containing any remnants of previous print jobs)
    • Does not currently show any errors on its on-screen display
  3. Start the FormLabs PreForm software to load and prepare your 3D model for printing
  4. Refer to step 9 on this SOP for preparing your print job with the PreForm Software

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Printer Components

  1. Cartridge
    • This is the container that stores the resin. There is a vent opening on the top, similar to a shampoo bottle that will need to be open during printing. There are several different types of resins that the Formlabs can print with. The printer needs to know which kind of resin is being used, so it will prompt you to confirm before printing. This information can be found on the cartridge label. (for example FLGPCL04)
  2. Cover
    • The orange tinted plastic cover should stay down unless a print is being removed, resin is being swapped, or an adjustment is being made. This keeps UV light from the hardening the resin in the tank.
  3. Build Platform
    • The Build Platform is what your printed part sticks to. The Build Platform moves down into the resin. The UV laser shines up through the resin tank to harden the resin onto the Build Platform, layer by layer. When the print is done, this can be removed by using the latch on top of the Build platform, by moving the latch up and sliding the plate back towards the user.
  4. Resin Tank
    • The Resin Tank is a tray that houses a pool of resin. The laser sits below this tank and shines into it to harden the resin onto the Build Platform. The Resin Tank can be removed and should have a lid placed on it to keep the resin from drying out. Each type of resin material has its own resin tank. They are stored on the shelf to the left of the Formlabs printer. The Resin Tank is removed by first removing the wiper (detailed below) then moving the tank all the way to the right and using two hands to pull the tank back towards the user.
  5. Wiper
    • The wiper sits inside the Resin Tank and agitates the resin during printing. This keeps a fluid layer of resin available for the laser to harden onto the build plate. It must be removed before the Resin Tank can be removed. This is done by opening the Cover, sliding the Wiper all the way to the right, then using two hands to pull the wiper directly back toward the user.
  6. Touchscreen
    • The Touchscreen is the main interface for the printer. After you upload your design to the Formlabs using the printer, this is what you’ll use to find your file and get your print started.
  7. Button
    • Located next to the Touchscreen, the button is what you will use to start your print.
  8. Leveling Tool
    • These are used to make sure that the Resin Tank is level and each layer of your print has a coating of resin. The managers in the EPL will take care of making these adjustments if they are needed.


Insert Resin Tank with Wiper

It is important to note that the resin tank is paired with a specific material, please make sure that you are using the correct resin tank for the material you wish to use.

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Remove the tank lid and align the four small feet of the resin tank with the corresponding holes in the tank carrier; push forward into place.

Lock Wiper

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Ensuring the wiper is straight, align the foot of the wiper with the corresponding hole and push forward, snapping it into place.

Insert Build Platform

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Align the build platform with the platform carrier and push it into place, locking the handle down to secure.

Insert Resin Cartridge

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Align the cartridge with the opening in the back of the printer. Push down until it sits securely. Be sure to remove the orange valve cover from the underside and press open the cap before starting a print, so that your resin tank fills correctly.


Download PreForm

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Visit the product page to download the latest version of our software PreForm.

Opening PreForm, you will see the boundaries of the build volume and the build platform, which is inverted from the print orientation. Click through PreForm tools to explore basic functions for setting up your print.

Prepare File for Print

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Open your STL or OBJ files. Most parts print better when support at an angle. For automatic set-up, use PreForm tools to “orient all,” “generate all,” and “layout all.” PreForm will do these steps in sequence if you select “One Click Print.”

Confirm your print’s material and layer height, then click the orange print icon. Select which printer to upload the file to from the printer dialogue.

Confirm Print on Printer

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You will see your file uploading to the print queue on your printer’s touchscreen. Select the file name and confirm the print by pushing the button on your printer.

Pre-Print Checks

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Before printing, the resin tank will fill and heat up to around 35° C. Once the tank is full, your print will automatically start.


