FAQs

General

You don’t have to worry about it! Your new Prism has auto leveling.

If your prints have good bottom adhesion but fail at the supports, this is generally due to incorrect exposure setting for your normal layers. See “Model Setup & Settings” below. As a first step, try increasing exposure.

  • Try increasing normal exposures by a second or two.
  • You may need to increase support tip depth in your slicer settings.
  • A mix of medium and heavy supports will help, and/or increase support density.
  • It can also be due to the orientation of your model. Try to angle your model and minimise large surface sections.
  • Is your model a large solid? Hollowing the model is recommended.
  • See “Model setup & settings” below.

This is NOT necessary at all, the anodized aluminium surface of the stock build plate provides plenty of texture to ensure good adhesion. Adhesion is so good that some owners have difficulty removing prints. That being said, if you have checked your build plate and the print surface is not flat, then it is defective. Sanding is the very last resort that you should attempt.

VAT & FEP Setup

When you receive your new Prism, it will come with an aluminium vat frame with a FEP film already installed. Check that the film is tight by lightly tapping with your finger. If it is tensioned correctly it should sound just like a snare drum.

Sometimes the screws may seem loose, but it may be tensioned correctly from the factory. Do not simply tighten the screws or you may then over tension the FEP. If tapping the FEP film does not sound correct, it is likely loose, then simply tighten the screws till it sounds like a snare drum.

If it sounds like a snare drum when you lightly tap with a finger, it should be good enough. But since hearing is subjective, to be precise, you should use an audio analyser to check, factory tensioned FEP film (about 127 to 150 microns thick) is around 350Hz, but anything between 250Hz to 375Hz is fine.

Some owners have obtained good prints with tensions as low as 150Hz, but there are also reports of leaking vats at those low tensions, For that reason, we advise 250Hz to 350Hz. Be careful when adjusting, over tensioning above 375Hz may tear your FEP film, or may cause bad prints.  

When your print peels from the FEP film, there are a lot of suction forces involved. Unlike more expensive machines, the Prism does not have a tilt peel mechanism, it therefore relies on the flexibility of the FEP film to provide a clean and successful peel. A correctly tensioned FEP therefore will give the best print results and avoid print failures or delamination problems.

Not advisable, FEP (fluorinated ethylene propylene, invented by DuPont, sold under the brandname Teflon FEP), is already one of the most slippery materials known to science. Coating your FEP film with a hydrophobic substance like Rain-X may in fact cause bad quality prints.

When new, the film is clear. But it is easily scratched by handling or cleaning. Use soft tissue to soak resin when cleaning up the vat, do not aggressively wipe the film as even tissue will scratch it. These micro scratches cause the film to go cloudy. Buffing the film with microfibre cloth will restore some clarity. It is important that the film is kept clear to ensure sharp and detailed prints.

If you take care of it, it will not need to be replaced for months. FEP film needs to be replaced only when it becomes too scratched up or cloudy from use. If it is not replaced your print quality will deteriorate. Replace immediately if it is punctured or torn. If you notice cured resin on your LCD glass, it means the film may have a micro tear.

Watch the video in our support section for a detailed step by step. It is important to note one very important omission in that video: some replacement FEP film may come sandwiched between two layers of protective plastic. These have to be peeled off before the FEP film can be used.

It’s difficult to see if there’s protective plastic film on your FEP. An easy way to test is by dripping a few drops of resin on your FEP film, then hold the film vertical. If the resin slides downward easily without sticking and leaves the FEP clear, it’s good. If the resin sticks where you dripped it and moves slowly or smears, then you have protective plastic which needs to be removed.

Model Setup & Settings

You first need to convert those 3D models by generating sliced layers into a format that your Prism understands and can print. This is done in what’s known as a slicer program. A free slicer program comes included in the usb stick provided with your printer.

We recommend the included Standard resin. Or our PureSTAX branded non-toxic rapid resin..

This is assuming you’re using the included slicer program (Creation Workshop 11, or NanoDLP) that is included on the USB stick. Other slicers may use different terminology but they’re functionally the same. If you’re just starting out, it’s highly recommended you use the included slicers. 

Bottom Exposures (Bottom layers):

This is how long the UV light will turn on to set the layer of resin that is on your build plate for the first few layers (it’s extra long to give the resin the best chance to stick to your plate and form a super hard base to help keep your part from wobbling and rocking about.) For the sample green resin at 0.05mm layers, the exposure for bottom layers is 60 seconds.

Bottom layer (Bottom layers):

Simple, this one it’s about how many of those super hard base layers to lay down on the base of your print usually this is 5-8 layers.

Normal exposures (Normal exposure time) :

After your base layers have finished this is the time the UV will be on to cure all the rest of the layers of your print and will always be lower than your base/bottom layers setting, For the sample green resin at 0.05mm layers, the exposure for normal layers is 10 seconds.

