Delamination describes a print failure in which the cured layers of a print separate from one another. Delamination can occur on any type of 3D printer, though the causes are unique to each print process.
For prints created on Formlabs printers, delamination results in one or more of the following visual symptoms:
- Peeling or separation between printed layers
- Pieces of cured parts floating in the resin tank
If a print has detached from the build platform, see the print failure article for non-adherence.
Any of the following factors, or a combination of them, can cause delamination in prints:
- Model orientation, layout, and/or support issues
- A print that has been paused for a long time
- An older resin tank
- A loose build platform
- Contaminated optical surfaces
Successful troubleshooting first requires identifying the root cause. Follow the troubleshooting steps below to isolate and resolve the print failure. The steps check for possible causes, moving from the most likely cause to the least likely cause of the print failure.
Step 1: Check the model in PreForm
Use the tools available in PreForm to review the model for any orientation, layout, and/or support issues.
The pulling or sliding motion of the peel process can disrupt the molecular bonding between layers and separate them. This separation occurs for two reasons:
- Layers with large areas have a greater resistance to being pulled away from the resin tank than layers with small areas. If there is a jump in area from one layer to another, then the larger layer could separate from the smaller layer. Reorient the part in PreForm to reduce the difference in areas between the largest and smallest layers.
- Sections of the part are free-hanging or lack adequate supports. In PreForm, look for areas shaded in red, and add supports to these under-supported areas. The Formlabs support site has an in-depth walkthrough on how to use PreForm to add custom supports and identify under-supported or free-hanging areas in the model.
Step 2: Check for pauses in printing
Extended pauses during the print create weaker bonds between layers.
When printing on the Form 2:
- Resolve any errors displayed on the touchscreen that cause the print to pause.
- Enable notifications on Dashboard to receive text or e-mail alerts for any print interruptions as soon as they occur.
When printing on the Form 1+:
- Keep pauses brief when refilling and restarting mid-print for parts requiring more than 200 mL of resin.
Step 3: Check the resin tank
Any debris, clouding, and/or damage in the resin tank can cause the laser light to diffuse, limiting the printer’s ability to fully cure the resin.
- Inspect the resin inside the resin tank for debris using a Form Finish Kit scraper and a fine-toothed comb. Remove any debris and cured resin in the tank using the scraper and the fine-toothed comb, or filter the resin.
- Inspect the PDMS (silicone) layer of the resin tank for clouding. Excessive clouding means the resin tank needs to be replaced with a new tank.
- Inspect the acrylic tank window on the underside of the resin tank for dirt, dust, and/or fingerprints. The clear tank window must be perfectly transparent for the best print results. To clean the tank window, only use Formlabs recommended steps and supplies.
TIP:Keep resin tanks clean and well-maintained between prints for reliable and successful printing.
Step 4: Check optical surfaces
Any contamination, dust, or debris on the printer’s optical surfaces can cause the laser light to diffuse or weaken, resulting in a print failure. Contamination is most likely to occur on an exposed optical surface in the printer.
On the Form 2, the primary exposed optical surface is the glass optical window, which sits below the resin tank and protects the mirrors from external contamination. Visit the interactive 3D Form 2 Glossary to learn more about the optical window and its location in the printer. On the Form 1+, the primary exposed optical surface is the large mirror, which sits below the resin tank.
- Inspect the optical window on the Form 2 or the large mirror on the Form 1+ for contamination.
- In the case of contamination, clean the contaminated surfaces using Formlabs instructions. Whether cleaning a Form 2 or a Form 1+, be sure to follow the instructions carefully because cleaning optical surfaces is a delicate process.
WARNING:Follow the optical surface cleaning guides exactly. Failure to follow instructions could result in returning the printer to Formlabs for repair.
Step 5: Check the build platform
A loose build platform can cause delamination in prints.
- Hold the build platform and gently rock it back and forth.
- If the Form 2’s build platform rotates or moves when the cam handle is in the locked position, please contact Formlabs Support for instructions on fixing this issue.
- If the Form 1+’s build platform wiggles or can be removed from the carrier arm without releasing the clamp, contact Formlabs Support for instructions on tightening the build platform.
Contacting Formlabs Support
If attempting the troubleshooting steps above does not resolve the print failure, feel free to contact Formlabs Support! Please provide as much of the following information as possible when submitting a support request:
- Describe the troubleshooting steps attempted so far. (Example: “I re-oriented the model in PreForm. I also inspected the resin tank and did not notice any damage, clouding, or debris.”)
- Resin type used and resin lot number. To find the lot number, look inside the skirt of the resin cartridge or on a sticker on the resin bottle. (e.g. Resin Type: White v2, Grey v3, etc.; Lot Number: This will be either in YYYYMMDD-## or YYYY/####### format.)
- Layer Thickness of the print. (Example: 0.100 mm, 0.05 mm, or 0.025 mm.)
- Relevant .form files of the model. If available, attach .form files of the model to the support request.
- Number of previous attempts printing the part and any instances of successful prints. (Example: “I printed the file part2.form three times previously. The first and second were successful. The third one failed.”)
- Send diagnostic logs.