How an Application Engineer from CPC uses the Form Wash to clean prototypes
12 February 2019 | Team EACPDS
The Form Wash is designed for the Form 2 3D printer from Formlabs to automate the cleaning process between printing parts. It makes things much easier for engineers who don’t want to waste any time cleaning their prototypes so they can either use the Form 2 again for another print job or get back to their next project.
Washing printed parts before post-curing helps to remove excess residual resin from part surfaces and cavities. Formlabs suggests using isopropyl alcohol (IPA) as the solvent that is most compatible with washing.
If you take a look at the image above, you can see that the left part is much cleaner and visually is more detailed than its counterpart. After using the Form Wash, you can typically use the Form Cure to expose printed parts to light and heat to stabilize the parts for performance. Using the Form Cure is not necessary but using the Form Wash and Form Cure together is recommended for optimal finishing.
Colder Products Company (CPC) has trusted EAC for years to provide them multiple Form 2 printers and other Formlabs equipment and materials to rapidly prototype customized quick disconnect couplings, fittings, and connectors for plastic tubing used around the globe. We answer a few questions that users have about the Form 2 and also include an engineer’s intake as well. Here is how Jeff Martin, an applications engineer at CPC, uses the Form Wash in-house to reduce time spent cleaning 3D printed parts.
How much time does it take for one wash?
Formlabs says that most resins require washing for the Form Wash default programmed time, which is 10 minutes – although additional time is needed for some resins. The following table shows Formlabs’ recommended wash times for each resin being used.
|Resin||Wash Time||Resin||Wash Time|
|Tough||20 min||Elastic||10 min + 10 min|
|Rigid||15 min||Dental SG||5 min|
|Grey Pro||15 min||Dental LT Clear||5 min|
|Castable||10 min||Denture Teeth & Base||10 min|
|Castable Wax||10 min||Ceramic||5 min|
|High Temp||6 min||All other resins||10 min|
Jeff suggests that you should set your wash time at 20 minutes for each wash. He also recommends that it’s best to physically have 2 Form Washes in-house to speed up the cleaning process, “The first Form Wash set to 10 minutes to wash parts hanging from the build platform, and the second Form Wash is used to clean the parts broken free from supports.” (Keep in mind, he typically uses Rigid Resin for his 3D prints).
What’s the best way to wash prototypes?
If you’re using the Finishing Kit, Formlabs recommends that you should wash your prototypes in at least two standard wash tanks – the first wash, being the ‘dirty’ wash, would take 10 minutes and then the second wash, using a cleaner tank, for another 10 minutes. Once the first tank gets dirty, you can dispose the IPA, transfer the second tank into the first tank, and then pour new alcohol into the second tank.
The Finishing Kit includes 2 wash tubs to manually clean your 3D prints – whereas the Form Wash automatically cleans your parts and prototypes.
Jeff says the advantage of having a second Form Wash is that you can use Formlabs’ same theory of having a clean tank to do the final rinse. “I find it in my experience to be extremely useful to remove the supports for the second wash. The reason is that the supports block the fresh circulation of clean solvent from the parts. You will notice that for deep aspect bores and blind holes, if you do not remove the supports, they often times will not fully be cleaned of resin. After removing the supports and letting the parts bounce around in the basket during the last 10 minutes, they will always come out clean.”
Learn more FAQ by reading our related blog, “Everything You Need to Know About the Form 2 3D Printer.” If you’re interested in a free sample, then contact us at your earliest convenience.