Quality Control isn't good enough - Make good on consumables?

I’m usually pretty tolerant of problems that come up in technology. I don’t default to blaming the gear.

But I’m being tested.

My first 1+ died within days. Formlabs replaced it, with an advance swap. Nice!

All was good, prints worked, and I gradually worked up to larger and larger prints over two months. Until I ran a print that maxed out the size. Failed. Thought it was me. Changed orientation. Failed. Changed base height. Failed. New tray. Failed. New Bottle. Failed. And the base was always welded to the the aluminum. It took a chisel to pry the failed models off.

Support suggested I clean the galvos. Cracked the case and the galvos looked clean. But the 45 degree mirror below was filthy. Smudges, finger prints, hairline scratches and a small chip in the bottom edge. Since I had never opened up the base, I’m confident it shipped this way.

I cleaned the mirror, and magically, I’m printing again.

When I reported this, support replied “Is there anything else I can do for you?”

Well, yes, yes indeed there is. First, apologize. Second, tell me what you’re doing to investigate and correct this lacunae in QC. Third, I blew through two tanks, and a couple of liters of resin.

How about comping me some consumables? Ordinarily, I’d consider failed prints a part of the cost of doing business. But given how yucky the mirror was, I’ve reconsidered. I’m not after my time, just the wasted materials.

Their error, their responsibility.

I’ve seen a number of posts that might fall into the “poor QC” bucket. I haven’t seen any movement towards “make good” consumables.

Has anyone succeeded? Should we press for same? On one hand, I want Formlabs to be healthy. On the other hand, if poor QC becomes costlier, maybe they’ll be forced to address it more aggressively.

How do others feel?

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When even my printers been back they have always included a new resin tray when returned. I’ve always felt this to be a really nice gesture.

I would contact support and discuss the issue with them as they have always been very reasonable with me, even when my tone hasn’t been ideal due to frustration. I also had a chipped tray that the replaced without question and again this really makes me appreciate that the are doing their best.

Granted, sometimes they get it wrong but in my experience do everything within reason to put things right.

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Hi @Rob_Steinberg! Thanks for bringing this to our attention. I’m really sorry you’ve had such a frustrating time so far!

We really do understand that the accessories and consumables are a huge part of the printing experience and we take every report of something not working correctly very seriously. Having hard data on these kinds of issues is what allows us to make larger changes to address and correct them, so it’s incredibly helpful when customers let us know when something goes wrong.

I noticed you had a ticket open with Alex, so I pinged him about your comments here and we’ll make sure everything gets taken care of! Feel free to let us know if you have any other questions or concerns.

Exhausted. That is the only word I can think of using for how I feel with formlabs and QC.

With relation to getting replacement consumables for problems that I can easily show are not my fault…I am very satisfied. The new resin tray with every printer helps, and ive gotten a L or two of resin as well. That being said, I am on to my 5th (maybe 6?) printer and although the materials have helped my frustrations, they don’t even come close to making up for the lost time.

After my first several were returned, I was assured my second to last replacement was torture tested as well as personally built by the staff I was working with at the time. It showed up with visable resin stains, and a locked up plunger. The resin tray was nearly impossible to remove/replace. I worked with it for months anyways, as I use it a lot and cannot take the downtime. Other than the resin tray issues, I loved this printer, it printed the best I had seen. I was told, when I was ready, I could send it back to be refurbished, but would get my printer back. When time came…I was told they would just ship me another replacement.

Last week, this replacement showed up, and switched from one printer to the other over a weekend. Same prints, same bottle of resin. Immediate failures. destroyed resin tank. I immediately took it apart to check the mirrors, and was shocked to get a replacement in such a dirty state. The whole compartment was very dirty and dusty, the mirror was filthy to say the least. After further inspection, I noticed a small scratch in the large mirror as well. Its not very big, and I doubt it causes any serious issues (I had worse) but it does not change the fact that this should not be happening. I should not have to take my printer apart the first day it shows up. At current, I am being offered a replacement tank and mirror, but need to provide more documentation to get another replacement for this dirtball. This is what brings me to my last, and most significant gripe.

The support team structure. They are all very nice, and do their best to cater to you, but when it is a different person every time it gets very frustrating. I used my printer daily for my business, and would consider myself on the more high volume end of things. For 2 of my replacements, I worked with jory and it went fantastically. He had an understanding of my needs, and understood my competency with the printer. Working with a new person again, it goes to back the scripted step by step process that eliminates one issue at a time. It feels similar to a “did you plug it in” scenario when you call IT, but instead of a 30 minute phone wait, its a 1-2 day email interaction. Not being able to call is also a part of this frustration.

This is not the first time I mentioned it here, formlabs absolutely misses the mark when it comes to high volume users. Not everyone falls under the same blanket of needs, and there is no variance in how different users are treated or dealt with.

In the end, I love the form1 printer. the quality of print to the cost of machine exceeded my expectations, and I am very thankful they replace them with ease. It does however leave me longing for whats next…a printer of this quality and price that does not involved a 3 week Q&A every time there is an issue…or maybe even one that works longer with no issues.

(dust on mirror 1 day after receiving printer)

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