Equipment/3D Printer SLA

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Class Red equipment: Do not use without specific training.
(More about equipment classes)

Equipment / 3D Printer (SLA)

Introduction

SLA 3D printing is a way of creating small, custom objects from UV cured plastic resin. The Form One+ 3D SLA printer adds this capability to Makespace.

Owners

The Owners are those nominally in charge of the equipment, organising its maintenance, training others to use it, and generally being a point of contact.

The current Owners of the Form One 3D printer are:


If you have any questions, problems or concerns around the Form One, these are the people to contact.

Trainers

The Trainers are those authorised to train and sign off members in the use of the Form One printer.

The current Trainers :

Training

YOU CAN ONLY USE THE ULTIMAKER IF YOU HAVE BEEN TRAINED
and have been added to the Form One Authorised Users list by one of the Owners or Trainers

Check Meetup for scheduled Form One training sessions. If there is no session any time soon, request one on the mailing list. The training session takes about two hours. It is recommended that after training you use the printer within a few days to reinforce what you have learned, seeking help from other trained members if you're unsure about something.

Form One Training Notes

Form One Authorised Users

General Health and Safety

The Form One is an expensive tool with a (small) risk of injury, so is very important you know how to use it to avoid damaging yourself and the machine. The Form One is a potentially dangerous piece of equipment which must only be operated by members who have received appropriate training and who take due care. The top things to always remember when using the Form One are:

  • ONLY USE THE FORM ONE IF YOU HAVE BEEN TRAINED
  • ONLY USE THE FORM ONE IF YOU HAVE READ THE INSTRUCTIONS

As a responsible user, you should be very aware of the following risks and how to deal with them:

POISONING - The resins and solvents used with the Form One may be poisonous if ingested.

  • Read the substance safety sheets, which can be located nearby to the printer, before use.
  • Always use Personal Protective Equipment, especially gloves, and take care when handling chemicals.
  • Do not consume food or drink in the vicinity of exposed chemicals.
  • In the event of skin contact with resin or IPA, rinse immediately with plenty of water.
  • In the event of ingestion do not induce vomiting. Rinse mouth thoroughly. Seek medical advice.

SKIN IRRITATION - The resins and solvents used with the Form One may be irritants to the skin.

  • Always use Personal Protective Equipment, especially gloves, and take care when handling chemicals.
  • Promptly wash contaminated skin with soap or mild detergent and water.
  • Promptly remove clothing if soaked through and wash as above.
  • Get medical attention if irritation persists after washing.

EYE IRRITATION - The resins and solvents used with the Form One may be irritants to the eye.

  • Always use Personal Protective Equipment, especially eye protection where there is a risk of splashing.
  • Make sure to remove any contact lenses from the eyes before rinsing.
  • Promptly wash eyes with plenty of water while lifting the eye lids.
  • Continue to rinse for at least 15 minutes.
  • Get medical attention if any discomfort continues.

FUMES - IPA solvent evaporates from open containers.

  • Run the ventilation/extraction system when working with IPA solvent.
  • Always replace the lid(s) on IPA containers immediately after use.
  • In the event of a significant (> 250ml) spill of IPA, evacuate the space and open the external doors to ventilate.
  • In the event of discomfort (light headedness, feeling sick etc) move the exposed person to fresh air at once.
  • Get medical attention if any discomfort continues.

FIRE - IPA solvent is highly flammable, Form One resin is flammable.

  • Avoid using IPA when an ignition source exists, such as a laser cutter in use.
  • Ventilate fumes to reduce the risk of combustion.
  • Always replace the lid(s) on IPA and resin containers immediately after use.
  • Always store IPA in the flammables cabinet when not in use.

SHARP TOOLS - Tools used to remove parts from the build plate are sharp with a risk of cutting.

  • Never push a sharp tool toward yourself.
  • Take care when handling sharp tools and replace in the correct storage location after use.
  • Clean resin contamination from tools to prevent slipping.

ELECTROCUTION - As with all mains powered devices there is a small risk of danger from exposed wires.

  • Always do a manual check that the wiring is safe, no cores are exposed or wires trapped.

Resins used in the printer

Makespace currently stocks the following resins. If you want to use your own resin you must also use your own resin tank and avoid any contamination of stock resins.

Clear Resin - FLGPCL02

Clear resin polishes to near optical transparency, making it ideal for working with light or showcasing internal details.

Supports print resolutions 200 (fast print mode), 100, 50 and 25 microns.

Grey Resin - FLGPGR02

Grey resin is good for general purpose prototyping and design, excellent for capturing small details.

Supports print resolutions 100, 50 and 25 microns.

Black Resin - FLGPBK01

Black resin is formulated for models with very small features and intricate details.

Supports print resolutions 100, 50 and 25 microns.

Tough Resin - FLTOTL01

Tough resin is durable and resistant, ideal for snap-fit joints and rugged prototypes. Requires UV post-cure.

