Prints failing midway through

I’m not sure what’s causing this. I’ve had limited success with my form 1+. Long story short - This is a replacement printer with a replacement motor that we were sent to install. The first 2 prints off the new printer were great. Since then, this is what we’ve gotten. At some point during the print job, it boogers and we just end up with a 60-70% complete part. Which wastes a ton of resin and kills my tanks. I always cancel it if I see that it has failed when I’m here. These prints were all done using the correct resin settings and have been tried in multiple orientations. You’re looking at 5 prints of 2 parts tried numerous ways both grey and clear resin.

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That’s classic laser failure if your mirrors are clean. FormLabs refuses to acknowledge that stray light from a laser flare will over-dose the resin around a tall model after the first 2-3 inches. The cured resin membrane on the tank bottom either attaches to the model (as seen on the left) or stays attached to the tank bottom and tears into the new layers (as seen on the right). Support is going to tell you your mirrors are dirty. Eventually they will send you another Form1+ with the same problem. I think they have run out of profit from our sales to fix our printers correctly anymore. I had to sell mine for that reason. It looks like you have the same situation.


Hmm, those don’t look good, Alex. I know that you’ve had an open channel to our support team, but you should definitely get in touch with them again, if you haven’t already. Prints in that particular vertical orientation (at least a couple in your picture) do seem prone to an accretion of flaking, and I have seen some people find success in slightly inclining their models. You may be able to get away with less dense supports as well.

@JoshK, I hear you’re frustration and we’re taking a hard look at what’s going on. We haven’t categorically written off anything. We don’t have laser replacements available, but have been bringing back RMA’d machines that show the characteristics you’re concerned about, to run tests and take a close look at what’s going on. At the moment, we have found that many issues are resolved by a careful mirror cleaning, so that’s what we first recommended, but as we continue to research problems that we’re seeing in the field, we’ll take the steps necessary to make things right.

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Would angling objects like those at 45°- 60° be better than just straight up?
What resolution did you print those at? Tall objects with little detail you could probably print at 50 or 100. Courser the better with big stuff.

Not sure how a failed laser would cause that. I would think that if the laser had problems the print would be junk at the start and not part way up. Looks more like there was a failed layer for some reason that cascaded the rest of the model, possibly from too much force needed to peel, contamination in the resin, marginal pdms region?
Rough surface on the model on the right looks like a dirty mirror where the resin not sharply exposed which could lead to artifacts in the rest of the tank that would eventually kill the print.

While it is the complete opposite of what I knew about 3D printing I agree that angling items in 2 directions gives a better chance at good builds. I angle everything now!


FormLabs plays a textbook game on customer relations, kudos. It’s clear that everyone there has been through modern business school for the age of connectivity. I have too. But you can’t fix the root of a technical problem with kindness. And trying will bankrupt a business when the market gets more competitive. Which is happening VERY fast in consumer 3D printing. We know you guys will support customers to the bitter end… even when profits run out, but how close is the bitter end? You guys have increased staff, many lawyer fees, and now 8% of sales going to 3D Systems (that was not built into the price structure), sales that I expect are waning, and never ending FedEx bills on exchanges. And I am sure you guys had to cut a check to 3D Systems for 8% of past printer sales (and resin?) from before the settlement. I don’t wish FormLabs to fail, but there are some harsh facts in plain sight, and I’m sure some more behind the scenes.

@Bill_Lane & @KenCitron - Yes, I’ve tilted things in the past and agree that is optimal, With several of the larger parts you’re looking at in that image it becomes impossible to do that however because it makes the part larger than the footprint that the build platform will allow. I could (and have) broken it out into pieces to print and glue together afterwards, but certain things are cosmetic and I’d like to avoid that if possible. As for the smaller parts in that image…You’re looking at the same part in 3 different orientations there. This is a print that has successfully printed already for me just like it is built. But now, I’ve tried it 3 additional times and haven’t been able to get it to work.

The update to this story - - I was asked by support to print their Test File and even had 3 of the 5 butterflies to print successfully. One (the middle) never made it beyond the supports and they are all flakey.

@Alex_Thompson - I think @JoshK may have it here, laser flare is causing jello flakes to mount up and break prints.

I’ve been running a lot of test prints recently to investigate the impact of my laser flare, but I’ve got a long way to go yet.

One thing I have noticed however, is that black resin parts have much less jello flaking - I strongly suspect this is because it’s a slower curing resin, so laser flare has less impact.

Have you tried any prints in black to compare?

To debunk the “dirty mirrors” B.S. do a laser-spot-test with the laser out of the printer. Put on orange safety glasses and fire at a sheet of paper at the correct distance.

@KevinHolmes I’ve tried grey, but not black

@Alex_Thompson do you have any black - or would you consider getting some? It’d be really interesting to see if you noticed a difference as well.

@JoshK (and others),

Without expressed consent from our support team, you should not be disassembling your machine to test components. If you are under warranty, this can void your warranty.

To current and future Formlabs customers, we are here for you. So long as you are willing to let our support team help you, they will do all that they can to ensure that you are happy with your printer.

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Of course you shouldn’t diagnose the problem. Just keep guessing and pouring in resin. What was I thinking.

I know what this problem is there can be debris in the resin that when submerged can’t be seen by the naked eye you have to screen them out because they float around and catch the laser and then when that happens it just starts to pool out in the curing process and then you have these cured puddles which ruined the print