Third form1+ machine - LASER FAIL! I am about to jump!

Failed again! After bringing the printer inside, warming the resin to 76 degrees and shaking the hell out of it, I have another failed print. New tray, new resin. This is absolute madness! Two liters completely shot and I have two useable (not perfect) parts that require less than 150ml.

So out of my last order from formlabs of two liters of clear resin I only made one acceptable large (75ml) piece and five smaller (20ml) pieces. I have an order for 18 more large pieces so at this rate I need to order 36 liters of clear. There goes my price margin!

I scrubbed the mirrors and I cleaned the galvos. I examined each tray. I warmed the resin, mixed the resin. I strained the resin and I printed inside the house at a nice and tasty 75 degrees. Here are a few of the results:

How’s the FormLabs ticket going Ralph? Your printer is just screwed.

Well it’s the weekend and I’m just documenting all my trials this weekend so when my tech gets in Monday he can see the POS I’m dealing with! Wait until you see the next botched print… Everything looked good until I paused it and refilled the tank! WTF?

Yea for some reason refilling will completely destroy a print.

Well could you try craning the mirrors again?

Just kidding. I really do want to know what is wrong with your machine but it seems to me like they should replace it. I’m also amazed you’re getting anything usable out of it.

Well, I did clean the mirrors again. I did find some hair line scratches on the small mirror but I’m uncertain if they are the culprit. I have some gray resin left over so after 35 minutes of mirror cleaning I gave it another try. The sharp horizontal cut is when I paused the printer and refilled the tank. After that I now have a very cool cutaway model but I don’t want a cut away model. I just want one of my dino skulls. After this failure I blew off the mirrors and ran a laser test again. It looks like my laser is firing through a cotton ball!!! This thing is toast! I’m packing this one up.

Laser test:


Have you tried printing a known successful .form file with new resin in a clean tank?

Please ask your support engineer for the butterfly or another proven .form file to print.

Ralph’s blob on post #23 was a butterfly clip :slight_smile:

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@Ralph_Roberts could you print the rook from my thread about the Y Galvo mirror and see if the side that correlates to the flare on your laser spot test comes out worse than the rest of the print. In your case from the shots of your laser spot test that would be the side towards the front of the printer.

Blobberfly clip.


I have a slight carrot showing on my laser test, it doesn’t seem to be affecting anything but is it a flaw in the laser? Seems others have it as well and maybe just that batch of lasers?

Been able to print some really fine stuff but wondering if the prints would be even better if the carrot wasn’t there.

Is there a way to fix that or do you need to replace the tube?

@KenCitron it’s probably fine. Most people have no problem with the flare. I would be interested to know how the rook I posted in my thread about the Y galvos would come out for you. Would you be willing to print it at 0.025 with no supports?

So while waiting for another BIG mirror replacement and some NEW resin from FL, I went through the cleaning process of the SMALL mirror and the GALVO mirrors. Here is the laser spot test after doing that:

I am not so concerned with the rabbit ears as I am with the fuzzy cotton ball shape of the laser. Anyway, I exchanged the BIG mirror with the new one I received and checked the others. I ran the laser test again…

I am very certain at this time, I am going to get another failed print. That laser is just too widespread from what I know works.
So I load up the test butterfly print otherwise known from this printer as blobularfly print.
Sure enough the print failed.

I am done.

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I have not made one good print in over two weeks now and they seem to be getting progressively worse.

I could try but I have a different resin, not the Formlabs resin so not sure how well it will compare adding another variable in the works.

I will be getting more Formlabs resin soon though, Not sure which color but leaning towards the black for detail.

That doesn’t look like a big mirror problem. If the mirror was dirty, fogged etc. the laser would create a rectangle patch on the paper since. I would suspect one of the galvo mirrors being fogged or damaged if the new laser produces a sharp spot if aimed at a wall or something direct.

@KenCitron thatis fIne it still should show.

@Ralph_Roberts could you print the rook from my Y galvo thread @0.025 and post the results as well?

Hello everyone,
I finally got my replacement machine and it’s working.

Now about laser and laser problems - my first machine went out as the laser started failing to cure resin. I need to stress here - that most of us who use optical machines know - the optics need and have to be in pristine condition at all times so that there is no dust or dirt on any of the mirrors - to me that is a must and also a given. I mention that because formlabs quickly likes to point toward the mirrors whenever there’s a problem. While I’m sure they get plenty machines back where that is actually the case - in my case it was the laser. It suddenly simply stopped curing anything - The laser test showed an extremely weak spot, and flaring was worse than at the beginning. I had the machine for about 3 months. I ended up taking the laser out, pointing it at a small puddle of resin it simply was too weak to cure anything in the end, no matter how long the resin was exposed to the laser - no curing.

Now, happy to have my replacement machine - first thing I did, test the laser - it’s bright and strong as it should be BUT as most of us by now know the optical appearance is still TERRIBLE! It’s not a dot rather a line with a bulge in the center and flares coming out - just like you guys have uploaded and witnessed many times. I wonder why formlabs can’t put in a laser that gives one a clean, round dot, it’s beyond my comprehension. How difficult is it to add a proper lens to the laser setup that focuses the laser properly…any simple pointer laser has a cleaner dot than the one used in a high precision machine.
It is still surprising that the machine kicks out parts the way it does with such a bad laser focus. So right out of the box, even though the machine doesn’t seem to be straight from the factory, there are some slight signs of wear, it still seems to be in pretty much brand new condition.

I have seen all your tests and efforts in trying to focus the laser - thanks very much to all of you who put in time and money and thought trying to fix that problem.
With those attempts a new problem comes along, every time one puts a “choke” or some self made lens-device in front of that laser its intensity is weakened. While that loss might not seem significant, it could change quickly when using different resins. And one thing we don’t need is a weaker laser.
Ultimately there is only one fix and that’s in manufacturing. The laser simply needs to be focused properly in order to ensure absolute pristine results at all times. Especially with DLP systems coming on strong, which reduce curing time, the laser- machines need to proof they are still relevant. The peeling action also needs to go as it’s a built in point of failure. There are a couple of companies that have been tackling that problem and we might have a new system available pretty soon, no peeling, continuous curing.
Here are some parts my “old” machine spat out as the laser was deteriorating, the surface quality began to suffer greatly.

Here are the images
The swamp tree was before the werewolf as one can see quite a change in surface quality