Better orientation interface in PreForm

I was just watching a YouTube video on how another program helps the user orient the model before generating supports. I think the program is called Cura.

I have great difficulty changing the orientation with PreForm on a model. There are the little icons where you can click the side of the cube, or you can change the angles with up and down arrows, or use the arrow to choose the base (almost never works on my models, by the way). Preform has the little cubes that show a side to choose as the bottom, but these should be color coordinated with an axis at the very least. They have no relevance to the model on the stage.

In this video I saw another program using a virtual “ball” around the model, and the navigation of the model was SIMPLE. When they clicked on one axis, it turned green to let the user know it was active, and even displayed feedback on the angle.

I’m making jewelry, and having problems with PreForm’s supports, so I have just delved into making my own supports, and they are working much better. I need precise placement to minimize work after the item is cast.

If you are looking at ways to improve PreForm, this would be a significant improvement in usability. As it is, it’s a great program, but probably better suited to people who are printing large items. I think the key to making it work better for jewelry is smaller supports and more flexibility with orientation.

Here’s the YouTube video… Own a 3D Printer? Prepare for 3D Print Requests... - YouTube


I also wish, that PreForm could provide a falloff shading, which displays the orientation in space, respectively an up-down-vector. So for example I can easily find the lowest points of a model and also could recognize flat areas with little angle, which results in very obvious layer structure.

Just a briefly example:

And the used gradient:

I find it easier to orient the part in my 3D program before exporting to Preform


When I orient in Zbrush, all of my models are coming in laying on the side. From the icons, I can’t tell which side to choose in the orientation box. I can choose a base, which is what I’ve been doing. I think without some sort of color-coding based on the axis (like is common in every CAD program), it’s impossible to tell which side of the cube relates to which axis.

The box orientation thing is based off what it receives from the program, so if things import correctly then the one indicating the bottom would have it oriented the way it is in your 3D program. The issue with 3D programs though is that some use Y-Up and some use Z-Up so it’s not always clear which way something will face when sending to another program.

1 Like

Thanks, Zachary! I’ll do some experimentation.

This topic was automatically closed 14 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.