Fine Detail Plastic Crystallization Formation

Discussion in 'Finishing Techniques' started by Model_Monkey, Dec 5, 2016.

  1. Cygnus3D
    Cygnus3D Member
    I agree. I got some stuff over a year ago, and it turned powdery white as soon as I dried after the ultrosonic cleaner. I was able to paint the part with no issues and no reall loss of detail, so I guess this stuff is very variable.
     
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  2. mkroeker
    mkroeker Well-Known Member
    I see a hamster wheel turning here - stuff turning white as soon as it dries after cleaning is either showing surface corrosion from use of aggressive solvent (heptane) or areas that were in contact with support material (hence rough, and the presence of oily or waxy material of sufficiently similar index of refraction in the gaps will make it appear smooth and translucent). This is most likely not the "crystal growth" that some people see appearing on their once-perfect models weeks or months after painting them.
     
  3. matthewc83
    matthewc83 Shapeways Employee Manufacturing
    Hi all,

    First off, thank you for the great discussion on this issue and providing good examples/pictures that helped us really identify some key details to help characterize the problem. The FUD-NY production team is aware of the concern surrounding this "crystallization" issue and I have been actively investigating it. That said, the point of this post is then twofold: first to help you all understand the nature of this "crystallization" and second to suggest a solution based on the findings, so bear with me for the long-ish post.

    Before all that, I want to clarify some of the confusion on this thread between "frosted" and "crystallized" because there seems to be a lot of back and forth between these two points. "Frosted" is a surface quality trait that is normal to FUD parts and apparent immediately after cleaning/stripping of oils and being left to dry. In contrast "crystallization" as defined in the thread (and is the main issue) is the appearance of precipitates (ie. crystal formation) after a period of time. Here are pictures side-by-side to delineate between the two:

    Side-by-side.JPG
    Notice how the "crystallized" model has a substantially rougher surface quality than the "frosted" model with jagged edges that seem to be crystals forming on the surface. Also notice how the "crystallization" is more apparent on support facing planes (will be important later).

    Now, time for the meat of the issue. After investigating, all signs point to this "crystallization" being a material issue stemming from UV degradation. This is quite normal for many synthetic polymers (e.g. weathering of polypropylene rope), and FUD being a synthetic UV curable acrylic is also susceptible to it. Specifically, this degradation is caused by the photooxidation of free radicals (a byproduct of UV curing and UV exposure), which react with oxygen in the environment and break down the cross-links created during machine curing. This can explain why customers who left FUD parts in their plastic packaging did NOT experience the issue, from limited oxygen exposure in the bag.

    As of right now, the only suggestion I could give is to limit exposure to oxygen as that seems to be the main culprit behind the crystallization. Coating painted parts with an oil or using oil-based paint could help stay crystallization for a longer period, but seeing as photodegradation is a naturally occuring phenomenon, it would only do so much.

    I hope that this post was helpful in some way, at the very least to help shed light on the what we believe is happening chemically to the parts.

    I'll keep monitoring this thread to keep the conversation open!

    -Matt
     
  4. stannum
    stannum Well-Known Member
    How would that explain crystals appearing after painting? Some people apply multiple coats of paint and end with UV resistant varnish. The items are fully wrapped (specially after multiple coats) and light will hardly reach the underlaying material (some of the pigments are very opaque and resistant to UV themselves).
     
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  5. Cygnus3D
    Cygnus3D Member
    An additional data point: Stuff I ordered and cleand in an ultrosonic cleaner in FXD in june 2015 has not shown crystallization, even though it's been exposed to air. Some of it's painted some of it's not. This was orderd in the EU if that helps.

    If this really is a property of the material (maybe only for some batches of your raw material?) I think it's a huge issue. "Do not use the items you ordered" is not a very good solution :(
     
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  6. Model_Monkey
    Model_Monkey Well-Known Member
    Deeply concerned.
     
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  7. Bathsheba
    Bathsheba Well-Known Member
    I've gotten a couple pieces of FUD and all have developed an irregular white powder coating within a few weeks. I don't do any postprocessing. I don't think I should have to, and I certainly can't advise my customers to -- they're not DIYers, they're expecting a finished product.

