Duplicate in Preform scattering issue

So I have placed many of these tiny lenses into position and want to select all of them and duplicate and move into position so I get nice rows. The problem is when I select them all and hit ctrl + D it scatters the duplicates everywhere as opposed to keeping them in the same position.

Now I understand why it’s done this way, though can Preform add an alternative duplicate function that keeps position data? so like in Maya ctrl + shift + D as a special alternative duplicate? Otherwise placing these into position all over again is very time consuming :frowning: I’m sure older versions of Preform stored position when duplicating.


Yeah, it appears to place them randomly, avoiding overlap, until it runs out of space and then it continues to place them randomly but with overlaps. I think I recall seeing PreForm change orientation but that might just be my bad memory…

IMO, there should be a “Duplicate/Array” function where you specify the row and column count and PreForm creates that many duplicates aligned on a grid using the initial instance’s orientation for each duplicate. And then it should delete the original instance leaving only the array of duplicates.

I don’t know if you’ve tried this print before, but you might regret overlapping all the bases like that. The base is over-cured, more than the rest of the print. With overlaps like that you’re going to have a lot of over-over-cured resin, spots where the laser traces twice. You may have trouble getting it off the build plate.

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ok cheer Randy, yeah I skipped this overlap in favour or merging them in maya and adding supports on the whole lot. I didn’t know it burns the resin twice in those areas. Will avoid that next time :wink:

Is there any particular reason why these items should be in nice rows? my understanding is that if they are placed randomly it is less likely that you will get clouded spots on the resin tray.

A lot of us place our prints in rows because we’re a little OCD.

The placement isn’t going to effect how much the resin tray clouds. Repeatedly printing in the same place regardless of orientation will shorten the life of the tray.

Thanks for the suggestion of a sort of duplicate with same position feature. I could see this or @Randy_Cohen’s suggestion of an array feature that lets you duplicate a model with a given X and Y offset being a useful implementation in PreFom. We’re always working to maintain a balance of PreForm being feature rich but not bloated with excess capabilities.

One of the workarounds for this currently is to position several of your models in your design software and then export the entire group of models as a single STL. I believe Meshmixer has this functionality of allowing you to create an array of models and then export as a single part.

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Not to worry about excess capabilities… Say, how’s that 3D Connexion SpaceMouse driver code coming along? Look no further if you guys are standing around with your hands in your pockets… :slight_smile:

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I agree with original poster. This is time consuming for small parts and if i instead pattern them in solidworks, the STL becomes absolutely massive and Preform crashes. I also see it duplicate parts directly on top of a larger part even though there is space. This makes a hidden part that you can accidentally print within another part. I have to keep track of how many i duplicated and make sure i reconcile that number before printing.

I waste hours of my days doing this to optimize printing space. I couldn’t stress more how useful this thing would be. a simple dupolicate in place would be such an enormous tool that even thinking it would overbloat the interface is nonsense. Free interface advice. it would fit perfectly in the right click over selected objects contextual menu.

Please make my life soooo much easier and add this, please!!! :heart:

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It would completely change my workflow and save me hours of daily work and gpu stress… I couldn’t want anything with more intensity…

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Same here. Posted about it a little while back, I hadn’t seen your post :

Preform will give you a regular pattern of small parts from the layout menu. The settings are:
Lock Rotation - on
Overlap Rafts - on
Model Spacing - Something fairly large. I found that 6mm worked for regularly shaped rafts, larger numbers may be required for irregular rafts.

The numbers of parts have to make up a regular array. Layout All adds parts to the wiper side of the window so once the number of parts in the y dimension of the array has been established adding parts in multiples of this number will fill out the array until rafts start to overlap.

Doesn’t work if you want to use the space on the build plate as good as possible. For achieving this with complex parts, you have to “interlock” the parts in the 3D space - something PreForm doesn’t do good enough. If PreForm did this really well, there would be no point in all these requests, but as it is, grouping is a really useful feature saving lots of people substantial amounts of time, and one that shouldn’t take huge amounts of programming effort.