Pouring resin out to extend tank lifetime?

Hi @sorbydan and all,

I do sincerely apologize for this thread falling off; Dan has moved to another department in the company and since your recent comment has resurfaced this post, I will be more than happy to follow up with Dan (and other folks, if needed) to try to get more information. I will, however, quickly do my best to answer the original questions quickly before I need to do some more digging. Please let us know if you have additional follow-ups and I’ll see what I can do.

1. Has Formlabs been doing continued long term testing with tanks, and is there any further information on tank lifetime that can be shed? I presume what’s listed is a conservative number and it would be nice to know a) whether internal testing has shown this can be extended, or b) whether there is work being done to extend the lifetimes. I am admittedly running some tanks past their lifetime with no issues, but just carefully inspecting the film before each print.

The tank lifetime estimates are a bit conservative since that will lead to less resin spills (which are both annoying to clean and costly due to the amount of wasted resin) so we would rather have folks replace a tank before it gets to the point of risking a spill with every print. With that being said, if you are actively checking your tank film for any obstructions, dents, cured bits of resin stuck to it, etc, you can likely use a tank well past the recommended lifetime (at your risk of failed prints or spills).

2. Does pouring resin out after use extend the lifetimes at all? Is this something Formlabs has even tested?

From personal experience, it does not seem like pouring resin out immediately after use seems to improve the lifetime at all. We typically only advise pouring resin out of tanks after roughly one month of inactivity so that the resin doesn’t separate and wear away at the tank film.

I hope these answers helped, but please let me know if you have follow-ups and I will see what I can find. I hope you all have a great weekend ahead!

Hi Corey,

I’ve just visited formnext 2022 in Frankfurt. and I saw almost all mid- and high-end competitors with beter approaches.

They have:
A) permanent tanks with only user-replaceable films below (so there is as minimum waste as possible)
B) a printer design that avoids a spill is so catasthropic (so no risk to use the film to the limit - this is: until prints begin to fail, not until you risk spendng hundreds of dollars in cleaning or printer repair)

There’s surely ways to make a much more responsible tank (even compatible to the installed printer market.

In the meantime, at formnext it felt sad seeing Formlabs still insisting with this wasteful tank concept (to ridiculous packaging extent as even using single-use film to wrap a plastic tank inside a printed cardboard box with foam corners)

It’s been years already.
Where’s Formlabs CSR department @MaximLobovsky?

Kind regards

Hi @hoolito,

Thank you for sharing your experience from Formnext 2022 and your overall feedback.

I can certainly see the potential benefits of a permanent resin tank with a replaceable film, as well as having further resin spill resistance built into the printer design. Our printers are designed with the possibility of resin spills in mind, but I hear you regarding mitigation of more severe spills. I’ve also noted your feedback about the resin tank packaging and will pass this along to the team.

I recognize that these concerns are a high priority, and we will take your feedback and other users’ feedback into account when developing future product releases.