I’ll hazard a guess they’re up to their elbows in the (ever sliding) Fuse deadlines and expansion into Asia, and everything is going to be somewhat on hold until the dust settles.
Do people not realize these things the machine does are to get you to buy more resin sooner? I realized my tanks seem to have a digital lifespan as well. Even when they are still usable. I have resorted to open mode for using up whats left in my cartridges and tanks. Ever wonder why open mode disables the wiper and heater? Another design choice to force you into buying more resin. I’m willing to bet they make way more money on consumables than they do on the printer itself.
If you are printing more or less continuously, the time spent nursing the printer through a cartridge change can cost more than the few mils of resin left in a nearly empty cartridge.
Thanks so much for taking the time to contribute to this thread. We hear your frustrations and agree it’s time to offer some clarification on some of the issues raised throughout the conversation here.
Regarding the “Cartridge Low” warning appearing too late, our software team has been made aware of the issue and they are evaluating what it would take to adjust some of the system logic in the Form 2 to move this warning. Our primary goal (and roadblock) is making absolutely certain that the printer can’t damage itself with these types of adjustments.
Some folks here have also raised concerns that the “Cartridge Dispense Error” has prevented some prints from finishing. This is definitely frustrating, and it’s an issue that we’ve begun addressing in recent firmware releases. Specifically, the firmware release on August 7th (Firmware 1.18.10) had some adjustments to how end-of-print level-sensing happens. These changes decide when your print is safe to finish without refilling, and then disable the fill algorithm until your next print. This should prevent a resolution from being thrown in this scenario. Users also have the ability to ignore the Cartridge Dispense Error, which will disable also disable LevelSense for the rest of the print(see photos below for the location of this option). We feel that this is a good compromise between minimizing risk for print failure, and keeping users running. We will continue to monitor this feature and adjust it if necessary - please keep the feedback coming!
Next up is the ability to effectively “finish off” cartridges to make sure they’re 100% empty. To be perfectly open about things, this is a really difficult feature for us to implement safely. The specific reason for this difficulty is that we don’t have a way to make sure the cartridge is actually empty. At this point, we prefer to keep a human in the loop. At HQ, we empty the last remnants of resin from a cartridge directly into a resin tank, and that way you’ll know that you’ve gotten all the material you can out of it.
Lastly, it sounds like it might be worth some clarification from us about what the various cartridge and resin related errors mean specifically, so I’ll go through these below.
Cartridge Low: We estimate how much resin is left in the cartridge based on a combination of your model and how much resin the Form 2 thinks it has dispensed. This warning appears when the Form 2 thinks your print is larger than how much resin is left in your cartridge; it should always be skippable because the main point is to keep users from getting stuck halfway through a print with no backup cartridge. As mentioned above, we’re looking into what it would take to show this warning earlier.
Cartridge Worn: This is what you’ll see if the printer completely locks out a cartridge and prevents it from being used at all. It is determined using the same estimate of resin dispensed as the Cartridge Low warning. The threshold for volume lockout is based on our testing that shows the rubber bite valves used on our cartridges are reliable for a little over 1 liter of resin. After this point, we can no longer comfortably assume that the valve won’t cause a much more significant issue (like dumping the entire cartridge of resin into the printer, for example). We are aware of some users running into issues with our cartridge estimation algorithm, we believe these issues were resolved in the firmware released September 5th (Firmware 1.18.12). If you suspect your prints were affected negatively by these changes, reach out to our support team.
Cartridge Dispense Error: This particular error does not relate to our estimate of remaining resin in the cartridge. All this error points to is that the printer tried to dispense resin, and determined that the resin level in the tank did not change. Typically the cause is the rubber bite valve on the cartridge being sealed up, the cartridge cap being closed, or the cartridge actually being empty. If you experience this issue for any other reason, please get in touch with our support team and we’d be happy to lend a hand.
Waiting for the Form 2 to realize there is no more resin in the cartridge
It’s that very last bit that was one of the major motivations for the original post.
It very often does think the cartridge is actually empty, and delays printing for a significant amount of time (not to mention having to be present to babysit the printer and continue through the errors). Because, from what i’ve observed, it assumes it’s empty if a certain amount of resin has already been dispensed over its lifetime - regardless of whether the level is chaning or not during dispensing attempts.
And I imagine this happens often for some people because they empty the vat into the cartridge when not using that particular vat+resin for a while (otherwise we’d all end up with 2x the amount of containers all over the place, for every resin type we use).
And the reason people are doing that a lot and it’s popping up more often all of a sudden is because they’re advised to do so by support.
And support advises them to do so, because in the past year and a half, vats have been degrading when left with resin in for longer than a month.
And the reason tanks are degrading when left with resin in for longer than a month is likely due to changes in the vat supplier / material, the numerous reformulations of the resins, or both. The problem is systemic, but can easily be fixed by allowing the user to accept the risk and disable the “cartridge dispense error” warning for the next print.
Additionally, the number of dispense retries appears to be fixed (or at least it was, i haven’t updated the firmware in a while now), whereas different resins at different ambient temperatures have very different viscosities.
So, in order to accomodate very viscous resins, at edge-case temperatures, it always does an extremely high number of retries before giving up, which can sometimes take almost up to an hour (or at least it did).
Optimizing this on a per-resin-type basis (and ambient temp basis, assuming ambient temp can be guesstimated - no idea if there’s a sensor somewhere on board) would probably help a great deal.
After all, you can always prompt the user to retry dispensing.
Couldn’t agree more, the way it works now is a tragic design flaw.
