Issues with flakes in prints

I thought the problem might be either the resin tank or the build plate so I changed out both. The resin has been filtered but I’m still getting flakes on small prints which is something I didn’t have back when I restarted this machine and used old resin. The resin I’m using now was just purchased less than a month ago.

I had this problem for the past two weeks or more on more than a dozen prints. But a flakiness or thin pieces of cured resin sort of feathering off a printed piece. In some cases it ruins the small parts.

I’ve cleaned the mirror with caned air, resin tank is new, build plate is new not sure where to go from here.

Walter, do you have a Form 1 or Form 1+?

Have you checked the mirror with a flashlight? It’s possible that there is debris or smudges that cannot be removed with canned air. If that’s the case, you can clean the main mirror with PEC*PADs and IPA.

Craig, Yes, I always use a six LED flashlight to check the mirror. I saw a few specks of dust I removed. I’ll check it again just to make sure. Starting to worry that the machine is just wearing out. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: I run it pretty heavy and my stuff is very small compared to most of what others do in prints.

It’s possible there may be dust on the galvo mirrors inside–it is best not to use air to clean the mirrors, because it can blow dust into the galvo mirror area.
Also for the large mirror, it’s definitely going to get dusty even if you’re careful, if you use a light and angle it like in that help video then you’ll probably find more dust.

Would you mind sharing pictures? I have a form 2 but I think I have similar issue. I checked the big mirror and it seems to have two small particles inside but couldn’t find any tutorial on how to clean them.

Abdullah, Sorry, I’ve already cleaned it away. Basically it’s very thin sheets of resin. Sort of like torn tissue paper. I changed out resin tanks as I thought is was pieces from the tank bottom but not so as this is a new tank with filtered resin.

I’ll try cleaning the mirrors and run another job. Probably be a couple of days before I can post a photos, watch for it.

I’m starting to question the resin formula as the cause of my sudden poor prints. When I restarted my machine after 10 months of it being idle I had fantastic detailed prints. The surface where the supports, usually the bottom, was clean, flat, etc. Not any more. That surface looks like a moonscape, lumpy and bumpy. I’ll try and get some photos later on.

I did a reprint of a Preform File that had run with no issues back a year ago. Results now are basically useless as the quality is so poor.

That definitely sounds like a dust problem, if you’ve had it for that long then it’s very possible that the galvo mirrors are dusty, dusty, I would talk to support and get the go ahead to clean the galvo mirrors

The Form2 has an enclosed optical path, there should not be any dust inside can dust can’t get inside. The only thing that can happen is that dust gets on the glass underneath the tray, this will cause holes in the print where there’s dust since it blocks the laser.

I can certainly sure that there are two small particles on the large mirror below the glass.

Can a Formlab’s support help me with this since there is no documentation on how to resolve it?

Here are a few photos of the flakes in my prints. On smaller parts the flakes are so intertwined with the supports and the parts that they prints are useless. One photo of the parts hanging in the machine. Then after alcohol bath. There will be a LOT of clean up to make these parts usable. The previous run on these were far better. Both runs done from the same PreForm file.

90% sure it’s dust on your galvo mirrors

Yes, we’ll be happy to help. Please share some details about any issues that you see with your prints. Photos of your prints as well as .form files are very helpful.

bought some long stem Q-tips at Fry Electronics. These will allow me to get back into the small mirror as that seems to be where any dust would be. If that doesn’t do the trick then it isn’t dust that’s causing the issue as far as I can tell.

Zachary, I disagree, with your earlier assement as the unit sat for 10 months with no cleaning. Fact is, I never cleaned the mirrors the entire time I had it, no need to. When when I started using it had a new resin tank and build plate already in it. Poured old 12 month old resin in and it produced great prints. Fact it ran that way through almost 2 liters of the old resin. I did start having issues with the last half liter of old resin and changed out the resin tank but still issues. Could possibly be dust but if so it’s in the last two weeks.

It doesn’t take much dust on the galvo mirrors to mess up your prints, when I had to clean mine it just started happening. The galvo mirrors are very sensitive so a speck of dust can be the entire problem and you haven’t said if you’ve tried to clean them. The galvo mirrors will have the biggest effect on your printing over the other mirrors getting dusty.
By the way–I wouldn’t necessarily use Q-tips to clean the mirrors, they could possibly leave particles or damage the mirror. I would follow the guidelines in the help articles.

Yes, I have cleaned the mirrors with first canned air and then with Pec-Pad wipe. Still same results. Q-Tips aren’t a bit issue as these are made special for electronics cleaning. Easy to check the mirror and I see no dust left behind. Galvo mirror is hard to get to so that can be the only possible issue. I’ll get to it later as the 3D printing is a small part of my business.

The compressed air may be part of the problem. Most compressed air (if not all) has that bittering stuff in it. It attaches to the mirrors leaving residue behind. I bet if you shine light at the proper angle you will see purple dots / streaks etc on your mirrors. Those have to be cleaned off. I also wouldn’t use the Q-tips that aren’t covered with PEC-Pads. You will most likely need IPA to remove the purple goo that is on your mirrors.

Compress air is “recommended” by FormLabs as is wiping the mirrors with API.
There were some minor spots on the large mirror and I cleaned that with a pec-pad and API. Took a bit. I used my binocular lenses to see the issues. Also the Galvo mirror was dirty so I cut a pec-pad in half wrapped it around one of the long Q-Tip sticks and stapled it close on either side to hold it in place. Wet with API and wiped the galvo mirror to get it clean.

Did a 3D print of some scale 1:48, 1:64 and 1:87 scale manhole covers and rims last night. The manhole covers have lots of detail and lettering. All turned out without flakes and all the details are visible to the naked eye.

Thanks for the help. Problem solved for the time being.

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Fabulous news, Walter. Really glad to hear that the mirror cleaning technique worked out for you and the follow-up news is always helpful. Do you have some photos of the lettering on the manhole covers? Happy printing!