Sparkmaker FEP foil replacement

A new print surface for the resin vat
Published on September 18, 2023.

After a bunch of prints a hole appeared in the FEP foil of the resin vat in my Sparkmaker printer. So it was time for my first replacement. I bought a roll of 127 micron FEP film from The old official tutorial video for this replacement is still available on the Sparkmaker YouTube channel.

First simply remove all screws and disassemble the three frame parts, the old foil and the rubber gasket. Clean all parts with isopropyl alcohol.

Old FEP film still installed (1)
Old FEP film still installed (2)
Close view of hole in old FEP film

You can clearly see the hole in the top right of the vat in the pictures above.

Short screws removed
Long screws also removed
All parts before cleaning

Cut a roughly matching piece of FEP film and pre-cut the holes after carefully aligning the first four corners.

FEP film on middle frame part
FEP film with screws on bottom frame part
Fitting test of two frame parts
All screws in place in bottom frame part and FEP film

The proper assembly order is the bottom-most part, followed by the FEP foil, then the gasket, then the middle and top parts.

Gasket on FEP film
Bottom two frame parts with FEP film and gasket (1)
Bottom two frame parts with FEP film and gasket (2)

I suspect the previous owner (and others in online forums) did not pre-cut holes in the FEP film before placing the screws. So material of both the gasket and the FEP film was mangled up and pulled into some of the threaded holes. In an ideal world you would nicely cut out the holes in their proper place. I simply pushed a screwdriver through the holes in the frame, which worked fine.

FEP film now tight
After cutting the remaining parts from the edge

I encountered some difficulties putting the long screws back to tighten the film. A lot of force was required and I managed to rip out at least one turn of one of the threads. But in the end all screws are still holding properly, though this may not be the case for many repeats of this procedure.

Vat installed back into the printer
First print with new film

It seems to work fine. No resin is leaking and the first print with the new film didn't have any problems. At least not related to the FEP film.