Error Code 41 - Seeking Any Advice or Help. Tried Everything

I recently got a FormLabs Form 2 and have trouble from the beginning.

The printer has only had 2 prints that actually finished out of an attempted 60-75 prints.

The Form 2 reliably starts a print and then the build plate retracts after the first layer, citing “Error Code 41”

I have re-seated the Galvanometer cables about 25 times now. I have cleaned everything inside the printer and went through every imaginable troubleshooting procedure. I have done everything short of completely dismantling the printer.

I have read every single post on the entirety of the internet on how to troubleshoot this issue. I have attempted every single one of these possible fixes.

I have rolled back old firmware and software. I mixed and matched dozens of old firmware versions with dozens of older versions of PreForm software. At one point, I was pretty hopeful that it would work, but to no avail.

I have tried several different resins. It seems there is a higher success of getting an Error Code 41 later during a print when using a clear resin with a clear Formlabs resin print profile. This only gives an Error Code 41 halfway into the print, rather than after the first layer.

I have contact customer service and went though all of the recommended procedures, only to be told to send it in for a $1,300 RMA option. I have read the stories of those who have sent their printers in for a $1,300 RMA by Formlabs, only to take it out of the box and have worse issues than before they sent it off. I am very hesitant to do this.

I have literally tried everything and cannot get the Form 2 to function without an “Error Code 41”

I know several other people who have this same issue and have no options. Some of these Form 2 users work at large MNCs and have sent of their Form 2s for RMA several times and just get the same printer with the same issues back after paying the hefty price.

It is my opinion that this issue is one that is actively suppressed in the forums.

I do 3D printing professionally and formulate resins and use several other SLA and DLP printers. I have some idea of what I’m doing. I could have purchased 4 brand new SLA printers that actually function for the price of the Form 2.

I was very excited to get a Form 2. Now, as a first time Form 2 owner, I am frustrated and would never purchase anything from FormLabs again. I would tell everyone who considers purchasing one not to do so.

If anyone can offer some advice or tips, I would greatly appreciate it. Otherwise, the Form 2 is simply an overpriced paperweight.

My Form 2 is now a paperweight.

I bought a Form 3.
No problems with printing at all.
Perfect prints each time.

I do use FormLabs resin even thought is more expensive but it never seems to fail.

Hi @TetraGrowthLLC ,

Thanks for reaching out; I am sorry to hear that your Form 2 is getting the Error 41 code, but unfortunately this issue often means that there is a power-draw issue to the galvanometers and they cannot operate safely. My best advice at this point (since our support option for out-of-warranty printers with this problem is to replace it with another Form 2) is to check in with who you purchased the printer from; hopefully they offer a warranty if this was bought from one of our partners.

Except that your printer is currently delivering a 0% success rate. How much worse can it get?

Also, this kind of concern is a bit irrational if you ask me. You send FL your busted out-of-warranty printer and $1300 and they send you back a certified-as-working refurb. You’ve essentially just paid them for a working replacement. If the replacement doesn’t work, they’ll take it back and send a replacement replacement. It might be a bit of a PITA to deal with that kind of scenario, but it’s simply not possible to end up worse-off unless “operator error” is the primary contributor to failure.

I’ve had very few issues with either my Form1+, Form2, or Form3 printers. However, FL has been extremely responsive to the issues I have had, including sending me replacement parts (since I’m an engineer and capable of installing them myself) and resin trays and resin cartridges to replace material lost when the printer spazzed out.

@TetraGrowthLLC , I don’t have much experience on the Form 2 or error 41. If the controller thinks it’s a power issue, that could mean 2 things: there is actually a power issue, or it thinks there is a power issue.
Re-seating the cables would fix an intermittent connection that would cause the controller to think there is bad power draw. I know you’ve done this a ton, but run down to your favorite electronics store or auto parts store and pick up a can of electronic contact cleaner. Give the connector a spritz and give it a few good “put it in and pull it outs.” Now, go back to the auto parts store and pick up some dielectric grease. Squirt some in your trailer wiring connector because it needs it, then drive back and squirt a bit in the connector and re-seat. Just a dab will do ya. Pick up some RTV silicone and put a dab on and around the connector after it’s been mated. The silicone will help dampen any vibrations getting to the connector while the printer is bouncing around, but doesn’t bind too hard to peel off later. If you can, take a peak in the connector before doing the above to see if there is excess corrosion or a wallered out pin. If it looks super gnarly, you could try your luck at reterminating the connector. You’d have to figure out the pin type, get the crimping tool, parts, etc. or find a pre made pigtail and just splice the lines.
In the case of the galvos drawing too much power, it’s possible one of the motors is on its way out. Following the steps to clean the mirrors below, I’d see if there is any extra stiction in either of the motors. Rotate one of the mirrors with a q-tip (or whatever) and compare its resistance with the other one. It’d be highly unlikely for them to both fail at the same time. In that case, you could try dabbing some sort of lubrication on the motor shaft/bushing. But be careful, you know, optics and all. Those motors will throw goo everywhere. There are a ton of used Form 2’s on eBay for like $350. It may be worth snagging one for parts.

