Form 3L and the commercial kitchen strainer Formlabs shipped with it

I bought the Form 3L two years ago, rather I received it 2 years ago after nearly a year of waiting. When I received it, I was disappointed to find a commercial kitchen strainer pan as my washing station. This is not what was advertised and when I called Formlabs, I was told the wash station was still in development. I would be shipped one as soon as it was finalized. Well two years later and that hasn’t happened.

Are they still using this commercial kitchen strainer or has a proper washing station been developed?
Has anyone else that received the strainer in the beginning later received the proper wash station?

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The last email I got about it was March 2022 asking if I wanted to get in the queue for them, since they were expecting a 12 week lead time. I figured they had decided to leave us with the vegetable steamers and didn’t write back. I just followed up on it now, so we’ll see what to expect.

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Hi @Zenica ,

This sounds like something might have slipped through the cracks, I am so sorry that we have yet to reach out to you. I am right this moment reaching out to our Sales Team to get your Sales rep to get in touch and let you know what we can do to help. Thank you for your patience, and please know that I will get someone in touch with you as soon as I can!

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Thanks. Much appreciated!

Fwiw, I thought before the wash station came out, and still think after its release, that a vat of swirling IPA is a inelegant solution. HIgh capital outlay, high consumables cost. The only advantage is automation, but I’m only spending perhaps 10 minutes total on cleaning a full volume 3L print.

I use a small immersion pump <$20 set in a plastic bin. The silicon rubber hose with a reducing nozzle delivers about 4 lpm of flow, and there’s only about 700 ml in the sump, which is ample with the bin tiltled. I use a fume hood to vent the fumes.

Since the washing action is always only at the surface of the part (regardless of how you’re washing it), directing the flow as I rotate the part cleans rapidly, and does the least damage to the print, since the work time is now minimal with least possible IPA absorbstion.

I believe I get a much higher part - solution interface fluid velocity (but don’t know for sure) which accounts for the short cleaning times I get. I use a quick second bath of fresh IPA to polish things off, and which lets me use the 700 ml multiple times as a first bath. As opposed to 38 Liters (say $200 and a disposal problem ) to fill the FormWash 3L bucket;

So capital outlay <$50, Consumables <$3, time to clean a part 10 minutes. Add in a fume or exhaust hood if you don’t have one, or place a cover on your tub to minimize the vapor transfer. Or enjoy the huffing.

I use the fume hood for almost every time I use chemicals, or solder parts or paint, etc. I had a sheet metal shop work up the exhaust hood, attached it to commonly available 8" flex tubing and use a rather large exhaust fan. I don’t remember the outlay; <$600 all in.

For a curing station, I also assembled my own, with 405 nm lights and a heating element, which can do a considerable number of parts all at once. Not UL approved!!!

Of course if money isn’t an issue, or consumable costs, and you’ve got no problem with disposing of 38 liters of gunky IPA, go for the Formlabs gear! It’s prettier, for one!

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Any pictures of your setup please?

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That is an interesting setup. Like a parts washer at the dealer (when IO was much younger and dealer service depts used a parts washer to clean parts) it just rinses over the print vs total immersion. I like the idea but as kehall asked, would you have any pictures?

I tried to build a UV box for my larger 3L prints but my setup lacked the power needed to really penetrate the print. Can you share what parts you used? and what your power rating is estimated at?

I too use a parts washer unit to wash my parts. Fraction of the cost and works better than my smaller formlabs wash unit.

Well, it’s clear to see that, with the advent of hindsight, it was plainly wrong of FL to ship the 3L without a proper way to wash and cure large prints. After all, the whole idea of the 3L is Large prints. The Mk1 tank was good (for cooking vegetables), the Mk2 tank mildly better, but lacked any kind of recirculation/excitation means, so I added an air pump and some fish-tank stones to make bubbles, and it was “ok”, but still pretty crap, and very labour intensive. As soon they were available I bought the Large wash and cure stations, which should have been available from day 1.

If you just print “cheap grey” or similar, and your parts are small, you don’t need to post-cure anything. However, I always use “engineering resins” and these (large parts) always need post curing, so a wash and cure option (at around £5k for the pair) is a necessity. Even with these I still get problems. I use a lot of Tough 2K and the cure cycle makes these go soft so they warp (the cure cycle by default on the For Cure jus gets things too hot and near their TG so they “melt”.

So FL still have a load to do, I’m just waiting for them to release a “new improved” 3L+ to really piss me off!

Just for reference, I use TPM, it’s so much easier, and not inflammable, and water soluble. Thanks

Very much like a parts washer, but with minimal fluid volume. I’ll get all y’all photos shortly.

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I recyled a light exposure unit I had left over from when I ran The Palladio Company, which made platinum-palladium coated photograhic paper.

The sensitivity of the paper was very close to the 405 nm used for curing resin, and we made light sources using actinic UV bulbs. The bulbs are commonly used for aquarium lighting, and the spectrum brackets that of the resin. Aqueon is a reliable brand.

I just built a reflective box around a unit that had 8 20 watt 24in bulbs. I put in a turntable just to be sure the exposure was even.

I believe I get a thoroughly cured print. Close enough for my uses.

If I didn’t have the unit lying around, I would have used LED lights, with the proper spectrum. But I didn’t do any research on how much power you’d need, so I can’t help you with that.

Sorry!

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FL struggles with getting new product to market.

Delaying release in favor of a complete solution would be great, except for the timeline.

It would have added nearly two years to the delivery, and while the lack of finishing stations is far from ideal, I needed the printer’s larger capacity sooner.

You do have the choice of waiting to buy until the product line is complete, and the settings tweaked as experience builds.

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I sort of agree with you, but actually it goes a bit deeper than that.
If you went into a Mercedes dealership (could be any OEM!) and bought a new car, which when delivered to your home, you found out out that it had no steering wheel, (and hence couldn’t use it) you would be pissed off, especially if Mercedes then said “oh, yes we know it hasn’t got a steering wheel, but it will be available in a year”. “Meanwhile, you can make your own steering wheel out of crap which might work, and maybe allow you to drive your car”.

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