Printed part lifespan


New to the forum and thinking about getting a Form2. I have been talking to Formlabs about various aspects of it, but the one that shocked me was the expected lifespan of the printed parts. They say the durable resin has the longest lifespan of around 6-8 months. Is this what people are getting from their parts? What happens to the parts as they come to the end of the life? Is there anyway to improve the lifespan? As we were looking at using the parts as end use items, but we may have to rethink this.

Interested to hear your experiences and thoughts!



If that’s true then the printed parts are useless. I manufacture and sell to customers who expect this to last the same as cast resin does which is years.


Thanks for that, that was my thoughts exactly. Do you do any extra post processing of your parts? Which resins do you print with



If 6-8 mo is the longest, which is the shortest? 2 months? 1?

What happens after lifespan is achieved? Piece self-destructs and becomes thin air?

I just do the IPA wash. I’m switching to the ApplyWorkLab’s resin for cost reasons. It should be pretty much the same. Resin is plastic and once it’s hardened it should be no different than any other plastic.

I do have a Sterilization cabinet that I usually put the parts in for an hour exposure. This helps make sure the resin is all “non-photo sensitive” or at least that’s the idea behind it. Setting them in the sun for the same length works just as well. Being plastic long exposure to the sun and elements will break down the plastic in time but that’s usually years not months. In a controlled environment like indoors out of direct sunlight and UV light they will last far longer, or should that is.

I’m not sure what they mean by the lifetime of a printed part, I use the standard resins and they don’t change at all over time so far

My best results have been with my vacuum curing unit. I am building another, for those who are interested. Excluding oxygen is mandatory for complete conversion of unreacted resin. Resin is unfortunately not resin, and there will be different optimal settings and protocols for each (especially dual spectrum resins with chemicals to slow the cure rate, etc.).

You might consider doing some simulated lifetime testing of your part to make sure it will have the longevity you need.

I would guess the 6-8 month lifetime is based on degrading from UV exposure. If you coat your part with something that can block UV you could probably get much more. Depending on your volume plating could be an option as well. There are some vendors who can plate Formlabs resin parts - it looks impressive. I’m waiting for an opportunity to try it out.

This is my feeling as well. There isn’t really another reason for the parts to degrade over time… and if there is, we should be informed.

I’ve had my Form 1+ for over 20 months and I still have prints from that time. Some have been painted over, others are still the way they came off the printer.

Over this period I’ve used white, clear, 3 different versions of Grey, Black and flexible, and I’ve used 3rd party resins (primarily ApplyLabWorks), and I can tell you with great certainty, that none of them have turned to dust.

I’ve no idea what the FL person was talking about, but that’s not the actual lifespan of the printed part.

Maybe they were referring to how long it takes the cured resin to become truly inert (non-reactive), but that doesn’t mean it will self destruct afterwards.

I am betting that if you had left some parts in partial sunlight they would be yellowed and very brittle.

A blanket statement like “parts should be good for 6-8 months” doesn’t mean much without context. Is this with mechanical loading on the part? Is it outdoors exposed to weather? Indoors in partial sunlight. You should be concerned about how your product will be used and potentially run some accelerated lifetime testing.

I have some parts that are almost a year old now (11 mos) that are handled very regularly. They were fully UV cured, primered, painted and seal coated with varnish. Some of those parts even have some light mechanical loads on them. I’ve not left any finished models in the sun or outside, although they have been in warm cars.

So far, I’ve only broken one part and that was via a 6 ft drop off my shelf on to concrete.

Have sampel parts made by a f F2 from some one at 3D Hubs. To fully test the resin for your application. Resins are not like regular plastics.

Maybe the FL person isn’t talking about PRINTED parts, they could be talking about the resin before printing in a tank or cartridge. I know you are only suppose to keep unused resin in a tank for about a month but I think cartridges last for up to a year. For printed parts, I have some that were printed over a year and a half ago, and they are just as nice as the day they came off the printer, using Castable and Grey V2 resins. Those models have not been painted or coated with anything, so I wouldn’t worry about only a 6-8 month life span.

I have parts I printed on my truck rims from a few years ago. The only one I need to replace got smashed on a rock a few months ago. They haven’t turned to dust, they are no more brittle today then the day I installed them. They have lived through all the weather mother nature could toss at them from 100+ degree days to blizzards with all the mud and muck I could drive them into.

Maybe someone from FL should chime in and clear this confusion up.


Thanks for all your replies, I am trying to get some sort of clarification from FL about the statement. Below is my question and there reply as it was written on the email.

Q) One of the most important questions is going to be what is the life time of the printed parts?
Ans) Depends on which resin and what you are using it for. Our Durable resin has the longest lifespan (say 6 - 9 months for daily use) hence the name durable. However it does not have the same strength as our Tough resin.

I have asked what happens to the parts after this time and why its so short.

The parts are for internal use and shouldn’t really be taking any loads, so hoping the life span will be much longer.



The parts from sla, dlp and polyjet all use similar resins and all photoinitiator resins will become more brittle over time as they are exposed to uv light. If your using the parts as functional parts this could be a problem especially when flexural strength is critical. If your using them as ornamental or for master patterns then a good for many years if not stored in direct sunlight.
What I don’t know is if resins like Dental will change in tolerances over time. Base resins parts I have made from clear, black and gray all seem ok in dimensional accuracy and have not changed after post cure. I don’t know if that is the same for the other resins.

If your prototyping working parts and fixtures then you may want to take a look at the Fuse1 which is SLS system. Note that SLS won’t have the fine nearly invisible layers or small features of the resin based printers but make actual nylon parts that are fully functional.

Komodo, the information you have received isn’t correct or is out of context. I’m sorry about that. I sent you a PM to debug why you received that.

There isn’t any simple measure for the “lifetime” of a material, so this isn’t something we can measure or report. We have thousands of parts around the office that have been around for many years (including the very first part we printed 6.5 years ago :smile: ). In general, the materials will hold their property if they are sitting around. Extended periods of intense UV radiation like being out in direct sunlight (and that is true of many plastics). In general, you shouldn’t notice any problems with a part that is used indoors or if it is painted or coated.


Hi Max,

Thanks for that, I’ve sent you an email.

I’ll keep the thread updated with any extra info I get.

Thanks for everyones replies!


Hey all,

Is it safe to assume that if I printed a fine art sculpture, and coated it with rustoleum plastic spraypaint matt/black primer as a base, that I could paint over that and fill the hollow print with a cheaper resin to make it solid, that I could sell it and NOT have my buyer freak out due to the print breaking down over time?? =D please let me know!

  • Jon