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Tank LIfespan with Tough 2000 (and rigid,and a few more)

Does anyone have a serious problem with the limited lifespan of V2 tanks on the 3L, with Tough 2000 (and Rigid and a few more) resin?

My prints are taking 60 to 70 hours, (a separate issue) meaning I’m only getting 3 prints per tank. $100 per print, which is more than the cost of the resin, and the amortized machine costs. More than finishing labor. It’s the most expensive part of printing, and a problem.

I think it’s a major engineering failure. FL is of course mum about whether there’s a V3 in the works.

I’d like to see how many are troubled by the state of things! And to apply as much pressure as possible to supply a better tank.

Is anyone else bothered?

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Not a 3L, just a 3, but I had Tough2000 in a tank for almost a full year. I retired it because I was worried about the tank’s longevity and not because it had developed any problems.

You shouldn’t need to retire a tank unless/until you are having problems with your prints and/or you observe a mechanical failure like a leak.

At least on the plain old 3, I just kept hitting “ignore” and kept printing with the same tank.

That’s really helpful! FL has got the vapors about the tanks and lifespan, so real life experience is great.

Do you know how many printing hours you had without a failure?

I think that’s the important metric, more so than hours with resin loaded.

Thanks!

I don’t know why there are 8 prints missing, 26 total, 18 successful, 0 failed. I suspect if I never hit the thumbs up/down thing it didn’t count as either successful or failed. This tank, however, never produced a failed print.

Also, the resin used is wrong. I put 2L through this tank before I retired it.

Note: I’m not that heavy-duty a user which is why the tank sat wet for so long vs. the total number of prints. I said in my previous note it was about a year, but it appears it was quite a bit more than 1 year, 490 days total.

At one point early this year, in an unrelated communication I mentioned to FL support that I had been using this tank for better than 300 days and the response was, and I quote “We recently extended the lifetime of Form 3 tanks (now that they have been in the field for a while and we have a better idea). We are happy about that, so I would keep using that tank until you see any marks, punctures or cuts.”

One last bit of info would be most helpful. Did you print full printer volume with prints as large as the machine would permit, or small prints, or a number of small prints? That would tell me some useful info re correlating your use with mine.

I print full volume on the 3L, using a 3 for prototyping before I go full size.

There’s a dramatic difference in the EOL between 3 and 3L; I suspect that’s because there are fewer 3L’s out there, or out there using the agressive engineering resins, so they go the hyper conservartive route.

I’m going to ignore the warnings for now, and stay with 100 micron layers, since 50 microns means a 3 day print. Yuck.

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Unfortunately, the Form3 doesn’t do “heat maps” like the Form2 did, because of course that’d be able to answer your question in a more quantitative fashion. I would say I did a mix of prints. Some smaller models that didn’t use much of the build plate, and others that consumed almost all of it. On average, I’d say the print times were in the 15 hour range at 100 micron (or sometimes, the adaptive beta setting).

Since this thread is new I thought I would chime in because it was mentioned that a tank was used after being filled with resin for over a year. Be careful or risk smearing resin all over the laser assembly. Our company has 3 printers (2) Form 2 and (1) Form 3. I have had multiple Form 3 tanks start leaking just by sitting in the storage container. It’s not like we were looking for a drip or so on the bottom of the Tank. We lifted the Tank out of the storage container and found a lot of resin no longer in the Tank. We’re very grateful for that storage container. We would have resin all over the place multiple times. Now we lift the Tank up high so we can inspect the connection point between that black frame and clear plastic. That “black frame” is just that. If you’re not sure what “black frame” I’m talking about. It’s the only black square with the appearance of a frame inside the tank. Fortunately, we haven’t had a tank start leaking during a print. Only while sitting inside a storage cabinet with no light exposure and temps always between 68F to 74F. I’m not sure all the resin types that did this so far. But Tough 2000, Clear, Tough 1500, and Rigid are on that list.

If you have deep pockets then these printers do the job. Form Labs have reimbursed us many many times with tanks and resin. I do give compliments to that.

Good luck finding parts for the Form 2 printers. An example is the resin level sensor. I can’t get one to replace a malfunctioning one and since that is the case I can only bypass it and fill the tank manually. If filling manually doesn’t work for you then throw the printer away or sell it for parts.

Per the direct feedback from FL (quoted above in a previous reply) when I told them the tank had been on the printer for almost an entire year, they said “keep using it unless/until it shows signs of failure”.

I have had a tank spring a leak, but it “self sealed” and happily didn’t escape in to the printer’s guts.

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Thank you for posting this photo. I never thought of the possibility of a leak starting where the image indicates. I’ll inform my team to keep a watch out for this.

