Buy brand new, end up with refurbished

I ordered the Form 2 on May 23, 2017 and after waiting so anxiously it arrived on June 14, 2017 with great celebration. After several prints I started getting error messages about the resin cartridge not inserted. I contacted tech support on July 3, 2017 and the adventure began. I was told that it was the cartridge floor contacts that was causing the problem and tech support, which has been fantastic, gave me instructions to adjust the contacts. However, that never really worked and I continued to get errors which caused the printer to pause which would form large visible lines in the print. So after a number of failures and messed up prints I decided to return the Form 2. Now this is the part that is hard for me to understand completely. I paid Good money for a new printer. After only a few weeks it starts error out on me. I am told to return it so that they can send me a refurbished one. My question to the community is, has anyone else been through the exchange program? Were you given a “refurbished” printer. How is it and were there any issues with the replacement? I am still using my Form 1+, glad I did not exchange it. Any other information on this process would be greatly appreciated.

1 Like

Haven’t had to return a Form 2 but it is common with electronics to exchange for a refurb.

In other industries this is done to save time. You get a machine back right away instead of waiting a few extra weeks for troubleshooting and repair. Your machine is then repaired, inspected and either used for the same type of exchange or sold as a refurb.

My new Form 2 had an issue with not starting. After testing it out I was told to ship it back and Formlabs shipped a printer at the same time. The new machine, not sure if it’s refab or not, but works fantastic. I do get some errors like yours from time to time but found picking up the cartridge and putting it back firmly solves the issue. I’ve also had issue with resin trays not being recognized.Only thing on this is I had one that was constant from the beginning and felt I should have gotten a replacement. Now it just sits on the shelf and a wasted unit.

For mass-produced consumer electronics it is often less expensive to provide a new replacement in exchange for a warranty return. This is less true the more “specialized” and expensive and repairable the product is. If your Food Processor breaks under warranty you’ll probably end up with a brand new replacement. If your Laptop computer breaks under warranty, you’re likely to get a refurb as a replacement (unless they have no refurbs in inventory).

The Form printers are low volume high value products, so any that fail under warranty will very probably be refurbished and then used for subsequent warranty replacements. This is pretty much SOP.

If it makes you feel better, my first Form printer was a Form1 factory-upgraded to Form1+ refurb unit. I haven’t run it in a while, been relying on the Form2, but it worked flawlessly (with the exception of mirror cleaning which is not something I consider a “defect” as much as a design issue) up until the last time I used it. I think I ran it for about 1.5 years before I got the Form2. Refurb is as good as new, maybe better since it could have more “burn in” time than a brand new printer.

I am on the same boat. My first Form2 after working for 9 months has been replaced under warranty with a refurbished unit (which I was hoping would be new). The refurbished unit had problems from the beginning - the platform would meet the surface of every tray under angle. While the angle is really small it is impossible to print anything with custom base and supports 2 inches from the front edge of the platform. Layers on every print are separated from each other. I am attaching the photo to show what I mean,

It prints fine bases generated by Preform. In other words, it prints okay in lowest resolution 0.1 micron, but fails on higher. So when I use my own bases (which happens often) I can use only part of the build platform. (I did purchase a new build plate - same picture). I did open a ticket with support, but after some investigation have been told that I have to stick to Preform generated supports. Oh well.
Fast forward 5 months and the printer is having issues printing thin walls and fine details in general, produces nicks in surfaces (please note, I have two printers, the other one is 3 months old and prints the same objects great).
Again opened a ticket with the support, ran tests including optical, the issue was escalated, waiting for them to get back to me. It has been a few days now and they have’t got back to me yet.
Now what I am wondering - is the printer still in warranty? If I’ve had it for 9 months and then it has been replaced with another one which I’ve had for 5 months?.. And what is the life expectancy of Form2, how long should it last?..

I will post an update once I hear back from the support.

I work in a medical company. We develop and manufacture medical equipment - “small volume, high value” products. If a customer has an issue that requires replacement of the equipment he/she will be given a brand new unit within a warranty period.

1 Like

Unfortunately “Brand New” doesn’t guarantee anything.

