Feature Request List #1

As I use Preform, I write down things I wish it did/didn’t do on my whiteboard next to my desk so I can tell you so you can make a better product. I figure if it’s something I think is a valid improvement, it’s likely others will too. By me giving you these ideas, I’m trying to help all of us.

I will continue in this vein, compiling in other requests others have made as well, and naming the lists similarly (incrementing the number) so they can be searched for more easily. I think the freeform way the wiki holds these requests makes them hard to extract and organize - thus most requests fall into a black hole…

Here’s my latest list:

  • Re-evalute your understanding of 'highlighting’
    When the mouse is not over an object, it’s a crisp, highly saturated blue. Yet when I move the mouse over the object, e.g. when I focus my attention to it, it’s immediately desaturated by tinting it with white. It’s as if a veil or sheer has been pulled over the object. Like I’m now viewing the object of my interest through a translucent, instead of a clear, lens. This does does not enhance usability. It is (IMHO) ugly and annoying. Perhaps you should try reversing the behavior?

  • Selectively hide objects
    It would be great to get objects out of the way, not just when editing supports, but when viewing the objects at any time. Slecting an object and hitting ‘h’ would hide it. alt-h would unhide all currently hidden objects. ctl-h could pop the last hidden object off the stack and make it visible again. Possibly, hidden objects would remain hidden and not get sent to the printer as well. When print is pressed, it would alert of hidden objects. This key setup would be changeable to whatever keys the user wanted of course…

  • Select both ends (and end type/size) of an internal support
    It would be very useful to control more that just the spot/size the tip touches. It would work as it does currently, except that the base-end would be draggable to wherever you wanted, even to a tension rod if desired. If you think the location might be non-optimal, you can pop up an alert explaining why you think so, but allow the user to override this warning and do it anyway. Hey if it fails, you warned them, right?

  • Select the tension rod a new point uses
    Like above, but allow the user to select the tension rod a new point will branch from.

  • Do not change the view when editing support points
    For some inexplicable reason, when shifting to edit mode, the view jumps to a slightly different view as the support tension rods are removed. Please do not do that. It’s very annoying.

  • Allow the user to change the transparency level of the support infrastructure
    A slider would be nice for this with 0-100% opacity.

  • Let the user adjust the offset of tension rods from object
    By this I mean be able to drag the tension rod and move it’s point of contact to the base. On many occasions the rod comes too close to my object and actually fuses to it, making the print unusable. Being able to move it away by just 0.5mm would solve the problem, but there is no way to do this.

  • Do a complete support tension rod scaffolding recalc after an edit - (not a partial recalc)
    When going through edit/apply iterations on an object, the scaffolding structure becomes a mess of redundant and intertwined tension rods and angle rods. It is obvious by the resulting scaffolding’s structure that some type of calculation opimization is being employed. It’s not working. If you would recalculate the entire scaffold based on the current point set, the resulting scaffold would not look as it does - e.g. it would be a more efficient use of structure and resin, and it would be easier to remove after printing.

  • Honor the point size I used during generation when entering edit mode
    You already know the point size I selected for generating the supports, don’t default to .6mm anyway.

Good prints are really all about good supports. You folks have improved them by at least an order of magnitude over the original supports Preform produced, and I for one really appreciate it. Do not become complacent in this regard however and think you can rest on your laurels here. There really is as much or more work left to do as you’ve done already. In reality, making the support system optimal is a never ending job.


You have my blessing! I find all these ideas a wonderful addition to Preform! Though the first issue doesn’t really bother me. The rest are spot-on!

Thanks again for all the suggestions Christopher! Everything here gets passed along to software for evaluation. We are always looking to improve the software.


Cool, and you are welcome.

I’m still going to go through the existing suggestions and organize them though. There’s a lot of pretty low hanging fruit that for unknown reasons (forgot? could not find?) have not been addressed yet.

You know, something that would be really valuable, and help you to focus on what your customers actually want and need, is to have a survey/voting system in place so the community can vote on what features are important to them.

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I’ve been reading a lot of suggestions to improve software and they are all more or less valid. I appreciate Formlabs intentions to keep Preform simple to use but there are a lot of us who would like a bit more control over the printing process so maybe have an ‘advance options’ button that would open up some new stuff to tweak?
Sure it’s great for beginners to use simple and easy UI but sooner or later many of us would like a bit more grip on the process.


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