Fuse 1 Down - She's DEAD - UPDATED!

I am going to sit on this as it develops into next week…but lets just say I am not very happy with this experience.

  • It first started with a “bad” Sift which we were told “never happens” with a bad motherboard. Brand new had to freight it back within the same week of delivery.
  • Then a bad chamber with major layer shifts that I was asked to fully dissemble to try and repair it myself. It was brand new…prior to them finally shipping me a new one that worked.
  • Then we could not print the advertised 30-50% refresh rate on Nylon 12 GF as advertised. Spent weeks troubleshooting that and wasted powder but mostly time… then they produced us a custom Preform to finally get it to work at least down to 50-60%.
  • Now our Fuse 1 is totally down after an obvious conflict with that “Custom Preform Beta” and their December Fuse Firmware update. It’s essentially “overcooked” our machine frying both heating elements till the point the connectors were brown and turned our chamber plate “red”. At least it did not catch fire…? After that and a few attempts to clean out the Fuse hopper and reset everything…new heater bulbs and an IR sensor…it is still bricked to this day.

Our major problem with this entire experience is that we were sold on “hand delivery and turn key…on scene… service and maintenance on this system” but after we bought it we were told that our location is too “rural” for their freight company with no support in the area.

Now just so you know…we are “20 minutes driving” south of Norfolk VA, Virginia Beach and the worlds largest naval super power, ship manufacturing and defense development area in the country… yes there is a farm field near us but I wouldn’t say we are really “far out there”… Also in the other direction, we are 3 hours drive from the east coast tech triangle, where we know they have Fuse 1 systems at colleges.

So now even though support has been great…and at least trying to help… they are suggesting we ship back the Fuse 1 and get a replacement sent to us…

However…they have no idea when that could be, as we are so “rural”… and from my past experience the freight guys will show up with no clue what they have and I will be the one putting the old one on a pallet myself if and when the new one shows up.

My next problem with all this is, that I asked with all the bad experiences so far…how much for me to PAY the difference and get the newer Fuse 1+ 30 shipped as the replacement?" The answer was it is not an option…

This comes after we were literally sold this “lemon of a system” in which we were told “never happens”…2 weeks prior to the sales rep failing to mention the new Fuse would have been available.

You can read the past threads on all this. While I do believe we did happen to get a “lemon of a system”…I find it hard to believe there were not more of these out there.

I will be highlighting this experience on our You Tube channel as I consolidate all this. I believe it is important for those like us who tried finding “real users” online prior to purchasing this system to have something other than sales videos available to them. Also, to cover the troubleshooting we had to do to get each problem resolved and to hopefully hear from others and their experiences so far.

Formlabs Support is very responsive…but not sure how well or often they actually get to talk to the engineers so been left troubleshooting a lot of this on our own.

Stay tuned…

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Putting together a full You Tube video on this entire experience next week covering everything from start to finish… Will be discussing in great detail…the faulty Sift, Chamber and now the Fuse 1. From what I see it will be the first ever You Tube video from a real user, not a salesman, covering a true review of the Formlabs Fuse 1. If you have seen another, let me know because I’ve searched… a lot.

Still…after countless hours at trying to make this machine run again, thousands of dollars of Nylon 12 GF material wasted (Formlabs Support has been willing to send me plenty of free powder…rather than actually fixing the problem)…here was my final attempt at canceling out “every” variable today, to troubleshoot this system on my own to be sure it is in fact down hard…and not something I could fix.

  • Full factory reset of the machine
  • Total clean out of the Fuse powder
  • Put 100% “virgin” Nylon 12 GF powder, straight from the jug into the machine

Total failure with the same issues since their December Firmware release.

My final attempts at troubleshooting this system

Will be looking at new options going into 2023

Thanks so much for documenting all of this… definitely have been following along.

Pretty disappointed to hear all of this…aside from the fact that the printer should just work…I would have expected support to really solve your issue by now, or at least just have sent you a replacement machine by this point.

Hope you find better luck in 2023!

No problem. I come from a background where we hold folks accountable and this experience has been miserable from this particular system but also hopeful…in knowing SLS and MJF definitely has a future…not sure about this particular machine though till proven otherwise.