    I may not have gotten around to turning off FUD for the few products I ever turned it on for, but that's on my list. It would have been nice to offer translucent versions of some of my designs, but I can't consider this material suitable for any application where appearance matters.

    If that's how it is, ok, but I think the material description should say so, rather than showing photos of new parts with the implication that they'll be stable.
     
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  8. ibis2001
    ibis2001 Member
    Hi there,

    I've started a thread in an austrian narrow gauge forum about the same problem.
    Text is german - change it to english with a little help of an online-translator if you wish - but there are definitely some interesting photographs to look at.

    http://www.schmalspur-modell.at/viewtopic.php?t=11676

    Enjoy, or better fear...

    Regards from Cologne
    Ingo
     
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  9. 00dwkr
    00dwkr Member
    Hi Ingo, thanks for keeping the thread alive.

    I have had the same experience: with item 'cleaned' (soap and water, I think), and then painted with acrylic.

    I will stop purchasing FUD from Shapeways until this gets sorted out.

    Thanks. Take care: Dan
     
  10. Model_Monkey
    Model_Monkey Well-Known Member
    SW, is there anything more you have learned to help customers experiencing the deterioration of FUD over time?

    Is FUD chemically stable?
     
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  11. MitchellJetten
    MitchellJetten Shapeways Employee CS Team
    Sorry for not replying.

    Behind the scenes we are actively investigating the issue and are doing tests.
    In addition we are in contact with 3DS to see if they can assist in resolving the issue as well.
     
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  12. railNscale
    railNscale Well-Known Member
    Hello Mitchell,

    Can you please give us an update on this topic?

    Thanks,
    Maurice
     
  13. The_Old_Factory
    The_Old_Factory Well-Known Member
    • I had heard about this thread about FUD & FED parts becoming rotten & covered with crystals after days or weeks even after being painted & I was deeply concerned, but now having read the thread I must say I am disgusted & very angry at 3DSystems & Shapeways...! This is a betrayal of the people who buy parts made with Polyjet plastics !

    It is clear to me that 3DSystems certainly knows since A LONG TIME about this problem as they design & sell the Polyjet printers, & Shapeways no doubt was WELL AWARE since a LONG TIME, for at least 6 YEARS because there are SW clients who have been reporting this since 2011 !! 6 YEARS ! This is FALSE advertising, as they know very well parts made from this material have been marketed to the very most Demanding & most Unforgiving client base out there : scale modelers.

    I have been preparing a range of products and telling Shapeways that I'd be selling them to thousands of people & i based all my advertising & arguments on forums on how extremely high the quality of Polyjet FED will be & will replace old fashioned hand cast polyurethane resin aftermarket detail parts for injected plastic models because that's how good it looked on their pictures & that's how extremely fine the details would be they assured me, & i believed them and went on to praise their name to all my clients about how SW was the best choice for my detailled parts & how good FED would be against hand cast parts, now are you telling me that you were going to sell CRAP like this to my thousands of clients ?

    And NO, UV photodegradation is not a 'naturally occurring phenomenon', it only becomes an occurring phenomenon when the manufacturer did a poor job at material design & did not even develop proper support material & post-processing methods as well as a public guideline for what specific paint to use & pre-painting cleaning that will not negatively interract with the material & give such a mess. & please no comparison with polypropylene rope, scale models aren't going to stay all year under the sun or be used on fishing trawlers, there is a reason why polypropylene rope is not UV resistant, it's because it is a material that must be sold at a cheap price as rope for fishing nets as those used by trawlers often get damaged and must be replaced fairly frequently. UV cured plastics on the other hand are very high cost materials (at dollars per cm cube), so at those prices it should not be a problem for 3DS to make a material that does not degrade over time. And you know very well that UV resistant compounds do exist, this is a job for the chemists at 3DS to figure out a way to avoid problems from occurring after the parts have been printed.

