Sunday, February 2, 2014

Form 1 01

I've been off line for a while.  This fall I took a job in St. Louis. . . . which is great, except for the fact that I have a life and a business in Utah.  So, I'm commuting a 3000 mile round trip most weeks.  That's put a big dent in the model railroading.  It fits the title of being Random. . . . .

My Formlabs Form 1 printer arrived a couple weeks ago, and I've been putting it through it's paces, getting used to the ins and outs of stereo lithography.  For those not familiar with the Form 1, it uses a laser diode to cure resin in a vat.  This differs from the printers like Makerbot, where liquid plastic is deposited from a nozzle.  This laser cured resin allows finer resolution, and finer freestanding details.

Still wet pieces that have just come out of the resin vat, still adhered to the build platform.
The key to good results with the Form 1, in my observation so far boils down to three things:1) hygene, 2) grooming your resin, and 3) part orientation:

1) Anything involving optics and sticky goo in a tub over those objects in a world full of dust demands attention.  I keep a plastic bag over my Form 1, both to keep dust out, and to reduce further exposure to UV light in my daylit workshop (the orange cover is a UV filter).

Combs and confidence, and a sensitive touch, essential equipment.
2) It takes a few goes to get used to running your scraper over the optical silicone vat bottom, but you get the hang of it.  You want to search for floaters, and also gently dislodge any resin stuck to the bottom.  If you use inadequate support, your piece will stay on the vat, and not rise with the build platform.  The array of combs in the above photo is for getting out the loose bits once they are dislodged.  Formlabs has a couple good articles about this on their site.  Grooming resin is one of the most delicate things to do, because you risk dripping resin.  I've got the entire set up on a level piece of glass for ease of cleaning.

Although I labled this a support failure, both pieces with the "V" oriented that direction were distorted, so it was more than the supports.  Pieces facing the other direction were fine.  The hollow honey comb is something the Form 1 is very good at.  This bolster courtesy of Jim Lincoln.
3) Part orientation and support is key.  Depending on the form of the part it can disport as it undergoes the peel process.  Adding more supports will reduce distortion, but increases post processing.  After enough observation I'm getting a sense of the best combination of support and orientation.

Text on WSLCO washers, models courtesy of Jason Reis.

Unbelievably small and detailed journals for my Dick Kerr project.

Another shot of Jason's washers.
I've read a lot of reporting on the Form 1.  It's a fantastic machine, though it requires practice and a bit of patience.  Compared to my Subtractive Rapid Prototype machine it's really easy to use and far neater.  It's just slightly more involved than a laser cutter. More than worth it for it's unique capability.

No comments:

Post a Comment