Garbage, unusable prints on Form 1 (original) - was "anyone have a non-Plus..."

I’ve got one. I haven’t been able to get usable prints out of it at all, not even once - though I came pretty close the first time around with a new tank and new resin. After that first print (that was still unusable, very rough, and had a huge gouge in the side where it partially peeled-apart during printing), it was just failed prints over and over again. A base prints to the platform, while the rest just stays stuck to the tank. The Formlabs test print (butterflies) is always a murky, disgusting mess - though about half of the butterflies stick to the platform and could be considered “printed”, they’re totally ugly, nothing like what Preform displayed.

I’m curious if anyone has a Form 1 and can share some experiences with me, that I might benchmark my Form 1’s performance against others. I actually can’t find any information or experiences with the Form 1 (non-Plus) that I can compare against.

Formlabs Support already tried helping me through various cleaning steps - cleaning the galvo mirrors, replacing the tank and resin (I originally got it with 2-year-old expired clear resin, and its original Rev1 clear tank), but those changes only made a slight improvement. Ultimately, the thread ended with an offer to send in the Form 1 and get it upgraded to a Form 1+ at a fairly unpalatable price tag… and it’s not speed I’m concerned with, it’s basic functionality! (I can live with slow prints… indeed I wish the Form 1’s laser could move slower in order to actually cure the resin properly and perform a successful print!)

Lastly, I wanted to mention a clue I feel might be relevant. Most of the fails involve print segments not sticking to the printed base at all – the base always prints. In the previous successful print, the supports all seem to have stuck properly to the base, but the model had a big gouge in the side where it seems peeling went wrong - along with an overall extremely rough, almost random-noise, surface finish. Maybe the peel action is bugged somehow?

Anyway, I really just want to hear if anyone actually owns a Form 1, and can share some of their experiences, just to get an idea of what I’m up against!

Hi, We own a Form1.
New, one of the first models. The original resin was too old to be able to print with.
Now we are printing with our own resins and the Formlabs resin and it works like a charm. We hardly have any failures. The only thing is that the dimension are (way) off when an object is printed tilted.
There is also a setting which changes the distance to the tank bottom. This seems to help in some cases.
The peel action you can see working when you switch the machine on, it goes through the motions.

Hope you can find a solution because it is a kind of a worry free machine.

I’ve always let it do its “magic” auto-orient and support. If a model is designed to be 3D printed (i.e. most stuff from Thingiverse), should I just leave it oriented flat?

I see the peeling mechanism work, but it makes some unsavory noises, and seems to lack limit switches, so it grinds against the end-stop regularly. That’s worried me, but I know steppers will do that (non-harmfully) when pressed against a limit… just don’t know if it’s normal.

Thanks for the reply! I feel just the slightest bit more confident already. :slight_smile:

You might need to do some fine tune adjustments to help the base stick better.

As for regular printing process–auto orient and supports usually do not give you the best results, it’s much better to orient them yourself and adjust the position of the supports.

Form 1 is a little wonderfull .
Take a new resin, clean the mirror and… print more and more !

Okay, I’m back at trying the printer again… low hopes, though. :unamused:

Still running with the new tank and new resin (white). Getting more and more disturbed that I’m pissing my resin bottle away on garbage prints and test prints. I’m using 100-micron DeVilbiss paint strainers to sift the resin after pretty much every failed print, checking the tank (though I don’t know how to “clean” the delicate surface inside if I can’t use IPA or wipes), and replacing the strained resin back into the tank - now nicely mixed.

I tried setting the bed offset to -0.5mm (higher), just a few clicks down from center, because the base always adheres but seems thinner than specified. Current print is running at 0.05mm.

Any experiences in what resolution setting might produce more usable prints?

update: yep, another fine f*@#ing complete and total failure…

Same as I’ve ever gotten. Except the very first time with the brand new tank and new resin, I got that one mostly solid object. Every print since then has just gotten worse and worse like this…

update again: I just noticed this. This part I printed has the same edge profile from the point at which the part begins (bottom side) to the top, so it should have a clearly defined edge, from the gunk which was pulled out of the tank. Here, in the blob I removed, it’s a nondescript blob with only the vague shape of the intended part. Notice the full base printed and began printing the supports… so the only part that should follow should be the distinct outline of my part!

