More precise slicer in support editing mode, with stronger coloring

Manual support editing has come a long way since the early '0.8.x days of Preform, and I have to pass along a sincere kudos to the software developers for their work on this.

However there’s still a really awkward workflow I find the software repeatedly forcing me into. Let me explain:

I like to preview the build of my model layer by layer before it prints, to look for “dead” spots (i.e. emergence of floating islands that are not connected to my model or support structures), and “cantilevers” (long, near-horizontal overhangs that could use additional support). Presently this is only really viable in the main view slicer (see Image 1 below).

The slicer in support editing mode sort of tries to facilitate this, but isn’t precise enough. For example the slider seems to give you a proportional scale of 100 steps rather than allowing you to step layer by layer. Also the color distinction between “printed” and “upcoming” layers is too subtle.

I find myself constantly having to cycle between the “main” view and the “support editing” view to accomplish the task. This is made harder by the fact that one is upside down, and you lose your layer position each time you switch. So once I identify an “island” in the main view, it’s a lot of mouse-movement to rotate to an underside view, get the zoom right, put my finger on the screen exactly where the support needs to go, switch to support edit mode, find the right layer, place the support, then switch back to the main view and (again with the gymnastic rotate/zoom) find the layer I was working on to confirm the problem is solved and continue my work.

There has to be an opportunity to make this less awkward.

Am I just doing it wrong?

Am I too concerned about “floating islands”? (i.e. Is there some tolerance for these to exist for a few layers before they are joined to my model? Will they simply stay stuck to the PDMS layer until they meet the rest of my model and get peeled? If so, is that true even for the Form 2 which wipes after each layer?)

How good, generally, are the heat maps at catching these sort of things (e.g. if I want to manually place all supports from scratch)? I noticed PreForm didn’t highlight the issues below. Is that a miss, or are just small enough that I shouldn’t be concerned?

Image 1: Main Slicer:

Image 2: Support Editing Slicer:

Note, I’m not the first one to bring this up:


As far as I can tell, the automatic support generation should catch all of the areas that absolutely need support, so what I usually do is have it do an automatic generation and then delete the ones that don’t look necessary and do my own.
As far as going through slices–the B9Creator software does that pretty well, you can see each layer and it colors it red for areas that don’t have anything underneath them on the previous layer so it’s easy to see parts that aren’t supported, then you can click on that area and add a support.
As far as the shading in Preform–it’s not very accurate, I get areas that are shaded but don’t actually need more support, or I get areas that are clearly supported fine but are like completely red, so I pretty much ignore that.

Thanks Zach. Yes, auto-generation works. My question is more around using manual placement.
Have you seen any failures due to missing supports which the heat maps didn’t catch?


I’ve always started off with the auto-generation to have it catch the points that have to be supported and then I delete the ones that don’t look like they’re essential, so if you were to do it from scratch I’m not sure it would indicate the areas that aren’t supported.
Also, the shading is done using vertex colors, so part of that also depends on the density of the mesh and whether you have vertices at the point that needs to be shaded.

This topic was automatically closed 14 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.