That’s a tray full of “Durable” which is fairly clear. A resin like Tough 2000 is opaque, you would be lucky to detect a pinhole leak like this from above. For opaque resins, you need to remove the tray and look at it from below. The rule I follow is to check the tray a day after a print and if it looks good, I forget about it until the next time I print, when I again check a day later. I don’t think trays spontaneously start to leak, I think it’s the stress associated with the peeling process during printing that opens up a leak. So if you check the tray and it’s not leaking, I don’t think there’s much risk it will just start for no reason at all. I have some trays left over from my Form1+ that still have resin in them and aren’t leaking and I bet some are over 5 years old. I should really just lay them all out in the sun for an hour and throw 'em in the trash…

Hello to Rob_Steinberg.
I can confirm what Randy_Cohen wrote: the lifetime predicted by FL si quite short and not corresponding to the real use of our tanks.

I also have old ones that still wors perfectly. What I suggest is to inspect them from time to time, better drying out the resin and clena the bottom. Checlk for cracks, hard cloudy effects and scratches. Mainly the common problem is that they became too much opaque because the cloudy effect that the laser create. But if the prints came out correctly, is ok.

Best regards and happy new year,
Mattia

Thanks Randy and Mattia.

Tough2000 is regarded as hard on tanks, but it’s pretty clear that FL has the vapors. They always are overly cautious.

For example, the default support settings on my models result in a structure that becomes solid in places, rather than forming a scaffold. And which take hours to detach, with multiple tools including a jewelers saw.

But setting density and slope at the minimum possible, and with tiny attachment points to boot, has yet to result in a failure.

Not to mention the default settings used more resin for supports than for the model.

I understand why they do this, but still…

I have to abandon 50 micron layers on the 3L; three days per print, three prints per tank.
I’ll gradually extend the use, and do what I can to check on the tanks condition. They do say failures give no warning signs, so I guess I’ll keep a gallon of IPA and a large pack of wipes on hand for cleanup!

Good info.
I should throw in some added info. to help not miss lead anyone. To comment on Randy ( Thanks Randy ). When we find leaks, so far we have not checked for leaks after a print has finished. This gives the possibility of our tanks starting to leak during the last print even though there was no resin inside the printer.

Form 3 tanks are the only ones we have leaks. The Form 2 LT Tanks have never leaked. We even get great prints after years of use. But I want to point out these are the Form 2 LT Tanks that have never leaked and so far after years of use theiy are still working with good quality prints.

To bad they stopped making and supporting the Form2 printers. They stopped right after achieving top-notch quality. Now the Form 3 continues to have problems even after swapping printer after printer. My engineers refuse to use it now, as long as one of our Form 2 printers is available ( other engineers are using all the Form 2 printers forcing another engineer to use Form 3 ).

I still would like to say that after jumping through some hoops for Form Labs ( talking with them ) every time a printer breaks ( They need to confirm this is or isn’t easy over the phone fix ) Form Labs has often compensated me for my troubles by giving us some resin and tanks.

I ordered my Form 3 Oct 27 '21. Tonight (2.5 months later) as I start my THIRD print using Rigid 4000 I get a warning the tank is near the end of its useful life? These were not long prints either, less than 10 hrs each. Obviously Rigid costs more than other resins and warns of shorter tank life, but three months? I appreciate all the input from those above and will keep an eye on it but, wow, if that’s the expected life I would think that would be in bold text on the page for Rigid resin that the tank life is that short. Or did I miss that somewhere? Overall been pretty pleased with the printer but this is definitely in the “con” column.

I agree that the stated lifetime is way too short for the engineering resins. We, like others, have both Form 2 and Form 3 printers and the latter is much more expensive due to the tank longevity when exposed to resin. If, however, you are printing non-stop and following Formlabs estimated lifetimes, the F3 tank has about a 2 liter lifetime. The F2 LT tank is almost 5x that amount. However, with that in mind, the F3 ends up costing about 35% more to use than a F2. Here is an example of the same print with the same resin for both printers:


That said, we are having a hard time dealing with intermittent printing with engineering resins. That seriously makes the F3 much more expensive as the resin ‘eats’ the tank.

Has anyone tried emptying the F3 tank when not in use? Would that improve the lifetime for intermittent printing?

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According to FL, the two major factors are print time and time in tank, so I believe removing the resin would help.

My problem is with the 3L and 3 day print times, so I quickly get to that recommended maximum after just 3 prints. $100 per print.

I’m just going to try and ignore the warnings for a few more prints, see what happens.

Like I said earlier in this thread, I had a tank with Tough 2000 in it for well over a year and it was working fine when I finally swapped it out to switch to Durable.

Formlabs said as long as the tank is still working and it’s not leaking you can continue to use it well beyond the expiration date.

Scroll on up. 653% expired. 490 days. No problems.

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Except, under their odious terms and conditions, ignoring the warnings gives them the right to void your warrantee. Regardless of what support told you.

They also try and use a variety of T&C’s called “browse wrap” that says "You can review the most current version of the Terms of Service at any time at this page. We reserve the right, at our sole discretion, to update, change or replace any part of these Terms of by posting updates and changes to our website. It is your responsibility to check our website periodically for changes. Your continued use of or access to our website or the Service following the posting of any changes to these Terms of Service constitutes acceptance of those changes.

This “browse wrap” has been thoroughly rejected by all the courts that have reviewed it. You can’t have super double secret rules.

And, besides not passing legal muster, it’s scummy.