Think the laser may be going on my older Form 2

My older of two Form w printers is having issues in that it prints the first couple of layers on the build plate along one area and then looses what comes after. Other areas of the build plate print ok.

Now before some says change the resin tank, it’s brand new. I change it out because first reaction was the resin tank was bad even though there was no ghosting on it. Probably threw out a good tank.The glass is clean, did that as well to make sure
Only thing it leave is the laser tube. Seeing the machine is around 4-5 years old and used a LOT I feel it might be that. Has anyone else had any similar issues and found it was the laser tube?

I’ll put a ticket in but feel it’s almost a lost cause. Every time I contact FL support It’s like HP support where you get someone in India who must follow a list and if you try and explain those questions aren’t the issue they immediately go back to the list until you can’t take any more and hangup or stop bothering to explain and deal with the issue on your own. [laugh]

I recently had to clean the main mirror on my machine. I was getting some odd areas in the prints.

The mirror looked clean at first but when I ran a light across the surface I could see some haze on the surface. It looked like the out gassing you have on the windows of a new car. Not much fun to clean off but that’s all it took for me.

Formlabs has instructions for cleaning the optics. It’s pretty easy to open up the machine and get it done (at least for the main mirror).

Fred, is this a Form 2 machine? I had a Form 1+ and that was always part of the process but the Form 2 is supposed to have a sealed section for the mirrors. to keep the dust out and the mirrors clean. Well, that’s what it’s supposed to do.

Even with the sealed section, we had dust on the main mirror in one of our machines, and also there were streaks of haze on the inner side of the laser window visible on two of them. If there is outgassing inside the section, the sealing doesn’t help, obviously.

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I know it seems like you’ve had it for that long, but it can’t be any older than 3 years old, assuming you bought it when it was first introduced at the end of 2015.

Just saying…

Yep, one of the first as I got a trade-in on my Form 1+ which I then sold to someone in Moscow Russia of all places.

Ok, I’ll need to search for how to clean the mirror and glass. And YES, right from the beginning I’ve had streaks on the glass that I could not clean off so that will need to be taken care of.

Thanks guys that helps. I won’t be able to do anything on it for a week or so as the wife goes in for surgery on her lower intestine tomorrow morning. She’ll be there for 3-5 days maybe then recoup at home for a few weeks. She’s my right hand gal and works packing and such of my products. So all that, including giving the cat his insulin shots twice a day, now falls on me. Such is life but it’s fun in the long run.

Hey there @Walter_Gillespie,

Sorry to hear you’re having some issues with laser strength! I think the advice here has been good, and working towards cleaning the optics is the right move!

If you don’t feel like hunting around for the correct instructions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our support team at the link below, and we’d be happy to send documentation right over.

Yes, this is a Form 2. It’s about a year and a half old so I would say that’s not too bad.

Remember that these are instrument mirrors so the surface can get a little funky over time.

What’s strange is that it’s basically a strip along one area.

I manufacture and I’ve been hit with a lot of orders last two days. Inventory needs replenishing to fill them. Usually I have both machines running 8 to 12 hours a day. Now I’m down to one machine. Oh well, customers will just have to wait. :blush::sunglasses:

Get well soon, Walters wife!

Well, I cleaned the insides of my older Form 2 according to the directions from Formslab.

After disconnecting the machine and removing the build plate and resin tray I proceeded to open the optics area. One thing I didn’t see in the instructions is ‘Don’t remove the left side screws, just loosen them.’ I was able to get them back in place after a bit of a fuss. Checked the main mirror and except for a few dust particles, which I blew off with a bulb blower, the mirror was really clean with no oil or other contaminants.

The back of the glass appeared to have some kind of smear be it oil or what. I proceeded to clean both sides as best I could. Not as easy as they describe. On close viewing at various angles the contaminants so it was all reassembled.

Then a test print was run to see how it would go. NO DIFFERENCE. Same issue. The bases where printed on the build plate but everything else afterwards was sheared off. Here’s a photo of the build plate.

Guess it’s PLAN B next.