    At first Shapeways did pretend they did not understand & now finally after 5 pages of photographic evidence showing how rotten these parts become you suddenly pretend you 'just found out there is a problem' & you will just 'see if 3DSystems can help' ?! 'See if' ?? REALLY ?! This is all you have to say, 'Hope', instead of you grabbing the highest paid New York lawyer and going after 3DS if this mess is their doing to show you Really care ? Because I'll tell you I think there could be material for a class action lawsuit here. 6 YEARS..!

    Shapeways better act VERY quickly and FIX the problem instead of saying 'if' because that last word won't cut ice with the lawyers if they get involved, believe me. How many thousands of clients got shafted by buying these FXD, FUD & FED Polyjet parts that turn into crystallized CRAP after you bring them out of the bag and worse, after painting them ?? I think nobody should go for such poor quality material. It's our money, worse: it's our entire reputation and our livelihood as business owners that Shapeways & 3DS are throwing to the garbage by selling this crap to our clients.

    I told to Shapeways for a long time that scale modelers are the most unforgiving customers. If you sell them parts made from this material only for them to find out weeks later that their exquisite models for which they spent weeks of work plus lots of $$ to add all the super detailed aftermarket parts to make them into models worthy to win the IPMS Nationals competition have now turned into ugly, purulent pieces of junk, well I won't get taken for a ride and I won't send my thousands of clients there that's for sure.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2017
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  14. The_Old_Factory
    The_Old_Factory Well-Known Member
    @Shapeways

    We demand you make an official announcement about your Polyjet FED & FUD plastics & that you immediately STOP taking orders for them until you fix the crystallization mess that is destroying all the details and smooth finish of those parts.

    We demand that you do an in depth review & inquiry to find if faulty cleaning methods of your machines, or contamination of the virgin material or bad batches from 3DS or a problem inherent to how 3DS designed their plastic in the 1st place causes the problem.

    We demand that you put together & display on your website for all clients & Designers to EASILY see and find a detailled & precise procedure that must be followed for:

    How to clean up FED & FUD parts, what specific type & brands of cleaners to use to avoid negative chemical interactions leading to the dreaded crystals, what chemicals or cleaners to avoid, in what order each cleaning steps must be taken & as well as prepping for paint & how soon after receiving the parts must we follow these procedures to completely avoid crystal growth ? What type and brands of paint should be used ? What types of paint should be avoided ? Please, NO approximations, test all these paint brands on the parts, all the cleaning methods, oh & also what paint thinners & solvents to use and which ones to avoid.

    Please, don't use anateurs to run the tests, use people who know what they are doing and who know chemistry. And you better read in detail all the MSDS for all the paints, thinners, solvents & cleaners & ASK questions to the manufactures as MSDS sheets are rarely models of precision these days, they are more like approximative lists with vague percentage of content because these companies are paranoid about revealing to their competition their 'recipe' (as well as the real toxicity of their products). I remember MSDS sheets used to be a LOT more precise & informative 20 years ago before extreme liberalism free for all deregulation in favor of big chemical companies decided that their profits are more important than our health.

    And please, use the scientific method, look at everything.

    Thank you.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2017
  15. Model_Monkey
    Model_Monkey Well-Known Member
    Okay, let's take a deep breath and calm down before recommending Shapeways shut down all the stores that rely on FUD/FXD and immediately ruin the livelihood of designers who make a living selling their designs through Shapeways.

    The sky is not falling. The problem is not universal nor does it require an immediate cessation of FUD and FXD printing.

    Some
    customers have reported crystallization but most report no problems. Certainly, the problem is real and worth serious investigation. I do not mean to minimize the problems some customers have had nor do I mean to minimize the frustration and disappointment experienced when the problem occurs. But let's recognize that it has not affected all products printed in FUD for all customers of all shops. For those customers affected, the problem can be handled on a case-by-case basis.

    Nearly all of my customers have received FUD and FXD parts that do remain chemically stable. And several of those that have experienced the problem have ordered FUD/FXD products afterwards that did not experience crystallization. The parts I have ordered for my own use have not developed any crystallization, even after a year.

    There is practical advice that may help prevent the problem from occurring.