Thanks @DKirch for the long and detailed answer! Using up the resin is really an issue for many of us, as regardless of the way you try, there’ll always be issues:
-If you just use the resin cartridge till the last drop is dispensed, you have to baby-sit the printer, much print time is lost with resin dispensing tries, and you could end up with an ugly line through the print if the resin does run out overnight.
-If you put the remaining resin into the tank manually, you’ll very easily overfill your tank and then have to deal with the messy business of getting the resin out again
-If you put the remaining resin into another cartridge, the metering will be off, making print times vastly longer, and much worse, you run the very real risk of getting the “cartridge worn” error and being stuck with a locked-out cartridge still containing resin.
Why can’t those bite valves be attached to the cartridge properly? Just a ring on the bite valve, and a groove on the cartridge (or the other way round) would change quite a lot, I think…
Try draining the last of the cartridge and put the resin into a separate container. Only add the resin in this container to the tray when you know the resin in the tray is low, eg after filtering the resin or before you use a new cartridge, but only fill the tray to the line (LT trays have better markings than the orange ones)
…and make the tanks deep enough to catch an entire cartridges-worth of resin, so if the bite valve fails, or falls out, the machine can still safely contain the extra resin. The potential for resin floods are by far the worse thing about these machines. I can easily top up a cartridge with extra resin to make sure a build will complete without interruptions. Trouble is, if I do that, all the resin quantity systems on the machine are completely upset.
Or put a weight sensor on the cartridge floor, so the machine can KNOW EXACTLY how much resin is in the cartridge, rather then three levels of second-guessing… This is how our StrataSys machines work, and we then take out 3.6kg cartridges when they are down to less than 40gms of resin. EVERY SINGLE TIME…
Ditto mostly. My printer is downstairs in the garage. I had a stroke in 2010 (left side) so navigating stairs is awkward. I get it done, but it’s a PITA,so I’d like to keep the trips to a minimum. I have determined that my resin math is better than my Form 2, so when I know there is enough resin remaining to finish the print, it would be nice if I could force a ‘resume’ from my computer.
Can confirm this is still an issue.
Cartridge is empty, which i know.
There’s enough resin in the tank for the print, which i know.
The way i know is because i emptied it out into a jar, per new support recommendation not to keep resin in the tank for longer than… month? two weeks? week? Who knows what the number is these days - apparently, the regular resin tanks are now made of paper, and cannot stay in contact with the resin for longer than an hour or so, or the PDMS falls apart, and no, that’s not a QA issue, that’s perfectly normal, yup.
So, since i emptied out the resin into a jar, i’m perfectly aware of how much resin there is in the vat when i pour it back in. I’m also perfectly aware there’s nothing in the cartridge.
But i’m, nevertheless, forced to:
- wait for something like 15 minutes while the printer keeps trying and trying and trying to dispense resin from an empty cartridge
- wait for the first warning (might not be enough resin in the cartridge, yes, i know, thanks), miss it because i can’t babysit the printer in the other room non-stop, lose 10 more minutes at least
- wait for the print to start for some more minutes
- starts printing, but a few layers in, prompts again (cannot dispense resin from cartridge, yes thank you, yes, continue), which i miss again, and lose more time
So, the print i was supposed to finish before going to bed, will now finish some time during the night instead, for absolutely no good reason.
The current low resin / cartridge empty error system needs some serious reworking.
And as if the almost 1 hour delay isn’t enough, it is now doing a ”sensing resin” pause after each damned layer extending the print time needlessly by a further two hours, and degrading the print quality.
It’s almost as if you’ve designed the whole process so we have actively fight the printer to use up the last 150-200 ml of resin from a cartridge, isn’t it?
This is hopeless.
A 6 hour print has turned into a 9 hour one.
I’m cancelling it, dumping the leftover resin, and calling it a night.
Sounds like a lot of self-made problems there…
What firmware are you using? the latest ones have cut down the wait time for the error messages to a couple of minutes.
Setting up notification on your phone means that you don’t have to be at the printer waiting for the error messages.
Is there a particular reason why you need to take the print out of the machine as soon as it finishes? Finished prints can be left over night ,or even over a weekend, without any problems.
The latest one.
No. Text messages arrive late or don’t arrive at all 90% of the time. It’s been like that for years.
Yes. Printing the next print, as they all need to be finished in a weekend.
I see you’ve conveniently decided to ignore the resin-check every layer as an actual issue.
But please, do continue implying all the issues are my own, that’s not condescending at all.
Sounds like if a lot of people are complaining about having issues with the machine, there’s probably grounds for complaint.
Your usage of the machine seems to allow you to ignore the Form 2’s shortcomings, that’s all good. I guess a lot of people are in the same situation. However this is a pretty small community, with few active members, and having so many people put their word in and agree on the same issues should definitely raise some flags
Formlabs also has acknowledged the issue :
I’m only wondering… you have been very active on this topic, mostly trying to dismiss the issue. What’s your agenda ?
30min is a LOT especially on a short print, of if you don’t know when the warning will come… i certainly can’t stay behind the printer for 30min. I still think this is not enough though, we should be able to say to the printer in advance to ignore the resin level in the cartridge, either because we know the print will work or because we topped it off with a new cartridge (which is not something that is practical to do today due to the current workflow).
Agreed, ideally, there should be some kind of a “ignore all resin level errors / disable resin sensing” mode. Almost like open mode, but with heating and wiper still on if possible. In fact, i’ve started considering using open mode when i get to the last 100-150ml of resin…
Has anyone tried that?
Edit: note also it’s not just 30 minutes, it’s 30 minutes for the first error, then another 30 for the second one. So hour wasted in total, minimum, not counting the response time to get to the printer and do something about it.
And then, on top of that, you get a huge increase in print time from all the overzealous resin sensing.