Bad prints out of brand New Form 3


I’m curious how this was positioned on the build platform. Let’s call the front side X, and the wiper side Y. Was this positioned running along X, along Y, or diagonally along both axis?

Just a quick edit for clarity, I know you said you rotated it 90° in Z, which is I think what I’m asking, but I’m not 100% sure from the way you phrased it.


Yes, you’re right. The nameplates were first oriented along the wiper side which is where PreForm put them. When 6 prints oriented that way failed, the next 3 nameplates were rotated 90 degrees so that their long side was oriented parallel to the front side of the build platform. Their upward angle was also increased so that a corner was down rather than a flat edge and the number of supports was increased. Those 3 nameplates also failed with the same kind of warp, much worse with black V4 than with gray V4. Change in orientation and increasing support density had no affect.

Since the nameplates print well on both Form 2s I own, with no warp or distortion, this tends to indicate that the Form 3’s inability to print them is not related to the design of the nameplate, but to problems with the Form 3. Since user-initiated changes in orientation, and the addition of more supports do not correct the warp, this tends to indicate that these problems cannot be resolved by the user/owner.

Frequent discussion with FL techs confirm that FL is well aware of these very real issues but despite their best efforts have not yet been able to resolve them. Very talented engineers are working hard to solve Form 3 print quality problems achieving some notable successes. But we’re more than a year from launch and the Form 3 continues to exhibit the most basic print capability issues for many owners. Their standard resins are still in beta at 50 and 25 microns! After this much time, I am deeply concerned that the Form 3’s problems cannot be solved. FL engineers aren’t stupid. If the Form 3’s issues could be solved, FL’s very talented engineers would have been able to solve them by now.

My first Form 3 only printed the rafts, but nothing above them, no models. Its “hot swapped” replacement cannot print a simple rectangle with dimensional accuracy as shown in the nameplate photos in the posts above. My second Form 3 had a 0% print success rate for the first 7 months after receipt with all models warped, deformed, or loaded with shifted layers. After firmware update 1.6.8, it has just now achieved a marginal 69% success rate, but only able to print boxy-shaped objects with no openings.

My two form 2s have a 96% success rate and print all of my designs perfectly, with no iterative processes required to find optimal orientations or support array. The only time the Form 2s suffer a print fail is when they need some routine cleaning or the resin tank is worn out and needs replacing.

I am truly happy to hear that the Form 3 is working for some customers. For me, the two Form 3s I have owned have experienced significant and costly print quality problems.


It is extremely interesting to me how it is failing in this case. It looks like an optical distortion, which would cause me to guess it would happen along the axis of the LPU mirror (wiper side axis). If it were a mechanical tracking distortion, along the axis of screw travel, I would expect a different kind of distortion, and that distortion would be minimized by placing the part along the wiper side axis. If you are getting the same distortion along both axis, that would almost seem to be a software issue, but the fact that you are using the same software to print just fine on the Form 2, rules that out. This one is a real head scratcher. Which of course does you no good at all.


This is odd.

I have a suspicion that if you increased your support density (or just manually added supports), this could prevent the warp.

You mentioned this is only in the XY plane. You also mentioned this is printed at 50um. It’s very possible that the thin 50um layers aren’t being supported appropriately and then are curling or warping. One possible reason why this might occur on the Form 3 and not the Form 2 is because the Form 3 has a smaller laser spot size which might mean a) longer raster time for warping, b) less forgiving in attaching to supports if there are inadequate supports placed.

I agree that you shouldn’t have to worry about this and the software should just do things appropriately automatically…however, I’ve worked in this industry enough to know that there are always things you need to tweak and adjust for because parts are always different.

Also, I’ve printed flat labels/decals like this in the past right on the build plate. It comes out pretty well. The only problem is that when you use side cutters to get under the one corner to pop it off, that corner gets a little ugly…but nothing you can’t fix with some light sanding! Again, side cutters + metal spatula has saved me countless hours of battling with really stuck on parts.


I appreciate the advice, especially the recommendation to use side cutters to get prints off the Form 3 build platform. As discussed in another thread, Form 3 print adhesion is much stronger than Form 2. FL support also recommended putting the platform with models still attached in the freezer as another technique that works, too. I have not tried the freezer technique because the time required would disrupt an already tight production schedule crippling my ability to meet customer orders. But for others, it may be a good method. Your recommended side cutter technique is working.

