Use .010" FEP on Phenom XXL V1

Was having a terrible time printing with Phenom XXL.

I am using this machine for engineering prototyping (so, no miniatures or super hero busts here, well not yet anyways).

50/50 blend Siraya Tech Build sonic grey, Tenacious obsidian black.

I heat the resin and the build plate to ~90 degrees F with a heat gun prior to starting print.

After adding heat source to the machine and resorting to default settings, still maybe 10% success rate.

Started to think that maybe this would never work and that there was a reason why nobody makes a printer this big.

Then I realized that everything about the machine is scaled up, except for one thing…

I decided to compare the thickness of the FEP film vs the FEP film of much smaller printers, and even a medium sized one (Elegoo Jupiter).

It turns out they are all roughly the same thickness (125um ~ .005" +/- .001") and XXL is thinner than Jupiter.

Somebody can check my math on that if they want to.

To me, it seemed like my prints were failing because the film was stretching too far, and not snapping off at least periodically causing failed prints.

I thought about doubling up FEP films because it would create a vacuum between the 2, and that might work, didn’t try it.

What I did do… is buy some .010" FEP (Teflon) film from American Durafilm.
LINK >>> American Durafilm

It’s not cheap, but not ridiculous.

I’ll be honest, I’m still on my first 32hr print but it’s 80% and looking good.

Also, by measuring the travel distance after the snap of the film, I’ve realized that I can reduce my lift height by more than 10mm.

Conservatively, at 3172 layers, 12 seconds each layer (up and down travel time after the snap) = 10.5 hrs… I could reduce the print time from 32 hrs to 21.5 hrs.

THAT’S AN INSANE AMOUT OF TIME!

I will update with pictures.

Thanks for reading.

Happy to report this print was a success.

I can’t say for sure that this is what “fixed” the machine or not, and I don’t know yet if it will be the solution for all prints.

Here’s a few pictures.

Thanks for posting. May have to try this as well if I ever start using my printer again. I have the Noir though but I’m still willing to give it a try.

Well this machine was quickly turning into a very large expensive paper weight.

But this last ditch effort has saved it’s place for now.

I just ran a 16hr print.

3 models,

1 failure and 2 successful.

Those are large prints. I have tried similar kinds of prints on my Prime and decided to avoid those.
However, are you printing those solid or hollow? Do your prototypes need to be solid? Solid prints will cause a lot of weight and suction and are more likely to detach from the base plate.
If you haven’t already done so, try hollowing the parts and put a couple of drain holes as close to the base as you can get those. That makes the prints lighter, with less suction, uses less resin, and would give you better success.

Let us know how the thicker FEP sheets work out in the long run.

Suggestions for you.

First comes from a member named joostd that can be found here…

He uses an incubator heater in the chamber. I use the same one. Works great. Here’s the link to the heater…

Second is the FEP, I’don’t know where I read it, but I changed to McMaster Carr FEP sheets. Sold 24 inches wide, and by the foot. Those can be found here…

I ordered some FEP from Peopoly, and it came dented, and took forever to get. Tried McMaster, and won’t go back.

When you said you were having failures, what was it doing?
I have a Forge and for some reason it suddenly stopped working. I use mine for engineering show-and-tell pieces and just a week ago I switched from Siraya Tech Fast to Build and now I can’t get the prints to stick to the build plate. Tried long base layers, I have a heated chamber and vat, I just can’t figure it out. I’m hoping what happened to you will fix mine.

@SteedMaker the prints are not solid and include drain holes. see below

@Time-Capsule The heating elements that I added to the vat work fine. McMaster only sells FEP up to the same size you get with the machine/from Peopoly .005"

@Flyin2003 I heat the build plate and resin to ~90 degrees F, I set my transition layers to 30, and bottom layers to 10. Also, I use 150 grit sandpaper and scratch up the build plate and it really helps the bottom layers grab onto the build plate (wipe away any dust). Failures came from the FEP film not releasing from the model initially, then it wreaks havoc as the print continues (I think). see pics below.

