Early Print Failure Detection?

One thing I dislike very much about SLA bots in the prosumer realm is that it is very hard to detect problems at the very start of a build as the build plate rises from the resin. Examples: Bad Adhesion, or incorrect support mechanism for a print.

This happens on a number of bots with this design. First, early in builds … you have to lean at an angle to try to see if you can peer into a very narrow slice to see if anything is sticking to the platform and if it is whether or not the bot is doing what you expect it to do … as the z rises, you get a much more accurate picture of what the print operation is doing and how well your build is going … however that’s after numerous layers. Time wasted you could otherwise be doing other things due a reprint spawned from an aborted print.

I would love to see some innovation that eliminates or alleviates this problem. Even finely calibrated bots can error out due to operator error or other conditions in a build. I’m not nearly picking on SLA bots … it’s a condition that all prosumer bots suffer from … with FDM, it is even a challenge to try to peer at the extruder nozzle to see if a dry print is happening, etc.


Scott, you’re not seriously asking formlab’s engineers to add some expensive optical detector that would see what you can’t see with your eye?

If you don’t add too much Resin at first (two millimeters as a fill level to start with is largely sufficient) you could see early on if something is failing or not.

You can safely pause the print later on and add some more resin.

However: If a print hasn’t failed on the first few layer, it’s not a guarantee that the print will not file upon 95% completion!

Even though some may assume so, the Form 1 (and other 3D printers out there) simply is not a one-click-and-works machine. It does need some experience for it to produce good results… Even complicated support creation algorithms will most likely not be able to replace your personal experience and skills.

Start with small, hollow models, try more supports to start with, continue with fewer supports and get a good feeling of what your printer can do and what it can not do.

All the best



have us create your 3D models from scratch or from photos: http://www.WeMakeYour3D.com

Hi Etienne. No I am not asking Formlabs to consider the optical route at all, although honestly, I do want to pop the machine open and stick one in there. :slight_smile:

The print and pause method is a good trick to try … I just try to avoid the amount of putting on/taking off gloves with the resin while doing other things … I suppose I could for go the gloves and jump dump more in, but I’m trying to be good about not getting resin on things besides the operating area. Yes, I totally get that print failure can happen at any stage of a build. I work on a lot of different 3-D Printers … I’m just saying that adhesion at early layers is common problem on a few different kinds of prosumer 3-D printers. The trialed a B9 and I had *tons* of adhesion problems with that bot.

“one-click-and-works machine” <- I am an experienced operator and agree fully. I was just trying to bring up an annoying problem that happens on a lot of 3-D Printers in this budget range, and how best to approach this problem. Reprinting and aborted prints take up a good deal of time with 3-d printer operators, and when avoided, it should be.

Yes, I fully agree that time on a machine as well as patience comes into play. If my message was conveying a different message, I apologize. I’m just trying to see how we can make these machines better, by invoking a discussion of the challenges as an operator.

I am getting good, small results off my Form1 so far. I’ve run into some challenges, but I’m happy to give Formlabs feedback on reporting issues with both software, hardware, and logistical operation from the stand point of a user.


On a related note…

I noticed that the resin tank clear tape depicting the level line gets cloudy (i.e. due to resin on it) after some time and obscures the view inside the bot in the front view. Cleaning the tank might get rid of it, but I’m thinking that perhaps the resin level line should possibly just be laser etched slightly into the front of the tank itself? or perhaps another printing/labeling process?

A silkscreen wood be nice, but its probably not as adjustable as a cheap sticker. I don’t know why they chose a sticker. TheOP has a good question, but not sure how to accomplish it. I think there was a post in the forum that showed a time lapse sequence where a camera was left inside the form1 somehow, I don’t remember exactly. There is a lot of space inside the Form1, so it is possible to fit something inside, BUT there might be a good reason for the space, such as allowing cooling internally. I don’t know.

You could probably put a cheap webcam back by the laser and point it at the same mirror that reflects the laser.  This would look up nicely on the bottom.  Cheap webcams lack a UV filter lens, and this is good because the glow that is caused by the laser hitting the resin must light the entire underside quite will if your camera sees UV light.  I don’t care to try this, but if you do I think the results would be pretty cool.  Please post a screenshot of the result.