If this machine actually functioned… it would be truly game changing going into the near future…but it has not. It just teased us with possibilities.

I’m typically busy trying to run a business and handling our own channel…but due to this system literally wasting over six months of my time…I will be deep diving and documenting this entire experience on You Tube over the next few weeks.

I’ve realized this Forum is only truly made visible and highlighted to folks already having an account with Formlabs and to new customers that don’t, it’s buried real small down there in the “footer”.

Did a lot of time trying to find anything other than a sales video on You Tube… next week it will be easier to research.

And yes…this company (not its support team) has really irritated me with all this faulty equipment that I’m constantly told “never happens”.



Thank you for sharing your experience here and for documenting this so thoroughly. I’m sorry to hear about the poor experience you’ve had so far, and I appreciate your patience given the circumstances. Making this information more accessible can provide insight for other Fuse users, even given the limited scope of this forum as you mentioned.

With all the faulty equipment, machine down time and the lack of any of the system support that was advertised and paid for to guarantee this system runs…my patience is running thin.

I’ve been reached out by a number of other customers around the globe with similar experiences and discussing with our friends in the additive advisory and sales industry. They are extremely shocked and looking into this as well.

This needs resolved by the end of the week with a running system.



Thank you for providing us with these details.

We greatly apologize for the frustration this situation has caused you. This is an uncommon experience with our products and surely not the experience we want any customer to have. The feedback regarding the issues you’ve experienced, including your feedback regarding the third-party freight company, has been heard and is being taken very seriously.

The problems with your Fuse 1 are not issues we have seen pop up in this way. We do believe the next best step is to replace your printer and get the malfunctioning printer back to our HQ in order to investigate this unique issue. Services and Sales leadership has been working with you to replace & upgrade the printer; it is currently on its way to you as we speak.

We appreciate your regular feedback and support throughout this matter.

-Formlabs Support

Appreciate that but the new Fuse showed up today, set it up and loaded up some test jobs and it failed in the same way on our initial three attempts. Squeezed out a XY calibration test first but barely. Was seeing the same chunks and crumbling happening as on the old machine that started in December. The second and third full job attempts (our typical parts) both failed out before actually printing.

Fresh powder, totally cleaned out the powder trays and reset it totally clean between attempts and it’s again failing out on preheating with crumbling material on outer edges of “both” our chambers.

At this point with a brand new machine, I only see a few possibilities.

  • both chambers went faulty (which I find hard to believe at the same time
  • Nylon 12 GF has an issue with your latest firmware releases as this all kicked off immediately upon updating the old machine. (I find this highly probable with its timing. If I had to guess, it’s something to do with you fixing the chamber temp calibration setting and making it actually work)
  • Or I happened to get multiple bad cases of Nylon 12 GF (I wasted through over 12kg of powder…these last two cases were from the same order. I used two 100% jugs to test on both the old machine and this one so this is not a refresh ratio issue or contamination)

Those are the only three possibilities at this point.

I’d assume someone at Formlabs has tested the new firmware extensively with Nylon 12 GF…and I’d love to talk to them at this point or figure out that the past two cases of Nylon 12 GF I purchased were bad…

Either way I wish support could figure this out and actually get us going again. Having multiple support reps coming in and out of this situation is not helpful nor throwing us powder and a new machine.

As a person who oversees software development and whom is pretty good at bug hunting my own software… my gut is telling me this is a new firmware issue conflicting with Nylon 12 GF as it was running great for months prior to December but it could be two bad cases of powder.

It’s 1am…been at it all night and hopefully wake up to some ideas from your team tomorrow…better yet the actual engineer currently running Nylon 12 GF on a regular basis, on the current firmware, would be very helpful

That sounds like a very frustrating experience indeed.
From the description of what happened, I would also conclude that it is due to the firmware.
I spoke to another company here in Germany a while ago that uses eos machines. Here the companies are advised to do their own test prints to calibrate the build chamber temperature.
The aim is to find the exact point between a temperature that is too low, where the parts warp and get carried away by the spreader, and a temperature that is too high, where all the powder starts to fuse together.

