Form1+ Laser Focus Problem

Lately I’ve been having some problems with my Form1+. All of my parts suddenly started turning out “blobby” and at this point I believe I have traced it down to the laser being out of focus. Here are some pictures of the laser point after running Preform in “diagnostic” mode:

Link to album is here.

As you can see, the laser spot has a LOT of flare around it. Any suggestions on how to fix this – or do I need to send it in to Formlabs for repair?

Have you tried cleaning your mirrors yet? Most of the time, when things start to come out badly it’s due to the dust on the mirrors. The big mirror underneath will always accumulate dust and will require cleaning, but if dust gets on the galvo mirrors inside then it can have a big impact on your prints.

I inspected the primary mirror and I do not see appreciable dust build-up, but I will clean those just to play it safe.

Regarding cleaning the galvo mirrors: what’s the procedure for doing that? Do I need to open up the case?

If you’ve never done it before then yes. It’s not super complicated but enough so you want the assist.

Contact support and get the OK to go ahead to open it up and clean the mirrors inside, they’ll also send instructions on how to do that. Dust getting inside is the biggest issue with the Form1/1+, which was something they worked to fix with the Form2.

Don’t use air to try and clean it, the compressed air canisters can leave chemicals on the mirrors and blowing air inside can blow air further into the printer where the more sensitive mirrors are.

Actually, the mirrors “haze” over time. The environment is full of volatile organic compounds that love to condense out on smooth, flat surfaces. The hazing can be very uniform and hard to see if you don’t know what you’re looking for. For the Form1, mirror hazing is not a question of “if” but more of “when”. The galvo mirrors cannot be accessed without disassembly. But the primary and secondary mirror can. Try cleaning them first before going in the machine for the galvo mirrors.

The galvo mirrors are quite small. A speck of dust on one of those mirrors would have a significant effect on the beam when it reached the resin tray. Your picture doesn’t look like dust, the halo is fairly uniform which is consistent with hazing.

Yep, it was mirror hazing – both the primary and secondary mirrors and the galvo mirrors as well. The spot is nice and focused now after cleaning:

New photo by Shane Graber

Thank you everyone for the help! :slight_smile:

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