    Here is the advice I offer the customers of more than 900 designs sold through my Shapeways shop, nearly all of them offered in FUD and/or FXD, with 200-300 sales monthly, mostly to very satisfied, repeat customers. Several customers who reported that they have followed this advice reported it works well for them:

    The short advice:
    1. Clean your new parts with a mild water-based detergent like "Dawn". "Fairy" or "Simple Green" in water. Let your parts soak for a few hours to remove any wax.
    2. Place your "Frosted Detail" parts in direct sunlight or under an ultra-violet light (UV) lamp for several hours (more is better) to fully harden the resin.
    3. If necessary, smooth "Frosted Detail" surfaces with an "air eraser" (click here to see an example). Smooth "Strong and Flexible" plastic surfaces by applying thin layers of primer then smooth the primer.
    4. Use the correct primer and paint for the type of plastic your part is printed in."
    Excerpts from the long advice, as FAQs posted on the cover page of my catalog (click here) - nearly all of my product descriptions are linked to this advice:

    "3. Should I clean the parts before painting? Leave your parts in the plastic bag, uncleaned, until you need them. Clean your parts with a mild water-based detergent like "Dawn" or "Fairy" dishwashing liquid, baby shampoo (no conditioner), or "Simple Green" using an old, soft toothbrush, Q-tips or pipe cleaners. Do NOT use any cleaner, primer, paint or thinner containing acetone, acetate or methyl ethyl ketone (MEK). Frosted Detail plastic may be sensitive to prolonged oxygen exposure. Paint your "Frosted Detail" products soon after cleaning them."

    Too many customers who have used harsh chemicals to clean their products have reported that the harsh cleaning agent they used damaged the product. I have received specific reports that acetone, mineral spirits, Goo Gone, methyl ethyl ketone, PineSol, brake cleaner and Bestine damaged products. While these cleaners may be effective for polystyrene plastic, they have been reported to harm Frosted Detail acrylic plastic. Based on customer reports, I now only recommend mild, water-based cleaners be used.

    and -

    "6. What kinds of primer and paint should I use?

    • For "Frosted Detail" acrylic plastic, acrylic primer and acrylic paints meant for plastic are recommended. Any uncured resin in the plastic can react with enamel paints, leaving you a gooey mess. If you prefer enamels such as "Colourcoats", enamels can work but extended exposure to ultra-violet (UV) light before painting is critical. Make sure you sit your parts in direct sunlight or under a UV lamp for several hours to fully harden the plastic before painting.

    • For "Strong and Flexible" products, only primers and paints intended specifically for use on nylon should be used. Other hobby paints may not adhere. Simply Google "primer for nylon" and "paint for nylon" for several good choices.
    "7. I like to use an airbrush. Will thinners harm the plastic? They can if the thinner contains strong chemicals. Acetone will melt Frosted Detail plastic. Do NOT use any thinner containing acetone, acetate, or methyl ethyl ketone (MEK). Acetate is found in acetone-free nail polish remover. Acetate and MEK can cause a crystalline powder to form on the surface, even after painting, which is an annoyance to remove. The following chemicals may cause crazing, cracking, discoloration, or dissolving of Frosted Detail acrylic plastics: Acetic Acid, Acetate, Acetone, Ammonia, Aromatic Solvents, Benzene, Brake Fluid, Butyl Alcohol, Chlorinated Solvents, Disinfectant, Ethyl Alcohol, Kerosene, Lacquer Thinner, Lestoil® Cleaner, Lysol® Spray, Methyl Ethyl Ketone, Naphtha, Pinesol® Cleaner, Sulfuric Acid, Turpentine, Toluene, White Cap® Cleaner, and Xylene."
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2017
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  16. southernnscale
    southernnscale Well-Known Member
    This is one of my FUD building waiting for my layout to be finished and it been setting on the shelf since last year! You can se the crystal like surface. it was cleaned well and painted I have found this happening to a lot of my FUD material models since it the only material I print in. This is my lumber mill look like the frost has set in over night and I paid a good price for it! this was painted with Doc Holliday Acrylic stain. brown and black second coat!
    IMG_5928.JPG
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2017
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  17. Model_Monkey
    Model_Monkey Well-Known Member
    Great photo, Walt. Very sorry to see your parts are experiencing issues, too.

