My Form 1 Experience... Part II

A little over a week ago I posted about my experience so far with my Form1 printer (

A quick recap; the first printer I received went up in smoke (primarily literally, somewhat figuratively.)  It was replaced with a printer that had several other issues.

  • The cover has cosmetic damage.
  • The print tray is cracked, though not leaking currently.
  • When closed the cover does not align with the cover sensor.
  • Prints have a noticeable jagged edge on one side of them.
  • Prints have thin layers of cured resin throughout.

I sent an email to Form Labs support about these issues and second email asking to see if they received the first email due to its large attachments.   After not receiving a response to either of these emails I posted my experiences to this form.  Not long after that I received a follow up email saying that they were looking into the problem.  That was followed by an email late last Friday (Sept 6th @ 5:45pm) that had instructions on how to perform a test with a *.form file with was attached to the email.

The test file basically lowed the platform and fixed the curing beam at one spot in the center of the platform.  With both the build platform at the resin tray removed a piece of paper was placed on top of the platform and the shape of the beam could be observed.  A problem was immediately evident with this test that would cause the prints to have jagged edges on one side, and possibly be the cause for the thin layers of cured resin.  The beam was not a point as it should be.  I took pictures as requested and sent them to FormLabs on the Sept 7th.  On Sept 9th @ 5:36pm I again followed up to make sure they had received the email with the attached pictures.  On Sept 11th @ 8pm I received an email stating they had received the email and would follow up with me “tomorrow”.  On Sept 13th @12:17pm I received the following email:


Would you mind performing one more test print for me of the attached file with the Material Settings set to Clear 0.05mm? Photos before and after the parts are removed from the build platform will be very helpful.

Again I apologize for all the trouble and I assure you that we will either get your current unit working or have another new printer sent out if we cannot fix remotely.


Customer Support”

To which I responded less than 30 minutes later with:


I would prefer not to perform this test.  I have removed the tank and emptied it of resin.  I was uncomfortable leaving resin in a cracked tray.  If you would like to perform the test at your facility I would be willing to ship the unit back.


After not receiving a response I sent an email later in the day with my phone number and asked if someone from FormLabs would contact me so I could determine how to move forward.  I have not received a response.

At this point it seems clear that FormLabs support department is completely overrun.  They have more or less acknowledged this in a Kickstarter update (#42 Growing Pains).  While this is frustrating what I am primarily upset about is the failure to accept that the second printer I have received has significant issues and should be replaced or repaired at their facilities.

I hope that my experience is an outlier to other customer’s experiences but given the slow response time and the fact that two different printers have had significant problems I am doubtful that is the case.

Hi Tom,

Could you share that test file for the laser spot?

Yours looks particularly bad, but perhaps others who’s spots might not be so asymmetrical but still not perfect spots might explain the problems people are seeing with geometry, particularly circles being printed as ellipses…




I was just able to respond to your request from Friday. We do have a backlog we are working through, but with our expanded team we hope to have our response times down to under 24 hours this week.

Just want to note, as also stated in the ticket, that I am happy to hop on the phone with you.

Tom, could you share the test file?

In the absence of any instructions not to share these files here they are.

Please note that the laser spot test is NOT something to be conducted with the resin tray in the machine and is meant to be run with the platform removed.  It lowers the Z-arm and fixes the laser at one point without turning the laser off or moving it.  Having the resin tray installed would likely be very bad for the resin and the tray.  Without the tray or the platform installed the laser will shine through the Z-arm of the printer and into a piece of paper.  If you forget to put a piece of paper on top of the Z-arm that would likely be bad also since the laser would strike the cover which is designed to absorb stray laser light and likely burn through given enough time.

If you haven’t already, READ THE LAST PARAGRAPH! You have been warned!

The “CalibrationTestPrint.form” test is simply 5 of the FormLabs butterfly models, one at each corner and one in the center.  These sorts of models are generally used for calibration purposes.  Unlike the spot test I do not believe this file presents any danger to the printer or the user, unless you are frightened of butterflies.



My laser looks like this using the spot test, and I’m having problems.  Does the laser look different than it should?

strange I tried the spot test but the laser only flashes for a few milliseconds and then tries to peal.  It’s to fast to even try to capture with my camera.

@Chris - I’m pretty sure it’s supposed to be a 0.3mm round dot, that being their published lower bound on feature size.

That looks so very far off round - and several millimetres across. Assuming your test file has been run correctly I’d say that’s one completely broken laser spot.

I take it you’ve already opened a support ticket?

Still waiting for my machine so can’t compare with mine yet (come on formlabs, what happened to those 100 euro shipments you promised for the week just gone ???).

I tried the LaserSpotTest file and got the same resulting line as in Chris Marsh’s photo.  Then I took a high speed video (1000 fps) of the process and it’s apparent that the line is actually the tiny laser dot tracing the object 4 times (2 cycles down and back) … just extremely fast, making it appear as a line.   Hope this helps clarify things a bit.

Very neat, Mark. The files in question, posted here, are quite old, and we no longer use that process to take a look at your laser. You are correct that it’s scanning back and forth quickly, but that file is not compatible with the latest version of PreForm. If you’re having any issues, you should certainly get in touch with our all-star support team at who’ll help you out with our latest diagnostic tools.

Sam, thanks for the information.  I was hoping someone from Formlabs would respond so that the people who already posted and those who read this thread in the future wouldn’t think there was something wrong with their printers, based on a line-shaped image.

Why not just post the latest diagnostic files in this thread?