About to cry over repeated print fails

Seriously. I’m so near to tears over this that it isn’t even funny.

When my printer arrived I managed to get several absolutely gorgeous prints off it with no issue whatsoever. Now, all it gives me is print fail after print fail. Over the past week, out of over 30 prints, only about 10 have been acceptable (one of which barely survived since the supports tried to NOT adhere to the print platform). The resin has been changed, the TANK has been changed. f the print I’m running now fails, tomorrow I’m going to change the tank AGAIN just to be on the safe side.

I guess what’s really frustrating me over the repeated fails is that the supports are fine; which means they at least started out as viable prints. About an hour or three into the print, something decides to adhere to the bottom of the tank, and the print failure cascades from there. *groans*

Before anyone asks about the file itself, there are NO red areas on it. I allow the pre-form software to auto-orient the model, and auto-generate all the supports. It’s also a viable model. The first time I ran it through the printer it came out without any problems. By now the duplicate files I’ve tried printing have failed three times.

If the prints continue to fail after the third tank is installed… I’ll cry.

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Hi Catherine,

I’m a UK international form backer still waiting on my machine, I’m assured it’s arriving soon, but my excitement is very much tempered with apprehension. I keep reading about so many different issues here - guess we really are early adopters on the sharp end.

I really admired your first successful prints - so I had a look at your flickr pages, and while I’m no doll person, I was very impressed with your end-to-end manufacturing skills; 3D modelling, prototyping, through making moulds, through to a finished product.

For me the Form1 is supposed to be part of an end-to-end making process as well - I feel your pain. I hope if your prints on the third tank fail as well, that even through your tears you’ll still post about it here?

Your case is the first one I’ve noticed where prints were working and then the same prints are failing on a new tank after starting out ok printing supports. I wonder - given that a couple of the issues so far seem to be with poor quality parts (malformed laser spots) and poor assembly (detached tank tilt motors) - perhaps there could be something inconsistent with their tank manufacturing process? Could the silicone PDMS layers in different tanks be inconsistent in thickness?

Do you have an accurate set of scales? If you thoroughly cleaned tanks 1 and 2 - do they weigh exactly the same or not? perhaps it’s a dumb question/idea - but hopefully that could tell us if there’s any variability in the PDMS layers. If tank 3 works then it’s definitely not a dumb question …

good luck …


Hello Catherine,

I’m sorry to hear that your machine is having problems! I’d submit a support ticket at support@formlabs.com – particularly because you were seeing successful prints, and your performance has decayed. Some photographs would be particularly useful as well – and if you’re able to include your .STL and .FORM file when you submit, that’d be great too.

Issues with support adherence can often be resolved by raising your base height, but based on what you’ve described, that’s not the issue we’re seeing. By the way, we’ve been circulating your fantastic images in the HQ – gorgeous work! We’ll do our best to get you back up and printing well.

Same issue here

I am at my 3rd tank that after one failed print ( with the new software in clear 25 micrond ) I have the silicone surface kind of damaged in one area.

Almost if the laser is too strong since the last firmware update…I reverted to the previous software version at least the support looks to be printing fine in clear 25 microns.

I am going to switch to the grey resin now on.

I had great print too at the beginning somehow my printer laser went bad and got my printer replaced but the failure rate is bigger than success…I am trying to print big pieces and it fails easily on the support creation.

I wish I could redo myself the silicone layer since the money spent on failure keep growing ( wasted resin and damaged resin tank after less than 3 print… )

I sent an email to Jory hoping to have them try my file and let me know if the issue is again the printer or something in the software/driver.

@Catherine Hajek

Sorry to hear about your troubles.  Personally I’ve found that models don’t like sticking to the front part of my build platform, but the back is perfect every time.  I’ve been working with Formlabs to track down the issue, but still in the process at the moment.

That said, are you printing large items that cover the entire platform?  If not, try moving them to the front or back (or left or right) and see if anything helps there.  If you print things that cover the entire platform, you may want to check and see if the base for the supports is truly sticking all over.  I’ve found that if I do larger bases for my supports that cover the back and the front of my build platform, the base looks like it’s stuck, but part of it really isn’t.  If this is the case for you, it could cause a failure part way through your print when the weight of the model and suction to the tray finally causes an issue.

Also be careful using the auto orient function.  I know the people at Formlabs are doing their best with Preform, but even the smartest software can’t truly understand the geometry of your models.  I would suggest orienting the model yourself.  The slicer tool on the left side really helps understand how the printer will process your model.  Use it and it will help you orient your model for the greatest chance of success.  As a tip in using the slicer, you can move it with your mouse and then use the up and down arrows to get to the exact layer you need.  The arrows are great for finding transition layers that go from large coverage layers to small coverage or vice versa.  Those transitions can be tricky.

As Sam said, some pictures about how/where it fails and the positions you have your models in would be helpful to all of us to try to help you.

Thanks for all the support guys! *heart*

It’s not really the supports that I’m having issues with. Those are currently sticking to the print-platform like a champ. The issue is that somewhere along the line, something decides to stick to the resin tank.

