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Multi-vat users beware! Hundreds in time and materials lost

Tl;dr: Check that your films have all the protective plastic removed.
Check that your LCD is water-tight.
Check that you have the metal brackets on the flex joints of your vats.
Don’t buy Ikea shelving.

I was a kickstarter patron for the Bean and I chose the option to add an additional vat to my order. When the printer came everything was fine for the first month when I was using the vat installed on the printer. Then the film started to become deteriorated, as is normal, and prints were beginning to stick and warp. So I switched over to the next vat while I set the other one aside to clean and change teflon. I actually ended up cracking that vat when the shelf it was on collapsed. (Don’t buy Ikea furniture)

That was when everything went downhill. Immediately all prints of all sizes and resins stuck to the vat. The film appeared fine so I didn’t bother changing it out and kept trying new techniques of slicing and orienting my prints. After several failed prints I noticed the film was stretching… After cleaning it I realized that the teflon film had been pre-installed with a protective layer of plastic STILL ON IT! I then changed out the entire film and tried printing again.

SUCCESS… not. Everything was still printing warped and I noticed that the larger parts of the prints were sticking to the vat throughout the entire lift sequences. This created half-formed or entirely failed prints. Flexible resin was completely unworkable as it sticks more readily to the film and requires more lift height. Eventually I was able to get successful prints by greatly increasing lift height and orienting objects and ridiculously steep angles. This obviously limited what I could print. But even then I was getting a failed print on every other attempt. Peel cured resin off the film enough times and you’ll go through the films pretty quickly. I exhausted all but one of my included films.

One fateful day a print lifted the vat so high before peeling that the resin poured out of the vat and seeped into the printer via the space between the edges of the LCD screen. This one is on Kudo as well. The printer did not come installed with silicone around the edges of the LCD, meaning it was not water-tight, allowing the resin in. I did notice that Kudo later came out with a video showing LCD installation using silicone. LSS: The LCD screen was ruined. I gave up and put the printer away for months.

Recently I decided to finally buy the replacement LCD and fix my Bean. Kudos to Kudo for pre-installing the glass on top of the screen. That was what I was most dreading. As I was unpacking my materials I came across the old broken vat and noticed that there were metal L-brackets on the flex joints. That was the epiphany moment. These brackets are what the other vat was missing. They keep the vat from lifting too high, giving just enough angle for the power of the lift motor to peel the print without too much gravity assist. I began a 10-hour print of an object that previously failed and I will re-post when it finishes. Currently, all seems well at 4 hours in.

A lot of this was my own fault for not realizing the 2nd vat did not come with the brackets.
But a lot was also Kudo for A: not installing a film properly B: not including the brackets on both vats.(was that intentional Kudo? Or a mistake? If intentional, are you really saving the much by not including them?) and C: not silicone-ing the initial LCD screen.
My hope is that others can read this and either avoid or fix the same mistakes made.


Failed print example: