Any help appreciated - Failing prints on Form 1+


I have been slowly trying to get my printer to print successfully with various levels of success, but beginning to lose the plot with it a bit.

After not being able to successfully print for ages I decided to purchase a new resin tray, direct from Formlabs, to ensure that it wasnt the tray causing the issue, and the first print worked… yippee! Or so I thought.

After this print worked I was happy that the Makerjuice I was using was ok and I decided to try a different model, and this failed quite drastically as it always has in the past.

The left over resin stuck to the PDMS and took chunks out again which infuriated me but I figured it must be the model, so went back to the original model and tried to print that again, in a fresh area of the build tray to give it a fair test.

No luck, it can’t be the model or layout as a) It printed successfully first time, and b) its failing to even print some of the supports. Nothing else changed in the time from a successful print to two failures so at a complete loss as to whats causing this.

I have tried cleaning the mirrors, cleaning out the tray, filtering the resin, cleaning the build plate thoroughly - everything I can think of - it’s just like it doesn’t want to print. Im now a further £60+ down from a resin tray that lasted all of 1 print. Any help would be appreciated.

You need to open a ticket with FL, after which they may ask you to run some tests for them, after which they will probably tell you that you need to clean the mirrors in your printer (there is a special procedure that you need to follow, so wait for them to tell you how to do it, don’t do it without those instructions).

The F1 printer’s “Achilles Heel” is that the optics deck is open to the environment. Over time, chemicals and dust in the air accrete to the surfaces of the mirrors (there are 3, the large primary mirror you see when the resin tray is removed, and also two smaller mirrors on the Galvanometers that “steer” the beam). It is a near 100% certainty that a Form1 printer’s mirrors will need to be cleaned every 6-12 months depending on the environment. It’s not hard to do, but it does need to be done with care.

Also, other resins that aren’t from Formlabs usually aren’t designed as well and often cure more quickly so you won’t get the same results as the Formlabs resin.

I will second the opening of a support ticket.

If it has been a while, has your resin expired? Being that you are using 3rd party resin, I suggest you bring the troubleshooting back to basics. FL resin, you have the new vat. With the FL butterflies you will get a good idea of what is going on but it really is a good idea to use FL resin. Support may only be able to troubleshoot with it as they know how the resin is going to react with successful prints as well as failures.
Yes, it will cost you a little bit of money but I gather the point is to get printing again. It will be worth the effort in the end.

I know what you mean about using third party resins, and if I was in FL’s shoes I would insist on that before trouble shooting too. My only reluctance was I didn’t want to be scraping £150 of the bottom of the vat either. Since the resin I am using has worked for the first print I kinda assumed I could rule it out.

I have some experience with first surface mirrors, and making/cleaning telescope optics so hopefully it will just need a thorough cleaning.

The printer is only an experiment for me, so everything is on as tight as budget as possible. With regular successful prints I think I can convince my partner to switch to FL for printing over the FDM stuff we make at the moment which would make my life easier hopefully.

Ill fire a ticket over to support and see what their first steps are. Might be able to order a bottle of genuine resin too next week, although if it cant print with the Makerjuice / 3rd Party resins as I have seen from other users I would be suprised and dissapointed.

It isn’t that the printers aren’t able to print with 3rd party resins. Troubleshooting with them is hit and miss. I had a bottle of MadeSolid white. It printed a print perfectly (just like your results) then for no reason the next print was a total failure. The issue at the end of the day was the resin. It was junk. The resin in the vat was negatively affected by the first print and the second, third, etc prints were total failures.

I switched to FL resin, changing nothing else besides the ruined vat, the prints worked. With that, the MadeSolid gray was great. It didn’t matter what I did with that stuff, it just printed. Now that they are gone, I just use FL resin. I have done my time playing around with 3rd party resins. It really isn’t worth my time. I just stick with FL resin now.

I think you are right, the pigment in the Makerjuice seems to seperate quite quickly. The first good print I had was straight after a shake and pour, the second print which failed may just be because the resin wasn’t maintaining its consitency I guess.

I have re-cleaned all of the mirrors tonight extensively and trying another print now - if its a fail then ill put it aside for a few weeks and invest in another new vat and a bottle of FL Grey which I think seems to be the one everyone prefers? Do you have a preference?

As I was cleaning the mirrors it does look like the previous owner may have been a bit vigourous with whatever cloth he used. Hopefully they wont need replacing as I havent seen any spares for them around - fingers crossed I guess.

Maker Juice resins settle fast because they have a much lower viscosity than FL resin. If MJ made a clear it would be really good because the lower viscosity would leave less cleanup on support sides. Their pigmented resins I think cure better on black setting not the gray1 and don’t seem to be good on long print times on tall prints because as the pigments settle the exposure changes.

You could if you plan on using MJ or other 3rd party resins is look on the forums for an exposure chart for the OpenFL that allows you to use custom laser speed, intensity and layer thicknesses. I believe Yann_LM was working on a master chart to make things easier.

With a small flashlight you can look and see if the mirrors are clean. My suspicion is the resin isn’t exposed enough and causing the problems.

If you don’t plan on using Open FL then consider spending the extra money and use FL resin, they are optimized for tank longevity and print exposure which is a fine line between getting the most out of your tank without clouding or sticking.

I’ll have a look at OpenFL too - I picked Makerjuice SF as it is supposed to be compatible, and at £45 for 500ml is slightly more affordable. A false economy by the sounds of it :slight_smile:

Some of the users have good success with it. For myself I don’t have the time to invest into messing around with exposures etc. I like the ability to pour the FL resin in, click my settings and know that almost always the print comes out as expected. If your doing this as a hobby then yes a 3rd party resin is a good choice to mess around. For business the cost of the resin+tank is built into the job and just the cost of doing business. For business the dependability is far more important than cost of materials.
When I had used the MJ resin I had mixed results but this was a while back maybe couple years ago. I ran into prints that were relatively soft on the gray setting, exposure varied on long print times with greater failure rate toward the middle or end of print. On black setting the resin worked fairly well but the tank clouded quickly.

Here is the link to the chart they are working on for exposures:

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