Formlabs needs to address the need for Form 1 / 1+ Resin Tanks


#1

Our Form 1+ has worked beautifully for several years, and prints faster than our Form 2. We have no interest in junking the printer, but as others have noted, Formlabs seems completely uninterested in supporting the older model. When I asked Customer Support about sourcing new Form 1+ tanks, they told me to try z-vat, so I ordered several tanks and gave them a shot.

They. Are. Crap.

The z-vat tanks I received are chipped and smudged, but more importantly, they cannot produce a usable print because of all the particulate embedded in the PDMS. I’ve replaced the PDMS layer in a bunch of old resin tanks, and am well aware of how difficult it is to get the layer perfectly level without allowing any dust or small particulate into the tank. But that’s kind of the point - the PDMS layer has to be perfectly clear to do the job. I can see the dust and junk in every one of these z-vat tanks.

I’m an early adopter and a loyal customer, with a company that had planned to use our Formlabs printers as an important tool in both prototypes and final products, but I don’t have time to replace the PDMS layers as frequently as my company would need in order to keep the Form 1 in use.


#2

As an alternative to ZVats there is the flex vats that the pdms are inserts and inexpensive to change out found here: https://flexvat.com/

I tried an import tank from Ali Express that was clear like the older Form1 tanks but the pmds is 3mm too low so I need an adjustable build plate to reach it. Adjusting the height of the peel mechanism is not an option since the build plate post would hit the edge of the tank.

For resins I recently changed over to ApplyLabWorks and really like their product. You should ask Kevin for the material file for them so you can load it in your OpenFL. Their resins do have a slight odor but the lower viscosity and easy of cleanup as well as incredible sharpness to prints makes up for the downfall. They are a bit softer and slightly more pliable compared to the FL standard resins.


#3

I have just recently purchased 2 tanks from Peopoly for their Moai printer. These tanks are supposed to be identical to the Form 1/1+ tanks, other than the fact they are made of clear acrylic.

Peopoly ships their product from Hong Kong, but I just received a notification that the package will be arriving Tuesday. That’s less than a week from HK to San Francisco (I placed the order on 1/16.

Anyway, once I run some prints through it, I’ll report my finding. If this works, maybe that’s the alternative we’ve been looking for.


#4

I have just recently purchased 2 tanks from Peopoly for their Moai printer. These tanks are supposed to be identical to the Form 1/1+ tanks, other than the fact they are made of clear acrylic.

Peopoly ships their product from Hong Kong, but I just received a notification that the package will be arriving Tuesday. That’s less than a week from HK to San Francisco (I placed the order on 1/16.

Anyway, once I run some prints through it, I’ll report my finding. If this works, maybe that’s the alternative we’ve been looking for.

Could you share a link to the online shop?

Thanks!


#5

I also agree with the OP. I think it is a huge fail from FL to drop support for a perfectly functioning printer so soon.

I really pisses me off they have this attitude and makes me want to try to avoid as much as possible to buy a new printer from them if things are going to be like this.


#6

I tried an import tank from Ali Express that was clear like the older Form1 tanks but the pmds is 3mm too low so I need an adjustable build plate to reach it. Adjusting the height of the peel mechanism is not an option since the build plate post would hit the edge of the tank.

Do you mean this?

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Resin-tank-for-SLA-3d-printer-for-Form1-form-1/32808109035.html?

Is it no good? I was about to order 3 of them…


#7

Yup that tank the pdms layer is 3.3mm lower than the form1+ tanks. You can only adjust the build platform +/- 1mm.

If you raise the peel mechanism up by 3.3mm (which I think maxes out the screws) using the 1/4" nuts inside the back of the tank may hit the support bar for the build platform.

I started to design an adjustable build platform that looks fairly simple to make but I need to get some sheet metal and a small bench brake. Tan parts will be polyurethane.

My thoughts is to print the plastic parts then make polyurethane castings from them so I only need 3 molds.


#8

Sure, here you go:

Oh, and I forgot to mention, this vat is only $35 :grinning:


#9

So, this tank/vat from Moai doesn’t have the same problem from the one from Aliexpress that @KenCitron is reporting?


#10

I have no idea, but I am willing to try it. If you don’t want to be adventurous, then just wait for my review.


#11

Might be the same tanks just filled at different heights. Don’t know as I only have one so I can’t compare.
At any rate unless the 3rd party tanks are filled exactly to the same height at the stock tanks you will most likely need to adjust the height of the build platform either by software if it is within 1mm or physically.

Before I construct a new build platform I am considering the Flex Vat that uses inserts that are either FEP or PDMS and seems pretty cost effective for low volume use.

If I were to do high volume printing and coated my own tanks then the Zvat would be a good option. Seeing that you typically coat 5 tanks or so at a time to use a bottle of Sylgard from what I read you would need to make a substantial investment on Zvats at $100+ ea.

Would be cool if those imported tanks work right out of the box as I thought but so far that hasn’t been the case.


#12

So, basically, we need to ask the manufacturer of the aliexpress tanks to sell tanks without PDMS for 20 USD and pour in the right amount of PDMS? If the rest of the tank is OK then why not.


#13

If the tanks are too low you could try adding more PDMS silicone on top of the existing PDMS. Clean silicone will adhere just like a new pour. As long as it remains optically good you’ll be fine.


#14

I just received my Tanks, and they look very nicely made. However, the acrylic material they’re made from is not as thick as the FormLabs, so I’m not sure how much abuse they can take.

On the other hand, the bottom windows and the PDMS are nice and clear.

I’ll start another thread later after I had a chance to actually work with these tanks.

BTW, I ordered these on 1/16, so from Hong Kong to San Francisco, 6 days. They actually tried to deliver them yesterday, but I was not available. Not bad at all.


#15

#16

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