    Regarding the example cited about a powder experienced by a customer named Mark, Mark's problem is a bit different than the crystalline growth issue of most concern here. The crystalline powder my customer Mark experienced was later determined to be likely caused by the use of methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) as the thinner used to airbrush his parts. MEK, sometimes used by modelers as a thinner to airbrush plastic models made of polystyrene plastic, is now known to be incompatible with FUD/FXD. The powder that developed on Mark's USS Pennsylvania model is a different problem than the crystalline development some other customers are experiencing with their products. It is presently believed that MEK can leave a powdery residue on FUD/FXD that develops later but is not harmful to the acrylic plastic itself.

    While Mark's issue is certainly a concern, the more serious problem is the crystalline growth developing over time that is actually consuming the acrylic plastic. This is the real issue of concern in this thread. That growth that some products have experienced is clear evidence of a chemical breakdown of those FUD/FXD products over time. Hopefully, Walt, your very expensive buildings are not experiencing chemical breakdown. Chemical breakdown is obviously a big concern and what I and others have asked SW to investigate. SW has stated earlier in this thread that SW is investigating and conducting tests and has alerted 3DS, the supplier of the material used in FUD/FXD printing. Matthewc83 offered an opinion indicating the problem is likely caused by prolonged oxygen exposure. We are waiting for SW to announce the completion of their investigation and testing and publish guidance.

    To all, it is my opinion that it is unwise and unwarranted to demand SW immediately stop accepting all orders in FUD and FXD. We designers and customers ought to continue to push SW (and 3DS) for a thorough investigation, resolution and to publish guidance to designers and customers upon conclusion of their investigation and testing. We can push SW for resolution and guidance without demanding the immediate destruction of whole shops and peoples' livelihoods. To demand the immediate cessation of FUD/FXD printing is throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    Let's attack the problem, not each other.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2017
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  18. The_Old_Factory
    The_Old_Factory Well-Known Member
    • Hi Model _ Monkey,

    I should perhaps have been more wise in my choice of words, I understand your position, and I'd not to ' destroy' individual shops I assure you, quite the contrary I want all shops here to continue to flourish, however as you said it yourself sales have plunged down as a result of the photos of the crystallization ravage on parts printed by Shapeways, and if I or you or anyone here goes on to continue selling those parts with that serious defect issue, it will be totally counter productive to both you and all the other shops here as it will only serve to create more upset customers who will have paid a high price for their parts and who will not come back. Do you think it is fair to take their money and sell them something like what the Shapeways parts turn into like SW have been doing for 6 years ? I sure know my own clients would never forgive me if after having presented them my designs on forums I frequent and telling them these will be the very best parts their money can buy vs hand cast polyurethane resin aftermarket parts, you can bet it would destroy my entire market in one shot.

    But I have a solution for you, as a colleague. You are familiar with the new super fast 3D SLA printers that use an oxygen layer ? The Carbon3D machines. I say that because I've noticed you do not print exclusively in FED but in fact you also do a lot of parts in FUD and nylon. The Carbon3D print at 28 microns, which is pretty close to FED and better than FUD. Furthermore their material is polyurethane resin (!), meaning the same in terms of preparation and painting as what most modelers who buy traditional aftermarket resin parts are used to ! So, that fixes your problem, the big French 3D printing company who's name I apparently cannot print here have those machines. You can upload your models there and it will fix the problem.

    Meanwhile me I'm still stuck as 95% of my upcoming resin parts need 16 microns resolution. So that leaves me only 2 choices: waiting for Shapeways & 3DSystems to fix the problem, or subcontracting to someone who have an SLA DLP printer and do all the parts shipping myself or buying a high resolution small desktop DLP printer. Meanwhile I am diversifying and am building products in different materials and categories (that's what we call in design ' marketing mix' , to avoid putting all eggs in the same bag).