Supports print resolutions 100 and 50 microns.

Resin Pricing

Current pricing per litre from the Form One store:

Black, white and clear - €162 (£128)

Tough - €210 (£166)

Prices include VAT but exclude shipping.

Makespace resin is charged at cost plus a small margin to allow for wastage. The PreForm software will show the volume of liquid that will be used by a print (after adding supports) and this figure can be used directly to pay for a completed print. Note that you must pay for the support structure as well as the finished part.

To pay for an incomplete print, weigh the partial print including support structure and use 1g = 1ml (which is a slight simplification in your favour).

Black, white and clear resin charged at 15p per ml

Tough resin charged at 20p per ml

Please pay your fee into the cashbox on the Form One bench. Makespace do not pay for materials, we rely on your honesty!

Specific Safety Tips

The major risk to safety is from spillage of resin or IPA. Work thoughtfully and calmly, never rush when handling chemicals however experienced and proficient you might be. When combing resin tanks for waste material take great care not to form a wave of resin which may overflow the tank. When agitating an IPA container, ensure the lid is properly fastened and also hold it in place as a backup.

IPA fumes are dangerous to inhale and are flammable. Minimise exposure of IPA to the environment. Clean up small spills with paper wipes and remove them from the building, do not leave them inside where the solvent will avaporate. In the event of a large spill evacuate the space and ventilate it well by opening external doors and running the extraction system. Remove any sources of ignition. Do not return until the fumes have cleared.

When removing a part from the build plate, take care with sharp implements. Never force a chisel in the direction of your hand or any other body part. Ensure the build plate is clamped securely.

Use the Personal Protective Equipment provided:

  • Disposable nitrile gloves
  • Disposable apron
  • Eye protection

Avoiding Damage to the Machine

The Form One printer is a precision instrument. Handle it with respect at all times and avoid impact and tipping.

ALWAYS REMOVE THE BUILD PLATE BEFORE REMOVING THE RESIN TANK

Resin will drip from the build plate and from the printed part after printing. If the resin tank is not present the drips will contaminate the laser mirror, requiring an expensive repair and potentially taking the printer out of service for an extended period. Any member observed to break this rule will have their Form One authorisation revoked permanently.

Always replace the resin tank blank after removing the resin tank. Minimise the time that the mirror is exposed to dust and other potential contamination.

Printing with the Form One

Loading and Unloading Resin

Always wear disposable gloves when handling resin or IPA solvent

Disposable aprons are also available to protect your clothing. Use eye protection if there is a risk of splashing.

Loading Resin

Each resin formula is assigned its own tank, stored in the purpose built cabinet next to the printer. The type of resin can be identified by a name engraved into the shelf, and a name and part code label on the back of the tank. To avoid confusion always return the resin tank to the correct shelf.

Different types of Form One resin must never be mixed or cross-contaminated, not even a little bit

Before removing a tank from its shelf, check the fill level against the black "Maximum level" line printed on the front. When filled to the line the tank contains 200ml of resin. If there isn't enough resin in the tank to complete your build, top it up. To top up a tank, remove it from the storage shelf and place on a clean flat surface. If you get dust or scratches on the bottom of the tank these can cause failed prints, so take care. Retrieve the corresponding resin bottle from the Resin Cupboard below the printer, taking care to double check that the tank and bottle labels match, then slowly top up the tank level. Add a little resin at a time, allowing the level to settle before continuing.

Never fill a tank above the maximum fill level - it will overflow and damage the printer

If you do over-fill a tank, carefully pour the excess into the corresponding service tank which can be found in the same cupboard as the resin bottles. Again, take great care to select the correct tank, checking the label carefully. If any resin spills onto the outside of a tank it must be cleaned thoroughly with a clean cloth and IPA solvent.

When the tank contains sufficient resin for your print, remove the protection plate from the printer and store in the cupboard. Slide the resin tank into position in the printer until you hear and feel a click. Take care not to contaminate the mirror of the printer with dust, resin or any other material. Close the printer lid quickly after loading resin to minimise dust contamination. Remove the tank lid if you haven't already done so, and store next to the printer.

Unloading Resin

Always remove the build plate before removing the resin tank

Remove the tank from the printer and place on a clean flat surface. Immediately replace the protection plate and shut the printer lid.

During printing lumps of uncured resin can build up in the tank and can be impossible to detect by eye. To leave the resin tank in a serviceable state for the next user you must remove any such material using the resin comb located in the Tool Cupboard below the printer. Place the resin comb into the tank at one end, teeth downwards so the guides rest on the tank walls. Draw the comb very slowly through the tank, taking great care to avoid a bow wave of resin overflowing the tank ahead of the comb. Allow the resin level to settle every 20 - 30mm. When you reach the far side of the tank withdraw the comb, scooping any hardened material with it, and allow the excess resin to drip back into the tray. Taking care not to drip resin onto the surrounding area, remove the comb and wipe with a disposable cloth before placing it into Cleaning Tank 1 for a few minutes. Don't leave the comb in the tank for longer than this as it will eventually dissolve. Once clean and dry replace the comb in the Tool Cupboard.