All the units go through the testing the same way at least that would be what’s expected.


If they repaired your unit and sent it back to you, it would still be “refurbished”. So another refurbished unit should be acceptable - as long as it worked right. But if that one had other issues, then I wouldn’t blame you for being upset. It seems that the warranty clock should be reset each time you have to return the thing for repairs.

I was curious about your remark about being glad you didn’t exchange your Form1+ for credit towards the Form 2. Was that offered to you as an option? I asked to do that but was told it wasn’t possible.

I think michaelc1221’s issue is that he almost had to replace his printer immediately & then received a refurb. There should be some sort of grace period for getting a new replacement instead of refurb. If I bought a car that turned out to be a lemon, I would expect a new car and not a certified pre-owned.

You’d expect it, but you’d still end up having to go to court to get it. If your new car turns out to be a lemon, the dealership that sold it to you will “refurbish” the defective components and tell you to get lost if you say you expect something more. I doubt you’ll get “here’s a new car to replace the crummy car you bought last week” even from a dealership like Rolls Royce… You’ll probably have to give a pint of blood just to get them to acknowledge there is any kind of problem to begin with. “Could not Duplicate, no repair made”. I’ve been trying to get the flakey head unit in my wife’s Rover (yes, I know, I bought a British car, what did I expect?) replaced for 2 years now and I only just succeeded last week. And the only reason I did was that the unit flaked out while we were in the area of the dealership and we drove the car there and made them come look at it while the car was still running.


C’mon now. Neither Rover or Land Rover are British companies any more. The former Is Indian and the later Chinese. Most of the production of both companies is now done in China.

Just goes to show that the design matters as much as the construction.

I had a Form 2 that was good for many months until we had a resin overflow that destroyed it. We had the Pro Service plan, which I’m glad I paid for, and they swapped it. That printer was refurbished and couldn’t detect cartridges. It was swapped for another refurbished printer that couldn’t detect tanks. That was swapped for another refurbished printer that also couldn’t detect cartridges. They finally decided to stop sending refurbished and sent a new one off the assembly line. That one works fine and we are finally up and running again.

Getting a refurbished devise is common, but they have serious problems with their refurbishing checkout. I do appreciate the quality of tech support – communication, promptness, shipping, etc. – but really! Three bad printers in a row?! That is an embarrassment, and I’m not shocked that other people had similar experiences.

Oh, and the original resin overflow that caused it all? That was caused by a software “upgrade” which stopped preheating before printing. We had many adhesion failures and a print fell into the tank and was pushed around by the wiper causing the overflow. We rolled back software until they removed this “feature.”

Formlabs has come through. Yeah!

My faith has been restored.

I bought my first Form 2 in Dec 2016 to print dental arches for orthodontic uses. After a few months it stopped recognizing cartridges. Support had me try several solutions, but none worked. Between my busy schedule and lag time in Formlabs shipping different parts for me to install, it took a couple of weeks before it was deemed by Support that I should be sent a refurbished printer under the Pro Service Plan. I was a bit disappointed that a “hot swap” was not deemed necessary earlier, as this put a major crimp in my work flow.

I ordered a second Form 2 as I was working through the problem with original printer because I realized I was up a creek without a paddle when my single printer is out of commission.

I really don’t care if the replacement is “new” or “refurbished” – I just want it to work properly.

So, the refurbished replacement was doing well until last week when I had a model fall off the platform and cause a massive resin overflow due to the print job continuing while the loose model was sloshed around by the wiper.

I am relying on my second printer while working through the process of cleaning up the resin inside of my refurbished replacement in my “spare” time. So it was of interest to read shassleberg’s comments about adhesion failures due to a software “upgrade”.

P.S. And if anyone has received printer “ProfuseParrot”, that is the one that I returned due to cartridge detection failure.

