Form 3L Issues


Do you want to DM me the model? I can see if it turns out alright on my 3L?


Well, I see most are still having the same (and some new) issues.

On my end it’s all the same: Tried a new tank today and it was set to 1970 as usual.
I have to say that this is getting extremely annoying. Not only I lost confidence in (semi) large prints but also on the tanks themselves. I know they’re responsible for some (if not most) of the failed prints but having a new tank telling me that some hippie on New Year’s eve from 1969 to 1970 filled the tank with resin is a joke.

I’m now trying out Resin 4000, obviously with small pieces, so let’s see how’s my horoscope for today doing.


Regarding my experience with both TPM and an ultrasonic bath:

I’ve purchased the TPM from Formlabs directly and I got the Elma P300H for the ultrasonic cleanup.

My thoughts are kind of weird regarding this so let me try to explain them:

  • I have asthma. IPA, while it has an intensive smell and makes all my air quality monitors go crazy, never did me any harm. TPM, on the other hand, has a less intensive smell (although more nauseating) but after being exposed to it for about 30 seconds I start to have trouble breathing. I know that there are masks to solve that but that’s what happened.

  • The cleanup process is way better than using IPA in the Form Wash. After the first bath of 3 small pieces (less than 100ml of resin), the TPM got all cloudy (like what happens after 20~30 washes in the Form Wash) but the part came out dripping nothing but transparent TPM.

  • The quality of the cleanup is somehow better. I wouldn’t say supports come out better or anything like that but I notice (after curing) that the parts look much better.

  • TPM is gooey, a bit like vegetable oil although more liquid. While you can drop IPA, or even get your gloves filled with IPA and ignore it because it will disappear in a few seconds, this one doesn’t go away. The gloves are the harder part because you don’t feel the need to waste time to remove it (unless you don’t have anything better to do) so I’m using a pair of gloves only to get the parts out of the TPM.

  • While I could safely wash it down with water, I’m using the Form Wash to give the parts with TPM an IPA bath and after the normal IPA time they come out clean.

  • Elma suggests 80kHz for the 3D printed parts bath (to avoid being too rough) but after a single test I went down to 37kHz and that works better for me as the parts come out way better. Probably with very thin features that won’t be the best choice, though.

  • As per Elma’s instructions (of their 3D print kit) one needs to fill the tank with 4L of water, put the plastic tub in, fill it with TPM (I only used 10L since for now it’s more than enough - I don’t have any need to clean large failed prints), put the parts in the steel basket and start it on “Sweep” mode. It’s a very simple and clean process.

  • They don’t have adapters for the build plates so I’m now printing one for the Form 3 and another one for the Form 3L because I like to avoid getting uncleaned parts out of the built plates.

In short, and obviously in my opinion, the parts come out way better in an ultrasonic + TPM bath than they do in a Form Wash + IPA bath but dealing with TPM is not as easy and clean as dealing with IPA.

If I had to choose between both methods I would definitely select this new one mainly because of quality.


Just pointing outthis page where Formlabs lays out its material timetable for the 3L. I did not screen cap it earlier this year but I believe it has slipped by about 3 months recently. If anyone has a Feb screen cap it would be great to see it.



The sad thing is there go to for any issue with printing is sending out new tanks. Well i sent them stl files i was having issues printing and followed up with them 3 days ago and no one from support has responded.

13k Machine and i paid for pro support and i do not want to hear i need a new tank. They better come up with a fix for this lemon soon.


Thank you again Eks for taking the time to describe well your experience with TPM and Ultrasonic Bath .
We all appreciate for sure.

So, for the monetary side, TPM is a more expensive than IPA. But it’s supposed to last 3 times longer than IPA.
When you will be able, tell us what you think.

Have you tried Mean Green before?


I don’t have a screenshot but I can concur Formlabs deadlines the last few years have been pretty slippery.


I have done about 8 prints or so since we set up and started using our 3L. I have only had one print fail, and it was more my fault because of supports and setting up in preform.

I feel like I might be one of the lucky ones who haven’t had any major issues other than sometimes during the pre-print process it gives me tank filling fail, and i just retry and it works. That has pretty much been my only issue.

