Failed prints, sticking to res tank, blistering, etc

I’m having some issues with my Form1+ lately with prints failing and leaving some of the material stuck to the res tank. My parts are coming out half printed and even disconnected from the rest of the print. The resin had been sitting undisturbed in the resin tank inside the printer for several weeks. I stirred it as much as I could and made sure the silicon layer was clear without any haze from the material sitting for a while. Please take a look at the images below and let me know what you might think the problem is. This is just one of several recent prints that have been giving me issues. I’m going to try the black material again to see if I have any better luck.

The preform software image is how the part is supposed to look. This is a nozzle for a fire extinguisher if anyone is wondering.

Here you can see where the part has completely failed. Only half of the nozzle was printed and the print material was stuck to the tank.

It’s the usual response but have you checked your mirrors are clean (main and galvos)? In most of my fails it was either dirty mirrors and/or badly oriented/supported models in preform.

The mirror looked clean as far as I could tell. I’m talking about the big one you see looking down in the housing. I didn’t inspect any other mirror. I didn’t get any warnings from preform telling me it didn’t have enough supports and I left everything at default settings in regards to the support structure.

I had similar failures recently using the rubber-like material so I’m wondering if I have an issue with the printer itself and may need to send it in for service. I’m printing the same parts again using the saved project file but I’ve switched to the black material since I’ve had good luck with it in the past. I’ll report back tomorrow morning and let you guys know if it failed.

I have been having similar issues. Parts only partially completing. I have drained the tank… strained, stirred, mixed the resin, and made sure the tank and mirrors are clean. The tank is almost new. If you look at the latest print, which was printed flat to the build platform, the star in the center has a break in the middle, as if the printer stopped or slowed its layering.

Kenny / mblasl - have you written into our support team? I would encourage both of you to submit a ticket so out techs can take a look and help resolve your printing troubles!


Could be a few things (2 & 3 are important for every print you do);

  1. old resin (more than a year old)
  2. orient the tallest supports towards the hinge side for less forces during the peel cycle (1308 times). - Looking at your build platform photo you’ve got them oriented the wrong way round.
  3. Change resolution to 0.1mm - you really don’t need 0.05mm for parts like these. And it saves you hours of printing (and therefore lifetime of the printer/laser), not to mention peel cycles and thus forces on the print.

P.S. are you sure you want internal supports? It’s going to be difficult to get them out and finish the insides. Given your orientation, it should support itself.

Rough spots can definitely be caused by dirty galvos!

Hi Alex and thanks fore the reply! I’ll answer your questions by numbering them accordingly.

  1. resin is about 8 months old from time of purchase.
  2. when you say hinge I’m a little confused by what you mean. Are you saying I should orient my parts with the thickest or most mass at the top (opposite of build plate surface)?
  3. I will try a different resolution and see if that helps.

In regards to internal supports, ideally I’d like to not have them but the Preform software shows those areas highlight in red so I was thinking that meant it would fail there or collapse on itself?

How would my galvo mirrors get dirty though? My printer sits in my office and is not in a dirty environment with nasty particles or anything. If the galvo mirrors were in fact dirty, shouldn’t I see the same dirt accumulate on the main fixed mirror?

I’m really at a loss for how or why my printer no longer makes prints reliably. All of my recent prints are failing but when I tried the Formlabs support ticket test prints, those came out fine except they were near impossible to remove from the build plat and I had to literally chisel them off using the scraper blade and a plastic hammer! I’ve tried to study orientation on this printer but I really don’t have any idea what makes a good orientation on a part versus a bad one and what to look for. I know models need to be on about a 30 degree angle but what else should I be looking for so that I can better identify potential problem areas before actually printing and wasting material? It’s like some dark voodoo magic I need to learn but I don’t know where to look for guidance.

Any help would be much appreciated because my printer is really bumming us out here when we expect to have a prototype in our hands only for me to find out the prints has failed at some point.

Best regards,

By the way here is another printer I had to do today (just took it off the printer) for a prototype plug. As you can see it failed creating the rest of the hex body and support structure :frowning:

Hi Kenny; here’s a quick guide to set up prints I wrote some time ago which covers the basics. It’ll help you set up the print including the hinge side I’m talking about.