As someone who has been using the Phenom L in an aerospace shop for fixturing and tooling; give it time and calibrate.
I was 50/50 success for the longest time, now I hardly ever fail ~ 95% success 5% failure.
I’ve been running mine about 4/5 workdays, 8-11 hours a print, for about 6-8 months.
Most my prints are smaller footprints than what you have shown, so that could be a deviation from our shared experience.
My Advice:

  1. DO. NOT. SAND. YOUR BUILD PLATE! - You will ruin it eventually and you’re most likely adding particulates.
  2. Add supports and angle your prints 22.5 - 45° to avoid large flat surfaces, those have the higher chances of losing the suction battle with the FEP. My experience with rafts has been negative for the same reasons.
  3. When starting a print take a little resin on your glove or spatula and add a thin layer to the build plate for a higher chance of success.
  4. Don’t overthink the clarity and scratches on the FEP film, the less I’ve checked it - the more success I’ve had.
  5. Try engineering resins, I use Phrozen TR300 for insane heat resistance and Phrozen Black Rigid for some average strength.
  6. Document and pay attention to failures, you will be able to see patterns of failure and most of the time you can work around those by orienting them differently.

@Time-Capsule I’m glad to see McMaster is working for your FEP, I use those guys for all fixturing hardware, and great resource of the desktop incubator.

Picture examples of some of my recent prints:
adaadw

dawdawda

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After closer inspection of your failed prints, those are not from absolute FEP failure, it appears you FEP is ripping portions off the print. It may be a combination of low burn/cure time and high FEP suction.
Can you describe what is sticking to your FEP? is it a ‘melted’ version or sharp edged section of the full print?

@CEMenke I am using XXL. XXL has 230% larger build plate/vat/FEP. To me, the difference is enough to consider that the thickness of the FEP could reach a bell curve of effectiveness. Tiny printers are unaffected for the most part. I think my fails result from 2 scenarios, the FEP sticks to the model for at least 1 layer, or the FEP rips off support material/model material/raft material. The shape of what is stuck to the FEP depends on when the failure occurred.

Please also reply by email, so that the peopoly technical team can help you in time.

I knew the XXL was bigger, but wow is that huge. If you were interested in getting a better understanding of failure points, you should try out the following:
Create a cube, of whatever size, and pattern it. This will test the suction forces in independent ‘sections’ , as the suction force increases the further you get from the edges / closer to the center.

The center is more likely to fail than the edges, if failures are not trending towards the center, then the FEP is not the primary driver of failures.
cube-setup

Then from there you can mess around with supports, angles, and setting changes to see cahnges.

@CEMenke I did exactly that. All failures are always toward the middle of the build plate. Unless it’s a total failure, then it’s the entire build plate that is ruined.

.

Everything else I can think of would be testing or working around the problem then. Seems like this is the main reason we don’t see many printers at this size.
Please try out Phrozen products and let me know!

About your original post:
"What I did do… is buy some .010" FEP (Teflon) film from American Durafilm."
My thoughts on this was to try to find thinner FEP, thinner FEP would mean less suction force over longer periods of distance and time. Thicker films (and theoretically solid ones) have a much greater impulse force ( ▲ Force* time) associated with it.
This would turn your print time to shit though and increase chances of punctures greatly.

"Also, by measuring the travel distance after the snap of the film, I’ve realized that I can reduce my lift height by more than 10mm."
Very interested to know how you measured this.

@CEMenke
My thought was that thicker FEP film would have more tension and stretch less. More tension causes it to snap earlier overcoming the suction force. The only concern I had was that it would potentially block too much light, but apparently that is not the case. Sounds like your idea was to go the other direction.

After a handful of hours printing, once the build plat was above the edge of the vat by 10 or 15mm, I held a ruler vertically and rested it on the top of the vat and against the build plate. Wait for the snap on the travel up, then count the millimeters. Then you would adjust travel distances on the software side (you can’t adjust this while it is printing). You can also count seconds after the snap to the top of the travel, multiply that by 2, then multiply that times the number of layers. There’s the amount of time you will save.
Here’s a video >>> TRAVEL DIST AFTER SNAP PEOPOLY PHENOM XXL .010" FEP