If I come across anything, I’ll be sure to post it here. I have a pretty bit 30 hours print that takes almost the entire print capacity in x y and z coordinates, so I’ll update the forum on the results.


Just an update here. I have printed a set of small parts a few times. I used Clear Resin and Tough 2000 Resin. Since changing to a new resin tank received, I haven’t had any printing errors. Yes, this tank is wrong, given its wrong date of manufacture (yes, it’s very annoying … ), but it works for the moment. There remains the problem of Preform estimates. And I didn’t try to print a big part that takes up all the print space. So, following more reliable resin tanks and updates, we will surely end up getting there! And the japanese tool is wonderful. Especially when you print directly on the Build Platform. But, on my last 3d print, my Tough 2000 parts were harder to remove and would break. This is the second time that the parts are like glass… Following the last update of Preform or because they were printed directly on the Build Platform.This disappoints me, because I have never scratched my platform on my Form2 … So, the 2 parts directly printed on the Build Platform are completely broken. First layers are with more UV exposure?


Hopping back here to give some updates on our side.

Some other pain points I’m seeing with the 3L:

  • Print times are inaccurate again just like with the F3 launch

  • Preform is laggy for larger models which makes slicing big parts a pain because I often go in and manually edit supports

  • Support generation is overkill right now, making it hard to remove supports because there are too many that are generated. Also - the angle of supports entering the model seem to be way too sharp, causing support tip “merging” into the model. You can see this on my Tough 2000 print, where the support touchpoints are huge and don’t break off the model properly near the bottom. If you look very closely, you’ll see that the support structure starts merging into the model before the actual tip contacts the model.

I’m hoping that after some updates the machine will be up to my standards, but right now it’s not.


Also - I’ve purchased the spatula directly from the manufacturer. It’s this model number:

Combining the spatula/scraper after using the side cutters has been working flawlessly for me 100% of the time.

I also modified the wash bucket with some air bubblers to get some agitation going. This was an easy 1 hour mod:


Do we have to contact them or can it be purchased in the site?


You have to email them.


Cool, thank you!


Regarding prints on the 3L, since my last post about it, I’ve been doing nothing but print in Rigid 4000.
No idea why but after around 20 prints and 8 litters of resin, I have to conclude that ALL prints were absolutely perfect in every way. The largest one I did had ~1600 layers and came out without any flaw.

Maybe I got a good tank, maybe it’s the resin itself, but what matters is that it works so I’m using it all I can until my luck runs out.

Also, and considering the large amount of IPA / TPM I now have to use, I have a new toy:

My main concern was the environmental impact because it’s hard to find any decent solvent treatment center around my area. This way the resin residues (and other unidentifiable things that end up there) are left in a plastic bag while the IPA is recycled back to a container which is a very welcome bonus.

I had a few containers stored with heavily used IPA (usually more than 100 cleanups each) and I was amazed to see that almost half of it was actually residues after spending the whole day yesterday recycling them.
No noise and no smell during the process (which is all automated apart from filling the bag with used IPA and removing it in a very clean way), just a bit of heat in that area. Also being a very small machine (45cm x 75cm and 1 meter height including the feet) means I didn’t have to find a large area to install it.

I still can’t recycle TPM because the machine only goes up to around ~220º (~170 of actual heating) and I require a vacuum addon which I was told that it makes a lot of compressor noise and the smell is exhausted to the outside. Neither of those cons is appealing to me.


Glad it’s working out for you Eks!

I ran a test with mine issued from support. It printed great although I do see layer lines in the print but believe it has to do with orientation more than anything. I have been using strictly grey v4 for my tests simply because it is the cheapest.

I did setup a conference call with support to get some insight into exactly what is the best way to print with this beast. Hopefully get some insight into it.


Interesting! I need to try rigid 4K when I get a new tank. I suspect rigid will print better because it’s stiffer so there’s less of a chance of layer lines.

To me, it looks like, aside from the intense tank warping issue, the 3L struggles to print large parts without a few random layer lines on the parts…something I’m sure can be fixed by tweaking print settings and/or tank tensioning/design.


Do you mind sharing where you bought this and for how much? Seems like a good way to reduce waste.

Also how long does the process take and is it safe to leave unattended?


