Different LAYERS resolutions

If we can edit different layers of resolutions, we can have a faster impression by maintaining quality in the areas that interest.
For example, when printing a dental models, it does not matter the quality of the supports or the quality of the base of the model, if we print these two regions in lower quality we would gain a lot of TIME in printing!


Oh my, I was convined that the raft was independent of the layer height, this seemed so logical. I’m very surprised that this is not that case. This would tremendously help print time for parts that aren’t very tall.

I would also be interested in a feature that would allow us to select the layer height for a range of layers independently of the rest of the print. For example on a 1500 layers print I may want to have a better resolution only for the layers 1200 to 1400… One could argue that the use cases are very limited, but I do have some parts that would benefit from this, for example part which have screw clearance holes and other low-precision features at the bottom while having a critical feature at the top which requires 25um layers. This part could probably be printed twice as fast with selective lyer height.

EDIT : I previously wrote that I thought layer height didn’t influence the raft’s Z resolution but after testing this I think I was wrong so I edited my first paragraph.

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Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought Preform already does this.

When selecting 50nm or 25nm print resolution, the base and supports up to where the actual model starts are printed at 100nm to speed up the process, then, from that point on, the rest is printed at whatever resolution was selected.

Edit: I just verified this by opening a model in PreForm, setting the resolution to 50nm, then generating default supports. The first 7mm (2mm base + 5mm supports above base height) were all at 100nm (70 layers), then there’s about 5 more layers before the model starts, then the rest of the print is at 50nm.

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This has been a wishlist item since the day Preform was born.
If it does it now, awesome. I don’t remember when it got implemented, if it really did, but it was definitely not very long ago.

It has to have been there for at least one year.

I’m still using ver. 2.10.2, which is from Jan, 5. 2017, but I think it was there from before then.

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Heh, time is relative. I’m on my third F1+, so I’ve been at this a while. I know for a fact I suggested lots of features, many about layers, that being one of them, back in I want to say in '14 sometime.

I finally dared to update from 2.7 something earlier tonight. It wasn’t broke, but I just saw the 3DConnexion SpaceNavigator code addition, and since that was a suggestion I have definitely been behind since the beginning, I had to risk it and update. Need to hook-up my USB switch though before I can really use it, as I do all of my work in Linux, and I only run Windows for Preform and ScanStudio for my NextEngine UltraHD.


The coarse support layers feature was added in PreForm 2.6 for the Form 2 and PreForm 2.7 for the Form 1 and 1+. You can find this sort of information on the PreForm release notes page.

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You wouldn’t get much if any of a speed increase by having some parts at a lower resolution, if you have layers where some are at 25 microns and others are at 50 microns then it’d still have to do the full layer separation for the 25 micron layers, and that’s where most of the time is lost since it takes a pretty good amount of time to go through that layer separation process.

You can still gain significant (in my opinion) time by having variable resolution along the z axis. For a 1"x1"x4" hollow cylinder I make frequently, 0.025mm resolution takes 13 hrs whereas 0.1mm resolution takes 3.5 hrs. So there is significant time that can be saved between those two if say only 1" of my part needs to be 0.025mm resolution for the particular features. I would appreciate this feature, but probably wouldn’t use it too much and imagine it would make the UI more bulky.

The newest Dental LT has a 0.3mm resolution on the base and initial supports so I believe it is actually the fastest printing resin that FL offers right now.

If it’s large sections of layers, yes you can save time, but you wouldn’t be able to gain any speed by printing the supports at a lower resolution than the object unless the layers contain only supports.

I just got a form 2 and variable layer height would be immensely helpful at reducing print time. I often have prints that require high detail in a few areas, but not for the rest of the print. It would be great if we could put “keyframes” along the layer slider with individual layer heights. In fact today I’m printing a part that only needs high resolution in the first 10mm of the print and then the rest can be printed at low.

I would even venture a guess that some interesting material properties could be added with a feature like that.

Thanks for the feedback. Out of curiosity, for the parts you describe, is it that there is more geometric detail/big shallow-angle faces in the first 10 mm, or is there something about the part, like it’s the face of a character or it’s a mating feature?

It depends on the part. Sometimes there are things like mating features or surface geometries that that are shallow that we want to preserve. Other times there may be central features that are the high resolution areas (like in a mold for example). The part I was speaking about in particular had a very shallow inset for a mating feature on one end and the rest of the part was pretty straight forward (a tube). I’m sure that if this feature became available your engineers / users would come up with many use cases. It also seems to me that it shouldn’t require that much development effort (as far as firmware / software goes) seeing as how the frameworks is already mostly there (but that is just an educated guess).

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They even already do it, since the rafts are printed at max resolution regardless of the setting in Preform. Still, I suspect the main issue lies with guaranteeing dimensional accuracy while changing the layer height. One would wonder if some employees of Formlabs aren’t trying to get more user feedback to build up their case internally, as I’m sure some are as convinced as us that this feature would be useful !

@JohnHue I feel like dimensional accuracy shouldn’t suffer at all since all the settings already exist for the layer heights. it seems like the could just change the settings on the fly and run the print. That being said I’m no materials expert and I have seen my fair share of dimensionally inaccurate prints despite having a constant layer height.