    And honestly, do you, do we really know how many clents received Polyjet parts to then simply store them for months or years, and who will also discover that their parts will crystallize after finally opening the bags and wash their parts...? No we don't, none of us know. So SW & 3DS must fix this before it gets worse because all it takes is a few pictures of horribly affected parts to ruin the market of everyone. And I am sure your clients and mine care a lot more about quality and are not interested to play Russian roulette with the hundred of dollars or more they spend per part. Even for a small detail part set that cost 20-25$ vs 12$ or so for hand cast PU resin my clients would not forgive bad quality.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2017
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  19. Model_Monkey
    Model_Monkey Well-Known Member
    Thanks for your thoughts.

    Certainly, taking care of customers is vitally important and I take that very seriously. That's why I began this thread and contacted SW staff by PM immediately after being notified by a customer of the problem.

    Obviously I cannot speak to the experience of any other designer. But here's what I know.

    Dec 5, 2016
    - A customer of mine, Mark, reports the appearance of a powder on FUD parts he ordered based on my design on a model ship forum I follow. He states that he used MEK as thinner. We'll call him "Customer #1".

    - I contact Customer #1 privately and initiate this thread alerting the SW community asking for comment.

    - Another designer, Shea_Design, reports on this thread seeing the same or a similar problem.

    Dec 7, 2016
    - Another designer, he6agon reports a similar problem.

    - a SW employee asks for images.

    - I post an image provided by Customer #1 of his affected part.

    Dec 8, 2016
    - another well-known designer, mkroeker, reports MEK may be the cause of Customer #1's problem.

    - I advise Customer #1 privately to stop using MEK and post on the modeling site on which he reported the problem that MEK may cause the development of crystallization, discouraging its use.

    Dec 13, 2016

    - he6agon reports getting crystals after using enamel paint.

    - mkroeker reports the solvents in some enamels contain "an ugly mix of benzene and naphthalene derivatives" that could also be a cause.

    - I recommend on the ship modeling site that modelers should only use acrylic paints and change my advice in my catalog to reflect only acrylic paints are recommended - that same day - and ask for customer comments on their paint usage.

    Dec 14, 2016
    - I post on this thread that customers report problems using Bestine (contains heptane) to clean parts, and I change my catalog advice removing Bestine as a recommended cleaning agent.

    Dec 19, 2016 - this is the big report

    - Martin, another customer we'll call "Customer #2" posts on that ship modeling site that after reading my notices he inspected several FUD products he had in storage, all likely printed at the New York factory. He discovered a crystalline growth on several parts that is consuming the plastic. This is a different phenomenon than what Customer #1 experienced.

    - I post his report on this thread the same day and contact SW employees privately who reply SW is taking the report seriously and would investigate.

    - a modeler with a background in chemistry posts on the ship modeling board that acrylic plastic is very susceptible to harsh chemicals. I see his message and report on this thread that another customer with a chemistry background suggests Frosted Detail acrylic plastics may be chemically related to Plexiglas and thus are easily damaged by the same kinds of chemicals that harm Plexiglas including acetone, acetate, heptane, etc. He posted this link:

    http://www.plexiglas.com/export/sit.../resins-docs/v-series-chemical-resistance.pdf"

    - I change my catalog advice urging customers to avoid acetone, acetate, etc.

    Jan 2, 2017
    - another designer, robs_mw, reports on this thread that he sees crystallization formation on some of his products after using automotive acrylic spray containing acetone, acetate, propane and butane. He posts an image of the affected parts. It is my opinion that what Rob found is related to the harsh chemicals in the automotive spray and is not the same kind of crystallization observed by Customer #2.

    - I urge modelers on the model ship forum to check their thinners, primers and paints for any of those chemicals and to cease using those thinners, paints and primers if the chemicals are found in their products.

    Jan 21, 2017
    - another designer, barkingdigger, reports on this thread he sees crystal flakes inside 3 year-old parts.

    March 1, 2017
    - Dan, another of my customers we'll call "Customer #3" reports on this thread and the model ship forum that he sees crystal formation affecting some of his parts after cleaning.

    March 3, 2017
    - Vlad, "Customer # 4" reports privately that some of his parts are affected with crystallization consuming the plastic.

    - I post images on this thread and again ask SW for help.

    March 4, 2017
    - another designer, Aop, reports seeing crystallization.

