Bad prints out of brand New Form 3

Hi, everyone, I wanted to post my first prints off my brand new Form 3 and see if anyone has an idea of how big a deal this may be.

I opened up the Form 3, went through setup, and downloaded all Firmware updates, I only had Clear V4 so I tried it out on some new models plus reprinted some old stuff I had (with new supports specifically for the Form 3) to compare to Form 2 quality, and, needless to say… I’m not impressed.

I definitely like the new surface finish to the clear, but otherwise I have terrible layer shifting lines in every single print I’ve done. I have used the Form 2 to print many things that ultimately need to be clear, and other than the hazy finish, they’re perfect, and I just finish them with some polycryclic to get them clear. But I’ve never seen layer distortions like this and it’s frustrating to see right off the bat.

Now I did initially have trouble with that stupid mixer arm unseating itself out of position whenever it was moving all the way left, but I resolved that by prefilling the tank with resin. However after the prints are done the mixer arm pops back out of position and is just sitting there, crooked in the tank until I reseat it where it belongs. Not sure if this should have been a sign of bigger problems…

So anyway… does this seem like a big problem or something solvable? I hate to ask such question that isn’t likely easily answered… I already have a support ticket open but obviously have to wait for a response til Monday. I have to say at this moment I am NOT impressed with Form 3 and am feeling like my $3000+ was not well spent. Printing with the Form 2 was a dream from day one, with a few failures here and there, but I never experienced these out of the box type issues.


I have also seen this layer shifting. I really hope Formlabs will correct this!

You need more supports for stability

This happened on every single print i did. There’s no way this is a supports issue.

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You only have a few supports on the bottom and only a couple or less further up, the print will flex from each layer unless you add some additional supports to provide some more stability. Each example you have there has that issue.

I’ll continue to disagree with you then. These were the preform recommended supports with a few small tweaks. I shouldn’t have to straight up disregard what the software is telling me. And if I do then that’s a problem with the software.

This is how ive always used supports on the Form 2 and I never got issues like this. This is not normal and it’s not a support issue.

I have an example of the glass that I printed mostly straight up and down, where there is no need for supports up the straight wall of the glass, and i got the same issue.

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The automatic alignment/supports that preform does are pretty much useless, you can always do a better job manually.

If you have something that’s tall and thin and it’s angled at all and on supports then you need some extra supports going up the length for stability, without supports and with only a few at the bottom it’s going to wobble on them as it goes up.
You can ignore what I’m telling you, but you posted here for help and that’s the issue you’re having there.

And i appreciate the input. But what you’re saying has not been true on any of my past prints, which number in the thousands. Unless the Form 3 need for supports is that drastically different then this explanation doesn’t hold water. I just said that i have printed identical items on the Form 2 with similar support groupings with absolutely no issues.

And as I suspected I’m being told that the software provided is useless, which, if that is the case, is ridiculous.

Thanks for the input I’ll await my official response from Formlabs. Frustratingly i opened my ticket Saturday and have yet to hear back.

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I had the same thing. Check my result here,

For all others who said it’s a less support issue. It’s not! I print with extra supports, and it’s not better, the same model with same support settings prints fine on my Form2.

@rkagerer had pointed a youtube video that Adam Savage’s team also had this issue

The guy in the video said it’s a “known issue” that certain curves if oriented vertically, will have this result, and he managed to get rid of it buy orient the model in another position, but my model can not be orientated as freely as others, I could not afford to have support on the face.
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Doggie, we’re here to provide assistance because you’re not very likely to get anything useful from Formlabs. They’re only really useful if you have proof your machine is bad and need to return it.

As a Form 2 user, I totally agree with the supports suggestion. I’d expect most of these prints to totally fail on my Form 2, but I guess that’s the benefit of the LFS. Those parts could still be moving on the pivot points the software is automatically generating.

Do note you have some serious suction-cupping going on with most of those orientations, unless those are solid prints. The cup on its side is ideal, orientation-wise, but I see it even came out wonky. Support placement could be improved on it, but even where there seems to be ample support its still messed up. See this section for more information on how to identify and resolve these issues. A lot of users don’t watch for this. If I don’t create vent holes and try to run those prints, I see the same thing you do. Even tiny vent holes of ø0.30mm are usually sufficient.

