Printing issues

I have a fairly new formlab2 printer. I have only 2 materials, Clear and ModelV2. I have new tanks Clear maybe have printed 20 prints, Orange tank. Also have the dental model materials and a brand new LT tank. Everything has printed great and I have been very happy. Until I purchased the DentalModel and LT tank, 1st print went great. Amazing. I then wanted to print more models and uploaded 2 models. They failed and since then non of my prints or materials work. All of them are partial prints and some specially the model burns to the rubber bottom of the tank. Nothing prints now. I followed the website recommendation for cleaning, draining and removing all thick pieces( bought from Home depot the mesh paint strainer) and cleaned the tanks. I then printed the test print( butter flies 5) and took photos. Send to support. I don’t understand what happened. All was going so well. Anyone who can help me,

Sorry to hear you’re having trouble. You mentioned the model sticks to the PDMS layer of your tank. That sounds like an adhesion issue. That link outlines some steps you can take, including inspecting (and if necessary, cleaning) the tank bottom and optical window, along with some more advanced steps if needed (like adjusting the Z Fine Tuning). From what you’ve described I think it’s possible some dust or other contamination got into the optical path and it’s definitely worth following each step laid out there.

Also, how old is your resin? If it’s getting old, or has been sitting in the tank a while, definitely make sure you stir (if in the tank) or mix (if in the cartridge) really well before starting a print. In the case of resin near or past expiry, shaking for 10 minutes has made the different for me between a good print vs. a failure (although for Clear resin this isn’t quite as important as with the pigmented ones like Black or White).

Can you share photos of the butterfly test prints with us?

Thank you for responding. Here are some of the facts.
The tanks are new less than 2 months.
The Resins are new bought 2 months ago.
All my tanks are stored in card boxes and out of any direct light.
The bottom of the tanks are really clean and so is the optical window.
I followed the instructions on Formlabs web site.
Why I’m so confused is that I was printing and all is working amazingly and I use the printer abut every other day for work. Sometimes more the once a day. So the resin is not sitting to long( in my estimate ).
I am very meticulous and the machine is cleaned every day and covers are placed every time its not printing.
Maybe sound to crazy but it’s a part of my business so it needs to work.
Like I said I was printing and just the second print with the Dental model resin it failed and since then its been failing.
I did work with the Z axis settings and that has not worked either. Actually was up all night working with it( it is a part of my business so I need it to work)
Very frustrating. And on top of it Formlab is not attending any support the next couple of day due to company events.
Thank you again and I will try anything that any of you can recommend.

I will send photos too. Just need to re size them to fit this format.

Hi Lars,

Sounds like the timing could be better. I took a look at your photos. It looks like Clear prints are adhering to the build platform and building up the supports, but fail once the “substance” of the model is encountered. i.e. When it hits the butterflies themselves, the new layer either isn’t curing or remains stuck to the PDMS rather than peeling and adhering to the previous layer. The Dental Model print looks like the raft isn’t really adhering to the build platform at all.

I’ve seen that sort of behavior when a) there’s contamination in the optical path, or b) laser power is inadequate.

On the path of (a), I know it sounds like a broken record, but definitely make sure:

  • Bottom acrylic surface of the tank is clean and free of dust, and you’re printing in an area where the PDMS is not clouded (see tank maintenance)
  • Optical window is clean and free of dust, on both inner and outer surface. Here are inspection and cleaning instructions.
  • Main mirror is clean and free of dust or debris. Support can send you a document with instructions titled “Diagnosing & Cleaning Form 2 Main Mirror”. Since your printer is fairly new I wouldn’t attempt a mirror cleaning until you have their blessing (in case your cleaning attempt damages the unit - if you do it without their permission they may be less likely to cover replacement cost). But in the meantime, if you have the optical window open for cleaning anyway (see previous bullet) you can do a cursory inspection from above by illuminating the mirror at a very shallow angle with a flashlight or phone light. The shallow angle is important; if you shine a light straight toward the mirror, most of the dust won’t show up. BTW, I always wear nitrile gloves, long sleeves, and a hat or hairnet whenever working above the printer cavity (otherwise dust and bits of dead skin will fall off you and contaminate things). Alternatively, if the dust is bad, it’s sometimes visible by just peeking inside through the window (without removing it).
  • Resin is fresh, mixed well, and has been filtered to remove any bits or clumps remaining from past failures

I think it’s also worth doing a galvo inspection and (maybe) cleaning. Again, Formlabs can send instructions “Cleaning the Form 2 Galvo Mirrors” (I’d ask them for those if they haven’t already).

Formlabs will send you PEC*Pads if you ask, but you might be able to get them faster from Amazon. Be sure you have Q-Tips and one or two clean microfiber cloths on hand. Try to take before/after pictures of any inspected or cleaned surfaces, and include them in your Support ticket.

Regarding (b)

I’m not sure what the exposure power is for Dental Model vs. Standard, but I wonder if perhaps your laser was marginal and that Dental print pumped more power through it triggering a hardware failure. Support might be able to glean something from your logs - make sure you’ve uploaded them by going to Settings | Printer Info | Upload Diagnostic Info and mention it in the ticket so they can have a look as soon as they get back.