I’m currently running a single print, it’ll take roughly 4hrs. The Form file is being linked in case anyone wants to take a peek at it. The file I won’t attach is the head file; sorry, that one is my ‘baby’. So, anyway. Put in a brand new tank, was careful to NOT touch the bottom while removing the plastic (though, I still noticed some minute scratches on the bottom possibly due to rough handling during shipping). Also put in 100% new resin.

Also attaching images of two failed prints. One of which is still firmly attached to the print platform. The reason there are so few photos, is because I threw out most of the failures. I didn’t see a reason to finish cleaning them, keep them around.

Once the current print is done, I’ll post up photos of what happened. With luck, the new tank&resin will have fixed the problem. *crosses fingers* If that hasn’t fixed the problem, THEN I’ll submit a ticket, since this is getting more than a little frustrating. ^.~


Maybe stupid comment but you removed the plastic under the tank too ?

@Catherine Hajek

I loaded this up in 0.9.0 and it told me it was made with an earlier version.  Have you given the new Preform support system in 0.9.0 a try?

The reason I’m asking is that all of your pictures seems to have partially mangled supports (or so it looks like) that would have been connecting to the part of the model that failed.  Based on what I’ve seen, and reports from others, the new support system in 0.9.0 is more durable and sturdy.

Not as stupid a comment as you’d think. First time I encountered that plastic film I debated leaving it in place. But, yes, the bottom plastic film has been removed from any resin tank that has been used for printing. XD

Oh, derp. Forgot to attach the STL. When loading it into Pre-form, convert it to inches, and then double the size. When I grabbed that file off my main computer, I accidentally grabbed some of the files for my smaller dolls, which is the same file except halved in size. Anyway, here’s the STL.


@Steven, my money’s on there having been something wrong with the second tank. It doesn’t make sense for the supports to start mangling themselves when the only new variable was the replacement tank. My first tank clouded, which was why I swapped, and parts on the new tank kept failing. There is now a third tank in my machine.

There’s still about two and a half hours left on my current print. I still haven’t noticed any resin sticking to the bottom of the tank, yet. *still crossing fingers*

@Catherine Hajek

Well hopefully it was just the tank.  I’ve got my fingers crossed for your current print too!

I Catherine,

Steven Y. is right to caution you about the Auto Orient feature.  It does not seem to optimize build security.

I think your problem is part positioning vs geometry.  Try to position the parts so they do not trap uncured resin in the structure.  My guess is the uncured resin pooled in the surrounding solidified material may be causing the peel failure.  Rotate your “hip” model to X=180 Y=0, Z=0 and position it close to the left side of the build platform as your are facing it mounted on the machine.  Here is how it looks in the “home” view in Preform.  I am running this job now and will report results tomorrow morning.

Two corrections:

“Hi Catherine”

and here are the part position image and form file.



@ Catherine,

I think you are having a similar problem to what I was having trying to print a part for a client that had “voids” or hollow areas inside. Air was getting trapped and created big air bubbles, that destroyed the print mid-way. If you are using the new support system, be careful with the internal supports. They create a lot of those voids.

Success!!! Looks like the culprit was the resin tank. Running another set of prints now to completely verify whether or not that is the case. *still has fingers crossed* ^_____^

Without any changes to the print angle of the piece, but changing the tank and using only new resin… the new piece came out! Okay, there was a little wonkyness with the interior supports, but at least the thing didn’t end up attached to the bottom of the tank again. *does happy dance*

Oh, in the attached photo, you can see in the background one of the failed parts.

Now I just have to tell Aiden that Aixa will not hurry up and be printed… no matter how hard he stares at the printer. Eight hours, will always be eight hours. *sigh* Yes, he is holding the part that finally printed. Something tells me that I will be unable to pry the piece from his little resin fingers. Kids. XD

I’m having similar issues where prints fail at the point where they are almost done.  It’s very strange because sometimes the exact same .FORM file prints fine and other times it fails.  So there is something random happening about the print process.  The positioning will be the same and supports are the same because I can load the exact same file and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.  I’ve only printed maybe 12 things total, so I really hope I don’t have to replace the tank already because that would be a significant cost per print.   I still get a “clunk” occasionally when its peeling, but my tabs are lined up in the holes as shown in another thread.  So I’m not sure what the problem is.  I’m starting to have customers pay me for work, so its getting more frustrating when a paid part fails and I have to do another one at my own cost.  I hope we can figure out what causes this.

Have you guys submitted support tickets yet?

My printer worked great for a week or two then started going down hill. I would some times get an okay or good print but the fail rate kept getting higher and higher. I tried a new tank and new resin with no luck.

I posted to the forms about my issues and had a few suggestions but nothing that helped with the failing prints.

I ended up putting in a support ticket and after a few trouble shooting and testing steps they had me ship my printer back and are going to send a new one to me.

These forums are not the way to get official support. To do that you need to put in a support ticket. Once I did that FormLabs was very helpful with trouble shooting and determining that in this case the printer needed to be replaced.

Good suggestion.  I see them asking for people to do that.  I’ll try some more prints and if I continue to have issues I’ll do that.


Congrats!  Nice work.  Here’s how the same part came out with the orientation that I suggested.  Ran it at 100 µ thickness in 45 minutes.  Only one support point on the jonit surfaces.  I think you could run this part without supports by just skipping.  Hope you have continued good results.