Peopoly Moai Tanks for the Form 1/1+


#1

Since Formlabs has seen it fit to completely abandon the Form 1/1+ and no longer make any supplies available, those of us who believe the Form 1 is still a good usable printer, and don’t think we should trash it just becaause FormLabs thinks we should, we need to find alternative consumables for our printers.

We already have a quite a few options for 3rd party resins (I myself use the ApplyLabWorks resins), and there are a few alternatives when it comes to the resin tank/vat.

So far we’ve had the ZVat, with a glass bottom, which some folks like, but other don’t, and then there is the FlexVat for those that want to go a different route and use FEP instead of PDMS.

Other, like myself have been recoating the original Formlabs tanks, but frankly there’s only so many times you can do tha before you eventually need to replace the tank.

So what about alternative tanks that are compatible with the Form 1? On AliExpress and even on eBay you can find many Chinese companies that sell Form 1+ “compatible” tanks, but the build quality and fit are questionable. Moreover, the prices are pretty high, considering they’re knock-offs of a $60 vat, and they’re asking nearly the same price.

Enter Peopoly. A company that manufactures the Moai, an SLA printer similar to the form 1+. The Moai trays are in fact almost identical to the Form 1+ trays and fit the Form 1 printer just fine. These vats sell for only $35, and shipping from Hong Kong is actually cheaper than what FormLabs used to charge to ship from within the US.

A week ago, I placed an order for 2 of these tanks, and they arrived today. The build quality is excellent. The tray are made of clear acrylic, and the PDMS layer is flawless. The trays slide into the printer without any problems, but there is a tiny bit of side-to side movement, due to the differences between the 2 printers. I found that a a couple folded business cards can be wedged between the right side of the tank and the frame, and that removes all possible play.

And now for the real issue. With the build platform set at normal height, there is about 3mm gap between the surface of the PDMS and the bottom surface of the build platform. The amount of adjustment available in PreForm is only 1mm in either direction, so that won’t work.

Since I already have another build platform, the simplest thing for me is to add a 3mm shim between the plastic frame of the build platform and the aluminum plate. the screws that hold the plate in place are long enough to allow for this. There are other options to be sure, including making the platform height adjustable with spring-loaded screws.

I’ll post more information once I decide which direction to go.


#2

Would love to see some photos ! I have been considering getting myself an SLA printer for personal use (the 2 Form 2 machines I use are my employer’s), and while the Moai is interesting for the price I would also consider a used Form1+ just for the ease of use and capabilities of Preform but to justify that purchase I would need to be sure I can keep using the machine for the next few years… Having ready to use vats still being produced is a big step towards that.


#3

So I decided to take the easy way. I ordered a 130 x 130 x 3mm aluminum plate on eBay.

Originally I was going to drill holes in it, so I can slip it over the threaded inserts of the original plate, then sandwich it between the existing plate and the plastic frame.

In retrospect, I will simply glue it on top of the existing plate for 2 reasons: the existing plate surface has a few relatively deep gashes in it so this new plate will provide a much nice surface, and secondly, Aluminum can be glued with either epoxy or CA glue, and the bond is excellent, especially when you have such a large surface. Submerging it in liquid resin will not affect the bond.

Anyway, this will give me a Build platform with the proper spacing for the MOAI, and apparently other tanks available on the market. The trick is to remember to switch the build platforms when I switch tanks. :wink:

I’ll post some photos of the build platform and the new tank as well as some sample prints once I get everything together.


#4

Sounds like a smart solution. Do you have a more permanent solution planned for the business card spacer? Hope it works out for you (because we’re in the same boat!)


Formlabs needs to address the need for Form 1 / 1+ Resin Tanks
#5

not yet, but I’m sure something will present itself. For the moment I want to be able to actually print something, Then I’ll worry about cosmetics.


#6

Thanks so much for all the various tests & for opening this very important topic… sad we got so unlucky with aftermarket parts by such a silly margin, but there is still hope!
thanks again!! cheers!!

Mark


#7

Interested in how you go with this, I have just found my form1 (original) in storage and I haven’t used for it 4+years and would like to get some more use out of it, having only the original supplies and a single tray that looks like its shattered I need to find where I can get a tray and resin that will work.


#8

So why folks does not like ZVat? Anyone compare the amount of printing before recoating?


#9

I have a Zvat and my only complaint is the gap that exists between the edge of the glass and the inner edge of the tank frame.

The problem is that when you recoat it, PDMS finds it’s way in that gap and fills it in. When it’s time to remove the used up PDMS, it sticks because of the PDMS in the gap, and it’s a pain in the butt to remove, because it tears apart and next thing you know you’re removing little bits of PDMS with tweezers. Also the edges of the glass are not smooth and the PDMS sticks to it like crazy, and inevitably to chip the edges as you try to remove the PDMS.

On a FormLabs tank, the clear bottom is glued directly to the bottom of the orange frame, and there are no gaps. This makes for painless removal of the old PDMS


#10

"So I decided to take the easy way. I ordered a 130 x 130 x 3mm aluminum plate on eBay.

Originally I was going to drill holes in it, so I can slip it over the threaded inserts of the original plate, then sandwich it between the existing plate and the plastic frame."

Hi! it works? i’ll going to do it too!!!


