All things come to an end, even Form 1+ resin tanks. We'll discuss when and how your resin tank should be disposed of.
The resin tank is an acrylic tray with an optical window and silicone (PDMS) layer that contains the liquid resin and assists the laser in curing the resin. After many prints, the silicone layer in the resin tank will reach the end of its life and the resin tank must be replaced. The tank might also require replacement if damaged during use. The life of a resin tank can be prolonged with varying placement of models throughout the build area, gentle handling of the tank, avoiding contact with the optical window, and proper maintenance of the internal tray cavity.
Diagnosing a Damaged or Expired Tank
An “expired” resin tank may cause print failures of many varieties, including partially completed prints, poor base or support formation, and in extreme cases - entirely failed prints. While many variables determine when a resin tank expires, a well-maintained resin tank typically lasts 1-2 bottles of resin or approximately 1000-2000 mL of prints.
When new and when well-maintained, the silicone (PDMS) and optical window offer an entirely unobstructed path for the laser to enter the resin. However, damage to the silicone or optical window can be detrimental to the Form 1+’s performance. Some resin tank issues, such as clouding and cured resin, can be mitigated with maintenance and care; other forms of damage, such as gouges and scratches, require replacing the tank. Optical clarity and a crystal clear tank are essential to print performance.
Images of a gouged tank, a close-up of a gouged tank, and a tank with cloudy areas.
A scratch in the silicone or optical window may cause striations across a portion of the build platform. This is because the scratch can deflect or block the laser from reaching the designated position during the build. If the scratched area cannot be avoided, the tank should be replaced.
If the silicone is gouged, the laser will not properly travel through the silicone layer, bending the light path in the wrong direction, away from the point that is set to be cured. A gouge is indicated by a piece of silicone torn away from the layer and may result from improperly scraping the resin tank between builds. A gouged tank requires replacement.
Clouding and Settled Pigment
Over time, the resin tank can develop cloudy or foggy regions in the PDMS. This may happen for a variety of reasons, especially in spots of heavy laser or peel activity. For this reason, it’s important to make full use of all regions of the build platform. Cloudy regions can also develop where pigment has settled. Sometimes, clouding can be reduced or removed by carefully moving the scraper against the PDMS.
In some print failures, resin may cure against the silicone, rather than to the build platform. It is always important to care for the resin tank and gently scrape the silicone between builds. If you find small pieces floating or thin sheets of resin on the silicone, follow our instructions for cleaning your resin tank.
TIPProper tank maintenance prevents damage and prolongs the life of the tank. Follow our resin tank care guide to keep your tanks crystal clear and ready to print.
Discarding Damaged or Expired Tanks
Follow the steps below to transfer resin from your old tank to the new tank. If you need to purchase a new or spare resin tank, you can do so in our Form Store.
- Wear disposable powder-free gloves.
- Remove the build platform to prevent the possibility of resin on the platform dripping into the printer.
- Use the tabs on the front of the tank to remove it from the printer.
- Pour the resin from the old tank to the new tank or another container. Pouring resin back into the original bottle may risk contaminating the bottle with cured pieces.
- Gently run the scraper over the silicone layer in the base of the tank to push the resin into the new tank.
- Wipe the sides of the old tank with a paper towel.
- Place the new tank filled with resin back into the machine.
- Replace the build platform.
- Close your Form 1+.
- Place the old tank in sunlight to cure excess resin (a window sill is fine), and discard properly once dry. Do not pour liquid resin down the drain.