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Formlabs Fuse 1 Review – Everything you need to know about the SLS 3D Printer

By <a href="https://mfg.trimech.com/author/trimech/" target="_self">TriMech Marketing</a>

By TriMech Marketing

Posted on August 16, 2023

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) 3D printers have traditionally suffered from accessibility issues. The printers have been both huge and expensive, putting them beyond the reach of small businesses. In this Formlabs Fuse 1 review learn how the latest SLS printer fixes this problem.

Although the company is best known for its SLA printers — like the Form 4 — Formlabs has changed the landscape of SLS printing. The Fuse 1+ 30W delivers industrial-level productivity and high surface quality in a compact package that fits even small workshops.

Read on to learn how the Fuse 1+ works, what its features are, and how it can benefit your operation.

Formlabs Fuse 1 review in detail

Formlabs has managed to fit plenty of impressive features into one of the most compact SLS 3D printers. Add to that the Fuse 1+’s affordable price, and you have an easily scalable machine suitable for both small and large manufacturing businesses.

FeatureDescription
TechnologySelective Laser Sintering (SLS)
Ease of Use10.1” color touchscreen; Ethernet/Wi-Fi/USB connectivity
Print Volume165 x 165 x 300mm
Minimum Layer Height110 microns
LaserYtterbium Fibre 10W
Power RequirementsEU: 230 VAC, 7.5 A (dedicated circuit); US: 120 VAC, 15 A (dedicated circuit)
Printer Dimensions64.5 x 68.5 x 107 cm (165.5cm with a stand)
MaterialsNylon 12, Nylon 12 GF, Nylon 11
SoftwareFormlabs PreForm

Technology

The Fuse 1+ is an SLS printer, which means it uses a laser to harden layers of thermoplastic powders into solid objects. The printer spreads a layer of powder on the print bed, after which the laser traces the desired shape over it. Afterwards, the print bed lowers by the height of one layer and repeats the process.

SLS technology offers multiple benefits, including fast print speeds, one of the highest ROI rates in 3D printing, and support-less printing. For a more in-depth look into the technology, read our introduction to SLS printing.

The Fuse 1+ has a well-sized print chamber, giving it the ability to produce single large parts or print multiple components at once. With a minimum layer height of 110 microns, it can also produce parts with fine detail and high surface quality.

Formlabs Fuse 1 Machine

Formlabs Fuse 1+ Machine

Materials

Preparing an SLS printer for another material is usually an arduous process. It requires thoroughly cleaning the machine from the previous powder and can take as long as a full day.

Formlabs has designed the Fuse 1+ to be easy to clean and offers clear instructions. Its construction cuts the cleaning time to a few hours, which allows manufacturers to swap between materials more effectively. The Fuse 1+ supports the following materials:

  • Nylon 12: A versatile thermoplastic material balancing strength and detail. It’s suitable for both prototyping and end-use parts.
  • Nylon 12 GF: A glass-filled variant of Nylon 12. It offers higher structural strength and improved thermal resistance.
  • Nylon 11: A high-performance, impact-resistant material. Nylon 11 is more flexible and less brittle than Nylon 12, making it suitable for high-wear applications.
Formlabs Fuse 1+ Materials

Formlabs Fuse 1+ Materials

Post-Processing

Every SLS part requires post-processing to remove caked-on powder and collect unfused powder for recycling. Formlabs makes this task with the Fuse Sift post-processing station.

The Fuse Sift integrates seamlessly into the Fuse 1+ workflow. All you have to do is insert Fuse 1+’s print chamber into the Sift, and it will de-powder the part and reclaim printing powder. You can then use up to 30% (Nylon 12) or 50% (Nylon 11) reclaimed powder in new print jobs.

You may also need to further process SLS printed parts for applications that require extremely smooth surfaces or surface coatings. Fuse 1+ works smoothly with third-party solutions, like the AM Efficiency cleaning, colouring, dyeing, and polishing station.

Formlabs Fuse 1+ Post Processing

Formlabs Fuse 1+ Post Processing

Operating Requirements

The Fuse 1+ is extremely compact for an SLS printer. Two people can carry the machine to its operating location, which is an incredible feat if you know SLS printers. Usually, they require a forklift to move.

Thanks to its small size, the Fuse 1+ can fit in workspaces that previous SLS printers would’ve filled completely. Together, the Fuse 1+ and Fuse Shift take only 310 x 146 cm of floor space and can accommodate a normal ceiling height.

The machines also don’t require as much power as larger SLS printers. You’ll need one circuit for each machine, but the wattage shouldn’t be an issue for any business.

Software and Connectivity

The Fuse 1+ has a large 10.1-inch colour touchscreen that offers controls for all of its core functionalities. In addition, it projects a live video stream during printing for easy monitoring. The user interface is intuitive, making the Fuse 1+ simple to operate.

To prepare your prints, the printer comes with Formlabs PreForm slicing software — the same one used for its SLA printers. This print preparation program offers one-click printing and other automated quality-of-life features. The Fuse 1+ also supports all connectivity options you’d expect from a modern 3D printer, including Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and USB.

Maintenance

As part of its industrial-oriented design, the Fuse 1+ doesn’t require frequent extensive maintenance. The only regular maintenance tasks include replacing the HEPA filter and wiping the IR sensor and the optical cassette with ethanol.

Formlabs also offers two annual service plans for Fuse 1+ that should take care of any maintenance the machine requires.

Formlabs Fuse 1 Maintenance

Formlabs Fuse 1+ Maintenance

Although Fuse 1+ uses powdered materials, the particle sizes in these powders are large, which makes them relatively harmless compared to some other 3D printing technologies. Nonetheless, the printer features industry-standard HEPA filters and internal sensors to alert the user of harmful particle levels.

But as with any 3D printer, it’s always best to err on the side of caution. Always remember to wear an N95 face mask and gloves when using any 3D printer and place the printers in a well-ventilated area.

Advantages of Fuse 1+

  • High productivity
  • Fine detail and surface quality
  • Great design freedom
  • Affordable SLS printing
  • Compact size
  • Easy to use

Suitable Applications for Fuse 1+

The Fuse 1+ is a versatile machine that can perform excellently in a wide range of applications. It has something to offer to manufacturers of all kinds

Prototyping

The Fuse 1+ shines in prototyping. Thanks to high print speed, it can significantly reduce time spent on product development. With its end-use ready materials, manufacturers can also move directly to production with the same machine.

Small Volume Manufacturing

The high surface quality and good mechanical properties of Fuse 1+’s materials make the machine suitable for producing functional parts and components on-demand in small batches. This eliminates the need for standing inventory and allows small businesses to expand their product offerings.

Automotive

Automotive producers frequently use SLS printers in prototyping. However, thanks to advanced machines like Fuse 1+, they can now also print functional parts, like gaskets and hoses.

Aerospace

Many aerospace components require high durability and heat resistance. Fuse 1+ can produce parts that satisfy these requirements.

Medical

Using the Nylon 12 material, Fuse 1+ can produce biocompatible parts that can be safely sanitized. The machine is suitable for producing both functional and prototype medical devices, surgical models, and even prosthetics.

Get Started

You have now discovered that industrial-grade SLS printing is within reach of small manufacturing businesses. To learn more about the SLS 3D printer, contact the experts at TriMech.

Article by <a href="https://mfg.trimech.com/author/trimech/" target="_self">TriMech Marketing</a>

Article by TriMech Marketing

TriMech provides thousands of engineering teams with 3D design and rapid prototyping solutions that work hand-in-hand, from sketch to manufacturing. InterPro became a part of TriMech Solutions LLC in 2021.