Longevity of resin cartridges

Has anyone noticed that when using resin cartridges with a 3rd party resin, the cartridge seems to expire much quicker than it used to? I used to get about 3 months use out of an empty cartridge before the ‘cartridge is too old’ (paraphrasing) now it seems more like a month. The cartridge seems to work just fine, but it effectively gets locked. I have a strong inclination that this is just a means of making us buy new cartridges (especially if using 3rd party resins). Why not just a message that recommends replacement - I’m capable of working out when the cartridge is defunct and replacing it myself.

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Somewhere someone makes all the parts that goes in to making the cartridge.

One day we will find the manufacturer and assembler. On that day FL’s monopoly will end.

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Right or wrong from the perspective of us users, they designed the cartridge with a limited lifetime. FL has repeatedly stated that the bite valve is not rated for more than 1L of resin. Whether that’s an overly-conservative limit can be debated, but without question the valve is a wear-out part that, cycled enough times, will fail and leak.

I’ve never run a cartridge past 2L (I have some experience in reliability engineering and my gut says close to 100% of the cartridges have to be good for at least a second liter or there’d be some small number of failures during the first liter). But it makes sense to me that the printer would monitor the cartridge and stop you from using it indefinitely. Keeping in mind that if the printer can stop you from using the cartridge after 5x or 3x refills, it could just as easily stop you after 1x.

That we can get away with even one refill is at FL’s good graces.

If they didn’t have it set up this way, when a full cartridge that an unsuspecting user has refilled for the 5th time blew its valve and the resin leaked out and overflowed the tank and ran down and into the printer, that user is going to call FormLabs all irate and indignant and demand to get it fixed for free. FL would then have to explain the painful and harsh reality. And after the subsequent hue and cry, there would be nothing but angst, ennui, and deep sadness on the part of the no-longer-unsuspecting user, and FL would lose a customer.

If the printer used to let you refill 5x times and now it’s only letting you do it 3x, FL probably made a change in an intervening Firmware update to reduce how many estimated liters they’d let pass through a cartridge. Whether that’s driven by a desire for “revenue enhancement” or a tangible concern over failure rate is anyone’s guess. I suspect the truth is probably somewhere in between “boost revenue” and “prevent real failure”, a little of both motivations.

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