Feature Request List #2

Here’s the second feature request list in the series. This time I’ve culled a lot of what I consider good ideas that have not yet been implemented from the dark depths of the wiki. I’ve tried to give credit where credit is due. If I’ve done that incorrectly or not at all, please feel free to correct me.

Adaptive Peel Cycle
@ClayCowgill had the idea of of intelligently adjusting the peel rate dependent on where the object(s) are on the platform. For instance, if the object is next to the peel side, and the peel has already peeled the object from the PDMS, then the peel should either stop or it should be accelerated through the rest of the cycle to save time. As he notes, a lot of time is wasted doing peels where nothing is being peeled - especially on a .25um print.

To extend the idea of peel cycle changes, it would be very helpful to be able to adjust the peel rate. Sometimes it seems like just slowing the peel rate might allow large surface area prints to print better.

Rotate, scale, and move manipulators
@Monger_Designs notes that having a manipulator, like many CAD applications use, that appear on an object to allow controlling that object would be very useful. This graphical interface method has thrived for a reason - it’s really handy and intuitive.

Mark slice layer ranges for various optional behaviors
@ChristopherBarr (me) suggested this last year:
it would be useful if you could right-click on the layer slider at a specific layer and get a context menu, initially with two selections: peel rate, and layer thickness.

If you select peel rate, a popup comes up at your cursor, in which you’d set a start layer (defaulted to where you right-clicked initially), an end layer (defaulted to a the max-layer, which is the active text box, and highlighted ), and a rate of peel as a percentage of 1.00, which is defaulted to the current global peel rate (e.g. peel rate is globally adjustable, like scale). This way you could slow the rate way down where there may be thin sections or longer cantilevered layers not quite at their next support connection.

If you selected layer thickness, a similarly designed popup would appear, with the same layer start and stop text fields, and radio buttons for the ‘other’ available thicknesses. This would allow you to run mostly at thicker layers, with short heights of thinner layers to allow focused, finer detail.

The popups would be modal, and while active, and when the curson is in either start or stop layer fields, rolling the mouse wheel would roll up or down the layer number, and move the slicer up or down behind it in the 3d view.

The slicer slider bar would change color for the range to reflect that a behavior had been modified, with peel rate being one color, and thickness another.

Hovering over the colored section would show info about settings in that range.

In cases where both types of behavior are set to the same layers, they would share the range split vertically with their respective color markings.

Right-clicking in a set range would allow editing the range.

Local and Global Transform coordinates
@StevenYarbrough (not a member anymore) suggested having both global and local coordinate spaces for use in adjusting the orientation of parts in the build space. In both (or whatever) coordinate systems, I think everyone can agree that Preform needs to remember what the X,Y and Z coorrdinates actually are :smile: (e.g. don’t clear the text boxes after entry)

Curing time control
@Monger_Designs suggested we have control over curing times. This would be really useful to fine tune the laser dwell time so the resin cure can be adjusted. Each resin would still have the suggested defaults, but this default would have number(s) associated with it so we could adjust them at will.

Allow saving NetFabb-corrected input files (.stl and .obj)
@RamiMehio (no longer a member) suggested: Once the NetFabb importer has corrected the input file, give the option to then save it back to disk in any supported format. This should basically be a simple library function call to accomplish - literally no real code on Formlabs part to do this.

Allow indication of critical surfaces
@RamiMehio (no longer a member) suggested: During orientation and support generation, allow to indicate what surfaces are critical to the part, and orient it and place supports respecting this so as to prevent damage by supports on those surfaces.

Immediate Emergency Stop button
@AndrewHudson suggested a Big Red Button on the printer to park the printer exactly where it is immediately. I second this motion. I almost drove the platform into the tank lid I left on by accident once. I tried to stop it with the button, but it just kept decending, saying ‘Pending stop’ on the display. I had the orange cover open and it still kept decending! I barely yanked the lid off before the platform would have hit it - no telling what destruction that would have wraught. Very scary, dangerous and honestly a bad design allowed that to (almost) happen.

Input text box for every slider control
@ChristopherBarr (me) wants an input box for every slider. Trying to dial in the sliders to a specific number is like standing on a ball. It’s not really possible typically. Being able to hit ‘tab’, enter a number, hit ‘tab’ enter another number is way faster and more accurate. Sliders are useful - especially when they display real-time feedback, otherwise they can be cumbusome when you already know the specific number you want set.

Calibration Method/Tool/Utility
@JoshK @ChristopherBarr among others have produced form files, spreadheets, etc. to aid in dialing in the printer. Shouldn’t @Formlabs actually be doing and supporting this with official tools and utilities? Of course they should, but it’s a little weird that they aren’t.

Keep platform orientation indicators/flags always visible
They are not in the way, as they are outside the build envelope - always show them please.

Allow build pause with platform 'Home’
Allow the user to pause the build for inspection, and return the platform to the home position to get it up and out of the way. Once the part has been inspected, or more resin added, then continue to print right where it left off.

1 Like

Thanks again Christopher. This has been passed along to the appropriate teams.


Hey Christopher, I really appreciate you taking the time to compile all of this information together for us in these posts. Props to giving users credit for their suggestions.

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