Based on this feedback on the eos machines, I would now think that a build chamber temperature calibration downwards would be necessary. This also coincides with the burnt out heating elements from another post. That the build chamber is indeed currently too hot for the Fuse1 with PA12GF.

On the eos machines, this is done by printing an object that has two crosses on top of each other. Here, during the printing process, it is observed whether these crosses warp. This process is recommended even though the machines cost maybe six times as much.

Maybe you could try to reduce the temperature offset in steps of -2°C?

We have never had such problems with our PA12 prints. But I can well imagine that PA12GF is even more sensitive here.

I can understand from experience that at a certain point it is simply frustrating to work with a machine and to make further prints. Here I would clearly expect from Formlabs that this should not happen to this extent, even if I can understand a little that the original source of the error has not yet been definitively found.

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Final Conclusion -----------------------

So here is what I figure happened after one of the support reps mentioned something yesterday, which clicked something in my head.

To recap I could never print Nylon 12 GF below 70% successfully on our original Fuse 1 without surface armor curling. After complaining about that for weeks one support rep told me to try up’ing my chamber temperature setting. Another support rep in the same email thread, said that the chamber setting does not actually work or adjust anything in the Fuse. (As said before, a big issue is the multiple support reps jumping in and out of these support tickets, each with their own conflicting thoughts and ideas. Also after months of dealing with this, not a single live phone call was made even though this system was sold with “on scene support if the machine goes down”)

I also find the fact that the chamber temp calibration setting never actually worked on this SLS system, kind of funny, especially with the importance of it discussed by CarLayer above…

Regardless, a custom PreForm Beta was produced for me to try which 100% fixed the surface armor curling issues. No idea what this Beta did exactly but it allowed me to go down to the 50% refresh rate as advertised on Nylon 12 GF.

With that combo we were ripping out dozens of successful chambers…very happy!

Come December we saw the New PreForm and Fuse 1 firmware updates and I asked support if any of my custom Beta settings were rolled into this new release? They said “no”. I asked if I should update? They said that I "should probably keep running my Custom PreForm Beta but it is fine to update the Fuse 1 firmware. I saw that one of the updates for the Fuse 1 was in fixing the chamber temp calibration to make it actually work. So at this point I knew which of the support reps were correct…and those reps confirmed it again and told me how sensitive it is and “just little chamber adjustments…can majorly effect the prints”. Your range in adjustments only being + or - 5c

As soon as I did that, everything went to hell. Parts all seriously warping and the same batches we were running for months came out as solid bricks

After a few of those we decided to try to update our PreForm and try them together.

We imediatly tried the new XY dimensional calibration released with this update and got this warped top service.

We tried more runs on our parts, making sure the new working chamber temp was defaulted to ZERO offset and the surface armor was literally still locked onto the parts. The parts we could get cleaned out were warped. We could tell the surface armor in the Fuse camera was a lot darker looking then normal. We brought this up to support and they said it looked normal.

We looked up at the heater bulbs and realized they were burnt BLACK…

They sent us new bulbs and tried those.

We also had 3 different IR heat sensors we swapped and tried during all this but I knew this was not the issue as the Fuse overall temps were all normal. I knew that it was the Chamber bed that had to be getting way to hot as the layers would go down fine but once it switched from “PreHeating” to “Printing” the surface started to crack and crumble.

At this point after a lot of pressing… and the not so good experience we had on this system from the get go… Formlabs allowed us to do a return on the original system (which I appreciate…even though there was some more headache caused from that process with their billing department…) We paid the big chunk extra for a Fuse 1+ to show up this week.

Hoping we would start ripping out parts in record time…we saw the same pattern of issues we had on the original Fuse.

So looking up at my last post we now knew this was either

  • Both chambers we had went bad at same time…both having the same issues
  • Bad firmware in that the new Chamber Temp calibration feature was not working well with Nylon 12 GF
  • Or we happen to get 2-3 cases of bad powder (We tested them fresh out of the jug at 100% refresh as well as 70% refreshed)

So sending this all to support with multiple folks jumping in… finally yesterday one of them said something that clicked!

