Optics Test - uniform degradation increase with each layer of towers

Forgive the goopiness of the images (we don’t have the formlabs cleaner that can clean stuff while on the plate), but you can get a general idea from these photos.

I’ve been having reliability problems with the printer lately, but it is fairly old and probably has nearly-dead lasers. I ran the optics test to see if there was anything telling, and these were the results I got.

The center piece was missing the thinnest little rod, but otherwise looked okay, but as you can see the four towers are a mess, uniformly around the XY axes.

Have you gone through the process of cleaning the mirrors including the galvo’s?

There is a guide available on the Formlabs site to show you how. If you’ve never done it it’s quite the process but could return the laser power to full.

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I don’t think that’s the issue. I’ve dealt with dirty mirrors before and this looks different. I could be wrong, but I’m not digging around in there with cotton swabs until I’m more sure of that.

And the printer is so old that the laser LEDs are likely nearly burned out. I know because Formlabs talked to our other printer, which has been used in tandem the whole time, and its lasers are nearly dead.

But, I’m not sure. I’m mostly looking for experienced appraisal of the situation. Some of the folks in charge of our gear don’t like replacing/fixing expensive things, so I need more concrete evidence to help make things happen.

Hope you find your issue. My form 2 is still going strong but I realize that my time is limited.

Good luck!

Okay, update.

A comment someone left on a post I made a year ago (when I was having a slightly different problem with a form 2 at a different studio) may have cast some light on this:

This makes me believe that, possibly, the optic window may just be dirty. Or in need of replacing. I’m going to do some cleaning and then run the test again, but I don’t know how to find someone who sells replacement windows, so I don’t know if that will be an option.

Hey @AWilliamWright!

This post you found from a while ago is pretty accurate! Cleaning the optics would be my move! Before you do so, I’d recommend reaching out to our support team just to make sure you have all the instructions and resources you need, but it’s not too tricky a process. :slight_smile:

They’ve tried to talk to the printer to see if it has any errors or warnings, but had trouble connecting to it.