Particles on the main mirror. pro service plan not answering. anyone knows where to find instructions on how to clean the mirror?

After lots of failed prints that I was pointing to clouded tanks or lack of support structures, I found out that the mirror inside the printer has a big piece of hair on top, and from checking information on this forums this is most likely the reason for all of my failed prints recently. (the final part of the print won’t stick to itself and the edges are very blurred on a brand new tank) I tried to call pro service plan to receive assistance in cleaning the mirror, but I received no answer neither from uk nor germany, even if they should be working for another 20 minutes today. I cant find any article on how to clean the mirror inside the printer, so I am stuck with my prototyping. Can somebody in here direct me to some instructions for that?

I understand that taking a call 25 minutes before the end of the shift puts you at risk of having to work until 5:05 PM, but that possibility should be covered in a professional customer service.

Just making sure…you have a Form 2 and there is a hair on the mirror? Or do you mean the glass under the tank? If there is indeed a hair on a mirror, the system under the glass on a Form 2 is a closed system…i.e. you will not be able to clean it yourself. Formlabs will have to do it and they will want to investigate how a hair got on a mirror inside that closed system.

If you do mean the glass, there are simple cleaning instructions here.

1 Like

It is on the mirror inside, not on the glass. The glass itself also, seems to have a couple of little stains on the lower(internal ) layer that can not (obviously) be cleaned from the outside. All of it seems weird to me as well, since it should be sealed indeed, and of course I never opened it. This is horrible though, as the downtime for this inconvenience seems like its going to be much longer than expected. Lucky for me I have PSP, but its going to be 3 printers in less than a month :S

Yea it is a good thing you have the PSP.

My glass does seem to have some minor fogging in parts, although I’m at about 175 prints and have never connected any issues to it. Others have noted and blamed said fogging. Maybe it’s moisture? Maybe it’s part of the glass? I think mine has been there all along and I only recently noticed it.

I’m pretty sure that some fogging won’t create any problems if not maybe a slight surface detail lowering. A piece of hair like this instead can have severe effects like the one I had. For example prints not sticking to themselves. Cured resin in the tank after successful prints due to refractions. Severe detail loss on surfaces.

Here you see how the print just interrupts at some point and the support structures will end up into the nothingness.

I’ll look into why you weren’t able to get in touch with our team but for issues with the optical system, it can be best to get in touch with a member of our team so that we can advise on next steps. Let me know if you have trouble getting in touch tomorrow and here’s to hoping we’re able to get this corrected for you quickly.

1 Like

Just curious if you don’t mind saying,
What was the problem with the other two printers?


1 Like

Its “just” two faulty printers (out of two). The third one will be the one that I might get as a replacement-replacement, and I hope its going to be my final printer. The first printer came with a resin sensor that had no luck in figuring out resin level. it would keep overfilling and stopping the print. Fortunately it never flooded itself. I was in love with this second one at first, even if it looks like it might be refurbished. Unfortunately I figured out that it was not real love but just my appreciation of its amazing resin sensing abilities. This second one has a dirty mirror as you can see in the pictures and it’s completely unreliable in its connection with the dashboard. It will randomly disconnect and stop messaging you until reboot. I just figured out that it has been disconnected for 8 days and I completely forgot about the SMS feature. sometimes love can be sketchy :wink:

Shake 128, first let me say that it’s really unfortunate that you’re having to deal with this problem. My machine came (last year) and it also had lint as well as small debris inside the optical compartment - needless to say it was supposed to be brand new…

Here is what you need to do:
you need a 5/64 Allen wrench.
Open your machine (tank of course removed), push the tray to the right and it will expose 2 small screws (first image). In my image the tray is also removed you don’t have to do that! As a matter of fact don’t touch any of its screws as they are spring-loaded and are used to calibrate the machine precisely.

Next you push the tray to the left until you see the opposing screws appear in the holes of the tray. Formlabs made holes in the tray so one can remove the glass without having to remove the tank-tray. Remove those and be careful not to lose them.
Now you can slide out the glass.

I don’t have an image here but use a very soft brush (natural bristles recommended) if you have one at hand and a vacuum cleaner. I would not wipe the mirror with the alcohol just yet. Hold the vacuum hose into the compartment (without touching anything) and carefully brush the lint and debris off the mirror towards the vacuum hose, this way the dirt will get drawn out instead of blown around like with these rather useless compressed air cans.
If you still feel the mirror needs more cleaning than go ahead and to the cleaning routine.
Once the mirror is in perfect shape again, put the glass back in (reverse order of course). Don’t forget to clean the glass inside if necessary.
I hope that helps, sorry for not having more images but I think it’s not too complicated. If you have questions let me know.