He asked how the fiber gaskets looked on the chamber due to the cracking were now seeing along the sides of chamber. Soon as he said that I did note, that through all this I saw very small amounts of powder coming out the bottom of the chambers I never thought I noticed before. I also took note, that after the firmware update and all these issues that the chambers them self felt “sloppier” in the Fuse. Looking at the fiber and rubber gaskets they looked okay. I even pulled the bottom grate off them and looked from the underside.

However, when he said this, it did make sense at least with the cracking along the edges on preheating/initial printing. (Did not explain the hard surface and crumbling…we will get to that…)

SO I realized that our rubber Chamber seals lost some “loft” and not as springy. This happened all at once during just a few failed jobs obviously from the excessive heat. These chambers have only been run a dozen or two times since new.

I also pulled the bed and fiber gaskets out of the chamber. Even though they looked solid from the outside… I realized that they were "extra crispy with powder literally “sintered” against the chamber walls.

Now keep in mind, during all these issues where I knew the new Fuse firmware update conflicted with the Beta PreForm they had me running, this thing was getting HOT inside to cause all the damage we were seeing. In just a single print one of these chambers went from being the black color shown to the bright red color you see in this pic.

They said its normal to get red over time but I knew that was not normal happening in a single job…

So they shipped me new fiber and rubber gaskets because we knew that they obviously got cooked as well. As we wait for those, I decided to try and nylon brush out the fiber gaskets. While they do look better, they are definitely still “crispy” under the fuzz but I believed I could do a test with them like this.

HOWEVER… I knew this wasn’t the complete issue but only part of it. While I believed some material may have been slipping though both the rubber top seal and the fiber gasket, there was obviously still a heating issue in the bed.

So when I flipped the beds over this is what I found…both heating pads were delaminating from all corners.

So as CarLayers pointed out above and Formlabs mentioned, with bed temperature adjustments being very sensitive to get dialed in, obviously the heating pads hanging off the actual bed were most likely causing the rest of the issues. I assume these originally delaminated from all the excess heat added to the system from the firmware issues. Now, I am sure they are still the cause of the heat spikes and failed bed cracking in this new Fuse 1. So everything compiled into this total nightmare.

Because I found this, again Formlabs support has been very willing to ship replacements and are now suggesting replacing these chambers as well and not just the gaskets…

I did decide to grab my Kapton tape and was able to secure it temporally on the edges of one chamber. After doing so I ran another test job last night and while there was some slight crumbling from the bad gaskets… the job did miraculously complete with no over heating it appears in the chamber. I have yet to post process these parts…so fingers crossed but at least hopeful. .

UPDATE: after that first and only successful job on the new printer, the next few failed from what appears to be the faulty rubber chamber seals. We will see how it goes whenever the new seals and/or chambers get here. However looking at the replacements…Formlabs is not planning on shipping them out for another week…

Regardless, Kapton tape ain’t going to cut it long term as I could only grab a small edge with it but a good test till the new chambers arrive.

Final thoughts-----

If I did not personally run a business where I bug hunt issues in my own software with a solid understanding in patterning these issues to eliminate all variables…so that I can then express these patterns and issues to my developers… this entire experience would have been made A LOT worse for anyone out there expecting to get a “Turnkey system with FULL ON SCENE support if and when needed”…as that has never happened.

I do appreciate the responsiveness of the Formlabs support team and willingness to make this right, but I’d expect as we would for our CNC machines, that whenever something goes down, a rep would be there to get it back up and running immediately without all this troubleshooting needed by the business owner themselves.

Time is money…and we’ve lost thousands a day over the past few months trying to figure all this out on our own.

SLS is great and I believe this system itself is the best option for folks like me prior to stepping up to industrial SLS or even MJF…but Formlabs needs to tighten up their response and support system.

I have questioned myself during all this, if it would not have been better to go with a system through a local additive manufacturing dealer that might actually show up on scene or at least be willing to troubleshoot live if not over a zoom call but at least a voice call.

Will keep you posted. Our hopes is that everything I posted and complained about on this forum so far, was due to a total dud and 'lemon" of a first system… and that this one actually performs. If it does I will be happy to post our progress and how it is being utilized.

Have a good weekend and thanks for listening

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