Model measuring tool

I think it would be in very helpful for those like my in the architecture or scale modeling field to be able to select points on the imported model geometry and get a dimension. This way I users can verify that the model was properly imported and/or if a feature will be printed properly in terms of size. (then one can account for shrinking etc.)

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I agree. One possible way to get a quick sense of potential ‘danger zones’ would be to have a shading mode (like during manual support editing) where vertex colors are used to indicate thinness.

This would be more approximate than a measuring tool, but a color ramp could be used to give a sense of color-to-thinness proportions. (Sculpteo has an online tool like this).

I think both measuring and a color overlay would be helpful.
This way you can measure a trouble feature and know how to fix it.

These are nice ideas! There are such a diversity of applications, that it may be tough to strike the right balance. I’d suggest relying on the measuring tools in your CAD program for the time being, as I don’t see this in our near term roadmap (unless it gets a ton of interest — we’ve implemented a bunch of suggested featured.)

I do think that a system whereby you can be alerted to certain challenging dimensions would be useful, though the red shading can handle some of the load. We’ll keep thinking about this.

Hi Sam @Sam_Jacoby, It is true there is a diversity of application for the form1, however I tend to think that such a higher end machine is appealing to engineers and architects. To us, dimensional accuracy is important (unlike for jewelry or figurines) and I would like to think that formlabs would be most interested in catering to the professionals with “pro” like features as well as those who use or intend to use their machines for less precise applications.

Needless to say, you can scale an object in preform and it works “OK”. The one thing I would really like to have is the XYZ model size boxes represent the correct units of the model selected. Currently if I select a model with imperial units, the display still reads mm. This make past size verification very difficult.

When I model a building in my CAD (BIM) platform and export it to an printable format, the raw STL file is 1:1. I would love for it to be inserted into preform 1:1 and scale it. In my workflow, unless I go to a 3rd piece of software (maybe I should) I cannot verify any dimensions of the exported STL.

I know your software is “free” but maybe there is room for a “pro” version with advanced features.

I am struggling a bit here with dimensions today. Basic stuff really.

But I did not realize that the grid in Preform was 1CM squared.

That is definitely helpful to know. (at least that is what I perceive from loading a 1x1x1 "unitless’ cube and telling preform to interpret it was mm on load.

AND - this “size” mode always reports CMs. That is another helpful insight. I expect these are written down somewhere, and I should definitely have read that.

Key stuff though, esp since even if you interpret an object as inches on load, you still get CM units feedback (which is fine - I would rather see it consistent than model until/if a formal dimensioning system is introduced)


PS Josh’s test object makes this all pretty clear too - I should have realized that from looking at the blocks and his docs.

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I’d certainly also like a measurement tool built in to Preform. When rescaling in Preform, you’ve effectively lost your measurements, and often times it would be good to check a feature size, drain hole size, etc, just to be 100% confident you’re not wasting a print. A simple measurement tool such as that in Netfabb would suffice, basically giving you the distance between 2 points in 3d space defined by 2 mouse clicks.
I for one would find this incredibly useful!

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Measuring is the most important thing for me in Solidworks. Since I scale up and down via STL files a raw percentage is not accurate enough. I want it to 3 decimal places in inches.

Solidworks uses a measuring tape icon BTW.


If they add this, ill buy a printed back :wink:

Not sure why but if I export a model out it comes in PreForm exactly that size. If I am exporting from a sculpt program such as 3d Coat I resize the model to exactly what I want within PreForm.
Just select all the parts to your object that is being exported and make note of the dimensions. When it is imported double check there and if it isn’t correct ie unit change or poor exporter from the 3d program used, simply enter in the correct size.

Am I missing something here?