While the Support team has been extremly helpful and the only thing holding this together, I just wanted to get the discussion out there as to my initial experiences with the Fuse 1 and Sift.
If you own or are looking to own, maybe this will help as I’m sure, if you are like me, not much comes up on searches as far as reports, reviews or videos from actual real world users versus sales reps. If you are reading this I assume you are researching and/or having your own issues.
Understandably, this is a brand new system and maybe it’s just the folks who can afford one of these, don’t waste as much time on YouTube or in writing reviews as I’m about to do…fair enough…but hoping to maybe hear more from real users of this system or maybe help others.
I landed on SLS for our unique “in house” production parts with a solid belief that SLS (in house) and HP MJF (at scale) is the future “end all” in current additive production. With SLS, I’m confident that proving out a new design and producing it in house is possible with these SLS machines, prior to graduating that part/outsourcing it to someone with HP MJF systems to move further into scale…whenever we get overwelmed. This came after a year of solid research and testing going down the FDM and Resin tunnel…talking to endless experts who actually run production parts in additive.
FDM/Resin will still be a great prototyping tool for us with SLS being our primary in house production method with MJF outsourced whenever we need/get there.
Okay that being said, here is my experience so far with the Fuse 1 and Sift.
It was between this system and the about to be released Sinterit Lisa X. We almost went with the Lisa X due to its nitrogen capability and more powerful 30w laser. We discussed this with the Formlabs Sales team and again, we were just extremely happy with Formlabs support and mostly the fact they are a US based company and 10 hours up the road.
I spent a few months talking to Formlabs sales reps with our use case. They actually printed some of my designs to show me what it can do, which FYI, is unheard of even in the highest dollar FDM world…No $60k-$250k printer company out there could/would provide our own sample part, or prove they could push filament through a .6 nozzle any better than we could on a $1k desktop filament machine… So I was sold on SLS on that fact alone and the parts I received from the Fuse team.
I will say, we are a little disappointed…that we invested in this system “1 week” before Formlabs decided to announce the Fuse 1+…with Nitrogen and a 30w…which we would have totally upgraded and preferred…for what we are doing. Not too happy that we were led into this decision based off our talks about the same, more powerful Lisa X… a week from this kind of announcement.
We also, were interested in a Nylon 12 CF, which again, a week later we find out it launched…only available for the Fuse 1+ with no upgrade options on current Fuse 1 units as a unit itself.
After pulling the trigger based off of the newly released Nylon 12 GF, we received the Fuse 1, Sift, two chambers, two cartridges and the vacuum. (Also paid for the Support pricing to guarantee this thing can run 24/7)
To note on that, we were sold initially that this thing would be delivered and setup, turnkey. However, once we made the investment, we were told no one was available in our area. (Note: we are 30 minutes from Norfolk VA and the largest military power and development grounds in the world for the US Naval fleet and 2 hours from Raleigh and the Tech Triangle of NC)
However, they took this off our bill and we had no problem setting it up as again, Formlabs Support is amazing. No concern there at all and they are the only reason I’m not disappointed with this system and our decision.
After getting it all moved in and installed… after our training and trouble shooting we figured out that we received a faulty Sift. “Motherboard was bad”.
Support was awesome, they rushed us another Sift and extra powder for the waste we had utilized in finding this out. Still this was a pain to swap in and out…its not a small machine.
We invested in two chambers but after just a few print jobs we realized one of them was experiencing layer shifts steadily up the chamber with a few big shifts here and there. Support is currently walking us through disassembling the brand new chamber to ensure and re Loctite all the screws ourselves…prior to swapping it out if needed.
We are still in the process of figuring this out…as the next issue has taken precedence.
Nylon 12 GF Failed Prints----
Understanding that Nylon 12 GF is a new material and I don’t believe many are using it… right now it is 50/50 that you will get a successful chamber to start off the print. No matter how well we try to angle the parts (Note: we still need to make money…so we still must pack the chamber as best we can to do that) but even so…
We are forced to watch the print start to lay down layers and after an hour of warmup time and multiple layers of powder, we will need to ABORT the print job…half the time. This is due to the extra thick Surface Armor at the bottom edge of the initial prints, curling and warping. This in turn, will trash the chamber if you’re not there to watch and ABORT the job…thats an expensive waste of powder… (Note we are able to keep room humidity down below 30% but even so you must remove the hopper grate due to this materials potential for clumping)
Once this fails, again we are batting 50/50 in being able to get a job started successfully, we need to let it cool, pull the chamber, clean and prep everything again, before running it a second time which typically goes fine…again it’s 50/50.
Formlabs Support, again has been great. They are tracking and aware of this Nylon 12 GF issue and are promising an adjustment and firmware update eventually, to eliminate these print issues with Nylon 12 GF… but we are currently left in a holding pattern with this system…not wanting to waste anymore powder until this hopefully gets resolved.
We have only been able to try the system with our smaller parts. With the failed attempts using Nylon 12 GF with these parts, we have been hesitant to try printing our larger parts. While we did receive a beautiful sample of one of our larger parts, we are not sure if we can realistically print 4 to 5 of these packed in the chamber together…versus one part at the severe angle that it appears is needed… My guess is that this would have been more realistic on the newly released Fuse1+ due to the Nitrogen and Zero waste factor…but again we jumped on this system a week too soon…
After our first few weeks of testing and running, one of the Sift light strips just burnt out… But again, Support was great and had us a replacement LED light board within a week, which we are about to pull the cover off the top and replace.
I believe SLS is the only way to go for our production parts. I believe in and appreciate the Formlabs Support team… However, I think the engineering and quality control teem needs to step things up a bit to refine this system so as, the Support team doesn’t need to work so hard!
On a positive note----
The few chambers of parts we have successfully completed have produced beautiful results and you can see them here.
Just trying to get real world user input out there and a discussion going.
I can’t believe, that I’m just the “unlucky” one and/or the only person out there trying to make this work.
- Who is running production parts/packing chambers?
- Who is using Nylon 12 GF?
- How is your machine holding up/experiences so far?
Failed Nylon 12 GF (surface armor curling)