Form 3B Bricked By Firmware Update?

Hello! We have two Form 3B printers in our orthodontic office that I use for printing patient models for retainers. On a Thursday afternoon, my staff told me that one of the printers wanted to do a firmware update. I said OK and sent a couple of small print jobs to the other printer over the remainder of the afternoon.

Since we were going on vacation for a week, my staff unplugged both printers to shut them fully down.

When we returned, one of the printers would not turn on. I had initially forgotten about the firmware update and taken the back off to test the power supply. It was putting out 24V on both rails and the motherboard was reading 24V at the test point near the light in the middle. Both motherboard lights were on. But otherwise, no fans, no display, nothing.

I contacted support and of course they immediately wanted to ship me a refurbished replacement for $1299 and a 3 month warranty. I have a degree in Computer Science and repair arcade games as a hobby, so I was hoping perhaps I could get a new motherboard instead. No dice.

Then I recalled the firmware update and thought perhaps it either got interrupted by removing power to the printer or didn’t install correctly. So that the first time turning it back on and having nothing happened was the result.

I’ve been trying to work with my support rep but she lost interest after repeating how sorry she was and that there was nothing she could do, and sort of regurgitates what I’m explaining but in a way that is nonsensical. So I know she doesn’t understand what firmware does and how the motherboard could be perfectly fine but the firmware bricked. In her mind if I said it doesn’t turn on, then the firmware must have destroyed the motherboard…but that’s not possible because I said it doesn’t turn on, so how could it have even installed the firmware to destroy it? That kind of thing.

My simple question is:
If the firmware is bricked (i.e. inoperable and not capable of booting the system), would you discover this BEFORE anything turned on (lights and fan), or AFTER some hardware turns on? It’s essential to know if it is a firmware problem that I might be able to reflash or an actual hardware problem that needs a new unit.


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it’s a shame they try to take advantage of such occasions for some $$$ :frowning: instead of actually helping you to recover your printer. Maybe you should ask to speak with someone more profficient than her on firmware issues.


Hi @bedfordbraces,

Thank you for getting in touch. I’m sorry to hear about the booting issue you encountered with one of your Form 3Bs. I can provide some additional context here and address your questions.

This type of issue is something that can happen in rare circumstances due to failure of electrical components or corrupt firmware data as you discussed. What tends to happen most commonly from what I’ve seen is that upon powering on the printer you would momentarily hear the fans and see the screen illuminate, but then no further motor movement would take place. This could happen even in the case of firmware corruption, and we wouldn’t have a way to distinguish between this versus an electrical component failure. The printer would need to fully boot in order for the firmware to be reinstalled, so we would not be able to address this issue in-field in either situation. With that said, you can certainly ask for a second opinion in your support case to ensure that we have not missed anything that could potentially yield a solution here.

The real issue is that if the printer got corrupted during a Firmware update, it certainly isn’t fair for me as the user to pay $1300 for a reconditioned printer. I think everyone can agree on that–if a company’s software updates wreck their device, that’s not the user’s fault. There should be some way to fix this without just treating it as an out-of-warranty “sucks to be you” case.


@bedfordbraces :melting_face: I feel the same way, I’m having tensioner errors.
Out of curiosity, have you tried putting a printer cable to your computer and booting?

I have not. I did hook up an ethernet cable just to see if light up on the board side, but it didn’t. I may give it a try.

Hello, I was wondering if there was an update?

I got nothing plugging in a USB cable to my computer. I also removed the battery on the motherboard and left it out for a while and then put it back in. Nothing happened. It could be anything on the motherboard or on the daughterboard on the riser (like the AMD processor). I have no way of knowing and there’s really nothing replaceable as far as components go, so I have no choice but to ship it in and take a refurb unit. It would have been awesome if it were just the power supply as that is an off-the-shelf item, but it tested good and is providing the motherboard with the correct power.

If you ship it in, why don’t they fix the firmware and ship it back to you?
Same happened with HP recently were a firmware update bricked some printers, you could send it to them for totally free repair.

At this point I don’t think the firmware update was the root cause. They were able to see in the log that the printer had exactly one successful print following the most recent update.

After that, the printer was unplugged for over a week and did not come on when being plugged back in. More experienced support techs believe that even with corrupt firmware the printer should initially come on but not load software and get stuck. I don’t see evidence of that.

So no matter the cause I’m out of options to fix it myself so off it goes to them,

Same thing happened to us, same problem (after update a few prints and then it wouldn’t turn on), same offer to send us a refurbished one for 1300€ with 3 month warranty.
It suprisingly happened right after the warranty expired…(check if same happened to you)
We are not the only ones, when I tried to research what happened i found a lot of people with the same issue.

Haven’t shipped it back to the supplier because i don’t want to risk that after 4 months there will be another FW update and the same story repeats.
Haven’t made a decision yet, but will probably throw this one in the thrash and buy a different brand. There is lots of them. With better reliability.

Customer service of Formlabs -1/10


Unfortunately, Service tech from formlabs is non existent in a useful way. Only option often given is change the machine. Had a similar issue with the luck that it was under warranty, and replacement was smooth.
Then had the tensioner fault (searching a bit, a pretty common defect) out of warranty (but withing normal warranty time for the replacement machine) and had to battle a lot for formlabs finally replacing the machine at their expense.
It is becoming a reason to search for alternatives one it breaks again.