For the last 3 of 9 nameplate prints, I did increase support density by manually adding supports, over 100 more supports to each nameplate. Those 3 nameplates were essentially saturated with supports. I regret to report that the addition of supports did not eliminate the warp. This tends to indicate that support density is not the cause of the warp.

Several months ago, I first contacted FL support about terrible Form 3 print quality compared to Form 2, stating that unlike the Form 2, my Form 3 was not capable of printing a sellable model (see photo below). Models were warped, there was significant layer shifting present and openings were misshapen, etc. Models printed on my Form 2s never exhibited these artifacts.

At that time, FL support was in complete denial there was anything wrong with the Form 3. Reps repeatedly stated or implied that Form 3 print problems were caused by user error or user unfamiliarity with 3D printing. FL rep responses to my claims explicitly stated that Form 3 print failures could be easily corrected by the user by changing model orientation and/or increasing support density through an iterative process until a successful print was achieved.

With over 1500 successful prints on the Form 2, and having been specifically told that the concept of low-force SLA would mean fewer supports would be needed and even smaller attachment points would be needed compared to the Form 2, the advice seemed to be completely inconsistent with the concept and benefits of low-force SLA. If low-force SLA required fewer supports than the Form 2, why would the Form 3 need more supports than the Form 2 to achieve a successful print? But anxious to get something, anything, sellable out of the Form 3, I made numerous, costly attempts to follow FL advice precisely. Despite these efforts, there was no improvement.

Only after some months did an FL rep admit that FL had come to recognize that the problems my Form 3 was having were real, common, had become known to FL engineers, and that the problems could not be solved by the user. The problems could and would be resolved through future firmware and PreFrom updates.

Firmware and PreForm updates as the likely solution were again recommended by FL reps as late as March. At that time, a FL support rep contacted me concerned about my Form 3’s abysmal success rate and asked what was happening and if FL might be able to help (kudos to FL reps for monitoring customer success rates and reaching out). FL considered the possibility that the problems were specific to my machine and that a “hot swap” may be needed. But after evaluating photos of failed prints, the FL support rep stated that the serious print quality problems I was experiencing (warped prints and serious layer shifting) remained common and known, and a replacement printer was not likely to print any better. He stated these issues were being worked on by FL engineers and future firmware and PreFrom updates would come.

As promised, Preform update and firmware update to version 1.6.8 did in fact resolve many of the print quality problems my Form 3 was experiencing. But, the warped nameplates indicate not all Form 3 problems have yet been fixed.

The model on the right is how every model was coming out of my Form 3 prior to the update to firmware 1.6.8. Obviously, not sellable in that condition.

Whatever the cause of warped models, the user is not likely to be able to fix them. More firmware improvement is needed. That Form 3 printing at 50 microns and 25 microns is still in beta tends to indicate that FL engineers are not yet satisfied with Form 3 performance at those resolutions. Only FL can make the necessary improvements needed to achieve satisfactory quality and resolution certification.

I wish to emphasize yet again that the Form 2 does not have any of these issues and prints models I designed, including nameplates, perfectly at all available resolutions with no need for an iterative process. The print quality problems my Form 3 is experiencing are Form 3 specific, very real, and are serious. I anxiously await the firmware and/or PreForm update that will fix warping.


Hm interesting to hear that additional supports didn’t help. Do you want to DM me your .form file? I’m curious to print it on my F3.

It seems like the F2 is worse at printing miniatures than the F2. Funnily enough, the F3, for me at least, has proved to be much better than the F2 in handling larger parts designed for engineering applications.

The only thing I do wish though, is that the fine tuning and tweaking of resins across the board was faster, as I think there are still some engineering resins that don’t look as sharp as Black (although they are less frequently used).


It’s been pretty clear for quite some time that this is not an orientation or support issue. it has been stated multiple times in this thread, and has come directly from Formlabs’ mouth after initial denial of the fact.

And yes, Form 3 is considerably worse at miniatures than the Form 2. I started this entire thread because I bought a Form 3 after being beyond thrilled with my Form 2 and it’s results in miniatures, that I figured although an iterative upgrade, it had to be better than the Form 2 and thus I would see my good results from the 2 get just that much better. I was very, VERY wrong and, going on nearly a year later, there are only slight improvements. In my opinion it’s an unmitigated disaster.


