Track the number of layers printed in each Tank

In the most recent Maintenance and Care articles, FormLabs says the standard Resin Tank should be replaced after 1,000 to 3,000 layers, and the Resin Tank LT will typically last twice as long. Because that’s how FormLabs specifies the lifetime of the Tanks, we need a simple way to view the number of layers printed on each Tank in our Library.

I can look in Preform and see a sort of heat map history of each Tank.
That is amazing!

Preform is already keeping track of prints associated with each Tank. It seems like it would be a short step to also tally the number of Layers printed in each Tank.

The more information I have about how much more life I can expect from a Tank, the less likely I am to have catastrophic issues. The fewer catastrophic issues I have, the less I bother Technical Support. :wink:

FormLabs, will you please give us a way to track the number of layers printed on our Tanks?

Thing is, layer printer isn’t a good metric, just like liters printed aren’t. I think Formlabs just doesn’t have a better, easy to understand way of dealing with this. On a standard tank you could print 3000 layers of a 2mm diameter pin in one single area of the tank and make it unusable (too opaque), but the rest of the tank is still ok. You could also print the equivalent of 3000 layers of the same pin but change the position each print and after 3000 layers the tank will still have only a few layers per 2mm area, and as such it will be as new.

Now another point, which isn’t advertised by Formlabs anymore but has been said in the first LT tank documentation as well as by Formlabs employees on the forums : first talk was that LT tank would support 20’000 layers or more, and if there are no failures it could last much longer. See this quote (emphasis are from me) ;

My personnal experience confirms that. We’ve been printing liters after liters of Tough on well tested parts (so, no failures) and so far there is no noticable change in the print quality of the LT tank’s surface. We’ve also been printing a lot in Grey Pro and all our tanks are now LT and we don’t keep track of resin usage or look at the heatmap on the Dashboard, we yet have to replace a tank for print quality issues… We had to replace a couple because of a failed print and a colleague of mine damaged the FEP layer, and once because the FEP layer was delaminating from the tank’s body.

Are you saying the LT tanks last a lot longer than the ~2 litres that Formlabs advertise? - interesting.

They used to advertise much, much more than only 2x :wink:

The orange tank used to be good for 2 liter and the LT tank I think was once advertised as 10x. I’m sure it’s floating around on the forum somewhere.

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They say that the LT tanks only last ~2 litres with Grey Pro, so if the tanks do last much longer it maybe for investing in this resin.

Absolutely, John. But if FormLabs wants to express the life of their product using those terms, they should provide a way for us to keep track of those parameters.

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The 2 liter estimate is specific to Grey Pro and Rigid. Different resins are different. I don’t have all the information, but for resins that aren’t Rigid and Grey Pro, posts, threads, and my own experience show that LT tanks last much much longer than 2 Liters, and indeed, potentially indefinitely for some resins as long as there aren’t failed prints.

Even if you are able to keep track of these parameters, it won’t help you. What we should be asking is for a propper wear measurement/estimation metrics, instead of more info on a useless one. All of that is, in my opinion, mitigated by the fact that the LT tank last much longer, most likely long enough to negate the need to plan precisely for their failure point.

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