Thanx for all your efforts, put me down for one too, I have been watching this thread on and off now for a while and can’t wait to take the final version for a spin.
I’ve been reading this thread with much interest too, it sounds just perfect what you are doing.
Count me in as well… a UK Form 1+ user
very nice topic that I just found! I’ll also be really interested to test a glass tank!
I would have a small question is the sylgard really necessary? have anyone test printing on the bare Glass?
keep up the good works
I’m game to try at least one as well… count me in.
Any prototype pictures to have a first look?
Thanks for your efforts.
This sounds very interesting - Look forward to an update Zak as we are interested to know more Thanks!
Hi Folks. Long time no talk, I must apologize for my lack of updates. There’s nothing like looking like a total flake in front of hundreds of badass makers and designers.
However you’ll be happy to know that- despite my lack of posts- I’ve been working hard and steady on this project over the last couple months, almost daily in some degree or another. What I thought would be a slam dunk has been far more challenging than I expected (as an understatement). It seemed as if every advancement in the design and prototyping revealed three new problems that needed to be solved. I think I’m on prototype version 6 by now, and have invested more money and hours into this project than I’d like to think about.
But with all that said I’m happy to announce I have what looks to be a finished design and production method!
I’m just going to keep this update short and sweet for now, later soon I will give a more thorough description of the tank, logistics, cost, (which I know many are eager to know) and more. But as for where we’re at now- I’m doing a beta run of 5 or so tanks this week of what I believe are the final design prototype. These will immediately be tested with a couple Formlabs users locally, and a couple of you out there who contacted me early on. If these tests prove successful and no changes need to be made, the green light is on and production will begin. Since I’m eating my words after my last projected launch date I gave, I won’t give another. But please know things are rolling and looking close.
Here’s a sneak peak of the latest glass tank as it stands, complete with PDMS layer. Thanks again for your patience everybody.
There is one question I’m trying to figure out, maybe I could ask for the forums advice? As you know, Formlabs newest version of the vats features orange tinted sides to keep light out of the vat when it is stored outside of the printer, and a black top piece to keep out light and particles out as well. Besides the glass bottom, the tray I’ve designed is made from polycarbonate it can be cleaned with alcohol, among other benefits. However, to my knowledge (after a very thorough searches) PC does not come in this orange tint. It comes in clear, gray or bronze tint, or opaque white and black. From my research, the bronze and greys will not block any significant amount of light in the 400nm range, which is what cures the resin. I could use the opaque white or black for the sidewalls, but then you could not monitor the height of the resin through the sides when filling, which to my knowledge is vital.
One option I thought of is to use clear PC all around, and then apply some sort of uv-absorbing orange film to the sides after the tank is assembled. This could work, but is untested, will require more time for r&d before release, and will add to the cost of the tank in the end. Also there is the question about how it holds up over time. I’m not familiar with coating methods of this kind.
So my question for you is- Is this a vital feature for you? And do you have any advice on how to achieve it economically and efficiently?
One user had this to say about the issue-
“Making the tank light-safe isn’t as important with these vats, since it’s possible to clean them out. If you can’t do that, then if you switch resins, you need to keep the vat from setting up, but you can, so don’t worry about it.”
Curious to hear others thoughts. Thank you advance for your advice.
It’s great to see some Form1+ aftermarket equipment being born. This tank looks great!
For the longest time we used a clear resin tank, we relied on the orange cover of the printer to block the UV. Since then, new colors were introduced and complicated the use of a resin tank. Along comes the UV resin tank, making the storage and handling of resins much much easier.
For me, a resin tank with UV blockage would be more of a convenience feature and I would rather have a resin tank that’s easier to clean and will not break as easily as the current Formlabs rev3 resin tank.
If this new resin tank will offer easier cleaning and also endure stresses from installing/removing, cleaning and storing, then the UV blockage feature is at the bottom of my list or not on the list at all
Thank-you to all who have helped bring this new resin tank to the marketplace!
Please put my name on your list as someone eager to purchase!
cheers and good journeys,
Technology Salad 3D
My understanding was you were going to produce a complete glass tank, made from borosilcate type glass. Did that prove too difficult to cut and assemble, or were there other problems/costs that made that impractical?
I agree with Brent. The orange colour is not important to me, I can store them in the dark easily enough.
That was my understanding too, that this endeavor was about making a completely glass tank. The PC tank would be better, but it might be hard to justify not just modifying an old tank with a Dremel and a piece of glass from a local supply store. You could even make it alcohol resistant with a paint-on coating. Sorry to bring this up, I can tell Time_Man has done some hard work on this that deserves thanks.
The original model was all glass. But the only reason we did it that was was to have a borosilicate glass window, and to be able to clean the thing out without damaging it. The current prototype achieves those goals, while being less fragile and easier to manufacture.