    - another designer, Anyuta3D, reports never having experienced the problem. Anyuta further states that unaffected parts were stored uncleaned and unpainted in their original bags.

    - "Customer #3" reports he has not noticed crystallization on parts stored in their bags but has experienced it on parts stored openly.

    March 5, 2017
    - another customer, Vladi who we'll call "Customer #5", reports heavy frosting under overhanging features. This problem is believed to be related to the normal nature of FUD printing with waxy support material and is not the same kind of crystallization we're worried about.

    - I post photos sent to me by "Customer #2" on this thread as more evidence of the post-production crystallization problem and why it is different than what Customer #5 experienced.

    - Customer #5 posts on this thread that he sees the beginning of the post-production crystallization problem forming on the underside of his parts.

    - mkroeker reports on this thread that he inspected parts received in 2013, likely printed at the Eindhoven factory, and found no evidence of post-production crystallization.

    - another designer, sozzap23, reports on this thread he had received a message from a customer who experienced post-production crystallization. We'll call sozzap's customer "Customer #6".

    March 6, 2017
    - I ask SW for comment on this thread.

    March 7, 2017

    - SW suggests it may be the support material, once cleaned of oil, that is crystallizing.

    - I respond that I disagree and provide further explanation and description.

    March 8 -9
    - several designers discuss on this thread the possibility that UV light is the cause of chemical breakdown.

    March 13-April 5
    - a new member, fbea458, reports seeing frosting develop on some parts but not others and posts images. The frosting in the photos appears to be normal, support-material-related.

    - Customer #4 reports post-production crystallization development only on parts that have been cleaned, which began to appear as soon as 24 hours after cleaning.

    - a general discussion develops on this thread between designers, customers and SW regarding normal frosting vice post-production crystallization, and then product orientation. Customer #4 reports that true post-production crystallization has probably only affected some of his products. The others are likely the result of normal frosting.

    April 6
    - matthewc83, originally identified as an SW employee at the NY factory, but now as a "New Member", posted a lengthy message on this thread (see above) stating in effect, an SW investigation is occurring, and what the SW factory in NY presently suspects prolonged oxygen exposure is the likely cause of post-production crystallization. It should be noted that Matt did not offer a definitive, absolute cause, just that initial indications "point to" (his words) oxygen exposure.

    - I changed the product advice on my catalog that day notifying customers that FUD/FXD may be sensitive to prolonged oxygen exposure and recommended customers keep their parts in the bag, uncleaned until needed, and then to paint their parts soon after cleaning. I also posted a notification on the model ship message board on which the problem was first identified.

    April 7-May 16
    - general discussion among designers regarding Matt's comments and another customer complaint, "Customer #7", as well as pointing to a similar discussion on a German modeling board.

    May 18
    - SW reports an active investigation is continuing including tests and that SW is in contact with SDS.

    At this writing, it is my opinion that it remains unwise to cease accepting orders for FUD and FXD. I am hopeful SW will resolve the issue soon.

    I think that if we demanded the immediate cessation of production for any product that experienced production problems, the auto industry, computer industry, airline industry, food industry, home construction industry, bridge building industry, road making industry, tool manufacturing industry, medical services industry, kitchen appliance manufacturing industry, etc., etc. would all grind to a halt and we'd be living in the stone age. If a customer receives a bad print, there are mechanisms in place to deal with it. It is presently unwise and premature to demand SW stop printing in FUD/FXD.

    I think for now, the best thing we designers and shop owners can do is:
    1. do our best to keep affected customers notified of any developments or findings
    2. properly advise our customers of the best ways we know of to help prevent the problem from occurring
    3. continue to encourage SW in its investigation
    4. give SW the space and time needed to complete their investigation
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2017
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  20. MitchellJetten
    MitchellJetten Shapeways Employee CS Team
    Yup, he works at our factory in NY!
    He probably doesn't have the "employee" tag on the forums.

    "new member" is linked to the amount of posts on the forum (think you need 10 to turn into "member").

    -

    As for the issue, I've followed up with the production teams to see if we have any news on this subject.

    Mitch
     
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