Re: SLA - Viper Issues

From: Rob Connelly (
Date: Tue Oct 22 2002 - 17:23:59 EEST

Hello Jeevan and list,

I am terribly sorry to weigh in so late on this question. I hope that the information is still useful.

We have three of the Vipers here at FineLine, and I can give an opinion on these questions as well. I must say that Alex Laymon did an excellent job with his responses to the original post. He brings a very knowledgeable perspective to the questions.

1. Spending some time with your salesman from 3D should clear up any questions that you have about costs versus service levels that are available. They do have several options. We have elected to remain under maintenance here, and have been pleased with the cost/benefit ratio that it has brought us. As for the issue of what gets replaced with a laser, I think Alex hit it on the head when he said that the decision is based not so much on what is "broken" as on how to get the system operational again in the shortest time frame. With precision optics it is often best to do the fine adjustment on a bench at the factory rather than on a footstool at the customer's site. I think 3D designed the Viper's laser very well -- they know what they can do on the footstool and what they should do back at the factory.

2. Yes, as lasers get old their power drops, and this reduces scan speeds. Often the power can be brought back up to full spec with an adjustment. With a solid state laser you should only see a permanent power drop toward the very end of the laser's life. We have not seen any permanent drops in power on any of our systems yet (sound of knocking on wood in background) and we have a lot of hours on them. A sidenote about the Viper's laser here. They designed the system such that the full power of the laser is not commanded at all times. This means that it spends a good many hours operating at low power, which should prolong its life nicely. I assume that is one reason why their warranty is 7500 hours.

3. Resin vats do NOT need to be replaced after a certain number of runs. If you have a well-formulated material -- and if you keep it in use regularly -- then stability in the vat is not an issue. There are known instances of vats going bad over time, but they are rare, and are associated with resin production problems. Bottom line, the resin manufacturer will take care of the cost of a problem like that. All resin suppliers out there are keen to these issues and they all stand behind their products.

As you may be able to tell, I am quite impressed with the Viper and with the support that 3D offers for it. I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions about any of this.


Rob Connelly
FineLine Prototyping, Inc.
6300 Limousine Dr., Suite 130
Raleigh, NC 27613
919-781-7702 Phone
919-781-7612 FAX


Dear List,

I am very much surprised that none from 3D Systems
experts made any clarification on the issues. Also
very few users of SLA / Viper made their
comments.Hence I am posting this query again and
expect that people will respond to this.

Issues are following:

1. Laser Optics replacement: 3D systems gives the
warranty of 7500 hrs for their laser optics.After that
the whole laer optics need to be changed which costs
around $50,000.This is pretty costly affair to change
whole laser optics.Recently 3D systems claim that
there is no need to change the whole laser optics, but
it can be repaired in parts.IS THIS TRUE?

2. Laser Age: As laser gets old the speed gets
reduced.That means the speed of laser is inversaly
proportonal to the life of laser.As its get older,
speed reduces.IS THIS TRUE and what is this factor of
proportionality.By what percetage it gets reduced?

3. Resin Contamination: After 30-40 runs the whole wat
of resin needs to be replaced due to contamination.It
cause a great loss of material.IS THIS TRUE?

Any comment on this would be greatly appreciated,


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Rob Connelly
FineLine Prototyping, Inc.
6300 Limousine Dr., Suite 130
Raleigh, NC 27613
919-781-7702 Phone
919-781-7612 FAX

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