New Form 1+ owner here. How do I test these printers?


#1

Hello! I just acquired two Form printers, a 1+ and a ‘factory reconditioned’ 1+ (with a lighter finish, I heard this is a repaired/reissued Form 1 with upgrades). I got these under the condition as-is. The owner didn’t know the true condition of either. I have been researching, reading, watching videos and googling my way around what to expect, how to use, and how to fix the potential issues I may be up against. I know there are no parts/consumables made or offered for this anymore, and what it seems I’m up against. I’m super eager to jump into SLA and do what I have to do to get these printers going! I still have a couple questions I can’t seem to find answers to. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Overall they look clean, turn on, and firmware is upgraded to 1.40. I am mainly wondering if there’s any standard tests I can run through and benchmarks I can compare against to know these are dialed and the galvos and mirrors are clean, before I start printing things.

I got at least 15 liters of resin, but I suspect/know it’s all from 2014 and 2015. A lot are unopened, and some containers are still in sealed black bags. I know it was stored in the dark in a storage unit for the majority of time since then. Should I shake the hell out of some of these and bother trying a print with them, or should I assume this is all unusable hazardous garbage at this point. I just ordered 1 liter of new resin from another resin source. Would you suggest the formlabs form 2 resin over others?

I got 14 resin tanks in their boxes with various leftover resins still in them, probably from 2014/2015. Should I even bother cleaning these? Or should I toss them? I heard I should look for bubbles in the bottom edges?

I have one clean brand new resin tray (rev03) still in-box, still shrink wrapped, that I am pretty happy about. It feels like my only hope. There are a couple little bubbles along the sides of the bottom edges, but not any bigger than 1mm. Seems to be normal. I also have a bonus unused build platform.

Cleaning resin on the outside of the units. They have a bit of resin on the outside of the acrylic (I hear I shouldn’t use IPA on this) and the metal body. Maybe some of this is cured. Any tips on getting this off, or should I not bother? I ordered some Novus 1 and plan to try that.

Cure box. Is it worth it to build one? 405nm LED flood or strip lighting? Overall goal with watts and time? I have a lot of nice indirect sunlight at my disposal here.

Is there any live community beyond this forum for Form 1+ owners? seems pretty quiet around here, but I couldn’t find anything else yet.

Mainly, I’m looking for advise and tips beyond the initial basics that you wish you had known at the start, or techniques you’ve learned and refined over time. Mostly with dealing with the resin. What’s the best method for keeping the work space as contained and clean as possible?

Thank you so much!


#2

Welcome aboard. Here are some links that you might find useful:
Form1 retro guide
openmachines.xyz
Unofficial Form1 wiki
OpenFL

You could try the laser spot test, but imo the best way to test a Form1 is to print something. That will tell you if your machine as laser or calibration issues.

This resin might still be good, check this thread. If you have black resin try that first and shake it before use. With OpenFL you have the option to adjust resin exposure profiles to tune the printing process for older resins.

Try cleaning with ethanol, you also have the option to renew the PDMS layer yourself.

Yes, but first get something like the finishing kit (2 containers filled with IPA to wash your parts). Post curing isn’t that important with the standard resins, while washing is.

Not one that i know of. But you can take a look at the peopoly moai forum, a sla printer very similar to the Form1.

Printing advice:
Resin prints best when it is warm (>=25 °C or 77 °F)
Resin handling:
I wear gloves (thick kitchen rubber gloves) and safety glasses when handling the resin to minimize the risk of developing a contact allergy. Also look out for propper ventilation because of IPA fumes and for some people the resin smell is pretty unplesant.
In my opinion it’s useful to think about waste management a litte. I put wipes that are saturated with resin into sunlight to cure the resin fully before i dispose them.


#3

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#4

#5

Since this thread just got unlocked and the auto-lock lifted, I figure I’d throw in a couple answers from my experience :slight_smile:

The trays are probably good. When I got my “time capsule” 1+, I got one (Rev1) tray full of resin wrapped in foil that’d spilled all over it, one brand new (Rev1) tray with its protective wrap still attached, and one “Form 1+” amber tray in the upgraded 1+ that hadn’t yet been opened/used. Here’s what I learned from those trays:

The Form 1+ amber tray works flawlessly. I use it exclusively with genuine, new Form 2 resin, for work projects where they have a Form 2 that’s frequently “over-booked”. I pour the Form 2 resin into the tray, and select the proper version from the PreForm 2.20 interface. Prints always come out perfect.

The Form 1 (Rev1) trays are another matter, but probably because I abused them. The foil-wrapped one was a total loss. To clean up the spilled mess, I scraped off much of the resin into a junk IPA container, then ran it through a Form Wash cycle (it fits in the Form Wash in its entirety!). It came out clean, but next time I went to use it, well… the PDMS layer separated from the acrylic and I’m like “oh… ahem, right, I’m dumb”. Don’t wash the tray in IPA. It developed micro-cracks all around the edges, and because it gets a big succ applied when peeling layers, it let some resin between the tray’s layers and gave a big “game-over”.

The second Rev1 tray I used for experiments with cheap resins. This is where I learned that DLP resin (at least, Anycubic resin) is way, way, way more light sensitive than laser resin. It cures like glass, fairly brittle. Oh, and it sticks to the bed like glue. Literally glue… it tore a nice chunk out of the bed. Thankfully I only had a small part, but that little chunk left a big burned ring around the area it was torn from. The OpenFL version of PreForm lets you do custom profiles, but I couldn’t quite get it dialed in.

