I had my Original Form 2 Laser go bad, and now that my machine is out of warranty the only option to replace a $60 laser diode was to shell out over $1000 to swap my machine out with a refurbished printer or trade it in for 500 to a new form 3. Obviously this was so maddening I resorted to tearing down the whole machine to try to fix it. Ended up cleaning every single optical surface countless times, with progressing levels of clean-room cleanliness. Defeated to know that laser was actually bad, I looked through all the online forums and did not find anything. I tried sourcing the diode from a laser company, no such luck. I ended buying a Peopoly Moai Laser Module out of sheer frustration. I bought the 150mW one and so far it has been a easy drop in replacement. It is ‘Slightly’ smaller in diameter than the original laser (think 0.010") and has a 4 wires going to a 4 pin pinout, compared to the originals 2 wires going to a 4 pin pinout. Surprisingly I was dumb enough to say “screw it” and tried it anyway. The Moai connector has to be forced gently on, as the plastic connector is of a different type. The cable is also slightly shorter so you are going to have route the cable slightly differently, but it shouldn’t be too much of hassle. The optical test came out with the #4 being slightly visible. Its not a perfect laser for perfect optical test quality, but it will keep your printer running pretty well until something more important goes bad.
Hopefully this helps the form 2 community and keeps those printers running for another 5 years!
Now that I know how to clean the optics and have a source for a laser replacement I can keep this baby running forever.
Well done! Nice piece of work. Robert
So it’s been a couple of months… how is the replacement laser working out?
After a while I ended up building my own laser using DTRs laser shop
-S06J 405nm in 12mm W/Leads (no driver). Get the G8 or G3 lens
-This sleeve bearing from McMaster-Carr will ensure the laser fits the machine (7811K12)
if you have a power supply you should focus the laser to ~14inches. you can buy a cheap “DC power Supply” from amazon. Be VERY careful when you power up the power supply. make sure it is set to zero volts when you hook up the laser, the laser should power on around 3ish volts. after that keep track of the CURRENT and make sure you dont exceed 100mA for the safety of the laser and your eyeballs. this will very easily make you blind if you point the laser at your eyeball. I recommend buying some cheap laser glasses. Screw the lens in and out until the spot size is very small at 14ish inches.
cut the wires off the old FL laser and splice it to your new laser, this way you don’t have to worry about finding a connector.
with this I got perfect prints again. maybe even better than when I first bought the machine
This is really intriguing. A month or so ago, I bought a used used Form2 from a dentist office, but it’s recently been misbehaving. I’ve opened a support case, and I’m guessing they’ll tell me to clean the mirrors to start, but I’m not sure if that’s the case or if the laser is going bad (see my post about it baking muffins for me). The optic test was a total fail, which makes me think the laser is just acting wonky. I could be wrong though.
I’ve heard if the laser is bad, they’ll need to take it in. In this case I’d need to pay about a thousand dollars, maybe plus shipping, and they’ll mail me a different Form2 of unknown age. The solution you’re talking about may cost me less than two hundred, plus I’d learn a thing or two about the inner workings of the machine, which is helpful.
I’ve found the other items you’ve mentioned (very much feeling like the hero in an RPG finding the right crafting ingredients for an uber-sword), but I’m curious about the power supply. I need one that has modular voltage and displays amperage? Any links or names of the products would be great if you knew which ones. Also, when I’m sighting in the laser distance, do you mean 14 inches from lens tip to surface? I’ve never done any of this sort of thing before, so I apologize for the newbie questions.
this is the power supply product code I used 738634277450, you can buy it on amazon. And yes measure from the front of the lens to a piece of paper or something. it doesn’t have to be exact, just somewhere between 13-14 inches.
regarding your muffins, it could be a simple optics path cleaning. but if that doesn’t help its most likely your laser. When you remove the original laser you can also power it up with the power supply and see the laser beam and compare it to the replacement laser. I HIGHLY recommend buying some laser glasses for 405nm it will help you see the laser beam shape better,
This is great! It’s such a waste to let these machines go into a landfill while they can be repaired.
I still wish formlabs would ever be more open on the hardware and errors so we can fix that galvo Error 41 issue as well. A lot of people are having this issue.
Hi this is great news!
However, isn’t S06J way too powerfull (700mW) compared to the “original” FL diod (250mW) ?
Couldn’t one use a Blu-ray laser?
Laser diodes output optical power based on current input. The machine supplies a preset amount of current and the diode converts that current to optical power. Pretty much all diodes have a very close to 1:1 ratio. So if the machine gives the diode 200mA the diode outputs 200mW of optical power. the rating of the laser doesn’t matter in this case. A comparison would be driving a Ferrari at 60mph even though it can go much faster. You can run a cheaper laser like a blueray sure. But DTR ships you the diode already pressed into a housing and wired, and diode lifespan is partly based on its operating current compared to max current. (temperature, cycling and current/voltage instability also effect lifespan)
Oh that figures thank you.
I look forward to implement your solution !
Why are g-3 and g-8 lens preferable over g-2 and the rest ?
I bought all the lenses to test. They are were good enough. I had marginally better spot size with the compound lenses. But the G2s would work well too
Is this the place ?
Yep I see thank you !
Last question: full length or half length ?
So, how does this baby run? Does it really print as good as the original laser from the box, or even better - like you mentioned previously?
A properly focused laser will give you crispy clean corners, cavities, and details. It’s feels like a brand new printer