Maybe… maybe something about the laser or its targeting is so painfully coarse that it can’t follow a precision profile, and thus that’s why everything falls apart when small segments - like supports - are involved?

And yes, I’ve cleaned the mirrors more often than I can count. :frowning:

This topic was automatically closed 15 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.

Well, I missed the thread auto-close by literally 23 minutes, but I appreciate getting it re-opened! The usefulness of a thread inactivity auto-lock is questionable, but perhaps a topic for another day…

Printer is still sitting there, useless, never having made a single usable print. Almost considering just selling it to try making something back. Maybe for parts. I don’t know. An incredible disappointment and waste of time and money so far… :frowning: The lack of manual controls and worse-than-Apple-like lack of fine tuning options makes it impossible to try diagnosing any further, which just adds to the frustration…

One more bump before the next auto-close… :frowning2:

I’d be happy just with usable prints at all… let alone accurate… but I don’t even know where to start.

Did you open a support ticket? I don’t see a reference to opening one but I may have missed it.
What have you tried, with the exact steps and results? New vat? New resin? Cleaned the mirrors? Laser spot test pictures?

We need somewhere to start with helping. I suggest printing the FL butterflies. It has been a long time since I printed them but I think they are still provided in Preform.

I would first open a support ticket. Then post up what you have tried lately. Waiting for the community to assist really isn’t the way to get your printer functioning. We can guide based upon experience but if your printer is truly broken and in need of service, the only one that can get you back up and running is Formlabs support. If you did open a ticket, what did FL say?

are you sure your mirror is clean? Did you clean with Ipa? At first glance with light it looks ok but if you shine the light right on it you could have IPa streaks that are almost invisible unless you really shine the light on the mirror. Also are your galvos clean? Are your support bases peeling off the build platform? Is your build platform securely fit on? Is the axel got enough grease? Many factors :wink:

Yeah, I started with a ticket. When I first got this unit, it still had its original set of resin and tank - now what, 2 years later? So it had basically never been used but a couple times. The prints were just about as unusable as these, but that was with very expired Clear resin and a clear, “Rev 1” tank.

So, support recommended that I buy a new tank and new resin. Fairly pricey to try, but I did it (I split the cost with a friend who also wanted to use it). I got one kinda-sorta OK print:

AARGH, the uploader or drag-and-drop isn’t working (“the file is too large - maximum is 7168KB” or so, but my image is 1.0 MB). Dropbox, then.

That’s the best print I ever got. The first thing I printed, with new resin and new tank. Always sparkling clean main mirror. Hadn’t even considered the galvo mirrors at this point (I didn’t know how it worked at that point, yet…). Supposed to be a Tesla Model 3, but kinda looks more like a blob reminiscent of a generic car… it was this model:!AohUnCWEgUwAgP4IZPCMzbtPD83q7g

So, I then tried butterflies.

I continued with the support ticket. Next up: get a video of the laser.

(that doesn’t embed properly for me, so try this link if it doesn’t play)

Seems OK, though I was never asked to do a spot test. When the laser shoots straight up to the light-blocking lid, it looks pretty “clean”, though I don’t have much of an eye for a reference…

Next up: try cleaning the galvo mirrors and small mirror in the back. I bought Pec-Pads and did that.

It was only downhill from there…

Support ticket ended at this point with a recommendation to send it in, spend $800 upgrading it to a Form 1+, and then we’d be back in business. Needless to say, spending $800 more (on a tight budget) is not, as they say, “bueno”.

And that’s where I sit today. I have no idea what to do anymore, because everything I try to do just seems to make the problem worse (and cost me more money).

Never tried cleaning the mirror with IPA. Just dry cleaning with Pec-Pads, most recently. Every time I cleaned the mirror, I used my camera flash to try to find streaks from different angles. It’s pretty pure, and definitely within a reasonable realm of tolerance such that it shouldn’t cause such astronomically bad failures… at worst, I’d expect inaccuracies with some difficult-to-see streaks, but not complete failures every way I try to print.