You could also try a little experiment - take a small model in Preform (e.g. a single butterfly), duplicate it twice, then align the duplicates perfectly on top of the original (use Layout mode in Preform, zoom in super close on a distinct or pointy part of the silhouette to get it perfect - like, zoom so close that nudging it with the mouse moves it in “jerks” by several pixels, rather than smoothly). This will force the laser to make multiple passes over each layer, and I’ve seen it compensate for a weak laser (at least for the purposes of testing / diagnosing issues). It’s the same technique used in the towers at the four corners of the Formlabs Optics Test preform file (also available from Support).

Another experimental thing you could try: Install the tank of Clear resin, switch your printer to Open Mode, but do the print with settings for Black or Castable (both of which use slightly stronger exposures).

Basically if you get a success out of either of these methods, it could point to a weak laser symptom.

If the printer is still under warranty, and you’ve done all the cleaning and anything else they’ve asked of you, I don’t think it would be unreasonable to push to get it swapped.

Others here might have additional or more specific suggestions.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes!

Thank you, I will definitely try every suggestions. You seams to be a wealth of knowledge in this matter. Thank you.
Regarding Clear vs DentalModelV2. Both are doing the same. I have now has clear that just burn to the bottom of my tank and no adhere to the platform. I have had DentalModel do the same and I have had partial prints as the butterfly test. I can’t make any sense out of this. I even ordered a new clear resin 1L and a new Orange tank. In the mail now.
I cleaned out the tanks again and filtered both. No difference in success of print.
I have with my best ability inspected and used a micro cloth on the glass and they seams to be all clear. I will take a look with a flash light on the mirror as you suggested and with caution.
I appreciate your using gloves too. Same here.
The images with the model material and its half attached to the platform and hanging. This has happened most of the time. I tried the Z axis setting and found no difference. With my Dental Model the LT tray has only been used now 5 times and 4 with miss prints as shown. Inside I cleaned and that rubber is not as clear as the Orange trays I have ( that been used for about 20 prints).
Both materials has burned to the bottom of the tank.
I can’t find a consistency with the errors( in my mind).
I wish Formlab would contact me back.

Thank you again for responding to my call for help. It’s frustrating as I rely on this machine for my work.


I will keep adding photos with each try. please do comment if any one sees anything that is help fully.
Kindest regards,

I just added multiple videos to the dropbox , showing the complete process for the butterfly test print from Formlab. This is using the model material Dentalmodel V2.

Any suggestions?

Hi Lars,

I watched several of the new videos you uploaded. A few notes…

Don’t ever use alcohol to clean a tank! This applies to both normal (orange) tanks, and the LT ones. Stick to the officially sanctioned guidelines here (for orange tanks) and here (for LT tanks).

Unfortunately I think you need to write off and discard the tanks you used alcohol in. It can cause the polycarbonate frame or acrylic window to develop cracks (now or in the future), which could lead to a catastrophic resin spill. I would also set aside any resin that was in those tanks if there’s a chance it mixed with unevaporated IPA. If your resin was contaminated with alcohol that might also explain the failures you’re seeing. You can always go back to that resin once your printer is working and it’s been ruled out as a factor.

Holding the LT tank up to the light was helpful. It looks pretty bad, even though it’s only been through 7 prints. PDMS tanks cloud, but LT tanks shouldn’t develop a haze like that (certainly not so quickly!). I think perhaps the alcohol may be in part to blame.

I have noticed LT tanks develop some marks or scuffing in areas where prints have repeatedly gotten stuck and need to be pried off, which prematurely wears those areas. Your removal technique looks fine to me. But if I were you, I’d stick to Standard tanks and Clear resin for testing going forward, until you get the problem sorted out. I find the PDMS layer on the standard, orange tanks to be less delicate and better tolerates repeated contact with the scraper. It’ll also be cheaper in terms of burned tanks and resin costs until you get back to successful printing.

I noticed what looks like bumps or ripples when you showed the underside of the tank:

Any idea what those are? Is it just wet marks?

I think the soft rafts are telling. Ordinarily that would scream “low laser power” to me, but given the poor tank clarity and potential for IPA contamination, it might be worth another shot with a brand new tank and fresh resin once those arrive. But definitely make sure to highlight that video where you’re poking at the jellyish raft for Formlabs Support.

Are the prints in Clear similarly gummy? If you wind up trying the “triple-stacked model” experiment (with either resin), I’d be interested to see if that produces less rubbery rafts.

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Rlagerer. Thank you . I got hold of the tech team at Formlab today and they recommended to do the Galvano mirror cleaning so I did that. Then I test printed again. Will really bad result. They were very helpful and very kind . I have ordered new tray. What you see is actually the rubber that is indented and bubbles. Formlab is replacing that tray for me (very kind of them). I must say their technical support once I got hold of them has been excellent. Tough saying that my problem has not been resolved.
I used very minimal of 99% IPS when cleaning off the tanks. I agree with using just the clear, problem was I did so many trials that I ran out of material. So that was ordered too.
I send the new photos and images from the last test to Formlab and hope to hear from them tomorrow. Need this resolved as soon as I can to get back into production. Thank you again for all your expertise and support. Lars

sorry RKagerer spelled it wrong in my last message… Thank you again.

Have done the Galvano Cleaning now twice and same issues. New photos in Dropbox link. New trays and filtered Resin. Formlab doesn’t know what is the issue. Not sure what I can do now? Any help is welcome.
They been great at Formlab pro service but so far no advancement in correction of the issues.

My warranty just went out in April. Bummer. I just got a email from Formlab and this printer has only had 49 prints total, Feel that that is not normal and then encountering this issue, that seams to be non solvable.

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