Open mode reduces the number of things that could go wrong

Yeah, I have to agree. I’ve got almost 1900 hours on my F2 and I’ve found these systems to be very reliable.

I work around 3 & 4 by putting in a new cartridge when the F2 starts warning about low levels; after a few prints with the new, I pour the remainder of the old into the new). The only issues I’ve had with dispensing were the bite valve on new cartridges being sealed, which shows as “resin sense failure” (I always break them open now) and a recent problem when an old cartridge of Tough had separated in the container. Neither case was a fault of the printer.

I’m wondering if the F2 had some hardware revisions that have changed it. I have an early model and it performs incredibly well.

I have 100% success rate with Form2. I’m really excited for it to fail. (~40 prints so far)

Seems a bit rushed in the initial complaints. Each item has a use. The heater is to “thin” FL resins, wiper to keep pigment stirred and oxygen to PDMS prolonging life. Never had an issue with any feature since my initial firmware update to address the tank issue, which I only had once. Seems like you either got a junk unit full of problems or just didn’t grasp the full concept and function. I’ve seen time and time again, an operator deviate from the suggested workflow or SOP and things go wrong.

Zero issues with my Form 2 aside from a tank read error once. I have Apply Lab Work resin for open mode, but dread the pause lines that you can’t really escape no matter how quick you fill the tank.

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Yup… Very reliable IME and the convenience of the cartridge dispensing is definitely worth it for me. I don’t have the ability to see side by side parts of Form 1+ vs. Form 2 to compare “print quality” improvements of wiper and heater. People with Form 1+ will say “the quality is great” and people with Form 2 will say “the quality is great” but I haven’t seen side by side. Considering the amount of work people have put into modifying their Form 1 to have heaters, I would say the heater is a great feature.

The benefit of open mode being a faster print is true and that could help some times, particularly when you have a low or empty cartridge.

I’m not…


That’s an interesting comment, and I did a search on the forum to see how many people have done this, and as far as I can tell, only Christopher Barr has made this modification.

It would be interesting to get Christoper’s comments on this 18 months later, and see if he’s still using the mod, and if the prints are indeed that much superior to a standard Form 1+ without a heater.

I can’t find anything else on this mod, or any posts from other users attempting the mod.

I’ve stumbled upon these two:

And if you google it, there seems to be a few reports of people doing it for a Moai printer.

Yes, but the underlying motivation, at least for the 2 you mentioned, is the room being very cold during winter.

So this is not something that has to do with the printer’s inability to print without a heater, so much as it has to do with the ambient conditions being below normal, and the heater is intended to make up for it.

Here is my take. I only have a Form 1+. It doesn’t have a heater, it doesn’t have a wiper, no sensors, etc. Yet my prints are good, detailed, they don’t break or fail anymore than the next guy, and it’s usually something I did. I have printed with really thick/viscous resins like the FormLabs Grey v2, FormLabs Clear and aftermarket resins like ApplyLabWorks.

I previously had a different Form 1+ that ended up having issues, and it turned out that they were due to a failing laser. I then bought another F1+, which has been printing like a champ for the last year.

Sure I don’t have all those niceties like the auto-refill, or WiFi printing and the dashboard or a color display, but none are needed to achieve good prints.

I understand the principle behind the wiper, yet, all it takes is a failed part stuck to the PDMS, for it to turn everything into a mess. I understand the principle behind the sensors and the auto-refill, but all it takes is a stuck valve to ruin your day ( and there certainly seem to be a lot of complaints about that). I also understand the principle behind the heater, but in reality the printer is capable of printing without it, using most of the resins. Yes, there are some resins that appear to be specific to, or at least marketed to the F2 only, and perhaps they are the ones that benefit from the heater, but no one can convince me that the F2 is not usable without those things.

