Continuing the discussion from Form1+ laser flare issues illustrated - pics and video:
My intent with this thread is not to revive the thread @Sam_Jacoby, perhaps rightly, killed for becoming unmanageable and to spread across too many topics. It is just to reply to his closing statements in that thread.
Glad to hear you have enjoyed the thread, and found it informative. I’m sure all the customers who worked hard to discover for themselves and understand exactly what was wrong with their printers appreciate that you found their journey informative.
I think you missed the point here. I’m fairly certain the real concern was that you were not taking action on the array of material demonstrating a vary real defect that at least some of the new Form1+ “upgrades” have, resulting in them printing worse than their predecessors. I think the reason you heard concerns that you at Formlabs were not listening is we all held hope that that was the reason you guys were not in any visible way actively working to do something about this problem, or interacting meaningfully to help us. Having the reassurance you have all been reading all along and this is all the response we get is almost worse.
On this point I agree. However I’d like to add my notes. Definitely contact support, despite my outspoken dissatisfaction with much of my personal experience with the support team, they are still here to help, and for a very large range of problems will do an excellent job. However do not take @Sam_Jacoby’s comment that the printing problems you may be seeing can be solved elsewhere as encouragement not to read through this thread, be as informed about your printer as you can. There may well be times when the support team can not or will not be of much help, the more knowledge you have the more you can help yourself. However also be careful not to jump to assumptions that you have a flare problem or any other specific diagnosis of your printer. It is a complicated machine. Be open to other suggestions about what may be wrong with it, and try to understand it well enough so when it doesn’t do something correctly you know not only how to work around the problem but also how and why the problem occurred.
This is a sticky point for me. I completely understand where you are coming from, and in many ways agree. However I think there is something you are missing here. You have customers who feel disenfranchised by your support staff and their methodology. I know for a fact I am far from the only one. This may be due to your company policy, or a culture thing, but it is quite true none the less. For these customers there only hope to get problems with their printers fixed is going through your support staff. I know that I and a fair numbers of others, have been left variously feeling, ignored, dismissed, insulted, belittled, ridiculed, and threatened by members or your support staff. I agree that singleing out individuals on public forums is a harsh and far less than ideal way to deal with the problem, however the only routes of direct communication I have with the company are through the support team or the forums, and I am not inclined to think filing a ticket to say I am unhappy with the treatment I have received from the support team is going to help. All this said, I will try to minimize my public declarations of discontent with individuals on the support team, as I don’t like it either, and I hope your company will in turn publicly and actively address the very real problem of users feeling failed, hurt, and offended by your support team, and also of having no further options when they are.
Multiple users have at various times been told quite clearly and quite directly on multiple occasions that laser flare DOES NOT effect prints, that the flare is less than 1% of the power of the beam and, that is not how your resin works. ALL of these statements are direct dismissal. The fact that one person from Formlabs suggested that it is possible you guys MIGHT have been wrong about that in one post does not change the fact that the majority of what we have heard from Formlabs on the topic has been either direct dismissal or extreme skepticism, and downplaying.
Even in your own wording here you act as if the artifacts being seen here are a normal and acceptable case considering the challenges that Formlabs faces. However I know all three Form1 printers I went through did a fine job of printing the rook, not perfect but quite good, except my first one after the laser failed. When my laser started to fail and I noticed a rook print come out much like they do on my current printer, you guys recognised there was a problem with my printer. Now all of a sudden the engineering challenges that Formlabs faces are so great that it is acceptable for my new Form1+ upgrade to fail to be able to print the same model the same way that has worked for me on all of my previous ones. I also know most of the others in this thread have seen artifacts severe enough that they would have been unacceptable from the Form1.
I’m glad your proud and confident in what you do, but yet again I think you missed what was actually happening here in this thread. I do not think anyone in this thread believed all prints SHOULD or WILL come out uniformly spectacular at all resolutions, nor do I think they believe any resolution SHOULD or WILL necessarily work well for any model. I don’t believe they were complaining that either of those cases were not true. As you have noted yourself the people participating in this thread have a very deep understanding of how these printers behave and they are not fools. Your very suggestion that our complaints were that we didn’t have these clearly unrealistic and ridiculous standards met, is really quite offensive and another example of you being dismissive of your users.
One of the major complaints the people in this thread did have is that methods for successful printing they had reasonably come to expect to work, through their long history working with Form1 machines no longer worked on their new “upgraded” machines. Orientations and resolutions that had always worked before no longer did. The things they had learned to avoid doing where no longer enough to result in good prints. They then reasonably assumed there was something wrong. When Formlabs proved no help in understanding and generally dismissed the problem, they did a thorough exploration of the problem to try and understand why their “upgraded” printers were no longer doing as good a job as there old ones did.