You’re welcome to try fitting a glass window into your old acrylic tank, and figuring out some kind of coating to make it alcohol-resistant. Let us know how that goes, okay?
As I said, it’s good work you guys are doing. I’m not knocking the work. We just needed to be updated on why you changed the plans and hear how it achieves the original goals, which you sort of included in that post.
Perhaps a professional looking ad would fit this. Maybe create us a webpage or a brochure highlighting the benefits?
I met up with Zak recently at his studio in Richmond and was able to see his progress on the glass resin tank that he is creating. The design, fit and finish of the assembled unit I reviewed is of a very high quality. He is just sorting out a few issues to make sure they come out great. I really look forward to testing his first article. Actually, it’ll probably be testing the 2nd article because Andrew is a bit closer to Zak than me.
Thank you for your comments and questions. First I’ll address the inquiry about why we moved away from the all-glass tank.
It is true that the first prototype I had made was all borosilicate glass. I had originally thought that this was the best route to go. But as I better got to know the function of the tank working with the printer and did more R&D it soon became apparent that this was not advantageous from a production point of view nor a functional one.
My intentions have been to make a tank which-
- Provides print quality on par with or better than the stock formlabs tanks.
- Is easy to clean out completely with alcohol, unlike the current acrylic
- Is highly durable
- Is as economical as possible
As cool as it sounds (and believe me, I’m a glass guy, it sounds rad), in my opinion an all glass tank is only inferior to the one I’ve come up with, there are no advantages to it. Of these four points, it fails 3 and 4. It is less durable and would be more expensive to produce.
My current tank is made from a chemical-welded polycarbonate frame (four sides and base plate) making it extremely tough. The glass print window is adhered to the inside so that it is raised off the bottom, allowing you to set it on a table without scratching or dirtying it. This would not be the case with an all-glass tank without an insanely technical and expensive design. While I won’t say my tank would last a lifetime, though who knows, I am confident it will last many many times longer than the stock acrylic tank, and will allow you to be far less painstakingly careful with it to avoid irreparable spills, scratches and cracks.
And yes, it would also cost more to build an all glass tank, but without a return in performance.
So with all that said, I’m surprised to hear a couple of voices preferring an all glass version and I’m curious to hear your opinion on why. JoshK, you say “Time_Man has done some hard work on this that deserves thanks”. But believe, I’m truly not looking for recognition just because I’ve put in some work. I’m looking to provide you with a better printing experience, and if I can’t provide you with that then forget it, I’m not expecting your interest. So thank you for the kind words, but I’d rather convince you that the product is beyond worthy
I see your thought process, and it makes a lot of sense, that’s why I asked.
I had a thought though, since you’re creating a new design. If the front and back vertical walls sloped up to the right, starting just to the right of the platform arm when fully down, and the right side wall also was higher accordingly, then a lot more resin could be in the tank and not spill out when it peeled. Basically, it could be filled up to the point where it would almost overflow at the hieght of the platform arm when the platform was full submerged. Might be worth investigating this, as it would be another reason to use your tank.
They would not stack unless the top made up for the height difference somehow, but that would not be a difficult thing to do. Yeah, and you will need a top that can seal it as well, but I know you know that.
That sounds real good. Thanks for the reasoning behind the change, it makes sense. It sounds like the results will be awesome. As for your question on my view, I am a former Form1/Form1+ owner, and a possible Form2 candidate. So I don’t have a FormLabs printer. That’s the only reason I didn’t mention buying your tank, and instead thanked you for your contribution to the community.
Thank you all for the feedback, that’s very helpful. I’m glad to hear that a uv coating is not an imperative, as it will help me release these tanks much sooner and at a better price.
If it helps, I wanted to mention that I plan on including with each order a tight fitting reusable cardboard mailer as a home for the tank. I imagine that this would make things easier for you,
In addition, Christopher mentioned having a top that can seal the tank. This was something I had meant to ask about as well. My tanks do not fit with the current form labs tops (very slight different in sidewalls). I have then the same question then for the uv-coating- Is this something you could live without? Or could the box work as a substitute?
If it’s something you need, I’m thinking perhaps I could vacuum form a top as a solution, but we are taking more time and money. Again, if it is an addition I can avoid it will mean a cheaper and faster release.
Thank you Christopher. I’m going to message you to discuss your idea further if you don’t mind.
I would say the tank lid is not necessary if it’s being stored in the box anyway. But I would recommend taking some action to prevent the tank from sliding around the box and sloshing resin out when it hits the end of the box. That could be as simple as a layer or two of cardboard under the tank to be sure the lid “clamps” the tank in place when it’s closed. Or for a cooler look there could be a cardboard layer on the bottom with a tank-shaped cutout to keep it from sliding.