Hollow Option

Making the software easier to use by including a feature common to other software is good, if it improves the user experience.
Making software that is not user friendly may limit market share to CAD professionals.
Formlabs sells their equipment on the basis of ease of use, online tracking, one-click setup, material management, etc.
Therefore the software should have this feature for the benefit of both Formlabs’ product image and market share growth.

CAD is not my core strength, but I need the professional print quality of the Form 3 for my business. Saying anyone who isn’t a CAD jockey is an amateur/hobbyist does not reflect the real world use of these machines. I would use this feature, and I am most certainly a professional user.

This feature definitely gets my vote!


Hollow prints either need to be orientated correctly (with opening facing the build platform), or suitably placed vent holes, to allow any trapped air to escape and allow the resin to achieve the correct level.

Hollowing parts (outside of CAD), especially if required in an assembly could lead to fit/function/deformation issues.

I agree that “shelling” should be done in CAD.

Maybe a “professional” resin based 3D printer is not the right choice for you?

In my opinion, FormLabs is up there at the top of the list.

And as usual, Formlabs will ignore this topic. :man_shrugging:


No, no, no. You have plenty of Form customers here who would very much like such a feature. Dismissing them just saying that they’re not the right users is mind boggling. Even non hobbyists would benefit from the ability to easily make parts hollow, reorient them, change the vent holes within the slicer. That’s why even Stratasys has such a feature. Having to go back and forth between CAD and Slicer while nailing down just the right orientation for a print is an enormous waste of time. Ignoring great features that have been implemented by competitors at both high end and low end would be a mistake.


Well… FL has sold many 1000s of printers over the years since the Form1 was released. In spite of what is almost certainly a very large userbase (there are 12.1K users registered on this forum) there are only a few instances of users who’ve said “I want Preform to hollow and vent my models”. A dozen cases, for example, would only be 0.1% of the userbase, meaning 99.9% of the users could care less about this kind of feature… So I would argue that yes, yes, yes, only a few Form customers would very much like such a feature. :slight_smile:

I’ve been a FL customer since late in 2014 and I have never wanted such a feature.

There are literally more than 100 threads that deal with hollowing, and requests for this feature going back to basically the beginning (2013). back in 2017, Formlabs (Frew) made this statement

> FrewFormlabs
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> Sep '17
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> This is something we’re considering but we’re also wary of inflating the capabilities of PreForm and raising the learning curve for new users. In many cases, it makes sense to modularize tasks like this; containing mesh modifications in programs like Meshmixer and print setup in PreForm. Our strategy thus far has been to educate users on the various tools that can be used for mesh modification and make PreForm the best it can be for print setup. We have a tutorial on hollowing parts in Meshmixer if you’re interested.

That was then, when the playfield was still in Formlabs’ favor. Since then, other software became available which left Preform in the dust in terms of features and function. Those arguments Frew tossed in at the time no longer hold water.

But the reason why you don’t see a lot of 'traction" is because a lot of folks have gotten so used to Formlabs saying NO, that they don’t even bother.

That was the case a while back when folks were asking for a means to mirror an object in Preform. Same push back, same arguments. But eventually they relented and now there’s a mirror function. Who know a year or two from now, the hollowing out function might appear on Preform.

But by then, who know how many potential users FormLabs would have lost

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This is like we need two refrigerator one for water bottle and one for ice cubes… which is senseless again :smiley:… Hollowing is a very useful option and i hope Formlabs will add this in near future BECAUSE I DONT WANT TO USE CAD LOL, ZBrush is enough for my work

100% agree, need hollow :star:
When you use an ink printer, In your print software you have plenty option, in fact everything you need, (black & white, color, resize…) so no need to go back in photoshop, illustrator, indesign… Why? Because your software is complete.
So yes Preform need to be completed.


You can do all those things in Preform - choosing resin type is like choosing ink color. You can resize and rotate your artwork before printing. But if you want to make more complicated changes to your artwork, like changing shapes or positions of portions of the graphic, you have to go back in to Photoshop to do it. Because your printer’s software isn’t editing software, just like Preform isn’t editing software.

Preform is already as-complete as your analogy.

I don’t understand why do you have problem with Hollow option ? creating software is not an easy job and they have created preform means they can create hollow option too its not that complicated thing for them. I just want to save resin because its not cheap.


Because I’m a software engineer and IMO it is a complicated thing to implement.

There are many other improvements to Preform and Dashboard that could be implemented first that would benefit a much larger percentage of the userbase. I would much rather Formlabs invest their resources in things that benefit that broader swath of the userbase than the implementation of functionality that already exists in other software.

So you’re saying that implementing this function may be a little too complicated for the Formlabs software developers. Then perhaps they should contract out to the Chinese companies that developed the code for their competition ???

Really, I can’t believe how you keep giving them pass after pass. You’re empowering them to be complacent and dare I say “lazy”? Although I don’t think that’s the case.

I’ll tell you what I think.

I think Formlabs doesn’t really have an in-house software designer. I think they either had a software guru that has since left the company, and the devs that took over don’t really know what they’re doing, or they never had one in the first place, and the software was developed by a 3rd party, and it costs Formlabs money every time they need the software “updated”.

And by “updated” I don’t mean putting out a new update every time they add a new resin and support for it. I mean someone that knows how code a new function not just copy and existing profile and modify it.

That’s what I think is the real reason for their reluctance. Not this BS about we don’t want to “bloat out the software, or make it too complicated”. Those are just dumb excuses they seem to get away with becuase of people who give them free passes.

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@Dudemeister - LinkedIn shows a number of active employees in software development at FormLabs as well as several open positions.

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For a Good programmer i don’t think its a complicated thing :slight_smile: , yes it can be complicated thing for those who are not good in programming.

yes but its still missing in Preform that is why we want hollow option in preform. because i personally don’t want to use OTHER SOFTWARE. :slight_smile:

I have another thought on hollowing. When I created a rubber chicken model in ZBrush, I printed a small charm and cast it in silver. However, I wanted to make the chicken in a couple different sizes, and it needed to be hollow.

In order to print this as a hollow model in several different sizes, I had to create three different sizes, then hollow them out. If PreForm had the feature, I could simply resize the model in PreForm, then apply the hollow function to each, designating the thickness that I wanted the walls. This is, by the way, a setting in the Cura slicer I use with my Ender FDM printer.

You could also use a system that’s very similar to applying or editing supports for the vent holes. Once the model is oriented, the software should be smart enough to figure out a suggested placement of a vent hole (imagine something like the “minima“ feature), placing little cylinders or spheres, which could be edited similar to the method used for placing supports…

Just a thought.


The 3D modeling and 3D printing is about quality, speed, easier research etc. Adding functionality to the software would dramatically improve our productivity.
I am absolutely and 100% sure, Formlabs will ignore this topic. They are not interested in development of the software. They are more interested in selling their equipment.

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Why? When you could have created just one hollowed out model file in ZBrush (which I assume has a “hollow” function), and then resized it in Preform (or ZBrush, even) to your heart’s content.

Sorry, but this seems a lot like the old joke about “Dr., it hurts when I do this” “then don’t do that”. :slight_smile:

You got a really good point with the vent hole. This should be implemented.


Meshmixer does a good job in hollowing and creating drainage holes…