Using Form Cure
Form Cure is ready to use once the turntable is installed and the power is connected. Each cycle requires time to preheat before the 405 nm lights begin post-curing. The preheating time depends on the current temperature and the target post-cure temperature.
Form Cure Controls
When connected to power, use the display and knob to program and operate Form Cure. Rotate the knob counterclockwise or clockwise to move between items in the menu, and press the knob to select an option on the display.
The following options are available from the main menu on the Form Cure display:
- “Start”: Initiate post-curing by activating the heater and internal LED lights. The 405 nm lights begin post-curing once the heater reaches the target temperature.
- Time: Press the knob to select and adjust the time, indicated in minutes. Check each material’s recommended post-curing time before beginning a cycle.
- Temperature: Press the knob to select and adjust the temperature indicated in degrees Celsius. Check each materials’ recommended post-curing temperature before beginning a cycle.
While preheating, the display shows the preheating status, including the current and the target temperature. After beginning a cure cycle, the display shows the remaining time and additional menu options. Choose “Pause” to turn off the heater and LEDs, while preserving the remaining time in the cure cycle. Opening the cover automatically pauses the cure cycle. Choose “End” to cancel the remaining time in the cure cycle while also stopping the heater and LEDs.
1. Insert washed and dried prints.
Allow at least 30 minutes for isopropyl alcohol (IPA) to fully evaporate after washing. Check all surfaces, because curing non-dried parts may allow IPA to cure inside the part, prevent parts from strengthening, and affect quality. Once parts are dry, lift the cover, then distribute parts on the round turntable. Place parts with the most even spacing possible to allow light and heat to reach all areas. Gently close the cover.
2. Set post-cure time and temperature.
Turn the knob to navigate the display menu. Press the knob to select a feature or setting. Select the time and temperature, and then select “Start.” The LEDs will activate and the timer will start once the heater has reached the target temperature. Once a cure cycle has started, use the display or open the cover to pause post-curing.
3. Collect prints.
When the cure cycle completes, the LEDs and heater will turn off. Lift the cover to remove parts. Use caution; the metal turntable may be hot.
After washing, drying, and post-curing prints, consider adding other steps to your printing workflow. In addition to removing supports, use sanding, priming, or painting to improve presentation, or use other equipment to create molds from printed parts.
Considerations for Specific Geometries
Consider the specific geometry of each part when starting the post-cure cycle. Modify the post-cure process for parts that are large or long, have dense support structures, or have thick or thin features.
Remove Dense Supports
Some parts require more dense or thicker support structures. These can inadvertently block light from reaching some part surfaces during post-curing. Form Cure helps ensure even post-curing by rotating the part during the cure cycle and exposing the part to light from all directions, including underneath the turntable. Remove some supports, only as needed, to ensure that light can easily reach all part surfaces. Leave some supports in place whenever possible to prevent features from warping during post-curing.
Plan for Large or Long Parts
The Form Cure’s turntable has a diameter of 19.3 cm (7.6 in), and the maximum part height that can be post-cured in Form Cure is 18.5 cm (7.28 in). Most parts should be post-cured before removing support structures to preserve the shape and prevent warping. While some parts may fit on the turntable more easily without supports, long or tall prints may require special arrangements to stand on the turntable without support. Consider the part dimensions when designing the support structures or planning the post-cure steps.
Add Time for Thick Parts
Large or thick parts may require a longer post-curing time or higher temperatures because the part takes longer to heat. Light alone cannot post-cure beyond the surface of the part, which is one advantage of the Form Cure’s heating functionality. When post-curing thick geometries, warm the part before post-curing and allow extra time for Form Cure to preheat to the target temperature before starting the post-cure lights and timer.
Add Supports for Thin Features
Warping during post-curing may occur if a part is especially thin, inadequately supported, or unevenly exposed to light. Form Cure helps prevent warping by rotating the part during the cure cycle and by exposing the part to light from all directions, including underneath the turntable. Use support settings or manual editing to design sufficient supports so that thin features do not warp during post-curing.
In the case of a thin, flat, sheet-like object, placing the part directly on the turntable may offer the best support during post-curing.
Maintenance and Safety
Like any professional equipment, treat Formlabs machines, materials, and accessories with respect and care to ensure a safe working environment and a long-lasting machine.