Pouring resin out to extend tank lifetime?

Just swapped tanks - here’s a picture. You can see some spots on the left where the bond between the gasket & film is starting to peel away.

I usually check the bottom on all my tanks before starting a print and sometimes tanks will have little, small bubbles like this but they don’t increase in size (or at least not in the same time frame).

The bubbles on this Tough 2000 tank have been getting bigger over time and one of them is getting really close to the edge so it’s time to change. I’ve never actually had a tank fail and spill (knock on wood), so I don’t actually know exactly what the failure mode is, but I presume if these bubbles get bigger, it will start leaking. Probably not all at once, but slowly.


That’s valuable info, thank you so much.
I imagined It would be some sort of holes in the printing area due to wear and tear but your explanation does make more sense.

No problem! Hope it helps others.

I’ve never seen age of tanks actually impact the printing area.

I’ve seen pin holes in the tank which cause small leaks - you end up with “blotchy” looking spots on your tank if you view it from top down. This is usually caused by excessive cupping and peel forces, which is usually a user error.

This is great!

Thanks for the pic!
I’ve changed my first tank (Tough2000, it was long overdue) some weeks ago but due to repeatedly failing prints so I assumed it was that. The silicone layers was rather scratched (normal use) and I guessed this was causing failures. I kept it.
It doesn’t show that failure at all… So I’ll extend the benefit of the doubt next time.

I’ll use this check for my Elastic50A tank.
It’s at 392% (!!!) and still printing perfectly (14 prints, 90h printing, 4200 layers, about 650ml resin)
I do not however dare to leave it stored in the printer

So I used to always pour out aggressive resins from my tanks in hopes that it would extend the tank lifetime.

I was able to use almost all tanks significantly past their lifetime (days with resin, not liters or layers printed) so then I began to just try leaving resin in the tanks.

Anecdotally, since leaving resin in their tanks, I’ve experienced two tank leaks (Tough 2000 and Elastic) when stored in their container. Now, this isn’t scientific in any way, but anecdotally I may go back to pouring resin out of the tanks to try and extend the lifetime again.

Just curious if anybody done a bit more thorough of an investigation into this?

I finally retired a Tough 2000 resin tray I’d left full of resin continually, after almost a full year (maybe 20 or so prints in that span of time) and it showed no signs of degradation. I may in fact use it again at some point in the future.

Interesting. I guess it’s somewhat random. I had previously used a Tough 2000 tank at like 200+%. Most recently I had one fail at ~125%. Though I suppose that one may have had more prints on it.

Pouring resin out won’t hurt i guess.

It’s a lottery it seems. A few weeks back I had a Form 3 tank with Rigid 4000 leak all over the printer BUT the tank was still at 91% (days with resin: 51/75 and hours printed: 228/250).
This surely happened before the 91% because prints were failing randomly and that’s why I took the tank out to clean the mirrors and found out that I had to clean everything else.

I do have tanks extended way beyond their lifetime so it’s not a science, I guess.

Interesting - does seem like quite the lottery! I’ll keep crossing my fingers and being diligent with care and inspection.

I don’t think it has anything to do with the resin in the tank, it’s the tank itself. My nearly 365 day Tough 2000 no-leaks-at-all resin tray experience stands in stark contrast to the experience I had with the very next tray I tried, and Durable resin, which sprung a leak after the first print.

My habit now is to check resin trays a couple of days after the last print for signs of leakage. If there’s nothing to see, I check at a much lower rate, like once per month…

Interesting! Could someone post their photos to typify the leaks?

I can’t imagine pouring tanks empty as a regular precautionary measure. I still haven’t build a pouring station flexible enough to function unattended.
But anyway: when a tank is poured empty, my experience is that it’s still pretty heavily wet with resin, if you don’t begin to scrape and wipe (which increases emptying time cost significantly).
So you guys think that a tank empty but still wet makes a difference?
I mean, it would think the chemical attack continues…

Didn’t take a photo this most recent time because there was resin everywhere in the container.

I would assume that less force on the gasketed area would mean a slower chemical reaction on whatever bonding method they’re using…but who knows. As I said, everything that I’m thinking has been anecdotal.

This is a day after the second print with this tank. Clearly a defective tank. Which is why I buy Formlabs printers even though there are less expensive options now… this picture in an email and I had a free replacement tank two days later.

To finish the tale of my seemingly immortal Elastic 50A tank, I’ve retired it with about 620% of lifetime service, because I saw what it looks like the start of a leakage (?)

No problems during this lifetime.
Maybe 500% is a safer number, but it of course need a strict Quality Control during manufacturing.

On another note, it is disappointing that 1 year later I see no news regarding improvements of environmental issues announced during the FUS 2021

One idea of OOTB thinking would be:
Since the tank holder case is so beautifully made, why not avoid the screen printed instructions on the orange lid, at least that way you encourage re-use. Maybe think of fitting dividing inlays and you have nice screw organizer boxes

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I had tanks leak before even reaching 100% lifetime so I do take life expectancy of a tank a bit seriously.

For what I’ve seen, the resin in tank days is not very significant. I have tanks with resin sitting for months, way over the recommended values and it prints perfectly whenever needed.

I do mostly use more aggressive resins like Rigid 4000 and 10k which may be the reason for sticking closer to the limits but while 2 tanks that leaked before 100% had Rigid 4000, another one had Black resin.

No idea if it’s luck but honestly I haven’t had much of that.

Did your tanks failed catastrophically? I mean, did it happen during a print that resin leaked over the LPU and made a mess? Or did they failed during storage?

I also use mostly aggressive (T2000), but I do agree that “hours or resin printed” is a more important metric to take account of and tank days is much less significative in tank wear. This was also commented by @leonhart88

And like you say, there are reports of tanks failing the very first day, so maybe QC procedures at Formlabs could be better.

I’m not advocating for everyone to happily extend their tanks, but I think it’s important to know that even tanks with aggressive resins can last much, so with proper inspection you might be able to avoid waste.

They failed in the printer during a print.
It’s really irritating to not being able to predict it before it happens because the cleanup process is a real pain.
It says so in the warning, something like “you won’t see it”. A tank while being used (in a print) is when it gets the most force so it’s (probably) 99% sure it will fail during a print.

I do stretch it as long as possible but it’s never without fear.

There should be two things to improve this:

  • Some sort of visual warning or noticeable change that would show us that using it one more time could be bad. With this I mean something we could see in the tank itself, like a tear before a hole.
  • The bottom of the printer could have some sort of tray that would serve two purposes: catch spilled resin to make it super simple to clean (remove tray, wash, reinsert) and a sensor (weight, humidity, whatever) that would let us know that resin has in fact spilled because we may use the same tank for next prints and right now we only know it when we remove the tank and that may be already too late.

Speaking of the last item, I did developed a habit of removing the tank and inspecting the bottom of the printer after every single print. Kind of of annoying but makes me feel safer in a way of not making it worst.


we could really use one of you to do a video showing how you inspect and what issues you are looking out for…text documents and single photos are ok …but would love a video walkthroughs primer on this!

It is so disappointing to see a Formlabs employee chime in multiple times to say they have an answer coming, and then never actually give the answer. I thought this company was prided on its customer service? Did I buy the wrong printer?