Try reprinting those models with manual supports, information [here] ( and make sure you’re not creating suction cups it has to pop off the tank while its printing.

Please remember that automatic anything in the Preform software should be avoided where possible unless you’re using it for a starting point. I find adding support points manually to be kind of relaxing.

Let us know how it goes. I’ve got my fingers crossed!

Hey there, this rippling effect has been happening to us too with the Castable Wax Resin. For us, the ripples are always parallel to the build platform surface. I know this doesn’t help much but it seems its not just one type of resin thats causing the issue.

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Thank you for your input. I do understand you are all commenting to help, ad if I cam eacross combative or rude my apologies. However there are some issues with your response which is where my confusion with my issues sets in.

You mentioned that you would expect these prints to totally fail on your Form 2. However that’s just the thing… I have printed these items with similar orientation and supports on my Form 2 multiple times, with no issues. The cup/glass for example… I printed this previously on my Form 2 multiple times with no issues. When I imported it into Preform for the Form 3, I actually imported it twice… once keeping the supports/orientation and one without… so that I could orient it and place supports in a very similar manner to see how it would compare to the print in the Form 2. When I added the supports everything checked out, no red areas, etc… yet when the print finished, it had defects, where the version on the Form 2 had none.

You also mention cupping issues… I know the milk jar may have had cupping but the software said I had none. And the showed as no cupping on the Form 2 in a near identical orientation, nor was it showing on the FOrm 3, yet the Form 2 version was clean with no issues whereas the Form 2 version had the warping and what looks like layer shifting.

I have also printed the light bulb on the Form 2 with no issues whatsoever. Similar orientation, similar supports, and no shifting or warping on the Form 2 version.

SO that’s my main hangup… it’s not that I don’t want to listen to all of you helpful folks, it’s just that I am seeing problems with prints that had no issues on the FOrm 2.

I have attached a few new pictures to show the differences in the print results despite very similar supports. For the most part I orient any given print how I want, then run auto-generate supports. From there I then go in and edit and place supports where I want… so yeah, like you said I just use auto-generate as a starting point.

So I have a couple photos of the light bulbs. You can see the supports are pretty much identical, as is orientation. These were auto-generated then edited by me. Perfectly successful on Form 2 (the cloudy one) but with warping and layer-shifting on the Form 3.

I have also uploaded photos of the sunglasses lenses I did. It’s hard to see due to my fingers covering the Form 2 version, but the supports and orientation are very similar… auto-generated then edited by me. Perfectly smooth on the Form 2 (the lenses were painted but you can see the print quality through the paint) but with warping right through the middle on the Form 3.

I also uploaded a cup/glass that I did that is similar but not identical to the cup with the major warping on the Form 3. The supports and orientation are similar (you can see the support points up the side of the glass in the photo I uploaded) but no warping whatsoever.

And then I just uploaded a couple photos of other prints I did on the Form 2 with a higher number of supports toward the bottom and relatively few as the print goes up, and again, no problems whatsoever.

Hopefully this additional information helps and perhaps helps convey why I am having a hard time with the supports being the main issue.

I think the vat film is not tight enough to provide a stable base for the print, have seem similar issues with slack film on my Photocentric printers.

This would also explain why it seems ok on some machines, a vat swap may fix it.

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That’d be great if it was that straightforward. I don’t currently have a second tank, but i finally got a response from support last night so i sent all the images i had. Hopefully I’ll be getting a new tank at the very least.

So I heard back from support.

Regarding the mixer arm they said this is a common issue ina “dry” tank or a tank with very little resin, which is backed up by the fact that the arm performed normally once I put resin into the tank. However it still doesn’t explain the mixer arm coming loose in the tank after a print job is finished. For those of you having printed on your Form 3, soes the mixer arm stay oriented in the tray properly even AfTER a print is finished? Or does it unseat from it’s normal orientation and lay randomly in the tank somewhere? Because that is what mine is doing.