This is the reason why I’m in agreement with the original post, that for most users, all those bells and whistles are not necessary. Yes, they’re nice to have, but when they break, they’re a nuisance. To FormLabs credit, though, you at least have the option to bypass all this stuff and still use your printer, and I commend them for it.

Edit: Speaking of wiper problems:

I think FormLabs needs to come up with some kind of fail safe. If the wiper encounters any resistance, it should return to the normal “parked” position and shut off for that print session. This is not something you want to deal with.

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Actually if the wiper encounters any resistance it should shut down the print and set off alarm bells. Because it chances are that there is something very wrong and the print is going to fail anyway.

I’ve had failed parts where the platform stuck to the PDMS layer, but it left behind a paper thin sheet that didn’t disturb the wiper in the slightest, let alone cause it to push a wave of resin out if the printer. Maybe people are printing direct to the build plate (w/o suports)? Also never had a bite valve fail, but I don’t refill my old cartridges with 3rd party resin either.

I don’t doubt that there are many people that have F2 printers that are working without any problems, in fact I’m pretty sure the trouble free F2’s outnumber the problematic ones.

But there are enough posts from people with F2 issues caused by either the sensors, stuck valves, heaters and wipers that cannot be ignored. We’re not talking about the isolated freak incident, we’re taking about enough reports as to make one think twice.

While I agree that a part that fails usually ends up as a thin spot of cured resin at the bottom of the tank, There are times when a part gets stuck to the PDMS and tears itself from the supports, Or the whole model has become completely detached from the build platform and fallen into the vat. So you now have an obstacle in front of the wiper, which is probably what happened in the instance above.

It only takes one of these incidents, and having to deal with the messy clean up, to make you rethink the use of the wiper, without some sort of fail safe.

I agree, If the obstacle the wiper encountered was big enough to stop it, it will probably be big enough to prevent a successful print, so stopping the print is a good idea.

This is the most scary thing about the Form 2 honestly. I know quite a few people some of which are professionals who use their 3D printers almost everyday none stop to produce their “products”. I believe the wiper problem is the biggest issue since it causes not only a single problem or a simple print failure, it causes total machine explosion.

I agree that the wiper needs some kind of fail safe. I had a dental model drop off the build platform, and the print job kept going. Apparently the wiper kept hitting the dislodged model, sloshing resin all over the place. It was a MASSIVE clean up project, and it took hours to get up and running again.

That’s not even closely the only parameters it affects. The laser strength and exposure time is, actually, the most important bit. There are other things it does, however.

Different resins also get slightly different infill vs. perimeter exposures, different exposure strategies for outside surfaces (especially top and bottom), and the peel strategy changes as well.

There’s a reason for those presets, as well as the updates they get every now and then. Slicing for SLA isn’t nearly as simple as you might think, if you want good, consistent results. Take it from someone who’s spent a summer (years ago) messing with a g-code post-processor and modifying marlin firmware in order to get somewhat acceptable results from a DIY SLA printer.

Just wondering in regards to open mode. If I switch to open mode meaning manually pouring the resin (Form Grey v4) in the tank from the cartridge, how will the printer recognise resin is missing from the cartridge if I switch to normal mode? Does this confuse it into thinking more resin is in the cartridge when there isn’t?

Also since it’s not using the wiper, is it wiser to pour in resin above the threshold line? So it’s less likely to run out if I was to do a 7 hour print?

Yes it will think there is more resin in the cartridge than there actually is.

It has not advantage to fill above the line. The printer will stop after 100ml anyways(drawback of open mode) and the tank itself holds 200ml.

Ok thanks for the info :slight_smile:

Would be good if there was a way to input the resin reduction in the cartridge details. I don’t suppose there’s any way to do that?

Nope, you can’t.

ah that’s a shame.

I just printed a 6 hour head in open mode and it doesn’t look good. Lots of fine horizontal lines and lost details. I printed the same head normally a week ago and it was fine. Not sure if it is open mode or if the tank was just bad in that area as I printed them in different positions.