IT'S ALIVE! Mirrors Cleaned, Printing Fine!

Jim. The Ultraviolet Sterilizer Cabinet is this one:

And I learned this from the amazing Robert Vignone. Check his webpage, Mold3D:

Tons of information about sculpting and 3D Printing. Tips, tricks and all sorts of references, like this Ultraviolet Sterilizer Cabinet!

Good luck and patience!

Frank J Guthrie


Don’t waste your money and time on the airbrush compressor and the computer vacuum: they are overkill and you may damage the printer!

The Rocker Blaster is more than enough, trust me. The cleaning of the BIG mirror and the small Galvanometers’ mirror you will do once or twice per year, that’s all. Then you will only use the Rocket Blaster to “push” the dust off the mirrors, since you will always have dust in the printer, since its not enclosed in a vacuum…

I do this for every print: I check the mirrors before every print, and if I see any dust on the mirrors I use the Rocket Blaster to blow the dust off the big mirror and I also blow towards the “hole” where the small Galvanometers’ mirrors are. What I showed in this simple tutorial was my first “open-surgery” on the Form # 1, to get to the small Galvanometers’ mirrors - since the assembly is located in the back of the Form # 1, but ever since then, I’ve not had to open the printer, just check the big mirror, blow and that’s it!

I clean the big mirror every three to five prints with Isopropyl Alcohol and Sensor Swap. I use these swabs:

The material is the same as what FormLabs recommends we use to clean the mirrors - Pec-Pads Non-Abrassive Wipes. You can find them in Amazon…

Good luck and patience!

Frank J Guthrie

How do you avoid streaks with those narrow little pads / swabs?

i think my mirror needs contact cleaning, but its a tricky a job.

@Frank_Guthrie How did it go with the Sylgard 184 kit?? Where did you buy it?

I ordered a new tank and did a large print on it (which failed) and ghosted most of the tank. 1 Print, so crazy. Its just to expensive to be replacing these tanks all the time.

Anyone have any luck using the black resign on the gray setting? I read somewhere that the gray will not ghost up the resign tank as much?

Love this thread by the way, I keep coming back to it. I ordered everything I knew I would need to clean it before I even got the printer.

Hello Formlabs Forum,

I realize this post will revive this thread but I think the information is good and it gave me a place to start.

I’ve been having a string of failures and have been putting off (in a state of denial perhaps) cleaning my mirrors. I do have a ticket open with support and they are of course great to work with.

But just wanted to share…having worked in the camera business before…the process for cleaning optics (lenses) and camera sensors is the same / very very very similar to caring for your printer.

As mentioned…never ever use the Air-In-A-Can stuff. The ‘Rocket’ blasters move more than enough air…remember, we’re working at the micron scale.

One technique that I haven’t read anywhere (not to say it hasn’t been mentioned, I just haven’t seen it mentioned)…the first step I do when cleaning a camera lens or sensor (and will apply to the Form1+ printer mirrors)…using a Lens Pen (they have a retractable brush on one end and ‘felt’ pad on the other)…it’s best not to ‘brush’ or ‘wipe’…the static of the bristles or pad will lift dust particles off the surface. Just ever so lightly ‘dab’ or touch the dust speck and lift away. Then move away from the machine and use the Rocket blaster to blow off the brush/felt pad.

Also, when using Pec Pads…don’t just pull them apart…that can create ‘fuzz’ that will cling to the surface. If you carefully ‘peel’ them apart you’ll have better luck.

The ‘lolipops’ mentioned in this thread are good but honestly I prefer using my finger (as long as you’re careful to make sure your finger doesn’t overhang the pad and create a smudge. I fold the Pec Pads into 1/4’s…and then make one pass per 1/4…making sure that each pass slightly overlaps…don’t be shy to use up Pec Pads…seems wasteful but you want a clean square each pass (the logic behind only one pass is that you could potentially redeposit debris from the previous pass…or worse, damage the optic / sensor by scratching it). All passes should be mead in the same direction…then I usually go back and do passes 90 degrees to the first set (more Pec Pads). Also, it doesn’t take much pressure…better to make lots and lots of light passes than pushing too hard.

I know Formlabs recommends rubbing alcohol and I’m waiting to hear back what their thoughts are on ‘Eclipse Optic Cleaning Fluid’…I have used that product for years with my cameras and have had great results (I have no affiliation to them, just a product I like using). The key is how quickly it evaporates…only takes a few drops per Pec Pad 1/4.

Thank you to the OP for this thread…the information is still relevant and solid advice.

I use eclipse fluid on my mirrors when needed. Much less streaking to deal with. Formlabs may not recommend it but if it’s good enough for the sensor on my Nikon it’s good enough for an instrument mirror.

I would never used canned air or a compressor. The rocket type blowers are by far the best bet and they’re pretty cheap.

Hi there,

I had exactly the same Problems. Flakes and defects all over the part. The higher the part was the worse it gets. So I startet a few test.
Clear resin resolution 0.1mm
(new Tank / new Bottle resin)

as you can see bad quality. So i tried a new print with resolution 0.025mm

even bader. New try with:
Black resin resolution 0.1mm

The best result so far but far away from perfect and far away from the results which I made when the printer was new (May-June) So i started to search here in this forum and found this and a lot more topics. I tested the laser and saw big halos around the laserpoint. So i cleaned all Mirrors and Galvanometer mirrors as @Frank_Guthrie described. After the cleaning the laserspot was much more focused as you can see on the pictures:


So far it looked realy promising.
After the Cleaning I printed the same part again and…

Unbelivable good quality! Really thank you for the good instruction.

Some of my findings:

  • black resin is less fragil against a dusty laser than the clear resin because it absorbes more energy
  • if you have printing problems check the laser first (I tried a lot of prints in diffrent materials cleaned the tanks ect… )

PS: I’m now prinintg the model with 0.05mm resolution and clear resin again I’ll keep you up to date.