Clean up in Isle 2


Just had a resin tray snap in half on the front edge of the tray leaking resin into the machine.

Something is wrong with the quality control on these resin trays. That tray also has a separated liner but it as at one end so it didn’t interfere.

I suppose this is my tough luck as far as Formlabs is concerned.


Aren’t you using the F2’s?


Yes I am.


Wow, after all the failed tanks from poor design on the F1’s you would think they would do something better on the f2’s!!!

Does Z-Vat have a glass bottom tank for F2?


The Form 2 is almost exactly the same as the Form 1+. Trays appear to be the same. Does have a glass sealed down to protect the mirror which is great. Plus it has more advanced electronics thus better firmware. For the most part it’s a very reliable machine.

I’ve had my two running almost none stop for 6 months. Most builds average 3+ hours. As soon as one was done the build plate was swapped out and off it went again. Longer jobs where run at night as long as they didn’t exceed the 100ml limit.

It’s possible the latest issues I’ve had are from the build plates getting dirty. I clean them every time but now I’m starting to also sand then with a foam fine grit sanding pad. The paper towels are black from the residue off the build plates. Seem to run better but still getting over stuck support bases.

Also the support bases seem thinner than usual and might be the cause of the broken ones when I try and remove them. Need to figure out how to thicken then a bit.


All my f1 tanks I run a strip of packing tape around the outside edge to make them a bit more durable and also incase the crack they don’t leak. So far this has save my @$$ on one tank that simply shattered including the bottom window. Tape kept the outside walls from leaking and pdms kept the bottom tight.

On the F1 machines the problem was simple. They put a useless thinner corner for pouring on the worst spot possible on the tank. They put it on the highest pressure point of the peel (back left on hinge side) where forces are the least likely to deflect rather than the front right (furthest from the least deflective area). Large prints closest to that back corner seem to cause too much pressure causing the tank to crack usually starting at the pour area.


That’s the first tray I’ve had fail on me and I’ve had the F1+ and 2 of the F2 now for a number of years.

I’ve also noticed the new trays have the build layer de laminating along the right edge. This is a big ? with the issues I’m now having with both F2 machines. Both using new or fairly new resin trays are messing prints up in the center. I’ve cleaned the optics and still have the problem. Interesting is that they print the beginning of the support bases for about 10 layers until just before the sloped sides of the bases are build and then fail. This is an area bout 3 inches square in the middle of the trays. For 2 machines to have the exact same problem points to one common thing between them and that’s NEW RESIN TRAYS.


The overall design on the tanks is due to the fact that acrylic sheets have horrible thickness tolerances which forces them to glue a thinner window below the tank in a recessed area to keep the top surface at the same z depth. That alone is a bad idea since your putting pressure down on an area that will eventually fail.

If the pdms is coming off of one edge wouldn’t that be the wiper action dragging the layer causing it to roll up like a carpet? If that is the case then they should have had the pdms go under a lip on that side but would be more money in the demolding process.

As far as the prints failing in the middle then maybe the pdms isn’t level? Maybe the material has some shrinkage when curing causing suckback in the middle. Is it a square area or somewhat truly square?
Square area could be deflection on the tank. Maybe the heater on plastic tanks isn’t such a good idea since heat softens plastic.


No wiper action as I run Open Mode all the time. Also, these are NEW resin tanks.

I think you’re right on the PDMS layer not being level or not the same thickness. But, they keep saying it’s the optics needing cleaning.


Bad area could be from fogging on the main mirror, Not sure the optical path on the F2 but if it’s similar to the F1’s then there is also the small mirror on the galvo block. A small spot on that can cause havoc. Dust on mirrors usually translates to a fixed regional degraded print area. Closer to the mirror the more wide spread the areas as the laser is diffused more. All of this you probably already know being a F1 owner too. Do you have a picture of the failed prints?


I’ve cleaned all the optic areas over and over. Not able to prove it yet but I feel the new trays I have are de-laminating the PDMS layer in the center. Both had de-lamination on the right hand edge. I run OPEN MODE so the wiper is not used.
What I think is happening is that the PDMS is being lifted slightly in the center area of the build each time the build plate is lifted. The resin is not releasing. I just installed an older tank and used the same filtered resin that I had been using. The print came out a lot better but still had some issues. Those could have been caused by a bit of residue form some new resin I was going to test. I never did the test and drained that resin out but there was still a slight film on the bottom that I couldn’t get wiped out. I’ll run another print and see how that one comes out.


I think your right that the pdms is lifting. If you have any other tanks to test on the machine or try the problem tank on the other F2 that would tell you it is a tank problem and not a printer problem.
It is possible there was contamination on the inside of the tank, probably a release agent still on the acrylic when they poured the pdms. This would also cause a bad glue joint causing the tank to crack.


Well I’ve fairly well proved my point on the PDMS layer being bad on these new trays.
I cleaned the old tray as much as I could but sure there was a bit of the ALW Fexible resin still there as a light film. I poured the resin in that I had been using from the New Tray. I did not do any optics cleaning in the last few days on that machine. So basically everything was as it was when it was failing prints except for the resin tray.

First job run has some issues but mainly with the build base and early support layers on a few items. One area that was of focus was a design heavy support bar that runs along ten 1/8" diam. vertical pieces. These are both scale roof top vents and “T’ top chimneys. That support was angled for about 1/2 it’s length with thin layers of hardened resin like springs on some. I felt this was because of the Flexible resin contamination. This was proved to be true with the second run which was 1/4” scale wooden wheel barrows. They printed with no issues.

I’ll post photos of all this later on. Just got back in from a trip to the Advanced Wound Center to have a filet of my forearm skin taken care of. I’ve been on Plavix blood thinner for 20 years and it affects the skin to the point it’s like wet tissue on my forearms. Doesn’t take much to peel off a layer.


Hope your feeling better, glad it’s not the machines and just a tank issue. Next question is will FL address this?


Thanks Ken. I’ve learned to live with the thin skin issue. [grin]
As to Formlabs, well, I’m sure it will be the same routine to having to redo everything to show them photos of all issues. I’ve sent a photo of the latest build that used an old tray. Came out with no issues. I just sent a photo of one of the “NEW” trays that shows the de-lamination along the right edge. You can see the resin under the PDMS layer.



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