Finally fit the tank lid securely and replace the tank onto the correct shelf of the storage cupboard.

Printing

Ensure that a clean build plate is loaded and that the resin tank contains sufficient resin for your job. Double check that the tank is not filled above the maximum fill line. Close the printer lid.

Turn on the printer then download your job from the Preform software (see below). When prompted, press the button to confirm that the build plate and tank are ready.

No user interaction is required during printing with the Form One. The printer will set the resin one layer at a time, slowly drawing the part upwards out of the tank. After scanning each layer with its laser, the printer will tilt the tank to "peel" the layer ready for the next.

Initially the printer display will show the progress of downloading the part, but for large parts printing will start before this is complete. Once the part is fully downloaded Preform can be safely quit. The printer will show the current layer being printed, the total layers, and the time remaining which is generally accurate.

When the print is complete the build plate will travel to its maximum height and is ready for removal. Before removing the build plate allow a minute for excess resin to drip back into the tray.

If you wish to abort a print in progress you can do so by pressing and holding the button for 3 seconds. The build plate will retract and you can remove the partial print like any other. If you intend to print again you should follow the procedure for combing the resin tank, as failed prints are more likely to leave residue in the tank which will cause further failures.

Finishing

Always wear appropriate PPE when handling resin and IPA solvent

Removal from Build Plate

Once printing is complete and excess resin has dripped back into the tank, remove the build plate to the finishing station and clamp securely. Remove the resin tank, following the instructions above, only after first removing the build plate.

The printed part is bonded to the plate plate via a support structure. Various techniques may be used to remove this structure from the plate - here are two.

1. Use the wide chisel (from the Tool Cupboard) to separate the support structure from the plate. The structure includes raised sections into which the corner of the chisel may be inserted. Take care not to apply pressure to the chisel with your hand or any other body part in front of the blade. Take care not to gouge deep grooves into the build plate. The support structure will probably break in places during this process, so take care when working around the corner of your part with the least support.

2. Use the side cutters (from the Tool Cupboard) to snip each of the vertical supports until the part is freed.

Sometimes a combination of both techniques is convenient. Clean liquid resin from any tools used with a disposable cloth and IPA solvent.

Cleaning

Refer to the safety notes above when handling IPA solvent

Once the part is removed put it, along with any support structure still attached, into Cleaning Bath 1. The bath should contain sufficient IPA to cover the part, if not top it up from the supply located in the Flammables Cabinet next to the Form One bench. Replace the lid on the bath and agitate for 30 seconds. Leave the part to soak in the bath for a further 10 minutes.

When the time is up remove the part and place into Cleaning Bath 2, which should contain cleaner IPA. Agitate once more for 30 seconds and leave to soak for a further 9 minutes. Remove the part to the sponge lined tray and allow to dry for a few minutes.

Internal channels can be cleaned using IPA with a syringe, and a compressed air can to force the solvent through the channels.

Take care to quickly replace the lid on the Cleaning Baths or any other container of IPA. The solvent will evaporate if left exposed to air.

Post-Curing

Once cleaned you can take your part right away if you wish, however to reach its full hardness it is necessary to post-cure it in the purpose designed UV chamber adjacent to the printer.

Ensure that all IPA has evaporated or been wiped from your part before proceeding

Open the UV chamber door and place the part inside. You may wish to place small parts on an inverted glass cup or other transparent object to raise them toward the centre of the chamber.

Close the door and the UV emitters will turn on. A timer will shut off the curing process after 60 minutes, and a ring of LEDs on the front panel indicates the approximate time remaining. To achieve even curing, rotate or flip your part half way through. Full curing requires about an hour except for tough resin which requires 30 minutes.

Support Removal

The support layer will simply peel away by hand from most parts. For more delicate parts use the side cutters to snip close the to the part surface.

Remove bumps left by the supports with fine sandpaper. Stress whitening marks can be removed using mineral oil.

Unattended operation

Prints do not have to be attended during the print, but it is strongly advised to be there when the print finishes. Other users are not obliged to go though the careful removal and rinsing process of your part.

Printing time predictions of the Form1 software tend to be accurate. Write down your "ml resin used" at the start, so you know what to pay later. (If you forget to do this, reload into the software and get a new estimate *including supports*).

If someone else has left their print in the machine and it has finished - please remove reasonably carefully and leave in the IPA (resin survives indefinitely in IPA). However you are not obligated to take excessive time or care - they should return for when their print finishes.

Software

TBD

Maintenance

TBD

Maintenance Schedule

TBD

Maintenance Log

Reactive Maintenance

  • None

Regular Maintenance

  • None

Maintenance Shopping List

TBD

Further Information

Manual

TBD

Repairs

We expect to have to change the following parts for general maintenance: TBD

Maintenance and Spares: TBD