Remove the Build Platform

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When your print is finished, wear gloves to remove the build platform. Turn the platform over to prevent dripping while transferring to the finish kit. Make sure to close the printer cover.

13. Remove Your Print

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Attach the build platform to the jig and slide the removal tool under the base of your prints to release the part. Use the removal tabs for easy entry points.

You may also need to use a chisel to scrape of any residual resin from the build platform plate.

14. Using Form Wash to Wash Your Print

Note: Most of this section is taken from [this page](

The Form Wash automates the washing process. It is ready for use once the wash bucket has been filled between the minimum and maximum fill lines and the hydrometer is calibrated. Choose whether to wash the part on the build platform or in the basket.

Form Wash Controls

When connected to power, the display and knob provide the primary interface to program and operate Form Wash. Rotate the knob counterclockwise or clockwise to move between items in the menu, and press the knob to select an option.

The following options are available from the main menu on the Form Wash display:

After beginning a wash cycle, the display shows the remaining time and additional menu options. Choose “Pause” to stop the agitation and lift the platform and basket mount, while maintaining the remaining time in the wash cycle. Choose “End” to cancel the remaining time in the wash cycle while also stopping the agitation and lifting the platform and basket mount.

Wear gloves when handling parts and surfaces with IPA or uncured resin.

1. Insert Print

Use the display and knob to raise the platform and basket mounts.

For convenience, install the build platform with printed parts directly in Form Wash to clean parts before removal. Align the top lip of the build platform with the arms of Form Wash’s platform mount, and fully insert to touch the back.


For a complete wash, ensure that IPA is filled between the minimum and maximum fill lines.

Whether using the build platform or basket as a wash method, the maximum single part size that can be washed in Form Wash is 14.5 × 14.5 × 17.5 cm (5.7 x 5.7 x 6.9 in).

Alternative Wash Method

Parts can also be washed in the basket, either as an alternative or in addition to the platform mount. Place parts directly in the basket after removing them from the build platform using the removal tool, scraper, or flush cutters. The basket comes installed in Form Wash. Without a build platform installed, the basket can be removed by lifting vertically from the basket mount.


Parts must be washed on the build platform and/or in the basket. Ensure parts are fully secured to the build platform when washing parts without the basket installed. Washing loose parts directly in the wash bucket - whether intentionally or accidentally - will damage printed parts, create noise, and may interfere with the agitation of IPA.

2. Set Wash Time

Turn the knob to navigate the display menu and adjust the wash time. Push the knob to select or confirm. Wash parts for 10 minutes. Wash for additional time when using partially resin-concentrated IPA.

Most resins require washing for Form Wash’s default programmed time, which is 10 minutes. Check each material’s recommended wash time before beginning a cycle.

The wash cycle begins when the platform and basket lower. Ensure the outer lid closes. To adjust the wash cycle time, push the knob to access the display menu. The pause option will raise the platform and basket.

3. Drain and Dry Prints

The platform mount and basket raise automatically at the end of the wash cycle. Any IPA that drips onto the inner lid as parts dry will drain into the wash bucket. Thoroughly drain IPA from printed parts; carefully check and drain concave or hollow geometries that may hold IPA. Allow parts to dry for at least 30 minutes after washing and draining.

To begin the next wash immediately, dry the parts outside of Form Wash. Take extra care with sharp objects and slippery surfaces when removing wet parts from the build platform.

4. Collect Prints

Remove the build platform or parts from basket, depending on the wash method used in step 1.

5. Part Finishing

After washing parts on the build platform, use the removal tool, scraper, or flush cutters to remove parts. Learn more about part removal and preparing prints for use in Form Cure.

Maintenance Best Practices

Formlabs products perform best when they are well-maintained and properly cared for. As more parts are cleaned, the IPA gradually becomes more concentrated with liquid resin, reducing the effectiveness of Form Wash. As IPA evaporates, add fresh IPA to keep the fill level between the minimum and maximum lines. Use the hydrometer to check the IPA’s resin concentration between cleaning cycles, and replace IPA as needed for the cleanest parts.