I used the “Request Info” button on this page:
Then I was contacted by them (from Spain) in an hour or so and they were simply amazing from the initial contact all the way to installation.
If you’re outside Europe you waste nothing in contacting them just to see if they have representation in your country.

The link above is for the small machines like mine. They’re two (C1 and C2) and the only difference is that the C1 holds 10L and the C2 holds 15L. They basically said the C2 was too much for me based on the usage because I could simply use the 10L one two or three times in a row to get the job done. At least they didn’t try to sell me the more expensive one.

Regarding prices, this is what I got (you need to add VAT):

  • C1: 2050€
  • C2: 2640€
  • Each bag for the C1: 1.75€
  • Each bag for the C2: 1.89€
    (bags are sold in 100 units)
  • Optional additional pneumatic vacuum generator (for higher temperatures): 2400€

For me this is mainly justifiable for waste management and IPA logistics. For someone to justify it paying for itself then it would have to be a considerable amount of IPA.

Regarding the process:

  • Set your desired temperature and add 50C (for example, IPA boils at ~90C so you set it at 140C)
  • Set the failsafe temperature (if it exceeds it shuts down the machine) at a recommended +20C than the above.
  • Insert the bag into the steel tub and then pour the liquid (used IPA in my case) into it.
  • Point the hose to an empty container (that can hold at least the amount you poured in even though it’s always much less)
  • Set the timer to how many hours/minutes you want
  • Turn it on

It then starts slowly heating (like a Form Cure :P) and it starts pouring the clean IPA through the hose.
I was recommended 2 to 3 hours for the timer and then see how it goes. After around 90 minutes with roughly 9L of dirty IPA it stopped dripping clean IPA so I would say around 2 hours (just to be sure) for the full 10L.

It can be left unattended if you follow the safety instructions (temperature threshold, locking the tub correctly, leaving ventilation room, etc) as it will shutdown when the timer ends or if by any reason it reaches the temperature threshold (again, recommended no less than +20C because it may oscillate some +5/+10).

One thing to take note is NOT to open the tub right after the cycle. For one it’s not recommended when the machine still hasn’t cooled below 100C due to burn risks but you can’t imagine the God awful smell that the stew of mixed resins with IPA leaves when hot. I was recommended to leave it overnight to avoid smells getting out but, because I was in a hurry to get rid of all the old IPA, I ignored that and had to put on a painter’s mask as it was too rotten of a smell. The last one I did leave overnight and, while it still smells, it’s not the end of the world and gives you time to take the bag out and tie a knot to it.

Overall it’s a costly machine (I did saw another European brand that I can’t recall at the moment that was a bit more expensive but offered exactly the same) but it’s a peace of mind to get rid of the waste without too much damage and still have some IPA credits back.

Speaking of the IPA that I got in return: It appears to be basically the same (the smell is exactly the same as fresh IPA) so I assume it’s still good to use. The only thing that bothers me (but this is simply me being picky) is that the recycled IPA comes hot. Letting it cool down works but having hot alcohol is something weird to me.
Fun fact: I had a few 5L containers from one of the many brands I tried and while it seemed sturdy, it completely melted with the recycled and hot IPA. There weren’t any leaks but the container itself deformed in such a way like when you suck the air out of a bottle. All others worked fine but it was a lesson to first check if the container can handle hot stuff that wasn’t designed for.

Obviously you can recycle any solvent as long as it boils at a maximum of around 170C (or +/- double if you use the Vacuum). For example, the TPM boils at 242C so I can only recycle that one using vacuum.


I did try many variables to see what works best but I settled with the “If this resin + tank combination works, abuse it” method. And, as far as I’ve seen around, what works for some may not work for others so I do suspect that it isn’t something we do but what conditions (resin, tank, luck, etc) we meet.

I’ve had nothing but great prints with both Rigid 4000 and 10k. They’re both different beasts in so many aspects but both behaved as I expected (or rather hoped) they would. Your suspicion does sound plausible because I really did crazy things with it and I got no bad surprises.

I really have to try a really large print with any of the rigid resins once I have the need to it. I’m quite confident it will work but I’m always expecting the worst with the 3L :stuck_out_tongue: