Formlabs doesn't measure up!

I’m so fed up with this POS printer. I run two MOST delta repraps, two UpMinis, and two Makerbot 5th Gens all day everyday with minor and easy to troubleshoot issues. This formlabs is messy, picky, difficult to clean up, and way too sensitive. I’m done with it. I’m going to give it away to some tweakers who can use it for scrap metal. Please do bettter with the next printers. Don’t design such sensitive little ninnies that can’t do the work efifciently, cleanly, and quickly. You may like them, but this average Joe whose been printing for two years and built two of my own that work better than yours, doesn’t.

Well I’m probably the least qualified person to reply to this post, but I’ll give it a go. Having had only direct experience with the Form 2 I can’t really compare it to other printers. A friend of mine has a makerbot and some home grown one he built. He says he stayed away from resin based printers (FL specifically) because of the mess (resin drips/spills, alcohol baths, etc.) My workspace is a bit messy due to the printer & materials…partially my fault, partially just due to the nature of the printer technology.

Regarding “picky” and “sensitive”, care to elaborate? I had many failures at the beginning…it was frustrating…but I got some of the quirks down and am having great success now!

My boss bought our printer because of its precision (building mechanical engineering parts). The print quality is supposed to be superb (again I can’t compare it to anything)! We are getting just that, superb prints, at a reasonable price, at a reasonable speed, with a little mess in between :slight_smile:

BTW If you are giving your printer away I have a spot on my workbench and a Fedex/UPS number I can give you :stuck_out_tongue:

  • Kevin

Been using my Form1+ for quite a while now and have no issues to speak of. SLA printers offer smoother finishes and higher precision models that you can’t do on a Makerbot or other fdm printers. You can’t really compare them because they are totally different in how they work and the purpose they are intended. If your struggling with your printer then you should check with people here on the forums for tips. Out of the box Formlabs did an outstanding job of making one of the most difficult of processes achievable in a desktop environment.

It is unfortunate your not happy with the process and maybe it isn’t the right printer for your purpose. Slamming Formlabs for what ever reasons or issues you may have in a public forum with the intentions of slandering them to me seems just wrong. I can see where the process in general can be finicky or take some thought to get the best results but there is no reason to slam a company that IMO has done the industry a great service.

If you want to describe what kinds of problems your having and have pictures of any failed prints I am sure there are many here willing to help.

You joined 4 hours ago and are slamming Formlabs…

Did you open a ticket? What did FL say?
What exactly is the printer doing or not doing?
Please post up some examples of the problems you are having. Pictures will help.

When you are ready to ask the community to help, we will be here.

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Welcome to stereo-lithography. Once you get used to it, you will wonder how you ever lived with such extremely crude print qualities inherent with the FDM process. I look back on FDM prints I was proud of and have to wonder what was I thinking!

Of course it is more messy, you didn’t realize you purchased a resin printer or what? The messiness is really a product of the technology, not with Formlab’s implementation of it. Perhaps you should do more research before purchasing next time.

When you consider it is capable of printing layers 1/4 the width of a human hair, and feature sizes not much larger than a width of a hair - from liquid GOO - its amazing it works at all. Of course printing at these resolutions it will be sensitive!

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Yeah, what’s the issue you’re having? Maybe we can help with the issue.

Can’t get around having to deal with liquids like the resin and alcohol. But I haven’t found it to be much of an issue, and I can deal with that to get the quality that the printer has. Also I very much appreciate how much easier it is to work with the printer over FDM printers where you have to experiment so much with settings.

I am sad to hear that you don’t have such a great experience with your printer. Have you contacted our support team yet (I can’t find a ticket under your name in the system)? We are always here to help you guide you through your printing issues.

In the past, we have had some users struggle with the transition from FDM to SLA printers, especially FDM pros. Did you take a look at our webinars section? I really like the Understanding SLA printing one as it gives a very good overview of what to look out for when printing with a SLA machine.

Let us help you get back up and printing successfully!

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I’m taking a while guess he’s trying to run the printer next to a bunch of FDM printers which are jerking and bumping around on the desk? I’m not sure what his setup/work environment is.

I’ve worked with resins before and when my Form 2 arrives, it’s getting a dedicated desk/station for it and the cleaning tubs and curing ovens.

I’m assuming having multiple SLA printers on the same table may be a bad idea due to vibration?

We’ve had several Form 2s running side by side for months. Not sure if it’s been an issue with FDMs (CS might know).

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Thanks Kirin for posting that. My Form 2 is arriving tomorrow and I’ve set aside a dedicated desk station just for it and the cleaning tanks/resin storage and a small uv oven.

I was wondering what would happen with multiple form 2s if they were on the same desk but it sounds like a non-issue judging from your picture.

I’ve been using my FDM PowerSpec 3D Pro Duo for about 6 months now. I was having issues with the quality so I decided to make a giant leap to the Form 2. I received my printer Saturday and set it up last night and dropped two parts on it. I didn’t like where all the supports were so I rotated the objects 180 on the X and sent it to the printer. My first print came out perfect. No issues. I was sure to level the unit at the beginning. I also used Tough ink and made sure my print had the correct version number in PreForm. No hitches, no problems, no snags. I can’t think of any printer so simple to set up and use considering the complexity and sensitivity of the process.

Maybe my second print will offer more challenge, but this was my first print so perhaps it was beginner’s luck? I’ll continue to post my results.

P.S. I also started it at 8:30pm and it finished at 2:30am. So it sat on the build platform dripping for several hours before I woke up. This may actually help as there was little resin on the platform and model. I did only 10 minutes in the IPA and it was pretty much ready to go. I think taking time after the print was finished and after it comes out of the IPA are good places to let the model rest a bit.

The only issue I’ve had is that for such a well polished printer I was hoping to see a Formlabs UV curing option. Instead I see a suggestion for a $35 UV curing chamber that is duct taped to a cardboard box. (Not that it is a bad thing) But I was expecting a more polished option seeing as after dropping what one does to purchase the Form 2, one would expect a nice $100 unit with an orange UV container or something like that. Maybe even heating options to get that 60 degree C optimal curing temperature.

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As far as UV curing chambers, the ones I’ve seen are very expensive, so a $30 salon cure with a cardboard box is much more preferable.

I agree with a market for a reasonably cost desktop curing machine at perhaps the $100-400 pricepoint.

I’m using the 405 nm Nail salon method for now but within a few weeks I plan to have a better solution.

Dedicated Lab hardware for UV curing is… expensive … thousands of dollars for essentially a sheet metal box with a power supply, timer and a few uv bulbs.

I’ve looked at DNA Crosslinking hardware via surplus from different companies in the life sciences sector, they look like microwave ovens and run about 50-$200 on the secondary market but the UV wavelength isn’t 405, it’s around 200.

I’m thinking of getting a lab oven for around $200-400 where I can set the temprature and time accurately and machine cut/install a UV lap in one or two interior walls.

There is also UV towel sterilizers there, low temperature heaters which may work for us but the nm range of the lamps is unknown.

If you bought the nail salon item (which FL recommends and uses in their offices) AND you thought it was 405nm, you would be sorely mistaken. Unless there is something I am missing…

Just yank one of the bulbs out…

That being said, this “oven” still cures my items just fine, I just didn’t want anyone thinking they were buying something they weren’t.

  • Kevin

I purchased a different unit, I searched for uv cure 405 nm and a nail salon device popped up that claimed 405 nm in its documentation.

It looks like a little ufo, I wish I had a testing process to verify the wavelength.

Yes, mine cures fine too and 385nm is adequate for curing according to Formlabs:

"Resin photo initiators are sensitive to a range of wavelengths in the spectrum. ... Using a 390-395nm wavelength cure box (or any cure box in the UVA range –– 400 to 315nm) is good for post curing our resin."

I’ll just add that I’ve been using a cheapo nail dryer to great success with my resin prints. The bottom tray slides out so you can prop the whole thing up on whatever’s handy to fit larger items under the bulbs. I Just need to add that if it suddenly stops working one day like mine did, check the actual power cable rather than any internal circuitry. Mine developed a short (not the first time here in 230V land) and a simple replace of the plug cable was all that I needed.

I’ll just restate that I have been using my setup (pictured above) with great success. I simply didn’t want anyone to think they were buying a 405nm setup when they were getting a 365nm setup.

This is all besides the point…this thread has gone somewhat off topic. Back to the OP…@adamjaybird Any response? Anything we can help you with?

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