Hi, I could really use some pointers here. I’ve had my form1 + for 2.5 years with overall very good results but suddenly the prints are now failing every time, even on jobs I’ve run successfully multiple times in the past.
Prints are all failing. Here are the steps I have taken since they started to fail:
Purchased 2 new resin tanks
Purchased 1 New bottle of Grey Resin
3 )Updated to latest firmware (2.10.3)
Cleaned Large mirror using Pec*Pad (it did not look bad, just a few dust particles)
Ran Test print with new tank 1 of 2 and new resin. Stopped print roughly halfway through it as I noticed it already failed (see pics 1a,1b and 1c)
Then I followed instructions to clean the X and Y galvo mirror and the small 45deg square mirror (all using Pec*Pads). Before doing so, I carefully inspected, noticing very little dust.
Swapped out to 2nd new Resin Tank, then added fresh resin and ran test print again, this time I let it finish. The results were still a total failure. The attached pictures (2a,2b,2c) show the results. A huge amount of cured resin was in the tank.
Then I started a support ticket and uploaded a video of the peeling sequence but they said it looked normal. Then they made a suggestion to adjust the platform height. So here’s what I tried:
adjusted down by .2mm with the same terrible results
adjusted up by .3mm, now nothing at all showed up on build platform.
used scotch bright pad and 91% IPA to scrub platform, then IPA cleansing again…let it dry over night and repeated 9&10. Results are the same- failure
Then I switched to the black resin in an older (but still good) tank
12)set the offset to 0mm and observed nothing on the platform and cured resin in tank
13)adjusted build platform to -.8mm with just the same thickness of “flash” on platform with balance in the tank.(3a)
Looks like you may have some dust or a smudge on the small mirror and maybe the big mirror has some haze. Check them again with a pen light.
Typically dirt early in the laser path will diffuse the most meaning dust on the laser you get nothing, dust on galvos and small mirror will cause large blobby areas with under exposed resin, dust on large mirror and bottom of the tank will have very regional areas that are bad. Fogged PDM will lose object detail.
Haze is a big problem with laser optics especially in harsh environments because the surface is unprotected.
I personally only use pec pads as a last resort and use the rocket blaster between prints never blasting from the big mirror directly back towards the small mirror then lightly blasting the small mirror. So far no failures (hope i didn’t jinx myself).
Ken, interesting point about the power to the laser.The optics were almost spotless but I went ahead and cleaned them to be sure; however, I did not touch the laser itself. I will check them all again to be thorough.
I had the exact same problem and print outcome. Received the same suggestions as you did from support but it didn’t help.
When I used the same tank and resin in another printer it was perfectly fine.
Luckily that machine was still under warranty (barely) so it was off to repairs as I started to give up.
It has been a month though but I am based outside US so expected that it will take longer.
Please share if you manage to fix this by yourself! Thanks!!
I’ve had the same results with Grey v3 in my Form 1+. Along with other issues with the printer not being able to print at the finer resolutions.
Nevertheless I followed support’s instructions of cleaning all the mirrors but nothing helped.
However I can still print with the older grey or the clearr just fine. My assertion that the new resins like the Grey v3 were not fully vetted for the older machines was dismissed summarily by Formlabs, but I still believe I’m right. Yes, they perfunctorily test the resins by printing their basic test print, but they don’t take printer/laser age or wear in consideration.
To make things worse, they no longer offer the older resin, and this will only get worse going forth.
Thanks for the replies. Ijust ran a laser test…i have laser goggles, so thats why I had the cover open. Anyway, I would think it should be as close to a “dot” as possible. any thoughts? i think its bad but really don’t know for sure.
Based on your results, it looks like there might still be smudges on the mirror. Often, I will need to clean a mirror 2-3 times before it is completely free of streaks. Using a phone LED flashlight at a 45º angle to the mirror helps bring out the streaks—you typically cannot see them under normal light.
Also worth considering, the mirrors on the Form1 can’t really be cleaned much before they’re damaged. Remember, the reflective coating is on the face of the mirror, not the back. Each time you clean it, you can’t help but remove some of the coating. So it might be that the mirrors have been “over cleaned” not that they’re dirty. The effect on the laser spot would be pretty much the same.
I never cleaned the mirrors before this stuff happened. When I first checked them, they looked fine with very little dust scattered on them. I was recommended to clean them anyway, so I did with the exact same laser test results.
I store this machine under a plastic bag to keep dust at bay and its worked well for 2.5 years.
It’s not just dust that you can see that you care about. Have you ever noticed how the inside of the windows in your house or in your car gets a hazy coating on it if you don’t wash the glass enough? That’s caused by “VOCs”, Volatile Organic Compounds. The environment is full of things that give off chemical vapors (that’s why new carpeting has the smell it has. It’s why FL resin has the smell it has. But not “new car” smell, that’s perfume. Although perfume is also a VOC). These VOCs permeate the air and condense on everything. On a smooth flat surface like glass, it’s the VOCs that haze your windows.
Same thing happening to the windows in your house is happening to the mirrors inside the printer. FormLabs addressed this problem in the Form2 which has a sealed optical deck. For Form1 users (I own a Form1+ and a Form2) you need to get used to the idea it’s going to need periodic cleaning. But the mirrors cannot be cleaned without being degraded. The more you clean them, the less benefit you get from the cleaning and at some point the cleaning will actually start to make things worse (depending on how often you’ve cleaned and exactly how you’ve cleaned. And it doesn’t have to be a lot of cleaning if you were in the least bit aggressive when you cleaned). So you don’t want to clean them unless you’re pretty sure they need cleaning.
Also, there is one large primary mirror you can see through the top of the printer. There are also two smaller “galvo” mirrors that can only be accessed by taking the printer apart. If you clean the primary and it doesn’t help, you should probably clean the galvo mirrors before you clean the primary again (because of above). FL will need to provide you with the instructions to do this, they’re not posted anywhere.
I have had to disassemble my Form1+ to clean the mirrors. I did just the primary and it didn’t help. FL provided instructions for cleaning the galvo mirrors, which I followed, and it completely fixed the problem. The “blobby supports” as seen in your pictures pretty much matches what I experienced when my printer failed. And it literally went from working great to not working at all in the span of one print (so I had trouble believing it was the mirrors. But it was).