Exposure off (Off time):

Light off delay. This is the amount of time that the UV light is turned off between the end of one exposure cycle and the beginning of the next. After an exposure, the UV light turns off, the build plate lifts and peels, then descends ready for the next cycle and will wait at the bottom (resting at the set layer height over the FEP sheet, at the bottom of your vat) before the UV light comes on again for the next exposure cycle.

Longer times leave more time for the resin to settle out and form a new layer with fresh resin. If unsure, leave the value at 1, your printer will then default to the firmware settings, usually 6.5 secs for older printers or firmware, 4.5 secs for newer printers or firmware. Any value below your printer’s defaults will be ignored. The fastest prints are at default settings.

Imagine a glass full of water upside down in a bucket of water. When you pull the glass up out of the bucket, it stays full until the lip of the glass breaks the surface of the water in the bucket. In the vat, the lowest point of the print, the new layer, does not (generally) rise above the level of the liquid resin in the vat. Therefore, the liquid resin inside the “bowl” or “cup” cannot evacuate, unless you add a vent hole. This is a significant cause of failures. You have to reduce the work that the stepper motor has to do to lift the platform.

Initially, In the printer vat, the inside volume of resin will be pulled up. Eventually, depending on the volume of the inside space and the volume of resin in the vat, the new layer will rise above the fluid level because the surface of the fluid will be moving down at ever increasing rates with each layer. That is, the level of the fluid inside the space and in the vat are actually moving in opposite directions. When that happens, all of the fluid inside will be released, but now you have a trapped volume of air, so you will alternate between struggling with lifting up and struggling with pushing down. It’s a really a recipe for bad prints. The result is that you can get multiple failures at various heights, depending on where these extremes occur. 

Creation workshop supports the feature under the “EDIT” Selection of the scene.

This is due to your offtime (or light off) settings in the slicer. The program will calculate the print time based on the offtime value that you set, it is an estimate, it does not reflect the actual print time. To get an accurate estimate that matches your actual print time, time your actual offtime and use that value in your slicer program.

Printing

Pour resin up to the line where the chamfer starts in the vat, about a third up from the FEP. This is about 125ml. Do not exceed the line, if there is too much resin, it will rise from displacement and get into the screws and ball joint of your build plate!

Yes, no problem. You do not have to pause the print, just slowly and gently pour resin into the vat. Make sure to not bump or touch the build plate while pouring. Do not over add resin, do not go over the line in the vat.

Make sure to mix the fresh resin well before adding. Try to ensure the resin temperature is the same, if the difference is more than 5~10 degrees Celsius, it may cause a layer line.

Yes, you can pause at anytime during your print. Resume as quickly as you can to ensure that your print will continue safely. However it is generally not recommended as it will most likely leave a line at the layer where you paused.

Do note that if you switch the printer off during a pause, you will not be able to resume.

Yes, as long as it’s kept away from light, it’s safe to leave it for long periods of time.

Yes, you can leave finished prints for as long as you need before removing and post processing. Just like leaving resin in the vat.

It’s completely normal. It’s a good sign that your print is sticking to the build plate and that the layers are releasing from the FEP film.

One easy way to tell is by listening for the sound that’s made as the layer peels off the FEP. You can hear it clearly especially for the first few bottom layers. Don’t worry if you can’t hear it anymore later, it varies depending on the size of the layer being printed.

You can also use pause to check on your print, but note that you may get a line at the layer where you paused.

First, ensure that your exposure settings are optimal for the resin used. Underexposure causes thinner parts, while overexposure will swell. Many of the basic resins swell when printed. There could also be slight shrinkage. It all depends on your settings and the brand of resin and formulations that manufacturers use. It usually isn’t noticeable on organic prints.

  • After testing your resin performance, you can make the adjustments for the model itself in software. This method is not advisable as it will differ if you share the model, or use a different resin as the compensation will then be off.
  • A quick and easy way is to adjust the LCD settings in most slicer programs.
  • If the adjustments needed are slight, you can try to compensate by reducing or adding exposure times for your prints.
  • Another option is to use the “horizontal size compensation” feature that some slicing software provides (if it doesn’t, you can make a request to the developer to add it).
  • Or simply use resins that generally print true to size.

Cleaning

One popular method is the two tub system. Fill both containers with Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) or other solvents such as Ethanol (90 ‰or higher). Drop the print into the first tub and swirl. Use a soft brush for hard to reach parts, holes etc. Then dunk the part in the second tub of solvent and swirl clean. Remove then dry thoroughly before uv curing.

