Manual supports

Some of the models I’ve been experimenting with making tend to produce an awful lot of red overhang warnings when I try to generate supports, and there doesn’t appear to be any possible way to orient them to fix them.  See attached picture and STL.

I haven’t got my printer yet, so I don’t have a good feel for what’s printable and what isn’t, but I wonder if adding additional internal supports could be a solution for this.  I realize this could be hard to do in a sane way algorithmically, so how about adding a tool to manually add supports between two points?

Also, in the model I’ve attached, even that would be somewhat painful to do without some way of being able to see the model’s internal crevasses.  Perhaps some way to apply clipping planes to the view would be a relatively simple way to fix that.  On that note, the slicer may be a bit clearer if it could optionally clip the view of the model as well.

I was going to suggest you guys take a look at fixing how PreForm handles intersecting volumes today too, but you already beat me to it!



If you know how to fix these defects in a modeling software, you can extract the geometry with supports using the small utility I’ve made (


Got my Form1 yesterday… first two prints utterly failed. The auto-generated supports are terrible, and the auto-orient is ridiculously wasteful. We need to be able to click and drag to add new supports, move the existing ones, etc. The idea that you could simply add a “do magic” button that would always work is ludicrous, especially when it’s as dumb as the current system. Its own output is undersupported, and it adds too many supports in places that don’t need it, making it impossible to snap off the supports without breaking the actual print.

Very disappointed. This is not professional software, this is a toy.

Hi Steven,

Maybe you should post some pictures of the model and the failures that occurred. That way we can offer up some advise…possibly. I’ve had may failed prints and a few good ones. The new support system can be challenging. Snapping-off the supports is a bad idea. Form labs should remove that from their vocabulary, and videos. You should cut the supports off. Also, the auto-orient is just a guide in case you don’t know what you are doing. You should always orient your model the optimal way (because one side will always have detail degradation and the supports to deal with). If you want manual supports, there are other (free) software out there that can help you with that.

Have the ability to manually add supports could be really cool. That way, we will be able to add some supports were we really want and then fill the model with the automatic support generation ( and maybe delete some others… )

Maybe on the next uptade :slight_smile:

I would like to know as well if you attempt to develop a 64bit of preform and have multi thread capacity ?

Monger Designs: I’m trying to print a case for a phone (*). And yes, I realized about 5 seconds in that snapping off is a bad idea, but that’s what they tell you to do.

On the second try, after manually orienting, I carefully tried to clip off the supports. It didn’t help, two fragile parts still broke because the auto-scaffolding generated a tough clump that was more solid than the object itself. I’m interested in printing complex mathematical shapes, so the phone case seemed like an easy start. Instead the entire back of the case (printed last) is warped and it looks like it came off a cheap makerbot, not a $3000 “pro” printer. Very disappointing.


I hope we could solve the problem of calibration ourselves. Because we will certainly all enconter this issue one day or an other

manual supports would be a big deal - I would like this too

Yes, this is one of our most-requested features and something we’ve been talking about a great deal. We’re trying to find a good way to integrate more user-control with our vision for easy-to-use auto-generated supports. We’re open to suggestions!

Modifier key + mouse click for remove and add.


modifier key + mouse click = remove support when clicking on support - either strut or base. Holding down modifier key while mousing over should highlight the support.

Modifier key plus mouse click-drag selects x-y area of supports to remove.


Different modifier key (or even the same) + mouse click on base layer (or on surface of part for internal supports) where no support exists adds one going straight up to surface of part - and again while modifier key held down - the support that would be placed with a mouse click should be shown - semi transparent or something - something to highlight it.

Hi Sam,

While I think Manual Supports are useful, they are not as useful as the Automatic Supports. I think it would be better to have real-time feedback instead on the support settings, so that we can see the changes to the supports as we are making the adjustments. Also, if we rotate the model a bit or move it, the supports will update and move around, and also the red shaded areas will update too. That way we can adjust the model in a way that doesn’t mess with the details of the model for example. Adding manual supports, and especially removing them, will most likely lead to a higher print failure rates for people. But then again, it won’t hurt to have the option I guess.


I agree with Kevin that there should be a modifier key (or mode) that would allow us to select supports to remove.  Also, something like the Faceplant gizmo to mark where we would like support to make contact with the model.

The challenge there, is that the supports removed will leave your model under-supported in those regions. We’ve considered having the software re-generate supports live, but it’s not clear that the computation can take place fast enough.


I think a warning or something before you print would be good enough for people that are new users.  The interesting thing I’m finding is the fact that it puts supports on model features and that the support could be moved slightly to one side or the other and still serve there purpose, but not destroy details in the model.

If you guys are worried that the workflow of the Form 1 will start to move away from being simple, maybe you could just put an “Advanced” mode in for those of us that do want to tweak things to get the best results.  You could just have a dialog with “you may screw stuff up in this mode” and give those of us that would like to tweak a bit more flexibility.

I know you guys are smart and want the best possible product, but it reminds me of the saying… “make something an idiot can use and only an idiot will use it”.  To clarify, I don’t think you guys are trying to make the Form 1 “idiot proof”, but that saying just expresses that some complexity and flexibility is needed to allow people to do great things!

@Sam - what challenge? I’m finding that the automated support generation is simply not all things to all models at all orientations - which is fine, I think that’s a really hard problem to solve.

However - if we’re talking about manual editing of supports - then if that function was available, and I had explicitly chosen to remove a support, then it would be because I had judged it unnecessary, and the responsibility for the benefit or detriment would be on me - I mean that’s the whole point of manual editing.

Having said that - I’m not so fussed about the ability to remove supports - I’d be much more excited about the ability to ADD individual supports. I’m finding that preform often has difficulty generating adequate supports on first exposed/printed corners or edges - which is where they’re needed most of course.

Basically it would make a huge difference to part success, and/or print speed (since we could tweak the support density down) to be able to manually bolster the supports in areas where they are needed most - in the areas that are printed first.

I think we desperately need to be able to place and move supports manually. The preform is a shotgun, it’ll hit, most definitely, but it won’t be pretty.

Most times a “creative” mind can see and potentially place much more efficient supports.

Preform has a tendency to fire supports through models even.

what preform also does not consider is “ease of removal” factor. Which means that sometimes there are supports in remote places where generic tools cannot reach. Manual supports seems like a perfect solution.

I just tried to model my own supports. They look fine, but when I import the model to preform, the first 4 layers are empty, thus resulting in the print to fail by not adhering to the plate.

then I fixed the supports by making their base lower than 0. Didn’t make any difference.

How are we supposed to print something without auto gen. supports when you do not allow a completely flat surface in the model adhere to the plate?

Have you tried the b9creator software? I have used it because in my models the auto support of preform very seldom found the lowest points of overhangs.

For me B9c worked very well.

For me manuel supports are absolutely necessary.

ok I’ll check it out. We def need an alternative to preform. Alternatives that does the job and lets people judge the result and change it for the better pre print.