It’s interesting that you get different errors for different resins. I wouldn’t expect a huge correlation between resins and motor power. Maybe higher speed for certain resins is enough to push the current trip detection, or maybe the higher speed is inducing vibrations that is causing an intermittent connection. After you use up the rest of the remaining life of the Form 2, what do you have your eyes on next?

1 Like

There are several forum posts here of users getting a F2 swapped where the replacement could be sent back to FL as soon as it came in due to issues(some as bad as resin all over the place that leaked from inside the machine).

For 1300$ I would at least expect some replaced parts. Not just a second hand unit that they have in stock that(based on previous experience) hasn’t been fully tested enough or has the risk to die in the next three months with the same error 41. There is absolutely 0 guarantee.

I just find it such a waste to have to throw away these machines. There were something like 50.000 units sold and it looks like they all develop this error 41 in the end. The Form 2 is still a high performing machine when it works. But yeah I get it, they want to sell you a Form 3 and they are not interested in taking their environmental responsibility. You would think FL would want to keep the F2 and F3 running as long as possible so people keep buying their resin. Unfortunately for them, their strategy has pushed our internal printing facility to other brands that generate less waste and are serviceable by the user. Any FL printer that dies now is being replaced by another brand. And I assure you, that’s a much bigger loss in resin revenue than they would have earned if they had serviced the machines.

@fantasy2 I agree, especially for such a steep repair cost for a last gen printer. It’s like having to trade in your car because the dealer wants to charge you $15,000 because the power mirrors stopped working.
This appears to be a pretty common issue, so by now Form absolutely knows what the problem is. My guess is that connector - they even said in the repair bulletin that it can wiggle loose during shipping. Even if it was the full motor assembly, at best, that assembly should cost $200. Fine, charge me the $200 for the assembly.
It’s too bad, I used to champion for these machines, but my experience the past few months has flipped that on its head. But that’s Form’s choice, they can do what they want as a company. Likewise, I can take my hard earned cash elsewhere. What I don’t understand though is that for the razor and razor blade model, why the hell are they trying to stiff the consumer on the razor handle? If my razor handle quits, that is the perfect time to switch brands. Especially if the blades (resin in this analogy) I still have work perfectly well in other brands.
I can take a hit on a $3k printer failing too soon, sucks a lot, but I can take it. However, I can’t take a hit on a $20k printer failing too soon. I was considering a Fuse 1, mainly because with Form being a US company, I could likely receive material sooner than an overseas company. Judging how service has been for the Form 2s and 3s, that’s gonna be a pass from me.

Thanks, this is extremely helpful. I do like your analogy of trading in the car for $15,000 for minor issues. I would sent it in, but I dont have the means. Troubleshooting this printer has cost dozens of hours of time and money. Time that could be used to make money to either repair the printer or get one that works.

I will try all your suggestions and the suggestions of others.

Thanks again for your imput and everyone else.

1 Like

Yup, time is money. I will say, a great combo has been using my Elegoo printers with the Form Wash and Cure. The biggest pain point is the post processing, and I love the dedicated wash/cure units as opposed to the combo units everyone else sells. Unless I’m using some of the specialty resins (elastic, for example), my Elegoo holds its own.

Well said. Thanks for your imput. What printers have you found yourself using instead of Form 2/Form 3?

Thats a great use of your machines. I don’t have a form wash and cure, but it looks fancy. I use two elegoo wash and cure stations. They work well for R&D on experimental resins.

Is there anything special about the Form Wash and cure stations?

I tensile tested the FormLabs Biomed Clear V1 printed on the Form 2 and measured a tensile strength of 27 MPa. I printed tensile test specimen using Form BioMed resin on the elego saturn at different exposures and found a max ultimate tensile strength of 30-32MPa. Seems the Saturn can be dialed in to increase the tensile strength of the Formlabs resin over that of what their own priner provides.

Unless their is something fancy about their wash and cure stations, the tensile strength should hold. The resin claims an ultimate tensile strength of 52MPa.

There is a lot to be exciting about in terms of SLA printing. I have found that the laser type light source is limiting in terms of the materials that can be used.

Good point. From my perspective, it means double the amout of time and money already invested for something that may have marginal utility. It is a most unfortunate circumstance.

Did you buy the machine new, or used?

@TetraGrowthLLC , there’s nothing special about the machines specifically, but it’s really handy to have a dedicated machine that is just ready to go. The Wash station automatically pulls the basket out of the ISO bath after a set time. The Cure station is nice that it can heat the chamber and the whole thing has a pretty high UV output. There is nothing special about the machines specifically, it’s just that they are really handy unitaskers. Set it - forget it.
That’s great you’re finding better properties using the Saturn. Might have to get me one of those soon.