I would also be really interested in discussing a proper protocol of tank inspection!
I haven’t actually seen any tank fail from lifetime yet.
However, I have seen tanks leak due to failures or extremely high peel forces. Usually you get a small puncture on the top film which then leaks resin in between the film layers. Once this happens, it’s really obvious - see pictures in the link below for examples.
I generally inspect the films to see if there are any signs of this, but I also look at the magnitude of scratches on the film, and also whether the black gasket looks like it’s starting to peel away from the main films.
The User Summit was awesome. Really insightful breakout and keynotes, very well presented.
I think I saw 50% of the breakout and keynote sessions of the User Summit already. Sustainability is “an area of interest”
This was my Q&A at the session of Factory Solutions:
How do you scale up the Form 3 tanks as a consumable? In case of a 100 printer farm, I can’t imagine 100 tanks every 3 weeks (600hs just for non aggressive resins) ) being replaced… are there specific SKUs? (maybe without the cost and waste of the keep box) … is there a refurbishing program to avoid having to throw 100 tanks a month?
Answer: Julian - really great question. While 100 printer farms are not rolling out every day, implementing several of these now has led us to start investigating and trying to solve these kind of issues so we can save on waste and be more sustainable. Hopefully we’ll have more to share soon!
I thought Factory Solutions would be an area with enough critic mass to encourage the birth of a solution, (which might or might not benefit us small users)
According to Max Lobovsky, there are logistic issues to be solved for recycling programs (he was talking specifically about cartridges). In the case of tanks the issues are probably bigger (even less critic mass / need for cleaning / more shipping volume…)
But you got to start somewhere… Disclosing more data like failure modes, refining decay studies, helping with inspection protocols… anything that ensures that you don’t preemptively throw a tank with life on it.
The LPU is supposed to be resin proof… Is there a place to design a liner below so the whole assembly is “resin proof” so we can use the tanks until they leak ?
All in all, the lack concrete actions to crack down this issue is disappointing…
I want my tank V3.
Me too. I asked one of the presenters if they were working on a V3 with longer service life, but didn’t get a definitive answer. (It was along the lines of “we’re always looking to improve”)
thats really interesting, by the way we have in the lab one dental dlp printer Spr…, which has exaclty same film as new film from formlabs its rigid liek polyester very slick on the top but has matt coatin on the xternal side for air migration i supposed to reduce saction force, but there is no other film second film and we didnt noticed lifetime of the film being so short at all.
Well FL keep stating that a tank should be replaced after 50 Lt of resin…
Just to followup here, I’m still using tanks greatly last their lifetimes with no issues so far. The big factor though is that my lifetimes are exceeding the “days with resin” and not the volume of resin printed. The latter has been low across all the various tanks I own (around 12).
@Dkirch was going to follow up on this question back in August. I’d really love to see some more information from Formlabs, even if it’s just anecdotal.
The posts from January 2021 from this thread offer useful information from @rybu about a clever setup to to empty the tank.
I think that one downside of emptying the tank is that you mess up with the tank statistics, so you need to do it manually. But this has to have some positive effect extending the tank lifetime if you can live with carrying out the chore.
Murphy’s law says you will need to print with THAT resin the very next day you pour it out
I do agree with your analyses. I have one thing to add. Formlabs also notes that the resin in the tank itself is a factor that degrades the tank. I have read in the past that users have printed over ten liters of resin without any problems. The biggest risk ofcourse is the tank starting to leak before printquality goes bad because of a worn out tank.
I think the biggest problem here for FL is the liability next to (what should be a wrong incentive) selling consumables. They have probably tested tanks and printed succesfully many more cartridges than only five. But a resin leakage will cause an enormous mess so I assume therfore the printer starts to warn for possible leakage during startup when the lifetime of the tank isnt even halfway the recommended time.
I agree with you, I am a (pensioned) designer and design model kits. All in low volume with some prints for interested modellers. I came to the same conclusion only using grey resin. At this time experimenting with black (for the coming 5 liters or maybe more).
It’s 7 months later and we still haven’t heard anything from you guys. Surely this is a question you get asked a lot! How about some updates?
Everyone would buy more resin and use your products more if the cost of maintaining a library was much less and we felt that there was something being done to improve resin/tank lifetime on the Form 3.
Last firmware update from march 18 has a note: “Extended resin time lifetime for various resins”
The webpage regarding this (for Form3 at least) has changed: https://support.formlabs.com/s/article/Resin-tank-lifetime-Form-3-Form-3B?language=en_US
It’s good news.
I was wondering about that. Good catch. Do you recall what the original #'s were for the engineering and specialty resins listed?
Great that this is public now! I’ve been using my tanks for waaay over the suggested lifetimes with no issues. Even my Tough 2000 tank is holding up strong (knocks on wood)
Somehow every resin I use manages to remain on the “lowest possible lifetime” list
I have a Tough 2000 tank well past its lifetime and it’s still going strong. There are a couple of spots on the bottom of the tank that indicate I might need to change soon, but it’s still working fine.
That’s brave! Probably I’ll start doing that as well since I always getting scared with the “It will spill” warning but I guess that’s just overcautious on their end.
Btw, any idea what to look for exactly before a spilling occurs?
Yeah I’m a mad man haha.
I’m planning to change tanks soon - I’ll throw a picture up of the suspect spots after I do that.