Terrible print quality on Form 3 (Layer Lines)

Hello all,
Our company is a longtime user of Form 2 printers, probably averaging one print a night for the past 2 years. I’ve gotten “used to” the frequent maintenance needed on the Form 2 - regular window cleaning, mirror cleaning, galvo cleaning, terrible dust management, and a few returns for new laser diodes. Not great, but at least we get great quality from them when they’re working properly.

Well, we received our long-awaited Form 3 yesterday and the first two prints are REALLY disappointing. See attached photos. The layer lines on the Form 3 are downright awful. I’m currently waiting on a response from Support to diagnose this issue. Has anyone else encountered layer lines like this on their new Form 3? I can’t be the only one who received a printer with this issue right out of the box.

I’ve read through the resolution / overcuring problems on other threads. I can also verify that the print time on Form 3 is 30-50% longer than Form 2 with current settings. Simply put, this Form 3 release is deplorable. As an engineer at a product company myself, there’s simply no excuse to release a product in this state. It seems like it’s an acknowledged issue that the Form 3 is sub-par in nearly every way to the Form 2 right now - less resin compatibility, worse print quality, and longer printing time. How anyone at Formlabs deemed this product OK for release is simply astounding to me. This is no way to handle a new product release, and no way to handle customer communication for a new product release. If I can’t get a quick solution to this, I’ll be expecting to send both of my Form 3’s in for a refund.

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The only thing that I can think of is that at one point I had three out of the four feet firmly planted, so there was wobble, but even then the distortions weren’t anywhere like what you saw, though I’ve only printed at 0.025mm resolution, so that might have something to do with it. You’re printing at something bigger, I presume.

As for the launching of the product, I think they must have gotten to the point where they realized if they didn’t get it out the door, they were going to face a critical number of cancellations. I know I was close to canceling.

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These are very bad. My form 3 prints are much better than that.
Time to call support.

I am having some issues but that is really bad. I am positive support can help you get that much better.

Formlabs support is swapping this one out for a new Form 3. I’ll report back here once I’ve tried the new one out!

Hi all,
I tried out a second Form 3 printer that we received, and it prints beautifully. It looks like the first one I got really was a lemon, but was handled swiftly by Support.


I told you support would get you straightened out.

Very good, I have my new form 3 now for about two weeks. It has printjobs every “nightshift” and the printresults are absolutely stunning!

I am have never been able to get the print quality I expected from my Form 3, and I could really use some guidance from the forum.

I bought an Early-2019 Form 3 for my school’s Makerspace to use in printing small miniatures and such that students would create for various projects. I wanted to make sure I knew how to best use the printer, so I’ve been trying to learn the best ways to print, resolutions to set, and resins to use. I started with the Grey resin, and I kept getting muddy details. When we went into lockdown, I abandoned the project and focused on other things.

Coming back to it, I decided to try cleaning my prints more aggressively since some people said uncleared resin can cause details to be lost. I had an older ultrasonic cleaner, and I bought some Mean Green. I also watched various content creators and added a short cleanse in acetone and a final wash in a ziplock bag with clean alcohol put back into the ultrasonic cleaner.

I have been using the second version of the Ameralabs test print since I could compare it to results I’ve seen online. I started by first switching to a new container of Formlabs Model Resin since it was described as being one of the best resins for high-detailed prints at 25 microns. I have experimented with printing directly on different sections of the build plate as well as supporting the model off the build plate at different orientations. The attached photos show the results of this last batch. Everything has been printed with the same model, 100%, and 25 microns.

Looking at the models, the details look very muddy, and I see lines in the prints that are perpendicular to the build plate. This seems very strange to me, since lines would typically appear horizontal to the build plate.

I would greatly appreciate any information the community can provide to help me get the quality of prints I would expect a printer of this caliper should produce.

Thank you in advance.

Have you made any attempts to clean the printer’s optics and/or lubricate the mechanics? Are you using the same resin tank or one you originally bought with the printer, or a brand new one?

I have wiped off the glass on the top of the LPU housing using a new PEC and IPA per the Formlabs recommendations I read about. The resin (RS-F2-DMBE-02) and tank (2.1) were newly purchased directly from the Formlabs store. I have not tried doing any further servicing or adjustments to the machine. I purchased this resin because it was stated to have some of the highest detail for printing, and that was what I was trying to dial in. Thank you for your reply.

Original print quality may have been a firmware or Preform issue. Formlabs has updated both many times since 2019. But before you could try any of that, the machine sat idle for some (presumably long) period of time due to pandemic lockdown. Was resin sitting in the tray all that time? If so, it might be bad by now (either the resin or the tray or both. There were some issues with early resin trays, too, if I recall. So the tray may have been defective from the start. If you didn’t shake the cartridge after coming off pandemic lockdown, that might also be a source of trouble. The pigments settle over time… which is why there’s a mixer arm in the resin tray, to keep things mixed. But there’s no mixer in the cartridge so…