Cured resin around raft and failed prints

So I noticed that as time went on my raft kept developing larger cured resin mats around them and the top part of almost all my prints started to fail. At first I suspected it was because I had a single failure in the resin tank so I cleaned out the bits and filtered the resin. I had a brand new LT tank and a new V4 grey resin installed prior to the failures so the parts are relatively new and I didn’t even finish the liter of resin yet. Prints failed again so I suspected it was the optical window. I took PEC pads and cleaned off the window even though there was visually nothing there. Prints failed again. So now I suspect it’s something wrong with the galvo, possibly the mirrors on there. I had the printer for about a year and a bit and never printed much with it. I was told that if I needed to get the machine replaced it would cost me $1800 CAD. I’m out of their extremely short 1 year warranty period. I loved the machine but the cost of maintenance PLUS materials cost is seriously making me regret this considering I’ve had less than a liter of prints done on it. Anyone have any idea what the issue could be other than that and if there’s any way that I wouldn’t have to shell out a bunch of money for something that already costed so much?

First clean the underside of the optical window, and since you’ll have to remove the window to do that you can go ahead and clean the main mirror. If you continue to have flashes like that it’s almost certain that the galvo mirrors are contaminated, and you should contact Formlabs for instructions on how clean those, I’m sure they’ll talk to your and send you the instructions even if you’re out of the warranty period :wink:

Cleaning the galvo mirrors isn’t difficult, you just have to be careful and use clean supplies.

By the look of your print I’d say there is no reason you should have to send your printer for repair, cleaning should be sufficient.

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Hey John, I already cleaned the underside of the optical window. As far as I know it sounds like the galvo mirrors need cleaning. How the heck does this even happen haha. I’m honestly thinking of switching to a smaller PRUSA SL1 DLP printer. Less moving parts, open source. In my case it might be better even thought the build volume is smaller. Any idea why theres a huge load of extra cured resin under the raft? It always prints like that now.

Due to contamination on the optical path of the laser. The laser isn’t “sharp” so the light bleeds out a bit and it is first seen / exaggerated during the first layers because the laser makes multiples passes there to ensure proper adhesion.

I would not buy a Formlabs machine for personal use, because if I pay myself for it I want to be able to make it live as long as possible and it being self-serviceable / repairable is a must. However, in a professional setting where things must just work and not get in the way, I’m convinced the Form 2 is a heck of a machine especially for the price. We have spent maybe 10h in total on our two machines doing maintenance work, over almost two years.

Usually if you get that kind of thing on the bottom it’s because the first layers aren’t sticking very well to the bottom of the platform, you can try some Z-axis adjustments to move it closer and that could help.
If there’s a problem with the optics you would get much worse results.

Clean the Glass/Mirror and Galvo Mirrors… guarantee it will go away.

I have to clean my about every 3 -4 Months… (I live/work in a very dusty area and a smoker in the house)

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