Bad prints start yesterday after several good prints

Hello Formlab users and engineers,

I bought a reconditioned Form 1+ and have used it for around 2 weeks. The first few prints came out perfectly (as seen in the first pic). But from yesterday I only got partially printed ones after doing 4 prints back to back, and it seems to get worse and worse over time (as seen in the second pic).

I always used the scraper to examine the resin tank between prints. When it gave good prints, the resin left stay good. When it gave bad prints, cured resin was stick on the resin tank and it took quite some time and patience to get it off.

After the first two failed prints, I used a new resin tank, but it still gave bad prints.

Anyone gives me any insight? I suspect it is the problem of the machine hardware and the machine needs to be returned?

Thousand thanks in advance!!!">

With the hope that the printing should work well if it does not need to build tall models with many layers, I laid down my deer model trying to print, but still doesn’t work (as shown in the last pic).

Hey, looks cool.

Couple questions:
1 How much resin has been printed in the current tank? After a couple liters, the tank can begin to cloud up and must be replaced. Also, don’t forget to really stir up the resin between prints, and shake the bottle really well before pouring any new stuff in. Pigments settle, coat the PDMS and restrict the laser. Might be a good time to empty the tank, clean it with alcohol and look through the bottom to see how cloudy it is. If you can see the cloudy patterns of your prior prints, it might be time to resurface or replace the tank. You can resurface the tank yourself with silguard 184, or get a new tank. This site has info on resurfacing if you search around a bit.

2 Are your Elk, or Deer, or other animal solid or hollow? Large solid objects with large surface areas per slice put a fairly big strain on the device and the PDMS layer in the tank during peel (are you hearing a ‘thunk’ as it peels?). Many folks here use the free ‘meshmixer’ software to make their models hollow before printing. Hollow models use less resin, stress the machine less, and produce better prints generally. It’s really important to have weep holes situated to allow air and liquid resin to escape from the hollows during printing. Search this site for ‘hollow’, ‘blowout’, and ‘suction’ for a few keywords to get you going.

Good luck!

Thank you Christopher for your insights!!

For my case:

  1. Only around 0.5 liter (half bottle of less) resin was used to print before it started to give bad prints as shown, that’s why I feel it’s not understandable. And I did stir the resin with the scraper and shake to bottle well between prints. And I have mentioned, I used a new resin tank after bad prints came out, but still gave incomplete prints.

  2. Although not fully clear with the mechanism of the mechanism, I suspect it’s because a certain procedure of printing is “weakened” after curing certain layers of resin, which makes the printer not able to solidify the resin effectively after it has built some lower part of the print? Such as, the laser becomes too weak to cure the resin? If not, why the printer is able to give 100% perfect prints when I just receive it but now cannot?

  3. I’m happy that you recognize my work are deer-like animals instead of other creatures=) (meaning my sculpting is not that bad, haha) Indeed, I used meshmixer to make hollow models, and for each one I have 2 holes on the belly side to prevent a suction. Like I mentioned, the first 6 or 7 (as shown in the pic) prints are perfect, but now it is only not reproducible, but cannot print a successful one at all.

Other information you guys can probably give to me? Thank you in advance!!


If you changed resin tanks and the problem was still there, the issue is probably with the optical path. You may have dirty or hazed mirrors. My Form1+ worked flawlessly for 6 months. I had no failures, many prints, many types of resin including non-Formlabs resin. Then one day, at the very end of a print it failed. Looked like your failures. From then I could not get a good print.

I cleaned both the main mirror and galvo mirrors, and that completely eliminated the problem. I have had many successful prints since.

My Form1+ was actually a Form1 that they upgraded to a 1+.

Thank you Randy! To clean the main mirror, you use the microfiber cloth provided by Formlab and gently wipe the mirror from a single direction, correct?

What are galvo mirrors and how to clean them?

Thank you so much!

Your Deer sculptures are beautiful. I thought the big girl on the right might have had a little Elk in her :slight_smile:
I didn’t see the new tank, sorry bout that.
Randy’s right. Do that.

There are instructions on the website, in the support area, I think. If not, and your printer is under warrant, you should open a ticket with FL and let them provide you with the instructions.

You need to use the right “Pec Pads” and you need to wipe very gently. The coating on the mirrors is extremely delicate.

Thank you Christopher, the big one on the right is actually a gemsbok (horns printed separately =). If I finally figure this problem out I can send you one if you like it, thanks for liking it=)

Oh. Galvo… there is a big mirror you see when you look down inside the printer. But the laser comes from behind, shining off two small angled mirrors that can rotate. “Galvo” is short for “Galvanometer” and it’s the word for the type of motor that is used to rotate the mirrors. You have to disassemble the printer to get at the Galvo mirrors, they’re in the back under-side.

Basically, you clean the primary mirror (big one) and see if that fixes the problem. If not, you have to take the printer apart to get to the Galvos to clean their mirrors.

It’s not that hard to do, and it doesn’t take very long.

Thank you Randy! I checked the big mirror in the morning and gently removed a few particles from there. Then I did a try but the print is still not good. Basically, I found when the printing gets to a certain height ( for me around 6 cm), the printing is incomplete or poor quality. And I found when poor printing occurred, there is always cured resin stick on the resin tank which is a pain in the ass.

So do you think if I want to check the Galvo mirror, I need to contact the Formlab team to get their instruction how to do it in case they void my warranty? I didn’t see how to clean the Galvo mirror on the website.

Thank you so much and hopefully I get this solved with the help with you guys!!

Happy Memorial day!

Yes, open a ticket. They’ll walk you through it.

Great, I’ll try that when they start to work on Tuesday…

So, what’s the story about the gemsboks? Or, are they all different? Why are you sculpting them?

Haha, the one on the right is a gemsbok (horns at his feet if you see those). The other ones are white-tail does and fawns. I like hoofed animals so I sculpted them, still not good enough though, skill in progress…

BTW, the way to open a ticket is to call them on the phone?

Oh, yeah. had to zoom way in. Antelope-ish?

Those looked familiar, I’m in Northeastern US.
I think they look pretty good.

Smail a link to this thread to
send your serialnumber, it’ll be something like “AbtuseAligator” or something :slight_smile:
edit: except it’d be spelled right…

Cool I’ll try=) Maybe we are close, I’m located at Philadelphia area.

FormLabs offices are based in Cambridge, MA. I live in Massachusetts, so I was thinking “cool, if I need service, I can drop it off and not have to waste time with shipping”. Alas, that’s not the case. The printers are manufactured in CA, and repairs are done there. It’s the guys in CA that can maybe drop theirs off, not us on the East Coast.

Good to know…have you shipped back for repair yet? If yes did it go well?

No. I had a problem with my Form1+, they sent me a replacement tilt stepper motor that I installed myself. Then they sent me the stuff I needed to clean the mirrors, provided the instructions, and I did that myself. Printer has worked just fine ever since.

I was 100% satisfied with the approach they took. But I’m a “highly technical” user, taking the machine apart was not an issue for me… this same approach might just as easily horrify a different customer. Like taking your car in for warranty service and having them hand you the tools to do it yourself. I’d probably be OK with this. Your mileage may vary. :grinning:

Randy, your expertise is needed=)

When I was following instruction of Formlab support team, I was not able to open the machine. When I was trying to remove the 6 crews with 2.5mm hex wrench, one of the screws (maybe it’s an old used one and made of soft metal) lost its inner hex shape, so my hex wrench cannot rotate the screw any more. I attach the photo herein. It’s the black screw in the middle. Do you know how to safely remove this screw?