Possible causes for small mid-print uncured artifacts?

Hi all,

We’ve just started experiencing odd problems in some prints almost identical to ones we’ve done hundreds of times without issue. This is using a Form 3B, approximately 3-4 years old, Tough 2000 resin in a relatively new tank, and what I believe is the latest firmware as of this moment (rc-2.1.0-2005).

The printer lives on a solid U-line style workbench. It was recently moved, very carefully, from one location to another in the same office environment. We’ve done many prints successfully since its move, so I don’t think it was that.

I’ve attached pictures that show a couple of failed units from multiple angles. The part being printed has gone through many minor tweaks, but none around the areas that have failed. We always print them in the same basic orientation (standing almost upright, but at a slight angle). There isn’t any obvious reason I can see in the model why such failures would occur. They aren’t at points where more supports are needed.

Does anyone know what could cause something like this–dirty optics, something out of calibration, age of printer, bad tank, etc? Should I go straight to Formlabs Support?

Thanks in advance for any insights.

Hi @jrowberg,

Thanks for getting in touch! I’m sorry to hear about the recent print failures you’ve started to encounter with your Form 3B. Judging by the print photos, it’s possible that the tank film encountered an issue causing the localized failure. Testing out a different resin tank would be a good idea, but aside from that I would recommend sharing these photos along with the corresponding .form file with our Support Team for them to take a closer look.

I’ve had this problem before, and the likely cause is random cured/hardened bits of resin stuck to the bottom of tank, which will cause the mis-print to happen in the same spot. Also check for any spots on underside of the tank as well as the glass.
In my case it was a small bit of resin stuck to the bottom of the tank.

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Thanks, @Jesse_K. I’ve submitted the same support request details through the official channel as of yesterday evening. We don’t currently have a new tank on hand to try, but I’ll see if we can get one.

@RD_lab, I wondered about that, but there wasn’t anything obvious. Based on the orientation of the part, I would have expected a permanently stuck bit of resin to cause a much larger problem in the print, e.g. a very long gash rather than just one small spot. Maybe I’m misjudging things…an extremely small stuck bit might still do that. I’ll investigate more closely, and check the whole tank.

Following up, it looks like there is indeed a tiny bit of resin stuck to the bottom. We also found a small imperfection in the bottom of the tank, like someone took a ballpoint pen and pressed hard in one spot. Obviously that didn’t happen, but whatever the cause, we’re going to replace the tank.

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One last follow-up: a new tank solved the problem. Thanks for everyone’s input!

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