1 Like

Thank you for the instructions! If I understood correctly though, It is a sealed compartment indeed and to open it without Formlabs instructions to do so would void my warranty.

Further information of public utility. There are indeed very detailed instructions on how to clean the mirrors, in the form of a PDF from Formlabs. They are not for public download because you should only perform this operation if instructed to do so from the customer service. Doing so otherwise might void your warranty.

1 Like

Great instructions by Jens, however @shake128, as you correctly stated, I would highly advise you to wait to hear from FL. It is entirely possible FL maybe have you open it up, but it’s best to be under their instruction regarding warranty.

1 Like

I was instructed to remove the optical window and clean it. Unfortunatyely I can’t possibly reach an environment that is relatively clean enough to open the optical chamber and work on it without the high risk of worsening the situation much more. (yes sealed optics were a total selling feature for me) Given the fact that this replacement unit shipped with dirt inside + the dashboard disconnecting issue, I asked the pro service plan if they were maybe willing to proceed directly with another replacement. After all I just bought the printer + psp and I never had a model that “just worked” out of the box. If the aim here is getting me back to printing as soon as possible, well, I can print for now, I just need to use the opposite side of the tray and never get close to the area that is giving reflection problems. I would rather keep working avoiding to print in that area until the replacement unit gets here, rather than risking to contaminate the mirrors area in such way that I can’t get it clean anymore, then just having to wait for the next steps in the assistance without being able to print anything. The problem here in my opinion is: if the factory couldn’t be “clean” enough during the assembly, how can I do this servicing successfully at home, where I never managed to be “clean” enough to successfully apply a protective layer on my phone’s screen? I still absolutely love this machine’s design, software and resins. I have to also say that the support has been working out pretty well except for a couple of hiccups. I still want to believe that Form Cell can become a viable option for the future of my business, and that these units were just a bad-bad-luck moment on both my side and FL.

Warranty - yes most likely that will be the case. That it will be voided unless Formlabs instructs you to open the machine.
As for it being “sealed” there is a gasket type ring around the glass on the underside - that’s your seal.
Further if you take the machine apart and a closer look at the “sealed” compartment you’ll notice a whole bunch of openings around the edges of the encasing plastic that surrounds the optical compartment. That was one of the few “negative” surprises when I openend my machine, as it otherwise is nicely put together. It is a simple machine, keep that in mind whenever you have to work on it.
So the optical compartment is sealed but not air tight, meaning if the machine is in an environment that moves air, tiny particles can enter the optical compartment over time, even though unlikely. The debris in your machine definitely got in during assembling.
That is a quality check problem - some tanks even though sealed have debris sealed in as well - so here as well, make sure your tank underside is clan before installing. Quality control is an important part and sometimes not quite up to par - again Formlabs is a young company and still learning on the way as well. So I won’t go too crazy about that here but it is still a substantial problem, when you have a new machine that has lint and other particles “built into” the optical path.

Definitely wait for Formlabs support to keep your warranty.

1 Like

I see you already got your instructions, can you make a quick photo where you’re having problems? Not sure where you’re getting stuck.
Oh, okay - I didn’t realize you are not so much a hands on person - then it is understandable for you not wanting to tackle this procedure.
And basically I do agree the machine should work flawlessly out of the box after all it’s not just a 20 dollar unit.

And no you shouldn’t just use one half of the machine’s building volume - that defeats the purpose.

I hope you’ll be back quickly, with a complete machine.

1 Like

Fortunately I have to say that I dont have any moving air in my environment, so that part should be covered. Also yes, they issued a replacement machine. Actually a brand new one, not refurbished, so fingers crossed! Of course printing in just some of the build area is not a feasible solution long term, but until the new printer gets here it will do. Most of my pieces are very small and I usually use the build area for volume printing.

Great! Formlabs customer service is among the best there is, so it doesn’t surprise me but it’s still good to hear.

It is indeed very helpful and reachable. Unfortunately, their Assembling and repair facility In Hungary (serving EU I suppose) seems to be below those standards to say the least. In my experience they seem unable to build a machine with no dust on the main mirror / inside the sealed optics. The (brand new) replacement machine for my replacement machine came yesterday. I opened it up and checked immediately. It still has Dust on the mirror in the inside as well (at least no hair this time). Probably not to the point where it will make my prints fail, but It doesnt look at all like the sealed optics chamber that it should be. I start thinking that if you really want a clear optical pathway in this machine and you live in Europe at the same time, you will have to ask the support for permission and then have some professional service it by yourself, or clean it manually if you are able to do so, as they seem to come with dust built in. I still think that everything else about this company is absolutely fantastic, and I do love the form2 design, engineering and software wise.