It does seem to have a pattern as if something is dirty or otherwise being distorted/blurred, but I’ve cleaned the hell out of everything I can imagine… of course, nobody and nothing ever recommends cleaning the soft layer inside the tank. And I’ve done Novus cleaning on the bottom of the tank (with a microfiber cloth as well as Pec-Pads). I can’t think of anything else to try cleaning…

Now all that makes sense. I would stop wasting your money on resin and supplies until you send in the printer.
Some observations with your prints.

  1. your calibration has shifted. That is why your butterflies are printing off of the build platform. You need to send FL your printer to properly fix this.
  2. Your butterfly prints look like mine had on many occasions. It points me to a laser problem. Yes, many here will tell you that your mirrors are dirty. Clean them all your like. I highly doubt cleaning the mirrors will fix your problem. Again, FL is the only ones who can replace your laser.
  3. There is a laser spot test embedded in the diagnostic part of the software. Looking at it like that can be deceiving. Regardless, with the first 2, you need to send your printer to FL. I would not waste anymore money on testing. Save up and have FL upgrade and replace your printer.

Did you purchase your printer second hand? I don’t see FL shipping a unit that never worked and not warranting it. If you did purchase it second hand, it seems that you purchased a broken printer. That would make more sense assuming the printer was out of warranty and why FL wants to charge you for fixing it / upgrading it.

I would contact FL again. See if there is anything else they can do for you and save up and have it upgraded. You will be glad you did.


Yep, that’s what I was afraid of :wink:

It was secondhand, but given it had so very little usage, I’m surprised something would go wrong so quickly! Perhaps just “calendar rot” or maybe it was stored away in a hot/humid climate like a garage or storage? (would that do it?)

$800 is a lot to swallow, but indeed I think it’ll be our next step. It’s still a way, way cheaper option than anything “new” related to these astronomically expensive printers. :slight_smile: But before I can consider doing that (or suggesting it to the friend/co-owner), I really hope Formlabs can offer some consolation that it’ll be a final fix… I really can’t rightfully consider doing it if we’ll end up with Form 1+'s other problems like laser flare or a melted-down set of galvos in another year and another single bottle of resin… Lord knows I’ve seen my share of “wow, that’s messed up” problems in this forum! :wink:

I suggest you look at the cost of 3D Systems or Stratasys printers and consumables if you want your jaw to really drop.

Formlabs boxes and consumables are absolutely dirt cheap for the quality of the parts they can produce.

They can’t, and won’t. It’ll cost $800 top see if it’ll work for you. You’ll get a new warranty though, so that may help. If it’s all too risky, and you want to cut your losses and maybe sell it, PM me a price.

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I can’t tell you what caused the failure. What I can say is it is worth it. If you have projects to print and will use the printer I would get it replaced. If not, it may be better to cut your losses and sell / give it to someone who is willing to pay to have FL upgrade it.

I believe the $800 is the fixed price. It can’t hurt to ask for a discount but I would not expect one. The price is not to see if it’ll get fixed. It is to get you a new (may be refurbished as I don’t know the terms of the deal) functioning printer.

Like every product on the market. It can and may one day fail. I would not get stuck on the what-if’s. I would get the printer replaced and start seeing what these printers can do. Sometimes I still am amazed and impressed myself.

I can’t give you any advice, I am in the same spot as you, and I’m not ready to dish out more cash. I bought new bin/ resins even photopads from amazon to clean the galvos. The support staff I must same went beyond my expectations. After reading your posts I can stop thinking it’s only me!

Once you get your 3D printer working, it will be worth it. My 1+ sat for over a year as I was frustrated too. I finally got time to get back to it, did a firmware update and it is printing now. I may have laser flare with my 1+ as I am forced to print at specific locations, otherwise the results are bad. But it is making perfect quality parts at the choice print surface locations and paying for itself now. I would not hesitate to send it in for $800 to get the laser corrected to be able to utilize the entire printing area. Regardless, you will not find any technology at the FL price capable of making these precise of prints. I am producing 3mm diameter 12 tooth pinion gears that are visually comparable to injection molded.

Is Form 1 compatible with resin of Form 1+ ?