Due to the low number of prints we do (less than one a week) we are finding that our tanks are expiring due to max lifetime. We’re mainly using Grey Pro (and very occasionally Tough 2000 & Rigid 10K) and it has such a low tank lifetime and replacing tanks every 10 weeks is proving to be very costly. Our rigid tank expired only after five prints and 11ml of resin!
My question is what do others do that use these low tank lifetime resins and do low numbers of prints. Ignore the expired tank message, and risk a tank failure? Or just accept the cost of buying new tanks all the time?
HI, same issue here. We used clear, grey and tough. Now moved to tough2000 and clear, just started with flexibles also.
We just ignore it. Tanks last way more than that (more than a year, no problem). The highest wear is on the tough 2000, is easy to see when the tank is empty that the black foam is starting to get damaged.
We asked formlabs before, and the recommendation is to empty the tanks if they are going to sit on the self for a quite some time. This won’t make a difference on the machine counter, but would make the tanks to live longer
I have the same issue but with my Form 3L. I print with Clear, Grey, Tough 2000, Tough 1500, Elastic 50 and 80. With the Tough 2000, I don’t make a lot of prints during the tank life. So, Yes it cost a lot. After calculations, I make sometime no money. Imagine the Tank 3L cost… I hope FL will make them last longer or lower there price. Sorry, but I don’t have answers for you. But I want to let you know that I have the same problem.
I was under the impression FL had updated guidance on resin-in-the-tank, particularly for Tough 1500, which I use a lot. When I inquired as to how much risk I was taking leaving a tank with Tough 1500 on the printer, the answer I got back was basically as long as it’s not leaking, don’t worry about it. I think my record was better than 300 days. I still have the tank, and when I retired it, it was still working just fine. I just started to get nervous about how far I could push it and took the cowards way out and swapped in a new tank.
They’ve updated their recommendations for Tough 1500 recently and removed the time limit, it’s now treated the same as Durable for example (from what I understand of the documentation and what support told me a few weeks ago).
Hello BioMed Amber users do you assess your tank life on run hours or use an “educated” lifecycle like X months? We are starting to see more tank issues and appreciate thoughts
We always pour aggressive resins out of the tank once a print is complete.
It’s hard to say whether this is why we’ve had such good success extending lifetimes…but many of our tanks have far exceeded the recommend lifetimes. Usually we never have to replace a tank…and when we do it’s because of random tank film warping, which Formlabs will send new tanks to replace.
My suspicion is that Formlabs doesn’t really know how to determine or fix the root cause of the tank leaks so their claims are very conservative.
In the past they said that pouring out resin wouldn’t make any difference but it sounds like they are now recommending it.
I am wondering; Are you doing this with your 3L resin tanks? It takes around a hour and half to do with the Tough 2000…
If you do pour out the resin from a 3L tank, please ensure the container has a lid and is kept out of ambient light so it does not cure. You can then pour it back into the tank manually so you don’t have to wait for the printer to fill the tank.
Hi @Corey_M ,
Thank you for your suggestion. This is what I do when I change my tank for a new one. I don’t really store resin for now… Like I wrote before, the short lasting of the resin tanks are costly. I hope FL will make them last longer or lower there price.
Yes, I’m doing this with both F3 and F3L tanks. It only takes me a couple of minutes to get most of the resin out into an opaque, black storage container…not sure why it takes you 1.5 hours.
If the resin is cold that might make it take longer. I pour the resin out after I’m finished a print, as the printer seems to keep the resin warm enough to flow.
Also, I don’t empty the tank 100%…there’s still a very small volume of resin left that would be annoying to try and remove…but that’s ok - the point is to remove most of the resin.
It takes a lot of time with Elastic 50 or Tough 2000, if you clean it all. Yes, the resins were cold and hard to filter because of their density. I empty these tanks when I had to change for a new one. So, this is why I cleaned them 100%.
If you don’t clean them 100%, do you think it will still affect them bottom plastic films?
I will try your suggestion of warm resin next time. Thanks.
I don’t really know if reducing the volume of resin in the tank actually prevents degradation of the film at a molecular level. All I know is that there is less resin for any reaction to take place, and that there is less weight on the tank which would put a tensile force along the tank seam…and that anecdotally, all my tanks are lasting much longer than the recommended lifetimes.
This is the big question. Is it for the weight of resin left or the chemical attack of the resin on the film?
Because if you have resin left on all the surface of the film; it’s probably useless if not empty the tank completely?
Maybe someone can tell us?
Are you afraid of a big resin leak on the lasers, rollers and bottom of the printer?
Because I am afraid of this. Are saying that you discard the tank only when the black gasket is broken?
It’s a chemical reaction for sure, but I can’t imagine that tensile forces from the tank sagging are making things any better.
Either way, this is all anecdotal - I could just be very lucky.
Of course I’m scared of a leak…but I also have confidence that support will help if this happens.
I discard the tank if I see signs of the gasket starting to fail, or if I start having failed prints.
Thank you for your input and experiments.
I’ve had tank leaks twice. In both cases, the leaks were near the middle of the tanks, away from any edges and appeared to be pinhole, like tank bottom material pulled away during the peel, leaving a hole that resin could leak out through. But also in both cases, the leak apparently occurred during the print, and subsequent passes caused the resin that had managed to escape out the pinhole to cure. As a result, it was effectively a “self sealing” leak.
Separation of the film around the periphery of the tank seems like it’d have to be a different failure mechanism, a mechanical failure related to the quality of the bond of the “interfacing surfaces” (tank and film). It’s hard to imagine how resin would matter, since I have to believe FL chose materials that were not going to be attacked by the resin and that they actually checked to make sure the materials behaved as expected. The only thing having resin in the tank does, probably, it provide “witness” to the fact that the tank is leaking. If the seam at the edge is defective in some way, weaker for some reason, you’ll never know if you don’t load it with resin and see it leak out.
If my assumptions were to be taken to their logical conclusion, if you load a tank with resin and use it to make a print (so mechanical stress can be applied) and it doesn’t show any signs of leaking within maybe 24 hours of the print completing, it’s probably never going to leak.
All this is based on assumptions I’m making with no actual data to support them. But this is the way I “manage the risk”. I put a new tank on the machine, I run a print and then I remove the tray a day later and inspect from below for signs of leaking. If I don’t see any signs, I remount the tank and forget about it. If there’s a long time interval before I run another print, I’ll check the tray again before I start the new print, just in case…
Thank you for sharing your experience with this! In regards to tank wear, the chemical interaction between the resin and the tank does play a role. Removing resin from the tank in between uses won’t increase the tank’s lifetime as tracked by the printer, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt to do regardless.
Anyone have a tutorial on how exactly they do this process of cleaning these tanks/trays in order to prolong the life cycle without involving rolls of paper towels, gallons of alcohol, rubber gloves and many man hours also while not involving epa? Serious question because i have tried and felt as though i was attempting to clean bubble gum that had chemically broken down into a somewhat liquid type substance. Just guessing hopefully i am doing this wrong?
That is a great question - I wanted to point you along to our Inspecting and cleaning resin tanks (Form 3/Form 3B) (formlabs.com) if you have not had a chance to check the page out. While this will not eliminate using IPA in general, these steps should streamline your cleaning workflow to maintain to help maintain the tank. It will not increase the tank’s lifetime as Jesse as mentioned, but it should help with keeping the tanks healthy.