I was referring specifically to @larsenstephen’s new issue where his long decal parts are warped along the edges. This is not the same as the layer shifting issues that have been talked about a lot. So no, it hasn’t been clear for some time that his issue is not an orientation or support problem.

I agree that parts which work on the F2 should not have issues on the F3, and to see worse prints is frustrating, but I’m just trying to help troubleshoot this new issue that has been posted.


I understood what you meant. I was just trying to say that I think it’s clear that the printing issues that Form 3 is experiencing on prints that were successful on the Form 2 are not related to orientation or support.


DM sent. Thanks for the offer to help.


Hi all,

Question for people following this thread closely: do these problems show up also printing at 100 micron?



I have to say, I am curious why you, and to be honest many other on this forum, but of course you can only answer for yourself, are so quick to assume it is a support issue whenever there is a dimensional stability problem?

Back on the Form 2, I was working on some directly printed injection molds, and as a result did extensive testing on dimensional stability and warping. On that printer, I found no strong correlation between number of supports and dimensional accuracy of my test models. The number of supports obviously had a strong correlation with things like delamination and complete part failure, but it was my experience from a large number of calibrated test prints, that once there were sufficient supports to successfully print the model, there was literally no increased accuracy to adding more supports, unless you were specifically talking about a very tall part, that extended quite a way up from the platform in Z… Orientation, the type of resin used, the condition of the optical window, tank, and mirrors, even position on the platform, all could have measurable changes to dimensional accuracy. But if the part would successfully print with say 50 supports, doubling that to 100 supports, would not make the part any straighter, it would just make the support side uglier,

Now, there might be something I am missing, and I haven’t done this same sort of specific testing on the Form 3, However, after years of printing I have found that if a model is warped, or out of spec, it is rarely, if ever, going to be fixed by just cranking up the number of supports. Sure, if it is missing from the supports, or part of it didn’t form, or part of it delaminated, obviously you need more supports. But if it is misshapen, warped, or out of designed spec, there is usually some other problem.


Sure, I agree there. That doesn’t necessarily mean that additional supports or orientation won’t solve issues caused by inadequate tuning of the vastly difference mechanical mechanisms in the F3 :slightly_smiling_face:


I mean, I’ll be honest, the initial pictures @larsenstephen posted of the decals looked, to me, relatively sparse in supports and unusually tall (but maybe the image angle). I’ve also encountered multiple situations in which additional supports did help with dimensional accuracy and most specifically - warping. This can be both pre-cure and post-cure, supports can have a significant affect in both. I’ve also encountered many situations in which orientation had an effect as well even though the part would finish the print relatively successfully.

For example, the latter can be demonstrated if you print a poorly orientated part at a very low resolution setting with minimal supports. Curing warpage can be demonstrated by printing two thin walled parts and curing one with and without supports. Pre-cure warping can be demonstrated, as you said, by printing components with tall or thin walls. I’ve printed many, many varying geometries over the years and am not surprised at all that some geometries or parts have more trouble than others. There are a lot of mechanical and physical processes happening during the print process.

Now keep in mind that I’m routinely pushing the size of my touchpoints down to their limits, and that might be partially responsible for my anecdotal remarks.

The other reason why orientation & supports might be suggested often…other than anecdotal experience, is that there isn’t really anything else you can change. If changed orientation or supports doesn’t solve the problem, then there’s something more significant…which you can’t really do much about anyway without spending significantly more time troubleshooting. So I would say it’s probably the first thing you SHOULD check (other than optics if you have a F2) or think about, which is likely why it gets suggested so often.


New firmware updates available today for Form 3 and Form 2. :grinning:

Update for PreForm, too.

How to reduce warping on printed models for flush joining

This is exactly correct.
(At least in my experience on the Form2.)


is anyone else seeing the light on top of the machine always on after firmware update? while the machine is not working?..,IMG_1455

Top Form3 light always on since last firmware update

@roypnyc Yep, mine just did that too after the upgrade. Guess the new version is happy to see you.


Yup, same here. When printer sits idle light is on…


For some reason, in adopting the new PreForm, the setting for “print height above rafts” changed from 5.0 mm to 2.0 mm and I didn’t notice it. The first prints all printed so low as to be inside the raft. The models cannot be removed from the raft without damaging them.

Check your height above raft before printing and if needed, change it.