Add drain hole


It would be great if we could add very small drain holes in Preform to solve cupping issues without having to go back into our CAD package and change the part. Specifically because this isn’t really a CAD or part design issue, but more of an accommodation for the nature of inverted SLA. It’s not really desirable to have to create a new version of the CAD just to print it.

So my request is to be able to add small holes to models in Preform.


It’s been requested before, and I’d love to see that enhancement.


Agreed. It’s funny just how advanced Preform is but it lacks probably two of the most essential SLA software features, hollow and drain holes. Maybe one day they’ll figure out that it’s important to SLA printing.


I’ll poke support about it to make sure they get the request.


I have the same issue, but the Preform solution would be inadequate as my parts need to contain pressure. My solution is to employ pins/small rods in the proper location and subtract them from the model. I then copy the pins and create copies at 90% and 95% and print them at the same time as my model. I can then epoxy the suitably sized pins in the model and trim them flush. I use the original non-vented version of the model to send to the injection molding companies for bids and the printed and patched version to send to the casting companies for bids. It serves as a good method of evaluating multiple production methods.


That sounds quite complicated and for a very specific scenario that I think most Formlabs users don’t bump into.

I’ve sent a ticket to support to officially request this as a feature (along with some other feature requests I posted a while back).


just use Meshmixer before loading the part into Preform.


Shouldn’t have to use meshmixer or other 3rd party software considering the price of the machine. The software is part of the package and is a basic feature of SLA printing preparation. It’s included in almost every other SLA software suite and seems like an obvious omission at this point. Also, I’m just curious to see how Formlabs will tackle these features given how elegant their software is so far. Is it as feature rich as something like Chi Tu Box … absolutely not but it’s very user friendly.


I understand perfectly what you’re saying but if you think about it, Preform did not have even basic functionality like mirroring until just a couple of iterations ago.

The ability to add a hole is a much more complex undertaking, because it’s not something as simple as adding a hole, it first needs to hollow out the solid to a predefined, or user defined, wall thickness, then add the drain hole.

But you’re right, considering how one of the selling points of the FormLabs printers is the ease of use and sophistication, one would expect these features to be part of such a package.

Other 3rd party software like ChiTu Box, does all this and does it well. Perhaps Formlabs should take a look at Chitu and see if they can work out a licensing deal to include some of these features in their upcoming Preform releases.


Regarding the plugs - that could also be automated, PreForm could just generate appropriately sized plugs so that the drain holes can be closed later.


All good points/thoughts, but I’m trying to get into production so I don’t have time to sit around whining. My method works fine and takes less than 10 minutes of my time.




Huh? Who is whining? Did I miss something?


I see some people here have mentioned other software. Personal preference is CHITUBOX. It’s really simple to use does the hollow and holes super fast, then I just Save As and STL and use Preform as normal. MeshMixer is way more powerful, but I find it a bit clunky to use.


I mean, of course there are workarounds, but just saying it would be nice is this was native in Preform :slightly_smiling_face:


NATIVE please.


My goodness, you telling me it DOESN’T have this? I hadn’t never needed it it, but I recall the 3D Systems software I learned for the SLA250 hd this, and that was 20 years ago!!!