Resin spills can take a bit of time to clean up (I’ve encountered a few) and here’s to hoping that we’re able to get your second machine back up and running again quickly. There was a software update several months back that reduced the preheat temperature for some materials. The preheat change was reversed and modifications to the preheat cycle haven’t changed besides the most recent firmware update which initializes the preheat given user actions like uploading a print to reduce the time between preparing and starting a print. Our Support Team keeps a detailed log of issues associated with a given Firmware or PreForm version so that we can get a sense for the number of users affected and roll out improvements where needed. Keeping up-to-date with the newest Firmware and PreForm versions is important for continuing to improve the quality and success rate of the machine.

[quote=“Frew, post:17, topic:14327”]
Keeping up-to-date with the newest Firmware and PreForm versions is important for continuing to improve the quality and success rate of the machine.
[/quote]I work for a computer manufacturer in the San Francisco Bay Area, and we have quite a few customers and even some younger support techs that believe the same as you do, that the latest and the greatest is the way to go, without so much as an afterthought to the problems these kind of updates may introduce.

It all stems from this “charge forward at all costs” mentality that Microsoft is fostering. And it looks to me like FormLab is not immune either.

Believe it or not, the “if it ain’t broken don’t fix it” mantra is actually a much better solution. If you have a functional printer (or computer for that matter), why would you want to jeopardize the functionality you already have, unless the features the new software, firmware, BIOS, etc are worth the risk.

Most of the new software adds support for new resins, very seldom does it add new features. And if you’re currently happy with the way the printer prints with a certain resin, the only reason to change would be a new feature or a change in the resin profile due to a change in formulation.

So, no I don’t subscribe to the neverending software updates as long as my machine is working just fine.

1 Like

I know from past discussions that FL has an exhaustive release process for both PreForm and the printer FW. They definitely don’t rush in to anything. I’ve been a FL customer for a few years now, owning both a F1+ and F2, and I don’t think I ever remember them “screwing the pooch” on a release. My printer/PreForm has always worked at least as well as it did before the update.

Sure, if you bought your FL printer to only print one thing and it prints it perfectly every time, you don’t need or necessarily want to ever update your software and firmware. But I don’t think there’s any requirement that you do. I know there have been times I’ve told PreForm not to update and I’ve told my printer not to update. For basically the same reasons you articulate - I was in the middle of a project and didn’t want to risk any changes.

Maybe FL could add a “Only Check for Updates Manually” option to turn off the auto-update so you wouldn’t have to deal with the dialog whenever an update was pending…

I recently purchased a new Form 2 form an authorized seller. Before I purchased, I found reports of them selling a refurbished Form 2 printers as new. They reassured me it was an accidental isolated incident. I told them that is I received a refurbished or defective printer I wanted a new replacement. I was reassured that would be the case.
Well, my new printer showed up with a 2017 firmware installed in a printer I purchased in 2019. The update firmware was Dec 2018. Both the 2017 and 2018 firmware were Release Candidates. Formlabs does not even have a stable firmware. They made up excuse after excuse and then I finally sent my printer back because it was randomly freezing up and even froze up while printing a large part after printing 200ml in resin. Other report this freezing problem as well. The only way to get the printer to respond was to unplug it losing your print. So, their bug cost me $50 in resin and hours of use to my resin tray. They told me that it happens from time to time and is normal. Not once taking accountability for my financial loss.
I send the printer back which I purchased new for $3,150.00, they sent me a refurbished printer that they valued at $800 as it showed up like that in my orders page. When I told them if I was going to have to take a refurbished printer, I wanted the remainder in resin and in trays. They are acting as if I am being unreasonable. When I tried to tell them the solution for resuming print was simple, they have no option as why would they want to fix a bug that requires us to buy more supplies. Might be time for a class action lawsuit like HP had for ink carriages.
Formlabs is stealing from us. I spoke with someone who developed a programmable cartridge for the Form 2 and told him about what I had been going through with Formlabs and I had an engineering background and their excuses were illogical, and he said the treated him like he was stupid as well with his defective printer. He said he has taken to just fixing it himself.
You can buy a $200 marlin 3d printer and unplug the power while it is printing and when it boots back up it can resume from where it was when power was loss. Fixing the problem will cost Formlabs a lot of money in resin and resin tray sales. I am fairly certain this is a felony.

1 Like