Started a print earlier today, brand new cartridge of white resin, batch is from may. Things were looking good so I went home to eat some dinner. About a half hour later, I got a notification that my printer was tilted. I rushed back to the office to find literally an entire cartridge of resin in my printer tank, as well as in the overflow. It is also coating the plastic sheet around the build tray base. We have a pro service plan, and have complained about the lack of service outside business hours in the past. WELP here it is, 7 pm on the west coast, and the entire support team has ghosted until monday.
What should I do!?!?!?!
I just had a similar spill.
First thing- get a couple rolls of paper towels. And a some disposable gloves. Unplug the machine,
Check to see if any resin is leaking from the bezel near the sides or bottom of the Form 2, if so- then resin probably got into the machine and you have a bigger problem. if not… you may be lucky.
Secondly- make sure no windows or doors are open admitting daylight into the space you will be cleaning up- to prevent spilled resin from hardening. Remove the build platform.
Thirdly- before you remove the tank- use the paper towels to soak up as much resin as you can from the catchtray that runs under the tank carrier. The safest way is to just dip an edge of the towel in the liquid resin and let it wick up as much as it can, then fold the paper towel over for a dry edge and do it again until the towel is too wet, and then discard the towel.
Once you have removed most of the puddled resin… wipe the rim and exterior surfaces of the tank, carefully, to ensure there is no fluid resin likely to drip off the tank as you remove it. Use a DRY towel to get the resin off the tank exterior and rim- try not to get IPA on the tank.
Remove the tank. if you don’t think you can get it out of there without spilling more resin, use a measuring spoon or something similar you don’t mind cleaning or throwing away to get as much resin out of the tank as you feel will enable you to remove it without spilling resin on the optical window under the tank. Hold a paper towel under the spoon as you lift it out- again to help prevent additional dripping of resin all over the machine.
While Cleaning, it is really critical that you not damage the delicate little golden contacts that read the Tray chips.
clean the contacts gently without bending them side to side… and once they are clean, be careful not to drag a paper towel across them while cleaning other things.
Once you feel you can move the machine without spilling additional resin, Find a place you can do the cleanup and place a big swath of cardboard on it- and move the machine to sit on this absorbent disposable surface.
( check the inside rim of the orange cover to see if any resin is on the cover lip or inside the rim- clean that with a dry paper towel to avoid getting IPA on the orange polycarbonate ).
Once you have done that, assess the extent of the spill. Is there any on the optical window? the Form 2 is designed to try and divert spills away from the window… if there is any on the window- use a PecPad to wipe it off or similar optical wipe.
Now turn your attention to the catchtrays… there are two… there’s the one under the carrier that moves with the carrier. This is sloped to drain into a little gutter around the perimeter that drains to a small bucket in the left front corner that is inside the bezel and hard to access. use your hand to slide the carrier fully to the right so you can see the drain.
Chances are the little bucket is close to overflowing. Formlabs recommends rolling a paper towel into a narrow tube and gently inserting it down into the catchbasin and letting it soak up as much resin as you can- I used a narrow pipette and squeeze bulb to suck up as much liquid resin as I could out of this tray- and then used the paper towel with more confidence it would not just displace resin over the rim of the catchbasin and down into the machine.
I wiped out the gutters of the catch tray and then tried gently to slide just the very edge of a paper towel under the edge of the tank carrier frame to soak up resin that had leaked under the edge of the carrier. on the sensor side I could only slide the edge of the paper towel down between tower and the carrier frame, until they came out clean…
now for the Other catchbasin. Is it a flimsy vacuum formed plastic tray that sits in the well under the pinch valve.
Chances are it is full of resin and overflowed. You can see it has a thin little lip that hangs out in front,
Use a measuring spoon to carefully lower the level of resin in this tray before you attempt to remove it.
Because of its position, you are gonna want to protect the optical glass before you mess with it. you can use the tray that the machine shipped with… if you got the carrier catchtray clean enough…
It is Stuck down with a small wad of gummy adhesive on its bottom side… so it won’t be easy to pull loose without a jerk- make sure the resin level in it is pretty low… and then grab that thin front lip with a pair of pliers ( not needle nose- its really thin plastic… so you want to grab the lip by as wide a margin as you can not to tear it. ) or something like that and lift it straight up… it will resist like its caught and then pop loose.
Clean that little tray out and check to see if any more resin is down in the well it was sitting in.
You can use paper towels damp with IPA on the catchtrays and aluminum. But keep IPA off the orange plastic parts or the LT Tank. clean the exterior of the tank carefully… you can strain the resin from the tank into a clean container if you want to salvage it.
For the optical window, you can use a pec pad slightly damp with IPA.
But after this, the issue will be if any overflowed the catchbasin in the left front corner to get into the machine internally. Check to see if any resin is leaking from the bezel at the seams or bottom.
If it is, plan for shipping the machine back.
-This is about as much as you can do without an OK from Formlabs to open the bezel.
Your next step will be to open the bezel to assess if the resin got inside the machine…
If none got in, then you’re golden and likely the machine will run fine and you’ll get a new free cartridge of resin.
If only a little leaked in and did not foul anything major- they will instruct you how to clean it out and test the machine for issues,
If its a major internal spill, they will want you to clean up as much as will make the machine safe to ship and then ship it back for them to do the final cleaning and re calibration of the internal parts.
but I advise you do not attempt to open the bezel without an open support ticket… and specific instructions to do so from Formlabs.