For as little time as possible to get your prints cleaned of uncured resin. Do not leave your prints to soak. Some manufacturers advise no longer than 30 seconds. In a post, Formlabs mentioned that prolonged exposure to solvents may make some resins swell.

You’re not actually cleaning the LCD, that’s a very thin layer of protective glass on top of the LCD.

  • Use soft tissues and a small spray of IPA to remove any dried resin, buff with microfiber cloth.

Damp a piece of cloth or tissue with IPA then lay it on the cured resin. Wait a few minutes, then with a fingernail gently try to prise the layer of cured resin off the LCD glass. Some owners use a razor or glass scraper, but be careful with that.

Once you have drained the vat of resin, spray down with IPA and gently wipe off with paper towel or soft tissue. Spray again and use soft tissue to soak off the remaining residue from the FEP. You may need to repeat this several times. Finally buff the FEP with microfiber lens cloth. Be careful of dried resin on the cloth that could scratch or puncture the FEP. Santize wipes can also be used then buff with lens cloth.

  • We advise the use of a solvent like IPA (Isopropyl Alcohol) or Ethanol, a higher purity above 90% is recommended. Proprietary cleaning solutions or other solvents may also be used such as Mineral spirits (aka White spirits, Turpentine), etc.
  • If you have bought a water washable resin, you can simply use water and some mild soap.
  • A small brush is very helpful to get into and clean the fine grooves or details in your prints.
  • Alcohol and other flammable solvents should not be used directly with ultrasonic cleaners because of the fire hazard.
  • Anything containing uncured resin if no curing is possible should be disposed in a hazards facility near you. Uncured resin is considered extremely hazardous to the environment and must be cured before disposal.
  • Cured resin is stable and can be disposed with the rest of the solid trash.
  • Resin saturated water (for the water washable resins) and Saturated solvents should be cured in the sun and evaporated, resulting solids can be disposed in the solids trash.
  • Resin saturated cleaning paper can also be cured in the sun or in a curing UV oven and treated as solid trash.
  • Never throw resin contaminated fluids down the drain

Yes, if you regularly cure the washing solvents along with your printed parts and filter out the solids your solvents will last longer.

It depends on environmental factors and type/brand of resin, typically if the resin is kept out of light and moisture/dirt it may sit in the vat for a few weeks. Clear resins tend to sit better, opaque resins will need more stirring before use to mix the pigments back.

  • Check for loose cured resin or stuck resin, you will need to clean that out.
  • Cover the vat, you can cut a piece of cardboard that fits over the vat, or print one out on an FDM printer. 
  • Before printing, carefully stir the resin for 1 – 2 minutes with the plastic spatula, be careful not to scratch the FEP screen.
  • Do not leave the build plate hanging with uncured resin, take it out and clean with IPA, leave it out until you are ready to print, this will lessen the weight on the single Z rod thus prevent z wobble.
  • Yes, but you should strain out any debris first using a filter.
  • You can keep the used resin in medicine bottles separately.

Post Processing

The best way to find out if your print has cured enough with sunlight or a UV light set up is to find an area where you don’t mind a mark and try to dent it with your fingernail, If you can then it’s not ready yet, and as soon as you can’t dent it it’s ready. Do not overcure as resin may become overly brittle, and white or clear resin will turn yellow.

It depends. While it is easier to remove before uv curing (it’s softer and you can just pull or rub them off), you may want to remove them after, especially thin parts that may warp during the curing process.

It depends on the resin used. Unlike PLA or ABS, regular hobby grade resin prints are quite brittle and can easily break when dropped. There are specially formulated resins for prototyping or even functional usage which have different properties such as flexibility, hardness and uv resistance. Once you have familiarised yourself with your printer using the sample green resin, you might want to experiment further with different resins.

The white residue appears if there’s moisture or water on your prints when you UV cure. One way to avoid this is not to wash your prints in water after cleaning in solvents. Always make sure your prints are completely dry before final UV curing.

Troubleshooting

If you had accidently switched the printer off in the middle of an operation, or if there was a power disruption, it may cause a corruption to the EEPROM. The printer can be easily revived by resetting the EEPROM by reflashing the.gcode file. 

Maintenance

Nothing much really. Keep everything clean by wiping down with a microfibre cloth slightly dampened with IPA. Wipe resin drops and spills off immediately with IPA and tissue. Keep your vat and FEP clean. Keep the LCD screen perfectly clean. Dust off and keep the printing compartment clean. And every three months or earlier, depending on usage frequency, clean and replace the grease for the lead screw. If it squeaks, do this immediately.

Viscous grease. The thick, creamy, toothpaste consistency type. Aka machine grease, cosmoline, gel grease, gear grease, etc. White Lithium grease is well received. You could also try “non flick” motorcycle chain grease. Just make sure the lubricant is not thin and runny. Do NOT use WD-40!