From your experience, how do you use the finish kit?

Now that some of you have had your printers for a few months, we want to get your feedback on the finish kit. We want to get a better understanding of what’s good about it, what could be better, and specifically any neat tips and tricks you’ve come up with to help remove, clean and finish your parts.

Your quick start guide came with a recommended process; wear disposable gloves, remove the build platform from the machine, place it on the podium, scrape off the parts, wash them in IPA (90%+), agitate for two minutes with the basket, leave for 10 minutes, remove from supports, and allow to air dry. Do you deviate from this, or is this working?

We’re particularly interested in any improvisation you’ve done or tools you’ve added to make the process easier.

To help us, we’d love it if you could do the following:

  1. Share a photograph of your finish kit (don’t clean anything up, we want to see how it looks on a day to day basis!)
  2. Share how you remove parts from the build platform.
  3. Mention any components you’ve added, and anything provided that you don’t use.

Here are a few more questions to get the conversation going. Have you done anything to secure the tray in place? How do you remove parts to prevent them flying off? Are you using any cleaning products other than IPA in the process? How often do you clean the kit? Where do you keep the finish kit? How is the size of the bucket? Did you add a secondary rinse bucket? Is the foam pad or rinse basket useful? Is the podium useful in securing the build platform?

We haven’t heard too many comments in general on the finish kit, so a healthy mix of what is working as well as what you’re less fond of would be really helpful. Our engineers and designers will keep an eye on the thread. Thanks in advance for your responses!

An issue I keep having, and a small trick:

  • Even if I follow the process, my prints almost always have a sticky surface. I tried washing them down with hot water after the 10 minutes and that helps a bit, but in the end they still end up a bit sticky. Leaving them out for a few days helps a bit, but ideally I’d like to be able to handle them right after the cleaning with alcohol. I was even thinking about getting some UV lamp setup.

  • A nice trick that works for me to clean the alcohol from the cleaning tank is to run it through a paper towel. It comes out very clean and I can reuse it.

I think the finishing kit is neat. I wish it didn’t slide around so easily on my desk though. A rubberized bottom would help.

Attached is a photo of what it looks like next to my Form1. I use most of the components, but have also added a pre-rinsing container of alcohol. That way I don’t contaminated the main bucket as much.

I also use the cover of the container to keep any resin from dripping onto the machine when removing the build platform.

It’s funny, and I can’t believe no one has mentioned this yet, but I could have sworn that I saw a picture of what the finishing kit would look like on Form Labs website and it included 2 buckets, not 1 :wink: And those buckets look nicer and larger.

here is a link

In another picture you can see the scraping knife that I use to remove the part. It works much better than the included spatula. What I do is I lift the edge of the base a little using the scraping knife and then shove the spatula underneath and remove the part with ease.

I think the tweeters are nice but I rarely use them.

I did buy some jeweler’s cutters for about $10 that I use for cutting the supports off. It’s easier to cut the supports right after you removed the part. Once it cures a bit, they have a tendency to shatter or snap with force when you cut them, and sometimes with negative effects (broken parts, damage to the part, etc)

I also use sanding paper and some small files to smooth out the bumps left by the supports after the part has cured a bit.

I think this kit should not be called a “finishing kit” until all the parts are provided for finishing, including the sanding materials, and maybe a small UV curing box. For now it should be just called a “part removal kit” :wink:

@Marc - I’m not having the sticky problem you mentioned.  I couldn’t find any 90%+ isopropyl, so am using 71% that was available at my local drug store and supermarket. I have two models I printed last night that air dried and aren’t sticky at all. 4 others that just came out of the alcohol around 2 hours ago and are not sticky either.  Maybe give that a try?

Like @Monger, I am using a set of snips to cut the supports.  I chose to go with flat-cut soldering snips (since I have 3 pairs laying around in the garage) and they work much better than the scissors or pocket knife I used first.

Also, I find that the putty knife is starting to leave scratches in the build surface aluminum, so am going to switch to something else like the razor blade scrape that Monger has pictured.

Just looked at the link Monger posted - while those are larger baskets, since the build area is square, not sure what benefit we would get from a longer, but more shallow pan… and not sure why we’d need two.  I do think a hard plastic scraper instead of the supplied putty knife may work better for less chance of gouging the build platform though.

Hi everyone thanks for the sharing so far.

@Monger designs, that early version of the finish kit was designed for a process whereby you rinsed the part in alcohol and then a second quick rinse in water. However, this was replaced with a single alcohol bath as the parts have the cleanest surface finish when you allow the alcohol to just evaporate. Smart double purpose for the lid as a drip tray.

In terms of interesting additions, I just heard from a Form 1 user who has been using a soft silicone spatula to help remove cured material from the resin tank instead of the hard scraper that we recommend. Something like this:

@Marc - cool tip about cleaning the alcohol through paper towel. We’re very interested in ways to extend the useful life of your supply.

How are you finding the process of removing the parts from the build platform itself? Do you use the podium to do so?

I wouldn’t be too concerned about scratches on the build platform. On early prototypes we used to scratch them up a bit to increase adherence to that surface. So I suspect all you might see is parts becoming harder to remove.

