Capability for the printer to detect or calculate when resin has run out

A user may be printing a very densely packed scene that would be impossible to do with one fillup of the resin tank. If a user begins printing one of these scenes and forgets to fillup the printer midway through, the printer could use up all the available resin and start lasering thin air. I suggest a feature allowing either the printer to detect when the resin level is low or for the PreForm software to calculate how many layers can be printed before the printer must pause and prompt the user to add more resin before continuing the operation.

“[…] calculate how many layers can be printed before the printer must pause and prompt the user to add more resin before continuing the operation”

This is my prefered option, as long as we can tell it how much resin we put in the printer in the first place (for example if one prefers to fill the tank halfway between min and max).

A few tick marks between min and max with with software considerations sounds like a great plan for the next batch of Form1 printers.

Adding tick marks to the tank manually for those of us with the first run of the Form1 would be simple backwards compatible solution.

It may be possible to add a top up tank similar to the B9C.   All depends on the viscosity of the resin so will have to be experimented on when I get my printer . . . . . .  which is looking a long way off at the moment. :frowning:

Could be difficult. There’s limited room inside the interior of the UV hood, and unlike the B9C the entire hood swings open, so you cant mount anything against it.

umm yeah… besides software updates, not much room for add-ons or hardware updates down the road to improve the printer, other than buy a new updated printer ><

I don’t see a problem adding a top off tank, even with room limitations there’s plenty of space to be creative with.  Heck I bet someone could design a printable tank design everyone could use.

I’m more worried about accidental overflow myself one time and you’ve got resin in the bottom of your machine.

I’ve been thinking about this as well, having already run my tank dry and damaged it, and the simplest solution I could come up with is to use the software to do a volumetric calculation of the build, including supports and platform. If the tank is filled to the line when printing begins, it’s not too hard to figure out when the resin’s about used up. Then the software can trigger a pause, with the tank at a level position. A message would say: “Fill tank up to line and press button to resume printing”. This wouldn’t require any sensors (tricky to implement with a clear liquid), or any other extra hardware.

I agree with Jason and Andrew that an estimation of when the print will need a pause for refilling based on starting the print with a “full” tank (filled to the line) and taking some precautionary margin would probably be the easiest way to start addressing this issue and would be very useful.

As it is, it can be tricky to start some very long prints without knowing if somebody will be there when the tank will needs refilling.

I have had two large prints fail on me now because the printer ran out of resin! They added a calculator to the newest pre-form software. However, the calculator estimate was off!

My first print ran out while I was not in the studio and I hadn’t let the printer auto-pause. So that was my fault.

The second print ran out BEFORE the auto-pause came into affect! So either the estimation is off, or it is very hard to tell when my printer is actually “full”, or its possible my printer is sitting at a slight angle causing the resin to run away from the “high” end of the tank sooner than estimated. Hmm. Haven’t opened a ticket or anything, but all I can say is that I will be pausing prints myself and refilling the resin whenever I can. Its worth doing that, rather than having prints fail for the simple fact of you not filling the tank. Its bad for your 3d printing self-esteem haha and its a big waste of resin.

@Ryan Scavnicky: Could you explain how to set the printer to “auto-pause”? What version of PreForm do you use?

I’m using Preform 1.1

Before printing begins on a large part, there is now a warning that pops up which says there will be a resin refill required in the middle of the build. It suggests to make sure the tank is full at beginning of printing, and it will pause the print at the correct time. For me, this was layer 947. The printer stopped correctly at layer 947, however, this was already too late and it had run out of resin. Its possible their calculation is off, or my printer wasn’t 100% full, but they should adjust this guess so that it pauses correctly.

@Ryan Scavnicky: OK! Good news!

I never had this warning and I thought that this improvement was still needed! (It must have been added in PreForm 1.1… I’m not aware of this feature being documented anywhere. Now, how do I RTFM again?)

Too bad that it’s not working as expected, then. I agree with you that a security margin should ensure that running empty does not happen. In addition to 3D ego bruises and resin waste, it also damage the resin tank in my experience…

Thanks for the info anyway.

@Aka Aname

You are correct, my resin tank has fogged significantly and I am stuck fishing out small clear objects in a sea of clear liquid! They need to make it 10-15% shorter in order to ensure it stops on time.

And of course everyone walking by my desk wonders “how does a 3,000 dollar 3d printer not even know how much resin supply it has?”

The Form2 should include hardware to track the weight of the tank.

@Ryan Scavnicky:

“I am stuck fishing out small clear objects in a sea of clear liquid!”

Yep. That 3D printing business is a messy proposition. I’ve resorted to a strainer of the kitchen variety to filter out cured bits and pieces, and a light-proof cocktail shaker to store the resin while cleaning the resin tank. A right bundle of fun.

“The Form2 should include hardware to track the weight of the tank.”

Agreed. But what’s even more frustrating is that each an every improvement so far leave something to be desired. We have here a first example of half-implemented feature, but we could as well mention the way displaying the peeling direction in PreForm as indeed been added in 1.1, but only in one of the two modes where it is needed (you can’t see it when rotating an object in the horizontal plane).

Quality assurance?

Has anyone had this happen to them?

I just loaded a new tray with White resin to the fill line today and while I was printing a very small piece (less than 20 ml estimated) the Form 1 asks me to top up (see attached photo).  This is strange behavior, has anyone experienced this?

Is this indicative of a problem with the machine? resin type? settings? anything?

@eric wang

Yes. This is what happens in the new Preform software. The software has the ability to know that your print will need more resin than the tank can hold. So it has a prompt before you print which will allow the printer to automatically pause at a certain layer, in order for you to refill the tank and continue the print. This is what the printer does at those moments. Check up thread for the benefits and potential dangers of this behaviour, as the software isn’t always exactly right and it might run out before your printer pauses.

As to why it happened in the middle of a relatively small print, I cannot answer.

Hi Ryan,

Thanks for the response.  I am aware that the new Preform software can help detect and suggest when to top up, my problem is that I installed a brand new resin tray out of the box (we keep various trays for various resins) and opened up a brand new bottle of White, topped it to the Max fill line, then proceeded to print a 20 mL print, There was more than enough resin to print the model but for some random reason the Form 1 stopped at layer 549 of 578 and asked to be refilled.  Hope that clarifies what I was asking?  Do you know what’s happening in such an instance?  Thank you.


Oooooh I see now. Yeah I don’t understand why it would do such a thing. I mean, that’s the exact action the printer takes when a resin refill IS warranted in Preform 1.1… but I can think of no reason why it would behave in that manner. Hopefully someone here can help, but if you open a ticket and get a response, let us know what happened!

Yep, this is definitely something for our support team to sort out. Thanks for the tip!