What a Form 3L resin spill looks like

I had a resin spill on my 3L some months back and am posting this in response to another user who asked how it went.

The good news is Formlabs thoughtfully placed a plastic catch tray on the inside floor of the machine. It’s sized nice and big, appropriate to the volume of resin that machine handles.

The front section of the tray is quick and easy to clean up.

However the tray extends underneath into the rear of the machine, and I found that area very challenging to reach, even after removing the back panel of the chassis. I wound up having to partially remove the PSU to gain access (which was a pain, as there are delicate interlocking shrouds nearby).

Their support article doesn’t mention that, and I suspect most people will simply reach underneath from the front (under the X linear rail) as far as their fingers will go with paper towels, and just leave any remainder.

The incident prompted me to make a small modification to my tray. I used high-density foam tape to install a “ridge” across it, cordoning off the back section. This should contain any future spills to the easy-to-reach section.

There’s an overflow notch so if the volume of resin is too great it can still flow to the back area (the notch was made after the photos were taken, along with some touch-up to get a better fit and seal).

It would be easy for Formlabs to stamp a real guard rail into the tray at manufacture (or for someone to design a glue-on plastic strip), and I’d love to see their engineers consider this for a future revision.

The spill originated from a failed tank. It’s been suggested one failure mode for tanks is when you see resin start to impinge into the black gasket area or if that gasket looks like it’s starting to peel away from the main film. In my case the gasket itself looked great, but after the leak I noticed some wrinkling around the edges and found places where it just entirely lifted up. It was a V1 tank and the resin was Rigid 4000.

Here are some more photos of the spill if you’re into that kind of carnage.

Support was fantastic as usual, and sent me a new roller tray. Have done many prints since the cleanup and the printer still works as good as new.

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Thank you very much for your time, explanations and pictures. This will help us to know how prevent this. Has usual, resin spill or mess is not a good experience… I will do a modification soon to my bottom tray too…
I don’t know why FL didn’t do something for this. It was sure that this would happen to someone… Happy that your printer still works good!

Did this fail during a print or just sitting there?

It was either during or after the print. I’m not sure which, as it was a few days between when the print finished and when I opened the cover.

I had another tank (also V1) that failed after a few weeks just sitting (luckily caught that one before using it again).