The thing that actually let me know there was a problem was the tilt sensor going off, which makes me think that resin probably got ALL up in the electronics, as the tilt angle did not change at all. This seems like the exact situation we bought the PSP for, so we could just hot swap this one out… does it not work like that?
they won’t hot swap a machine that you can simply clean.
But I agree, the tilt sensor going off certainly doesn’t bode well.
Either way- you will be required to clean it, even internally, as best as possible to ship this unit back.
if so, you’ll have to lie it on its side to try and get resin to flow out of crannies and such.
I lucked out- my valve leak did not drain the entire cartridge, and by the time I caught it, I still had more than half a cartridge left.
Its a design flaw they could fix in a new iteration… as it is the catchtray design does an admirable job of directing spilled resin away from the important stuff… but the basin it drains into is laughable small… thing is, there is amble room inside the bezel for that drain to feed into a plastic baggie that could easily contain the worst case scenario of a spill… A whole cartridge Plus one whole tray’s worth of resin ( in the event of a simultaneous valve failure and tank floor failure after just putting in a new cartridge with an already full tray. )
Such a design mod could reduce even a catastrophic spill into simply opening the bezel and pulling the baggie out and putting in a new one.
Either that, or design the drain on the catchtray to dump into an internal gutter that directs resin safely down to a larger tray on the bottom of the bezel that can pull out for cleaning like the water tray under a fridge.
While cleaning the galvo mirrors the other day I had the exact same though. This is actually something that could be made by the users without risks to damage the machine. Once the printer is out of warranty I’m thinking about drilling a hole in the basin and the external enclosure to run a tube to an external reservoir, but a more elegant way to do it would be to open only the basin and print a part that would extend its volume within the inside space of the printer.
the basin can not be very much bigger because it MOVES along with catchtray and the tank carrier… and just below it is the power supply that a deeper basin might bang into. I would be loathe to make any alteration to the catchtray that might add weight or resistance to its motion as the entire thing is driven on peel.
that being said, however, a Gutter attached to the interior of the bezel that was long enough to be under the drain the full length of the carrier’s travel could easily drain to a standpipe that could go straight thru the bottom of the base where it will miss the leveling foot. In that situation, a platform could be made that would support the leveling feet at the corners but would otherwise be elevated enough to contain 1.3 litres of spilled resin.
i don’t know how well this would work with a tank floor leak… because that dumps resin all over the carrier and optical window… but for sloshes over the tank rim and valve failures this should keep the machine working just fine… albeit with some cleanup needed.
my valve failure happened in the middle of the night on a 17 hour print… its just unreasonable to expect users to keep an eagle eye out for such leaks.
Not a fail safe design by any means, then…
Nope. The cartridge valve is a pretty risky component with zero redundancy.
It’s probably a smart choice for Formlabs though : if the failure rate is low enough, reparation costs may be lower than actually making a safer design.
Will Formlabs replace resin that is wasted as a result of their poor design? I know it’s like pulling teeth to get decent customer service. I was told once to “google” for an answer to a tech problem. Then they tried to tell me I didn’t purchase resin from them when it came in the kit. Customer service is not their strong suit…by any means.
I’ve read they do, but i’d by more worried about fucking up a 3.5k machine than wasting 200 bucks of resin. I personally have had a good experience with their support service but I haven’t yet had to ask for money or parts.
This happened to me, I not only have not received any offer of replacement but they also want $900 for it to be sent in for recalibration to the tray holder. All over what is probably a $0.10 piece of rubber that failed. Support and customer service seems to be going down hill since we purchased our first of 5 units, 2 years ago.
Is your printer still under warranty ? If you’re in the EU then it’s obviously a yes but in a lot of other countries 1 years is common place.
I am in the US. The printer is about 14 months old. I feel that it shouldn’t be a warranty issue, it is an accountability issue, It was their OEM product with defect that caused the issue. I now have a $4000 paper weight. Also, these defective nozzles seem to be happening more and more.
To be clear I am not defending them and I agree with you, but in the end it’s a question of law and if they do no have to repair it for free they certainly will not.
Thank you very much for taking the time to contribute and raise the issue. We have seen a rise in bite valves falling off of cartridges in the last few weeks and identified and resolved the root cause. This problem should not appear with anything near the same frequency moving forward.
In terms of folks currently experiencing this problem, whether it led to a resin spill during shipping, or during the printing, please reach out to support at the link below and we’d be more than happy to help get you back to printing as efficiently as possible.
For anyone who hasn’t experienced this problem yet, but is rightly concerned about it happening to you, there’s a pretty easy step you can take to protect yourself. When you start a new cartridge of resin, press down on the bite valve firmly with your thumb to make sure it’s securely attached to the floor of the cartridge. We’ve found that this simple procedure will prevent cartridges that would have leaked from having any problems at all.
Below you’ll find a picture of a bite valve that has not been pushed down yet, and would very likely lead to a spill. You’ll see that orange cover is a little bit above the two black wings next to it. The valve should be flush with those wings.
Again, I want to apologize for any trouble this issue has caused. If you have any additional concerns please feel free to ask here, or reach out to our support team.
@fuchss A member of our support team is reaching out shortly to discuss your specific printer.
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