I work as a technician at a university where there are a number of Form2 printers.
The quality of prints and the versatility of the system were so good, that the group I support purchased one in February 2018.
It is now November 2018 and we are currently having issues with our 3rd printer.
Each time we have reported these issues to FORMLABS support and (after some quite extensive testing on my part) they have replace our malfunctioning system.
The first printer developed an issue after around 6 months of moderate use (2 - 3 12 hour prints per week) with the motors that control the resin tray and wiper. We returned this printer to FORMLABS as instructed and have had no further information about what the fault was.
Our second printer was with us for less than 2 months and used significantly less, but still developed a critical failure, this time with the control board for the optics.
This printer is awaiting collection.
Our third and current printer has today (it was delivered Monday), repeatedly failed to print, displaying Error Code: 41.
I have ensured that Pre-Form and the printers firmware are up to date, reset the printer after each failed print and ensured that the resin cartridge, resin tray, build platform and wiper are all clean and correctly installed.
Still I am unable to print.
The other Form2 printers at the university have been in operation much longer than mine and have had significantly less issues.
Is my experience unusual or have my colleagues been extremely lucky?
I run a UPS supply on mine. Not just in the case of a power outage but to insure that there is clean power going to the machine. A machine with clean well grounded power is a happy machine.
We’ve thought about using a UPS with ours.
But currently it’s powered through a power monitor and we haven’t seen any unexpected power losses / spikes so it felt pointless.
We have 2 printers, The first one is superb, nearly 3 years old and it hasn’t missed a beat. The second one is 1 year old and has already been back 3 times for various repairs, and just this week we sent it back again. Did the quality drop? Were we just lucky with the first one? I don’t know…
So this is exactly what I’m thinking - how is it that in a lab across campus there is a printer that has run perfectly for 2 years yet mine seem to die every few months?
The other thing that has occurred to me, is that when you make use of the ‘hot swap’ replacement service, do you receive a brand new system or are you get a refurbished system?
I’ve had 2 ‘hot-swap’ replacements now and if they were refurbished systems am I suffering from secondary issues that these systems had?
My first printer worked fine for 1 and a half year till the optics got degraded as told by formlabs team. Bought a new one which developed issues within 2 months. Got a replacement now which is having issues just after 2 weeks.
We had one for a very short time (less than 2 months as I recall) and we came to the agreement with FL that we did not want a refurb. but wanted our nearly new printer repaired. They agreed due to the newness of our printer which they repaired and returned. We had one other printer at the time so we were not in desperate need of printing capacity.
I don’t know if it is because there are now more printers out there that we are hearing about so many failing printers or if their quality control has taken a dump.
We have had our share of returns, refurbs and self installed replacement parts over the years but, we are still very happy with the printers and have saved tons of money over sending files to an outside vendor for printing.
If it is a QC issue I hope they get a handle on it soon…that can surely put a business under.
Though I don’t have a Form2 and still using my F1+. A UPS is a good idea and at the minimum a surge protector will help protect the mainboard. I think that the types of prints done on the machine and frequency of beefy thick prints will put more wear and tear on any machine and may cause marginal mechanisms to fail. Another issue is the environment that the machine is in. A workshop that is dusty will pose problems with the optics. It is unfortunate the F2 doesn’t have a better sealed system than they currently have.
I have used my F1+ frequently for a few years now and have it in a fairly poor environment where it is dusty. I keep the machine covered most the time, do my usual inspection of optics and tank quality, mix my resin well and print with nearly 0 failure rate. Most of my prints are small items so wear and tear is minimal and I don’t typically load up my tank with a lot of objects (mainly because the tank design on the F1+ is poor and can crack).
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