Concerning the galvos; yes they can be dirty. To be honest they are dirty on arrival with most machines. A spec of dust can be a disaster as the galvo is only 5x5mm in size. Therefore that 5x5mm area covers the whole part of the big mirror when guiding the laser. Imagine what a spec of dust of 0.5x0.5mm can do… This is equivalent to 10% of your large mirror being dirty.
As for the large mirror; though it might seem clean; shine a bright light on it from different angles. You’ll probably see orange smudges. You want to get rid of those with pec pads and ipa.

I manage to get proper prints all the time. Varying from small prints to prints that cover the whole build platform. All I do is clean my main mirror every 20 prints and clean the galvo once I see rough surfaces on a print. Haven’t had a fail since.

P.s. I’m not very fond of the butterfly clip. It seems to print no matter how dirty the mirrors are or any troubleshooting for that matter.

Also, regarding the red areas; yes this does mean that there is a chance of failure if you don’t support that part, however this isn’t always the case. Sometimes it prints just fine even when it’s red. Once you’ve printed a lot of different prints you’ll know where supports are really needed and where supports will be optional. For the sake of getting a proper print, support the red areas to be sure that isn’t an issue.

Let me know if positioning and using a different resolution helps, but I’m pretty certain the galvo mirrors need cleaning too!

Hi Alex thanks again for commenting!

After you mentioned hinge it dawned on me you were referring to the hinge side of the reservoir tank. I have since then changed materials, adjusted the angle of my part slightly and positioned it so that it prints on the hinge side. And now I have a successful print! Disregard the blobs as I just took this out of the printer. I’ll have a look at the mirrors tomorrow morning and will report back but now I’m just happy to give the guys a sample part to use!

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Yeah, that looks like way too much surface area for flat to the platform. If possible, try it at 90 degrees to the platform running in the hinge/peel direction, toward the hinge side as much as is practical. That will give you a long thin section to peel with a small section/edge parallel to the hinge. You could angle it in Z 5-10 degrees or so if you wanted/needed to to get that section edge to start to peel at a corner with the least amount of force. This can bend things at times though - I generally go dead perpendicular to the hinge for shapes similar to that.

It looks like there was a print error event, if the diameter of the support above the print error is thinner…and not a smooth transition to a lesser diameter there might be a slight compression issue. Whenever I see this happen, sometimes due to a resin tank with a worn pdms layer, I adjust the z-height in the Preform fine-tuning settings -.10, this always corrects the compression errors which can contribute to other print failures.


Something that I hadn’t noticed until a friend with a high end EnvisionTec printer pointed it out, my support bases are not even close to being an average thickness. One side is close to 1mm and the other side is close to 3 mm thick. Other than the tank not being level to the build platform, I can’t think of what would cause this. Any ideas?

Without re-reading the entire thread, have you tried to adjust the base z offset at all? Guessing here, but it might be uneven pressure on the platform from either it being too low or too high. Why not try raising the platform .3mm and see what that does? If it’s worse, try lowering it .3mm and check that out.

Some other things to think about, check:

  • when the platform is secure and up, hold a machinsts square to it and the z tower in left/right as well as front/back. You’ll need to align your eye and eyball it a bit, but you can see if there are any gross errors.

  • when the platform goes down in the tank for the first layer and is printing it, align your eye at tank top level and see how the tank level relates to the platform level. Do this from the front and the side. You should be able see any misalignment.

  • hold a straightedge across the tank so it’s edge is on the sides of the tank and it spans the tank like a beam, width of the rule oriented vertically. With another rule, gently measure at various locations across the PDMS layer to see if it’s grossly out of parallel to the tank bottom.

  • try another tank.

  • with the tank out of the printer, verify your tank receiving structure on the printer is not uneven or bent in some way, and that the ball-spring retension mechanisms can compress and return to relaxed position freely. A tiny amount of WD-40 applied with a Q-Tip works good on these.

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I have not printed on my Form1+ for a few months now. Just started it back up again and printed a few small objects with no problem. Now while printing a large object its sticking to the silicone of the tank, and after each layer it makes a noticeable POP noise as the bed tilts. Its even bending the bed as it tilts.
Guess its time for a new bed and tank? :persevere:
Tank and bed have gone threw a Liter and a half of resin. Slight ghosting on the silicone.

Mike, I’ve found that if you print large surface area parts, you need them to be hollow or it create too much stress during the peel process. Here’s a previous thread of mine where I had the “thud/pop” sound My Form 1+ started making a *thud* sound during peeling

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