I just cleaned all the optics after several build failures. The good news is that it is now building like the first time again. Our form 2 sits for long periods in an environment with some unavoidable dust, insects etc.
Cleaning the optics for the second time it was apparent that there are quite a few gaps in the optics chamber through which dust can easily migrate with the help of convection from the tank heater.
I have sealed most of the gaps in the optics volume with removable tape, but I think a rigid, clear protective cover for the whole unit would limit the chances of dust ingress significantly.
I am looking at using two ‘really useful’ 42 Litre boxes bonded face-to-face with the bottom cut out of one.
Anyone know of a cheaper solution to protecting a Form2 from dust while keeping it visible? Perhaps I will cut a hole for viewing and tape over some optically clear film?
Will a sealed cover affect the performance of the unit?
From a personal experience encapsulating the whole printer leads to overheating.
All our printers are running 24/7 with Zvat covers on them. We keep them covered even if they don’t print.
That allows to reduce the optics cleaning interval significantly.
About once every 6 months.
The printers do not overheat with these covers.
Also, we clean the printer window at the end of each day with an arctic butterfly sensor brush from Visible Dust.
This prevents dust from entering the optical chamber from the top window and keeps it clear from this very thin dust clouding effect that will eventually reduce the laser power and induce optical artifacts.
Once in a while we see a greasy or resin deposit and we have to clean the window with a PEC pad and sensor fluid.
However, we do not recommend using these too often as there is a risk of scratching the window coating.
The arctic butterfly brush is completely safe and can be used as much as you wish.
We have been using the arctic butterfly sensor brush for 6 years now on all our Formlabs
printers. This with the Zvat cover is one of the best investment you can do, especially if you have a parc of printer s to maintain.
Olivier, thanks for taking the time to answer so comprehensively.
Now that I am proficient in cleaning the optics, it is good to have a strategy for keeping that print quality for as long as possible. Is there a benefit in having a light blocking cover? I like to see what is going on.
I don’t have a feedback about sunlight effects on the Formlabs printers.
Our 3D printing shop is situated in the middle of my factory, in a room without windows and we never tried to operate any SLA printer close to a window.
However Formlabs do not recommend it.
I see a great benefit of the Zvat cover in shielding dust. That in itself is worth its price.
Note that it would be very easy to make a cover yourself with light blocking window fabric if you’d know how to sew.