On the topic of your team being focused on successful prints it’s nice that you have this focus however I didn’t purchase successful prints. I purchased a printer which I expect to work correctly. If I bought a new car, and realized from day one the car would not hold a charge and would only start if I jumped it, and then I talked to the dealers mechanics, I would expect them to fix it. However your focus on successful prints is more like the mechanic saying “Oh, well have you tried jumping it? It’s what you are supposed to do when the battery doesn’t have a charge. If that works you might need to jump it every time, but we are done helping you.” The problem here is that just because it is perfectly reasonable to expect a car owner to, on occasion, when appropriate, need to jump their car, it does not follow that it is acceptable if a car owner can get successful starts by looking at all of the tools at ones disposal including the jumper cables that is all the dealers mechanic should worry about. If a car dealer did that they would likely not last long, as customers would not take that kind of abuse.
On the topic of your comment about those of us looking for the perfect machine for all situations, you once again are insulting and essentially mocking the participants of this thread. As you yourself noted the people in this thread have a deep knowledge of this printer. All of them chose this printer for what it could do, have learned and accepted the reasonable limitations of it, then gotten a machine that does not perform as well as the Form1 did in many cases, they have come to the reasonable conclusion that it should and what they expect is not “the perfect machine for all situations” but merely a machine that performs as well as a Form1 but faster, as in exactly what you told them they where buying, and without worrying about the laser eventually dying. Clearly some printers you are currently shipping are living up to this lofty standard. However clearly some are not, we just want to be in the group of people in possession of ones that are.
A common problem I think we have in our communications here seems to be that Formlabs considers any printer that through some method can be coaxed into making somewhat decent parts as equal to any other that can as well. This results in you distributing printers of a very broad range in quality. Some of these most people would call clearly defective but still get past your lenient quality standards because someone could make it work. While others are quite good and require far, far less effort to get to do what you want, and produce significantly better results. The problem is that once a user starts to see what a good machine can do they quite reasonably conclude that is what it is supposed to do, and if their machine doesn’t do relatively close to that they feel quite rightfully they have a defective printer. In my case I have printed the rook on all four Formlabs printers I have owned the first three set my standard expectation. For print quality the second was actually the best, but I was still perfectly happy with the third. Then I printed it on my fourth, my current Form1+ and relative to the others the print quality was absolutely awful. Formlabs seems to be suggesting here that if I can find some way to work around the flare problems it has and none of the others did, to get a successful print this new one is adequate and I am being unreasonable for being upset about the flare. Meanwhile the way I see it I paid good money to go from my old printer with good print quality to one that has a defect resulting in artifacts that seriously decrease my print quality on some prints that I now have to find a workaround for to get a decent print. I know a large portion of the other participants in this thread are in a similar position to me.
Not that I expect you at Formlabs to accept this, but I do have a suggestion to fix the problem I just discussed. Set tight well thought out tolerances, for your parts, assembly, and calibration. Create a very extensive suite of test prints that actually stress areas where you may get variability in prints, or were you have seen variability in the prints of your user base. If you notice much variability when printing this suite on different printers, find the source and tighten the tolerances. Do this until you can confidently print the same .form file on multiple machines and get virtually the same result. I know in the past I have discovered that you have no tolerances, or tolerances which are to loose for at least the following list, levelness of the PDMS of the tray, lifespan of the laser, difference in angle between the tank and the platform, 0 position of the platform relative to the position of the tray, and now acceptable level of laser flare, and lifespan of the plastic on the tray. I know a couple of these you have done something about. However any variation great enough so a given .form file may print correctly on one and not on another, is likely to quite reasonably be seen as a defect by a user, and you guys still have lots of variation great enough for that to happen. I know all of that costs money, but if you can’t afford to build Form1+'s consistently enough to print virtually any .form file that prints successfully on a different Form1+ and get virtually the same results with just the touch of a button, why are you selling it as a simple printer to be used with just the touch of a button.
Thanks for the complement, I think the participants in this thread appreciate it, even if they might prefer you treated them as such instead of just saying it. And for those who are somehow managing to get usable prints but are also quite confident their printers are not functioning as well as the should? Don’t you suggest they get the problems with their printers fixed before their warranties run out?
While I think it’s true we are doing R&D in this thread, and also think an R&D section would be good, I think that this thread was exactly where it belonged. It was a discussion about a problem which multiple users printers are having. Despite the fact that Formlabs was woefully absent in providing support, since that left the users to do extensive R&D in their attempts to troubleshoot the problem and hopefully persuade Formlabs to provide the needed support, this really seems quite appropriate right here in Support & Troubleshooting.
So in closing, I know this response has been rather harsh at times, but my goal is really to see the community and Formlabs come together. I feel it has expressed a huge number of real concerns the community has, admittedly biased from my viewpoint. I would really love to have an actual open discussion on any of the points I have brought up, though history suggests you will not respond to me. So if the conversation ends here I hope at least you do find value in some of what I have said. Thanks for listening.
For all other users that have followed along and have anything further to say, or who agree or disagree with any of my points, I encourage you to reply and let your thoughts be known, or at least click the like button on this post. To @KevinHolmes, @EvanFoss, @Ante_Vukorepa, @JoshK, @Steve_Johnstone, @SachaGloor, @Monger_Designs, @KenCitron, @Christopher_Eyhorn and everyone else who contributed to this it thread. It was good fun, we should do it again sometime , and if you are one of the one’s afflicted with excessive flare good luck getting your machines fixed.