In general I really like the finishing kit.  I agree with most the putty knife is not much help and a better tool to remove the base would be helpful, although a software change to redesign the base so that it has an edge that guides the tool under the base would be very helpful.  Currently I have my finish kit braced against the back of the counter and have a beefer putty knife that I then hit with my hand and yes parts fly off and bounce around.  I like the tweezers, but I can see were a small tool to snip supports would be helpful.

I like the foam pad and the alcohol bath, but a finer mesh is needed on the basket for those of us making insanely small parts ;).  Never thought I could print a hand gernade for a lego character but you can and it looks great!

I used a razor scraper for awhile, but it was way to easy for me to put some really deep gouges in the aluminum plate so I went back to brute force.

Another useful add would be a UV safe storage container for a partially filled tray, while I could see that being built into the finishing kit I’d be concerned that the banging jerking that occurs during part removal would make resin splash out of the stored tray.  But since the resin is so viscous this may not be an issue.  I think you could easily store two resin trays under the current footprint of the finish kit.

The flat cut snips I’m using are these:

A whopping 6 bucks a pair! :wink:

I find they let me get insanely close to the support apexes and only very minor trimming/sanding after that is required.

Just wondering if a ultrasonic cleaner with alcohol can clean the printout quicker and more effective on hidden part. Waiting for few hours of cleaning is painful.

Hi JImmy,

We tried the ultrasonic cleaner with alcohol; it’s not cleaning any faster or better than just soaking the part in alcohol.

I’m usually rubbing the part a little in the alcohol and you can use the squirt bottle to give the part final fresh alcohol rinse.

I was wondering if a alcohol jet/pump used in the bath might be helpful or even something like an oxyginator with bubbles like a fish pump generates.

There’s a  sla finisher that I thought might work for parts.

Just did my first prints, and for what it’s worth here are a couple of things that seemed to work well:

  1. little container of antiseptic rubbing alcohol (70%) wet wipes from pharmacy/grocery
    I found them handy for removing that last bit of gooey resin film after the alcohol bath
  2. cuticle snippers worked well for support removal.
  3. Initial removal from platform with a pocket knife, until I can lift the base high enough to get the putty knife under there

Sadly, I think I already lost my tweezers.

I haven’t used the foam pads much, and the tweezers are rarely used. I’ve modified the wash tank a little, but I’ve since removed the mod.

I have two stations: a part removal and drying station, and a wash station. The part removal and drying station consists of the finish kit platform, a couple of plastic containers (one for washed and dried parts and another for unwashed failures), a razor scraper, the spatula, a box of nitrile gloves, a box of tissue, and a small electric fan. It’s situated near the printer where the build platform can be easily transferred to the finish kit platform. The wash station consists of the finish kit wash container, a larger plastic box modded with an aquarium power head, a kitchen timer, a chip brush, small foam makeup pads, a pair of chopsticks, and a straining ladle. This is situated in a corner of my bathroom (the photo was when I had it in my kitchen).

The two stations are separated because the printer’s in a room with carpet, and I’m prone to spilling large containers of fluid.

The procedure I follow now to wash and dry the parts are as follows:
1: With a glove on one hand, remove parts from build platform using razor scraper and spatula, with the build platform sitting squarely on the finish kit tray.

2: Transfer parts to Formlabs-supplied wash container filled with alcohol.

3: Agitate the parts under the alcohol with the gloved hand, rubbing the part to remove excess resin. This takes about 2 minutes.

4: Rinse the parts with alcohol from the squeeze bottle over the first wash container.

5: Transfer parts to the power head-modded larger container filled with cleaner alcohol (91% isopropyl or higher purity).

6: Plug the power head into the outlet and let the parts swim in the tank for about 8 to 10 minutes.

7: Rinse parts with alcohol from the squeeze bottle over the second wash container.

8: Set the parts on the finish kit tray and dry them with the fan.

If the part is sticky after drying, it goes back to the second wash tank and I rub it under the alcohol with the chip brush and foam makeup pad. I might try the presoaked rubbing alcohol wipes next time, that sounds handy. :slight_smile:

With the alcohol, I’ve tried using the paper towel filter method, but it only seems to catch the hardened particles. It doesn’t seem to catch the diluted uncured resin. Instead, I usually keep the larger second tank filled with the cleaner alcohol and transfer that to the first tank when it gets too saturated with resin to clean parts well. I take the alcohol from the first tank (which usually has a high resin content) and set it out in the sun in a container. As the alcohol evaporates, the sun hardens the resin, resulting in a crazy-looking gelatinous mass that gets thrown out with the trash (wish I had a photo of it). If the alcohol isn’t saturated enough to solidify, sometimes I’ll just filter the particulates out with a coffee filter and keep it for the first wash tank. I also tried filtering the alcohol through charcoal filters (aquarium type), but that didn’t work well, either. Distilling… maybe one day, but I don’t want to break any laws lol.