Regarding the rippling they are telling me that my print ORIENTATION is to blame. They mentioned nothing of supports. I am having a really hard time accepting this result, since the porr lines showed up on everything I printed, which A) all have different orientations depending on the object and B) printed successfully with similar orientations on the Form 2.

I had not had a chance to send them the comparison photos, so I did that. I will also be printing a test print or two tonight so I can see if the layer shifting shows up on anything no matter what I do.

I’m interested to hear your additional comments on this once those that have chimed in see the additional photos I have posted. Thanks again for everyone’s help and, once again, my apologies if I came across poorly previously. I am just frustrated with the issues I’m experiencing considering the Form 2 has done so well for me.


Ok so another update.

Formlabs sent me a new tank and I replaced the first one and the mixer arm issue is eliminated.

I have also been conversing with them continuously about my prints with layer shifting toward the bottom 1/3 of every print. I was first told it was an orientation issue. Then I was told:" Adding more support points to the very lowest section of the part should help eliminate this issue."

So I did that. And the layer shifting is identical. I added at least one support between any two supports at the lowest section of the print.

I also wanted to see if the layer visibility was just an optical effect, so I painted a small gun model I did to see if it would show through the paint, and 100% it did. This is, again, a model I have printed with identical supports on the Form 2 with absolutely zero issues. I will be sending these along as I am simply unhappy with my printer right now. I think it’s ridiculous to be told to add more supports with no details as to the rhyme or reason. What this makes me wonder is how am I supposed to know if I have added enough supports to any given print? It’s just a guessing game, which is a bit ridiculous. And I am not going to load up every print with a million supports just to be safe. That has way too much of an effect on my final piece when my work is in miniature.

Yes this echoes my findings too.I added more supports with no change in the artifacts and I have printed simple geometric boxes in multiple orientations and I have yet to get a successful print of a simple open box shape.I have a support tickets with formlabs, but they are still helping me with a resin dispensing error issue.We have not even started talking about print problems.I am very frustrated at this point.I use my form2 to pritn and sell sci fi model parts and was hoping to use my form3 for this too, but there is no way I can use my form3 at the moment for that purpose.

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Glad you got that mixer arm situation handled, thought it was strange how it sort of just went crazy even wihth no resin. Honestly at this point you have to see yourself as a beta tester or pretend that the machine doesn’t exist for a few months or more. Way too many people have been fed information about orientation issues or some other issue that just doesn’t seem right, especially after printing extensively with the form 2 and now the form 3. With my own machine I have a issue with resin dispensing and the cartridge not seating correctly, ending up just pouring the resin in manually.

This machine is just not tuned anywhere near for the work I do which is miniatures. But I really am frustrated with the fact that it is a good hardware machine with potential. Just wish their marketing department was not as zealous with touting features which just weren’t available.

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Yep I came across your posts in another thread. I do miniature work, 1/6 scale mostly, and the Form 2 was the best purchase I ever made for it. I figured the Form 3 would give me more of the same and then some, and unfortunately I can’t even get prints EQUAL to what I got out of the Form 2 on IDENTICAL 3D models.

As you can see in my photos I have printed very rounded/spherical objects, barrel shaped, curved, completely straight items… everything… and the same layer shifting occurs on EVERY print.

I have just about completed a lengthy response to my ongoing support ticket with the new photos, as well as airing my frustrations and asking what can be done about this. It’s either an issue with MY printer or a widespread problem, and the number of other photos I have seen lead me to believe the latter.

So I have a question. Is this printer returnable? I haven’t had mine but 2 or 3 weeks. It’d be a huge hassle but right now my $3500 could be better spent elsewhere until I can have more of a guarantee n print quality.

Parts this small and with such a tiny cross-section should not require that much support.

I don’t care if more support fixes it or not, that’s not normal, nor desired.
Parts of that size print fine with very little support on a Form 2.
Form 3 was advertised as having lower peel forces.

Hence - if it’s getting shifts on Form 3, something’s wrong.

Hey, @DoggieDoc83, any chance you could share the .form of the prints that resulted in shifts? I’m curious if it’s going to print the same on my Form 3 and 2.