Frustrated after $10,000 - Need Help - Startup in Jeopardy

As a startup we decided to create a device that does some amazing things and during our earlier development sessions I convinced the team that we should get a Form 2 rather than depend on outsourcing our prototyping. We purchased the Form 2 and Meccatronicore BB Cure and plenty of supplies such as spare trays, resins, etc. which ended in a whooping $10,000 which is a healthy chunk of are startup capitol but would be well worth it if the machine worked.

After a couple of months I can say I feel more like a Form 2 technician then a startup guru on my way to success. My team is so disappointed in my choice as we are not able to print prototypes and the entire team is held up but still must be paid. We are at risk of losing our entire project because of this and currently Formlabs cannot figure out what the issue is after over a week of going back and forth with support at about 1-2 messages a day. Even worst is we decided to have our new unboxed Form 2 air lifted to Costa Rica before beginning because many of our team members reside there. This also means if Formlabs can’t call tag the unit from Costa Rica we will have to pay for someone to take it back to the U.S. and then pay the customs fees again to get it back here again, another $1000 not to mention the 2 new tanks and 2 new bottles of resin wasted on trying to troubleshoot what is causing this issue. What an expensive mess I’m really deflated by this incident as all these people counted on me to make a great decision and I feel I have failed them by choosing the Form 2.

Can someone please look at these images and see if they can figure out what the issue is? Huge thanks to whoever can take some time on this. I’m just hoping this can get resolved and we can finish our project and this issue is something minor.

The first sign of the issue was many lumps and bumps in the print. I knew this could not be right if this printer could also be used for jewelry casting because no lines and imperfections should exist. I reached out to Formlabs before this print and had them assist me with orientating and supporting the print properly and it gets a green checkmark in the software saying it is supported properly so the issue was not with the supports.

At this point I resolved with the help of support that we may have some bad resin or maybe the resin was not shaken properly so I strained the resin with a 190 micron filter and replaced the tank and this is what I got.

This type of failure happened again and again as I made adjustments until I could adjust no more. Formlabs asked me to perform an optical print which I still have not heard back on what was diagnosed from that as it has been Easter weekend. Here is what that came out looking like.

At this point I felt incline to try to figure this out with proper troubleshooting since as I mentioned the team has been placing a lot of pressure on me and I was not allowed to take holiday. So thinking this may be a model issue I decided to print a model that I had success with when we first used the printer, a unicorn. Needless to say it failed also having small hols, and lumpiness even though it was printed on the highest resolution for the resin.

So at this point I was thinking its a white resin issue and maybe I have an entire bad batch I decided to switch resins to clear resin and try a normal print. I was elated by the results as I though I had isolated the issue to the resin itself because the print came out well.

Since this worked I decided to take a brand new tank and a brand new bottle of white resin and give it a whirl with the same part. Success!

Okay so it seemed I had narrowed down the issue to either faulty resin in my first batch or maybe a bad tank in order to rule out everything. I then gave it another shot with new well shaken white resin and a brand new tank. FAILURE of maximum proportions.

The last thing I was left with was to try the clear resin on this part. I had to stop the printer as I saw it would eventually fail. As you can see the ragging on the clear resin, the bumps on the part and the scaffolding supports, the globs forming in between areas etc.

At this point we are stumped, I do not know what to try further and we are dead in the water.

If you would be willing to share one of the model files I’ll take a look and see if it’s a model rather than ptint issue.

Good day Jason,

Thank you for taking the time. I have attached the file here.

Is your printer located outside? (one of the pictures looks like you’re outside?) And is the weather very humid in Costa Rica right now? To me it looks like excess moisture contaminating the print area. I’m new to From 2 printing, but FDM can get contaminated by surface moisture and condensation and cause a similar effect.


Good day this printer is actually located inside but the area has many windows do windows affect the Form 2? Also we live in the mountains so it is less humid but Costa Rica is a bit more humid than most places. I will try moving Form 2 to smaller room with a dehumidifier and no windows and see what we get.

Both ambient light and humidity can effect prints. Also be absolutely sure the bottom of the tank is clean and also the top window on the optics. Any dirt, grease from finger prints, will effect your prints. I’ve found using eye glass cleaner on both helps but you can’t let it air dry. You need to buff it out with a clean PecPad and look at it from various angles to make sure it’s totally clean.

Although the wiper is supposed to move any flakes to the right edge don’t trust that it will. You will need to drain and filter the resin every so often then pour the clean resin back in the tank to print.

It takes time and a bit of experimentation to find the proper methods to get good prints.

Thanks Walter for the suggestion I have done all of the following and I have a pint running now so I have my fingers crossed. Despite Formlabs support said that light and humidity should not be an issue I have moved the printer to a room with no windows that has humidity control. I cleaned the main top glass which had some small smudges, I also made sure the tank bottom itself was clean. We will see what happens.

@Walter_Gillespie was the resin that remained on the aluminium build platform cured at all? or was it still liquid?

It was not resin it was just a smudge and cleaning it made no changes. Formlabs contacted me today and said basically based on their optics test the printer will need to be returned for repairs. :frowning: Hopefully they can call tag it via UPS or FedEx and get one back to us under warranty repair international rules. Crossing our fingers.


I’ve downloaded the file but it is corrupt - could you upload the stl rather than the formlab file?

Same thing, the file is corrupt. Please upload once more.

Im not experienced at all but for me it looks either the optical path is not clean fintergrints, cloudy tank, main glass has streaks from the IPA OR the laser unit is not working properly. All the Flakes on the prat could come through diffused instead of concentrated laserlight, whatever the cause for it is.

The one successful print is clearly confusing for me…

Good day.

“the laser unit is not working properly.”

Unfortunately this has been determined and it will need to go in for repairs thank you for commenting however. Hoping we can get back up and running fast, really counting on Formlabs.

It does look like something in the optical assembly is either malfunctioning or being obscured. You’ve done some really great troubleshooting to help us narrow this down and hopefully we can get you up and running again quickly. We’re excited to have you as a user and look forward to seeing your successful prints.

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