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Walter… I was having the same issues… I tore it down and clean all glass and mirror parts including the Servo Mirrors (Or whatever they call them) with the Ziess Glass cleaning pads… The big mirror and Top glass I cleaned them like 4 times each then put it all back together again… Works better now then it did when I first purchased mine (after 3 replacements)
When I was having some sticking problems to the Build plate I sanded my plate a tad with some 80 grit…to allow the resin to “Bite”… I have never had a print fall off the build since. I have had to adjust the Z Squish once in awhile due to inconsistent Silicone layers (Mostly on re coated tanks) but now that I have switched to the Long Life tanks I haven’t had to do that but still on my first tank with 3 litres through it and still looks brand new.

Hi, Billiejean, The build plate isn’t the issue as the first layers stick properly and they remove easy. It’s layers after the early ones as you can see in the photo. It’s definitely an optic or laser issue. I’ll clean the machine up yet again and see how it goes.
I have three build plates that rotate between two machines. When a job is finished on one machine and washed the parts are removed immediately and that build pate is put on the holder to dry. When a job finishes in the second machine it goes through the same process except the build pate on the holder is what goes into that machine for the next job and it’s just cleaned build plate is placed on the holder. Some times they rotate that way and other times on the same machine if the second isn’t running jobs.
Everything was running great for 6 months or so but started messing up on that machine about two weeks ago. It slowly got worse and that’s a big ???. Why the deterioration? The glass and mirror were as clean as they have been while it was running OK. The resin tank is NEW so it’s not that. No dirt on the main mirror either.
My newer Form 2 is running just great using the same build plates, same resin and same jobs.

Ok… I was also wondering myself if there is Life expectancy on the laser when I was having my issues. I had sent in a few Support tickets but they would never answer my questions, All I got was was send the printer in for a $700 overhaul, so you could be correct…
I know I have to replace the laser on my Laser cutter but the CO2 is a consumable but the laser on on the F2 should not be a consumable due to it being a different type of laser, but things do wear out. (But I am not an PHD in Laser tech so what do I know. :wink:

I would say it was the galvo mirrors that need cleaning. It looks like the resin cures OK on the first few layers when the power is at a maximum but then there is only a partial build. If it was the laser degrading I would expect it to produce an even result over all the items rather than some item fully building and others not.

Well, a new issue has arrived on the second machine. The new resin tray in that machine has a layer de lamination along one edge. I kept noticing that the resin didn’t seem to want to flow along that edge, right side. Finally realized it was de-lamination of the film layer. No leakage as I took the tray out and examined the underside.

Anyway, I cleaned the tray in the older Form 2 and there is no fog of any kind so later on I may run that tray in the new machine if need be.

As to cleaning the Galvo Mirror that’s a bit tricky, I’ve done it before on my Form 1+ before moving to the Form 2. I’ll need to check FormLabs info on doing that cleaning. From what I remember they sort of tell you to stay away from it.

Yep, it will break the warranty, but since your machine is well out of warranty that should not be a problem.

Formlabs Techs have been real responsive. Fact I have two of them working this with me. [grin] Anyway they will send me the Galvo cleaning kit as I’ve already received the directions. I have most of the stuff in the kit on hand but there was a mention of a clean puff bulb and seeing that static cling of dust might be part of the issue I’ll go with the FL supplies. If this doesn’t work then I’ll need to send it back for service.

This isn’t the best time for me but I"ll work through it. Winter is our peak months of sales.

That’s inaccurate. If your printer is under warranty and Formlabs’ support team asks you to remove the shroud and clean the galvo, it doesn’t break the warranty at all.

In fact I don’t think cleaning he galvo by yourself, especially if you have already done it upon request from Formlabs, should have any effect on the warranty as you don’t damage or modify the product by doing that.

JohnHue, you are correct. If the OP gets a trouble ticket and follows their directions then warranty is not an issue. Just went through this exact issue (incomplete prints not delamination) and it was an optics issue. The instructions from FL for cleaning the mirror and galvonometers insinuate that you accomplish the steps with the parts in the printer - nearly impossible unless you got thin, long E.T. fingers. I received additional steps from their tech support today for accessing the galvos, removing the galvo/optics block from the printer then removing the main mirror - the block and the mirror are held on by two allen bolts. Caution on the bolts for the block, the back right one is in a recessed hole…will need a slightly long allen wrench to loosen it. Once the items are out of the printer they are simple to clean per their directions. Good luck. Its worth the effort, my printer is printing like new. Thanks to tech support at FL!