Form Wash agitates the alcohol bath and removes parts from the bath after a set time. Note: This link seems to require a FormLabs account.

Finish Your Print

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Once dry, use the flush cutters to remove supports from your print. You can sand support marks and polish your parts for a clean finish. You may need to UV post-cure your part if using our Functional Resins.

Automatic Resin Handling

The Form 2 comes with a redesigned resin handling system for a better printing experience. Learn how it works and how to use it here.

The best way to use the Form 2 is to dedicate a resin tank to each type of resin cartridge. With ID chips on the cartridge and tank, the printer will help track resin consumption to automatically refill a low resin tank or provide usage data to determine the right time to replace a used tank.

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Inserting a Resin Cartridge

Shake the Resin

Before inserting a new cartridge, shake the cartridge to ensure the resin is well-mixed.

Remove the Valve Cover

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Remove the protective orange valve cover from the underside of the cartridge. Consider storing the cover to protect the valve during storage.


Do not remove the rubber valve at the bottom of the cartridge. This bite valve controls the release of the resin. Removing the rubber bite valve would allow resin to continuously flow and cause extreme damage to the machine.

Align the Cartridge

Align the cartridge with the opening at the back of the printer. Push down on the cartridge handle until the top of the cartridge is level with the printer.

Open the Vent Cap

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Be sure to press open the vent cap before starting a print, so that your resin tank fills correctly.


Make sure the material in your resin tank always matches the resin type in the installed cartridge.

Resin Dispensing

The Form 2 self-regulates the volume of resin in the tank with a sensor behind the resin tank. The printer will begin filling an empty tank once a print starts and maintain the level of resin in the tank during the print. Once the cartridge is empty and cannot dispense additional resin, the print will pause with a message on the touchscreen.

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Removing a Resin Cartridge

When changing resin types, always change both the tank and cartridge.

Close the Vent Cap

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Remove Cartridge from Printer

Store the cartridge upright with the valve cover installed to protect storage surfaces.


Remove the cartridge before removing the tank to prevent the cartridge valve from dripping into the catch pool below.


Use PreForm to scale, orient, and create or modify the supports for each model, then save the print as a FORM file before uploading. Once the Form 2 is connected, upload directly to the printer and start the print.

Confirm the type of resin and layer height before sending a FORM file to the Form 2. To start the upload process, select the orange printer icon in the PreForm toolbar.

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If the orange icon is not available, the printer may not be properly connected to the same local network. Check to see that you do not have other open instances of PreForm and learn more about connecting to your Form 2. Save any files before restarting PreForm, and re-connect your printer to establish a proper connection


When connecting via USB, the print will upload more quickly if you wait to start the print until the file is fully uploaded, then you can disconnect the cable.


From the print queue view, the Form 2’s touchscreen will display the FORM file’s upload in progress. Use the screen to select the file name and start the print.

Follow the onscreen prompts. The Form 2 will automatically fill and warm the tank, then the print will start automatically.


Shake the resin cartridge approximately every two weeks to keep the formula well-mixed for the best print quality.

Managing Uploaded Prints

The Form 2 can save FORM files to easily restart recently stored print jobs from the queue.

Start a Previous Print

To start a saved file, confirm your resin tank and cartridge match the file’s settings, then simply select the file’s name from the queue to begin the print.

Delete a Print Job

To delete a print from the queue, select the file name from the list and then select the delete icon on the touchscreen’s bottom left corner.

Using Sleep Mode vs. Turning Off the Form 2

Put the printer into Sleep Mode to deactivate the screen between prints. Turn off the Form 2 completely when moving or storing the printer and to conserve power.

Put the Form 2 to Sleep

To put the Form 2 into Sleep Mode, press and hold the push button for 6–10 seconds until the display turns off. Press the push button to wake the printer from Sleep Mode.

Turn Off the Form 2

To turn off the Form 2 completely, disconnect the power cord from the power source.