Flexible 80a Support Sizes

Yes I am working with the F3,
Okay I will change that.
Thank you :v:t3:

Hey All-

Just wanted to share some discovery with the Flex80A. We’ve been using it a lot over the past few months for production grips and have some pointers:

  • Depending on the type of model and orientation, we’ve actually had great luck printing directly onto the build platform without any supports or rafts. Depends heavily on the model, but we’ve saved ton’s of resin and cleanup by eliminating supports. Prints pop right off with a flat blade Xacto knife (#18 blade).

  • Do need to watch out for cupping, so we placed some .050" relief holes where the tube meets the platform. No cupping issues and haven’t had issues with washing them.

  • We’ve learned that if you print the same part on the same location for about 5-6 times, the print seems to drop off the platform and sticks to the tray. With Flex80, it’s pretty easy to fish it out of the tray, but it seems that the tray loses some of it’s anti-stick properties with Flex80 and simply rips whatever print you have at whatever stage and sticks to the tray. This kind of failure seems to be limited to the Flex and haven’t seen it with other resins. I know that it’s a no-no to print the same thing over and over again, but this is production life. I’ve got a nice pic below that shows the fun. The V2 trays wear far quicker than the projected 600-hours print time with Flex80 even if we rotate the tubes around the build platform (about 250-hours and changing it out tomorrow).

The biggest takeaway from working with Flex80 is that it’s one of the few resins that can be built right on the platform if your model allows for it.

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I wonder how the Form 2 tanks compare to the Form 3 ones in terms of wear with this resin.

I’ve used one cartridge of Flex80 and have really enjoyed it. I don’t think I’ve ever printed 5 identical copies in a row, so I can’t confirm your “stick” observation – I did not see it.

In my case, I would occasionally reprogram the resin tray for various different resin types. i.e. I would do 3 or 4 Flex80 prints, then maybe a few Tough prints or black or clear prints, before going back to Flex80.

I’ll order a 2nd cartridge of Flex80 soon. Cartridge 1 had no print failures.

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Crazy! Nice!
Can you share how exactly you clean the tank then? If you do it often you must have a pretty lean procedure.

I take the resin tank out, and the resin cartridge. I open the top of the resin cartridge, and put a small funnel + filter in the top. I clamp the resin tank to a retort stand using a rubberized Eisco clamp.. I attach the clamp to one of the black tension arms on the resin tank. The clamp has a little lock-adjustment that lets you change the angle of the tank – you’ll likely want to adjust the angle a few times, while it drains. So the tank is supported at two points: one by the funnel on top of the cartridge, and the other by the clamp.

In the beginning I used three contact points but I find now that I’m comfortable using the locking mechanism on the clamp, two contact points suffice.

I let the tank drain for a few hours, then use the tank cleaning tool to get the remaining thin film of resin mostly out. An hour more of draining usually has the tank pretty clean.

I’ll take some pictures the next time I do it.

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I haven’t seen this issue where parts fall off. Are you cleaning your build plate well after each print?

I also routinely print without rafts to facilitate cleanup. I prefer 80A over elastic any day because cleanup is easier, but obviously some applications need 50A.

The build plate is always cleaned with several scrubs of IPA and every so often with Acetone to remove any strong residuals. Has no effect on the prints dropping from the build plate and it’s clearly the tray.

I’ve been tempted to see if I can refurbish part of the tray with some Teflon 3-in-1 oil and see if I can extend the life of it. I haven’t looked at any threads on the forum to see if someone has performed this experiment. I also have recently acquired a Peopoly Phenom L and while I’m still learning on it, part of the tricks that I’ve been told that seem to help reduce peel forces is to put down a layer of the 3-in-1 on the FEP film and wipe it clear. I need to dedicate a good chunk of time to see if I can get the Phenom L to print correctly and vet that claim, but if it works for that unit, I’m sorta guessing that it would work for the Form Trays. It has to be the same FEP or similar material in the bottom.

In any case, a fresh tray fixes the prints dropping and I’m ending up creating about 4 print profiles of the same part, but in different rotations to extend the life of the trays with Flex. Great idea of reprogramming the tray to be used with different resins. T2000 and Flex80 are my go-to’s and it would be sweet to exchange those trays or semi-retire the tray to some other non-critical production resin.

Interesting. That sounds like the trays won’t last you very long at all then.

If you mix the trays manually, do you notice any visible defects on the film?

@leonhart88 - No visual defects, but definitely have what I’d call “burn-in” on the tray. For a tray that supposed to be rated to 600-hours, I suspect that something else is happening at the interface between the laser point and the film layer. Flex80 definitely has an odor when in use, which for me means that it’s volatizing and my suspicion is that it’s chemically reacting and micro-etching at the film layer. For a part to be pulled/ripped off the build platform indicates to me that the surface roughness on the film is higher than fresh trays or other unused/less used tray areas.

It’s something that I’m going to research more and have a discussion with Form and see if I’m just pumping conspiracy theories, or it’s actually a real thing.

Great reply, thanks!! I suspect you do this in pitch dark? Or beneath a custom orange plexi cover? Resin hours exposed to stray UV-lights doesn’t get ruined?

Hm. If it’s peeling off the build plate it means that the peel force is getting really high…which might be what you’re alluding to with the surface roughness comment.

You have adequate vent holes to deal with cupping right? Have you tried bigger vent holes?

I do this in my garage if it’s not too cold, otherwise in my kitchen. I live in the north-west and our kitchen is west-facing and the window is under an exterior deck, so it receives very little (and only indirect) sunlight. We use pretty vanilla LED lights in the kitchen so I doubt there’s much UV exposure, after accounting for all sources.

I have not noticed a problem with resin curing.

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I feel bad for spamming this thread… sorry @jdubose !
@rybu You didn’t mention any use or IPA or the like to completely clean after draining. You don’t do it? Do you do this after a print to store the tank empty or before a print to use the tank immediately after the drainage?

I do not use IPA at all in the cleaning process. My impression is Formlabs frowns on using IPA inside the tank.

Occasionally I’ll use a PECPAD + IPA to clean the bottom of the resin tank, i.e. the part that the LPU makes contact with. But my usual cleaning routine for switching resin types just involves hanging the tank up, letting it drain out and a few passes with the cleaning tool. There will be a few drops of resin in the corners that I can’t get out but given the relative quantity after the switch, I don’t worry about it.

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Here is my tray cleaning setup.

Getting a clamp with a rubberized “grip” like this is fairly important, to ensure the grip is secure.


Be careful, the left hand side of the tank is detachable.

I just printed a hook so I can suspend the tank from a shelf.

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The nice feature of the chemistry stand is the clamp allows you to adjust the angle of the “hand”. So you can hold the tray at a variety of angles, depending on how much resin remains.

I have a suspicion that there have been variations on the 80A resin after suffering problems trying to print the same design.

Initially it printed fine with several successful builds, with problems creeping in after a resin change. Even a later swap to fresh tank and new resin cartridge failed to regain reliability.

The batch of 80A resin which worked the best had defective rubber valves which needed hand cutting to open them up.

I’ve only used one cartridge. It worked well, and the rubber valve was uncut.