#11

I haven’t received the plate yet. As soon as I do and try it, I’ll post my findings


#12

OK, so today I received the aluminum plate, and proceeded to glue it onto the build platform I have. Bad mistake, I should have first checked for clearances.

First I went to the fine tuning page and put the platform all the way up (-1.0mm), then inserted a brand new Moai platform and lowered the build platform. Not only was it touching the PDMS, it was pressing against it pretty good.

After a few tests I determined that the aluminum plate was simply too thick, by about 1.5mm. So what will really work is either a 2mm thick plate or a 1/16" thick one. The plate I got was actually 3.5mm thick.

Since there was no more movement available in the fine tuning adjustment, and separating the glued aluminum plates was impossible, I had to perform some surgery to the platform body. I removed about 2mm off the bottom of the plastic skirt. Long story short I got it to where it works, although I did have to do some fine tuning, which is expected anyway.

But after making all these changes, I had a revelation. Adding the plate at the bottom may well be the obvious way to fix it, but there’s a simpler way.

Adding a 1/16" (or 2mm) shim under the mounting head of the platform, will effectively move the rest of the platform down by the amount. So pen up the platform by removing the screws, then from the inside remove the screws that hold the head , and add a piece of 1/16 thick plastic between. Of course you’ll have to drill some holes to match the existing layout, but the beauty of this is that this mod is not permanent. You can revert you platform back to it’s original spec at anytime.


#13

I forgot to add a couple of photos of some test prints. The first one was the small model on the left, it was done at .1mm, the second test was the larger model, and was done at .05mm resolution. I put it next to an actual Hahammer 40K model for scale.

My biggest issue with Preform when you print stuff at this size, is the support trees get so close to the body an invariably ends up getting fused to some areas requiring a lot of cleaning. I wish there was a setting in preform where you could specify the minimum clearance between support and model.

But I digress. Here is proof that we can get the Moai tanks to work just fine on the Form 1+ :grinning:


#14

https://photos.app.goo.gl/cRBBhAM5fRQmBn516

moai vats work, you just need to do a small mod to the back since these vats are a bit taller than the original

you also need to open your form and do a relevelling get a 8mm flat plate to sandwich in between and tune the 4 screws

i have setup a album for my form1 mods and findingd


#15

how it looks in form can you show picture_


#16

I’m not sure which MOAI or Form 1 Tanks you have, but both of my MOAI tanks are exactly 42.3mm, and the Form 1/1+ tanks I have are 41.5mm in height, so the MOAI is less than 1mm taller.

The big difference is the inside height dimentsion. The Form 1/1+ measures about 33.5 ~ 34mm from the top of the PDMS to the top of the side wall, but the MOAI is 35.5mm.

So it’s not the height of the tank, rather it’s the lower/shallower level of the PDMS that account for the gap. But the tank itself doesn’t need to be modified, nor do you need to adjust the tank platform height and re-level it, because even if you do, you’ll still need to add some more depth to the build platform.

BTW, adjusting the tank platform, is not a good idea if you plan on using FormLabs tanks and MOAI interchangeably, well not unless you enjoy tearing the printer apart and re-leveling the platform each time you switch.

FWIW, I also measured the height of the build platform and it’s exactly 34.5mm, so even if you were to lower the Build platform to where the bottom of the arm was touching the rim of the tank, it still wouldn’t reach the PDMS. So you have to add the shim no matter wnat.


#17

if u go the way i did, raise the vat, you will need to mod the vat since the arm will hit the back of the vat and make it tilt.

You went the other way around which also works but i had already adjusted the vat height so was just faster to mod the vat.

If u checked the pictures on the photo album you would have seen this. you would also seen the mesurement comparison

but yes your method is probably better than mine altho i dunno about the shim.

I also think the correct way is to completely change the bottom plate, not glue, not shim. both glue and shim can add unwanted skew to the plate

besides form vats are dead so moai is the new form vat.


#18

Do you have a link to the photo album?

Have you ever opened or removed the bottom of the build platform? There are 9 threaded stand-off posts that were press-fitted in the aluminum plate. They are the attachment point for the screws that hold the platform together, and they act as spacers as well. Unless you have a press, I doubt you’ll be able to duplicated that.

I still have 6 Form tanks that I actively recoat. I also have a Zvat, which has internal dimensions similar to the Form tank, the MOAI is a new addition so for me something that I can switch between is the way to go.


#19

Yeah I know, yet it dosen’t have to be press fitted one can either solder it (braze it) with something like alutite or simply make a blind hole and screw the thread to it.

A mod I will probably do is add a heater to the modded baseplate since heating the plate to around 50ºC makes removing the prints so much more easy

I posted the link in the thread before, sorry i tought it showed the link when you clicked but in reality it only show the cover picture of the photo album, my bad

https://photos.app.goo.gl/cRBBhAM5fRQmBn516

For me the Vat is dead since i gor my F1 with no vats whatsoever, but yeah, like i admited before wish I had seen your post before doing my mod, was just far into the rabbit hole to turn back :slight_smile:

What’s the go-to place for collating form1+ mods, is there a community managed github like photonsters for the anycubic photon?

Would be cool to collate the best practices in modding a F1/1+ there and see if it helps promote the use of Formlabs OpenFL python scripts


#20

This topic was automatically closed 7 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.