In April we bought a Form 1+ for a R&D department in an Engineering company, in order to build our prototypes and test some instrumentation.
We have had problems since the first week.
After two prints, following all Formlabs recommendations, the 4th corners of the tank started to present small cracks.
The resin spilled out the tank through one of these cracks and, unfortunately it reached one of the motors, damaging it.
We call Formlabs (1 week after the purchase) and they tell us that this problem was not covered by the guarantee… We got really angry, but we needed urgently to print some prototypes, and the money was already spent. So we spent another 200$.
After the repair, things didn’t become better. We tried to print without succes almost 10 times. The part never is printed completely, and the supports neither…
Additionally, after 10 prints, the tank present cracks again…
We need help to solve at least the print issues.
I will update the topic with some pics.
We are very upset… Considering the high cost of the printer, we expected much much more…
While they have improved the materials of the tank for the Form2, the old tanks for the Form1+ usually would have the cracking issue if you try to clean it using something like isopropyl alcohol which degrades the plastic.
I can see why you might be upset with so much trouble printing. The pictures will be really helpful for all of us to understand the types of problems that you’ve had with the prints. Thanks for sharing!
It has never been cleaned with alcohol… Just cloth or paper towels.
Here you have the pics of some different parts.
I have had a good amount of experience with the Form 1+ and had mixed results. Usually when things go wrong, the steps are:
- inspect tank for failed parts (replace tank if necessary, formlabs support helps if need replace a brand new tank)
- strain resin
(this step only if experienced with optics) clean mirrors with kimwipes or similar optical grade wiper
Thick parts also don’t work well, the PDMS layer will stick to the stage after some time.
Once things go wrong with the tank/mirror, it usually doesn’t get better until replacement - remember these are considered consumables. It is reasonable to get angry about these things, but it usually doesn’t solve the problem.
While frustrating at times, when it does work it creates some beautiful prints. Keep us updated.
Which was the first object you attempted to print?
Sorry to hear about all of the form1+ issues you are having. I had alot of the same issues when I first started. Cracked resin tanks almost ruined my mirrors aswell. I was also having a problem with the acrylic vat causing an static charge and getting lots of dust that would block the laser and cause bubbles in my prints. “If the print made it that far”… I now use glass vats made by Zak Timan. Here is his store (www.zvatindustries.com) and if you would like to see some of his amazing glass art while you wait for your new glass vat to arrive (www.zaktiman.com) Let me know if you have any questions or want some pictures of my setup. “I have an form2” but I still love my form1+ for exotic resins using Zak’s glass vats.
Thanks for your response.
What do you mean with thick parts? Which thickness are we talking about? A great percentage of my prints will be “big” parts (around 200 mL of resin).
I know that I am not going to solve anything by getting angry, but it is a logical behavior when you feel cheated, with an expensive 3D printer that did not work as expected and more time out of service than printing.
Thanks for your response.
Some pictures of your setup will be useful.
But I have some questions… What will happen when the PDMS layer will need to be replaced? I have seen that there is a tutorial to recoat the PDMS layers by your own . Did you ever make this? Is it easy?
On the other hand, I see that he sells packages of multiple vats… This makes me not to be confident in it, cause it seems that you will need more than one soon.
What do you mean with “exotic resins”? Not Formlabs resins?
Thanks for the note about the tanks from Zak. I ordered and will patiently wait. Hopefully the wacky complete failures and new rumble-grinding noise (at the end of the peal cycle) in my not-abused F1+ will be solved by the time the tank arrives.
Hi there D,
This is Zak, the maker of the Z-Vat. I just wanted to address some of your concerns.
Recoating is not hard at all. It does requires a little set up, but once you have the process down you’ll find it goes smoothly. I’ve done it many, many times so that’s of course easy for me to say, but perhaps others could chime in who have done the process less frequently.
I designed the Z-Vat to be extremely durable and this comes into play when recoating. When prepping the vat for recoating, you need worry less about scratching or degrading the optical window because it is glass and not acrylic. Also because it is glass you are free to use alcohol to wipe it down without degrading it.
Note that there are Z-Vat recoating instructions on my site, and if you have any specific questions I’m always happy to help.
Regarding your question about the multiple-vat packages- Don’t worry, it is not that you will need more than one soon. The reason I offer these packages is because often users will have several trays running simultaneously, each dedicated for a different resin. This way if they want to use a new color or resin type they do not need to clean the tank of the previous resin, they can just swap in a different dedicated tank. I created these packages to offer a discount for the user who wishes to order in a greater quantity.
Hope that helps!
dgarmendia, there is certainly a learning curve, and it definitely helps to become familiar with the F1+ on smaller projects. Cost wise, it is at the low end of the prosumer level printers (of which there are few that match its size/performance/reliability), which, along with the typical good Formlabs support, makes it a very unique player in the field. Some additional things to consider are the physical and human work environment it will be in, how many people will have access to it, and how well trained each will be (and which of the candidates will have the best blend of hand skills, patience, ability to follow instructions, and overall sense of respect /care, to be your principle operator).
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