As for resin, I got 4 bottles - 1 unopened grey, 1 unopened black, 1 unopened clear, and 1 partly used clear. All of them are junk. Even with tweaked exposure settings, and even with experiments with unexpired resin mixed with the expired stuff, I’ve not been able to get any satisfactory prints out of that resin. Of course, I tried mixing the absolute hell out of it. No amount of mixing or light warming seems to do any good. It’s all garbage. Mixing it seems to have the effect of “if you add any expired resin to the mix, it just decreases the quality and increases chance of failure”. So I’m just working on curing it into solid cube blocks with a tweaked OpenFL material profile, so I can discard the stuff. (update: only the black resin could even be cured at all; the clear and grey stuff is totally “incurable” and stays liquid no matter what exposure seems to be applied. I didn’t feel like risking higher than 62mW or lower than 500mm/s… it wouldn’t stick the first layer to the bed, nor leave any cured blobs in the tank. It’s a total loss)

To make up for the lack of a heater, I removed the screw-on rubber feet from the bottom of the Form 1+ and I set the printer on top of a heated bed from a Lulzbot Taz 5, and hooked it up to a power supply feeding 7 to 9 volts DC to it (a 24v bed). It keeps the printer and resin comfortably warm in our cold (un-heated) office area. I recently learned that there are heater mods that might be easier to maintain inside the unit, and will probably go for one of those instead. Heating is important, a lesson they probably learned after the Form 1 design (the Form 2 has a resin heater that its firmware is fairly insistent is quite important - so I copied the idea to the Form 1 before even starting a print).

Now, there’s aftermarket trays (Z-Vat) and aftermarket resin (ApplyLabWork) available to keep the 1+ running happily. The OpenFL version of PreForm (v2.3.3) seems to be a significant upgrade over the 2.20 version which was the last one to officially support the Form 1+, particularly in a bug that makes v2.20 use 100% of a CPU core all the time, fixed in 2.3.3. Odd, though, that v2.3.3 doesn’t seem to support Form 2’s Grey v4 material, so I have to go to 2.20 to get recognized support for that material. Maybe I could just use the Grey v2 profile and it’d work OK, but I haven’t wanted to test my luck there quite yet.

I also just learned about the Prusa CW1, which would be an incredible companion to a Form 1/1+ as a more cost-tolerable alternative to Formlabs’ Wash and Cure machines. I have access to a Wash and Cure set at work, but many others may not, and it really helps realize the excellent quality of the aging Form 1+. (https://shop.prusa3d.com/en/accessories/720-original-prusa-curing-and-washing-machine-cw1.html)

tl;dr:

  • You’ll need PreForm v2.20 (PreForm older versions) to touch the printer, or OpenFL (https://github.com/Formlabs/OpenFL/#preform) to be able to “touch” the Form 1/1+, as newer versions give a confusing error about an “unavailable printer” due to not being supported.
  • The trays are probably good, just don’t cook them in IPA.
  • New trays are available, Google Z-Vat.
  • Don’t use expired resin, it will only result in pain.
  • Form 2 resin is totally compatible, just unscrew the cap and pour it in, and cry as your expensive Form 2 compatible cartridge chips go to waste. (maybe sell on eBay? They do seem to sell regularly)
  • New cheaper Form 1+ compatible resin is available, just try finding Formlabs resin on Amazon and you’ll find ApplyLabWork’s compatible clones.
  • For the love of god don’t use DLP resin
  • You need heat. Heat the resin somehow. Heater mods may be available but I use a Taz 5 heat-bed to warm mine.
  • Washing and curing is a pain in the arse, if you don’t have a Form Wash/Cure set, Prusa’s CW1 is pretty comparably nifty at half the price.

#6

in place of the printer bed to heat, maybe a seed starter mat would help cranked up and placed underneath may work?, at one point I was using a full spectrum s.a.d lamp to cure. im not even sure if it was good or not in post processing, but only thing I had. Maybe even some sort of UV plant grow that emits high blue light on the spectrum that mimics the sun could work.

If you have a form1 that turns on, connects and works, it can print. and parts can be found, such as the tilt motor that was probematic on the form 1, can be found, I forget the part# but I remember I had to search and I found one on alibaba, but I did have to take it apart and flip the insides of the motor … (because china parts seem to always ship in an upside configuration) but look, the form 1 is a tough machine.

tldr; determination.


#7

These replies were all super helpful. FINALLY got around to checking all the Vats/amber trays that came with it. Most of them were disintegrating in some way and had chunks that got lifted off from the top of the sides that were stuck to the lids. The tanks must have been seriously jostled at some point, there was only two clean ones in the bunch. All of the trays have ‘spider legs’ crack looking things around the square on the bottom of the vats, but I don’t think it looks bad enough to where it’ll be a fail point.

I have 2 clean tanks filled with ApplyLabWorks black resin loaded and ready to go. I cleaned the build platforms with IPA. I’ve been trying to clean everything with IPA except for the bottom of the vats and the amber hoods on the machine. There was so much resin gunk everywhere. Looking int what I have to do next and gonna fire off some test prints tonight! Thanks everyone for the helpful info. You made this a lot easier.


#8

I got my +1 printers working much better after cleaning the optical path including the glavo mirrors. I am having an issue with the models sticking more than they should to the tray/PDMS, and pulling off the build platform or the supports. Any ideas why? My guesses they are too old, or have been sitting with resin for too long? I am using ApplyLabWork resin, I don’t know if that would have an effect either.
Side note, I have noticed the resin doesn’t cure all the way in UV, and stays tacky. I feel like this is unique to the resin I am using and need to try a different resin manufacturer. The old resin from ~2015 I removed from the vats cured hard and solid in the sunlight before I threw it away.