With the wash tanks, I tried initially modding the Formlabs-supplied one with an aquarium air stone and air pump, but the bubbles don’t create enough turbulence to make much of a difference. Agitating by hand is much more efficient than the bubbles are. An aquarium filter didn’t move the alcohol enough, either. Eventually, I built the second tank, a 7 quart container with the aquarium power head and a circular container in it to create a whirlpool. I was worried that the pump could start a fire, but the pump is sealed and the impeller is driven by magnets. I had to fabricate a metal mount to for the pump since the suction cup it came with didn’t stick well to the container, and the alcohol would cause silicone sealant and hot glue to lose their stickiness. The pump moves the alcohol very quickly, and they sell more powerful ones, but the one I used feels sufficient. I keep it filled with about 5 quarts of alcohol.

All the second wash tank parts (except for the metal for the bracket) were purchased at Walmart for about $35 or so. Below are links to the parts if you’re interested. I bought the latch box as a single in-store. I may add some kind of silicone seal to the inner lid to keep the alcohol from evaporating.

The finish kit tray is a huge mess right now lol. The Press ‘n’ Seal plastic wrap is what I’ve been using to temporarily seal my resin tanks. Since it’s slightly tacky on one side, it creates a decent seal without having to wrap the whole thing.

After using the kit for a couple of prints I no longer use the bath. Reason being IPA costs too much and the default method of cleaning dirties the bath too quickly.

Now I only use the base to hold the platform while I use a small hammer to chisel away the parts off one by one. It’s the simplest and fastest way to get parts out and the scraper provided does the job wonderfully, taking only seconds to remove each part.

I’ll then try to remove as much residue resin on each part using paper towels and removing supports at the same time since most of the uncured resin is stuck to the support structure. But with the new trick to recycle IPA in the other thread I might revise this part of the process to give IPA another try.

Lastly I clean my parts one by one for larger parts and whatever I can put in a paper cup for smaller ones using acetone/nail polish remover each cycle lasting 10-20s. Scrubbing is optional as it really removes any slimy/tacky feeling that the IPA leaves. Drying the parts in a large piece of cloth is helpful in removing excess resin than just leaving to dry.

Finally I’ll leave the parts in the sun for post curing . Leaving them for too long makes them kinda dark yellow and they will be more brittle and ugly so I’ll stop the sunning once they are sligfhtly yellowish and doesn’t feel too bendy

I’m finding that a sharpened, narrower width putty knife and a 4 oz hammer is working well to remove prints from the build platform.  With light taps, I can force the print loose without budging the rest of the finish kit.  It’s not even attached to the table.  I sharpened the putty knife in a knife sharpener, but a grinding wheel would have worked just as well.

first let me say i don’t like the cleaning part the tiniest bit… It almost always gets messier than expected/anticipated.

I threw away the finish platform as i consider it to be useless, i just put the print head on a piece of carton and use wide blade x-acto knife to get parts off of printing base…

I would like the rinsing baths to be bigger (wider, not necessarily higher), so i can rinse parts 1st time while they are still on the build platform. Would like to have possibility to take aluminum part off of building platform, so i can soak aluminum + printed parts as a whole, prior to removing parts. That would really help in keeping mess as small as possible.

Would also like to be able to incline build platform to angle once print has finished so any resin trapped in/under/… could drip out for some time without me having to hold it all the time.

When i need to clean resin tray, i use sharp edged piece of plastic to scrape silicon layer. Then soak it with IPA. I try to avoid using cloth/paper as it will always leave small particles on silicon layer. If however silicon layer does get dirty with cloth/paper/… parts, i rinse it with  (tiniest amount of course) resin, and scrape clean with plastic part. Rinsing resin goes directly in bin.

I have some very fine copper mesh (60 wires/inch) which  i use to filter out any contamination parts in resin.
Most/almost all of my prints come out ok, so i think techniques i use are safe.Still hate the sticky/messy cleaning part of printing. I loooove the drawing though ;-))


and totally OT, but comments should be listed most recent first…:wink:

We got 2 cleaning containers with our Form1. We use 99.8 % IPA that we get from MSC. It is pricey at $40 per gallon, comes in 4 gallons per box and they won’t split a box.

For the first rinse we put our parts in the container, put the lid back on, keep one hand on the lid the other opposite and shake the whole thing for 2 minutes. Remove the parts and soak in the second bath for 10 minutes. Once out of the 2nd rinse. I use a rag or paper towel to rub the part dry. This seems to remove any residual “stickiness”. The other guys who cleans likes to use a nylon scraper I made. (I used 1/8" X 1" nylon and ground a bevel on one end using a disk sander with a 60 grit disk, finished it off with a smooth cut mill file.) I found the nylon scraper more necessary when we were using 70% IPA, with the 99.8% I find it is not really needed, IMO.

I should mention that we use a 3" putty knife with a beveled edge to remove models from the build plate. We only use the supplied scraper for scraping the resin tank. We have never used the tweezers.

I use 99.9% Acetone to clean my parts, as well as 99.9% IPA. Acetone cleans much faster - dries quicker and smells better than IPA. It is though harsher on the environment and my hands, and I am talking about my maker space here not the world.

I wear gloves sometimes, but usually don’t has they get in the way.

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