I seem to be having some difficulty getting these questions answered, so it may make sense to put them here:
How hygroscopic is the castable resin? More specifically, how quickly after printing must the resin be cast? Can I store cured prints in an airtight container for e.g. 2 weeks and still expect them to cast satisfactorily?
What is the positioning accuracy of the galvo system? From past experience I’m aware that galvos and lasers invariably have a sweet spot (and in critical applications beam path length & beam diameter become issues) and consequently accuracy can fall off at the extremes of the envelope.
Can the tough resin withstand temperatures & pressures in conventional vulcanising, or would I need to use a low-temperature silicone (e.g. Castaldo VLT @ ~70C)? Or just stick with RTV?
What’s the anticipated life of the laser diode used in the Form2? Even the MTBF would give a reasonable indication; that at least should be on the data sheet. I’m assuming the laser has the lowest MTBF of any of the non-consumable parts, although that may be erroneous.
Well, that’s 2 days since that was posted (and running on 3 weeks since I asked the local sales lot) - it’d be nice if someone from Formlabs were to actually answer the questions. None of them seem particularly tricky from my POV; they’re no more troublesome than the questions answered by Envisiontech, Asiga et al.
Just to be clear, this info is what I’d like to know before I make a final decision on purchasing a Form2.
Hi Peter, we’ll be happy to help answer your questions, and your sales contact should also be following up soon - sorry about the delay! These forums are a community resource, meaning the reply times from Formlabs are not always as fast or consistent as contacting us directly. If you’re not already aware, we offer dedicated printer support with same day response times. Thanks for your patience regarding the tech queries, which I’ve answered below.
From experience, the process and results for casting our Castable Resin is independent of time after printing. Storing in an airtight container will be perfectly fine. It’s most important to post-cure the parts and follow the Formlabs burn out recommendations when doing the cast. Here’s a bit more detail: http://formlabs.com/support/materials/using-castable-resin/
Our calibration procedure is designed to ensure equal laser power and positional accuracy across the build platform. Like the Form 1+, the Form 2’s galvanometers can move the laser spot in increments of less than 10 microns.
For vulcanization, you’ll likely be best off with a Standard Resin (clear, grey, white, or black). The Tough Resin is not meant for high temperature applications. Tough Resin is best suited for high-impact, snap-fit and cyclic loading.
Lastly, while we do not have published data on the laser lifetime, Formlabs printers ship with a one-year warranty, meaning that should a component fail during the first year, the costs would be covered. After the warranty period, repairs are considered case-by-case.
Hope these help with your curiosity about the Form 2. Feel free to reach out with more or peruse the other topics to see other Form 1+ and Form 2 users’ projects.
Thanks Stephen - they have. I’d suggest that while the forums are a community resource, they are nonetheless the public-facing interface for Formlabs and as such one of the ports of call for anyone researching prior to purchase (and, to be fair - I already had emailed directly…). The volume isn’t all that high at the moment, so even if you were to operate a round-robin of 1 hour a day to check for posts that need input from the company, the time costs shouldn’t be exorbitant; even if the response is just “we’ll look into it and get back to you within a week” it leaves people feeling they’ve been heard. Bill it to customer service I moderate for a corporate-run forum, so I’m familiar with the joys of trying to flag things up the line.
Thank you for the answers; I’ve clearly misunderstood the purpose of the tough resin - it’s less immediately useful for my needs, but as with the flexible resin it’s an interesting one to squirrel away for when a need arises. My 3 options on vulcanising are the normal rubbers (both rubber & silicone) ~150C + pressure, low temp silicone @ ~70C + pressure or RTV; the first 2 give longer lasting moulds than the RTV, hence the interest.
I’d assume the diode manufacturer had the usual expected life/power curve for the laser, which was kind of what I was looking for. ET list lamp life (and replacement cost…!) in a similar vein.
One other thing that’s occurred to me while reading around, some of the reviews make mention of the Form2 having glass protecting the optics (which I’d regard as eminently sensible), yet one poster here seems to have had issues with resin falling into the machine. Which one is the production model?
You’re welcome. We’re also looking for a “community manager” right now, so if you know anyone excited to work with us in Boston…
I wish I could provide info from the diode manufacturer, but that’s not something we’re able to make available. I hope you can trust in our warranty if you have any concerns about product lifetime. The Form 2 does have a glass window and enclosed optical system. The previous model, the Form 1+, did not have the same level of protection for the optical path, which is why you may see other threads mentioning resin in the printer or cleaning mirrors as standard maintenance.
Well I would, but embedded realtime sw was my thing… Besides, I’m not keen on the idea of tea made with salt water
A shame on the diode info; it was part of my trying to work out TCO over 3 years. I’ve misread on the wiper slopping resin into the machine - it was the electronics that were getting coated, not the optics. Glad to hear the system is enclosed - I really don’t like cleaning front surface mirrors.
Order placed. I’ll stick with the clear & castable resins for now; given the 1 week leadtime listed on those, it’s not critical to make sure I have others in stock.
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