Older versions of Preform, any one using

I’m having constant issues with my Form2 Printers (2) to the point I’ve had to close orders to my website as I can’t produce good parts.
I’ve rolled back Preform and the Firmware to version 1.19.5 which had been working fine for me up until I did the latest upgrade. Rolling that back didn’t help any. So I thought maybe I need to go back further.

I’m looking for a Preform.exe that someone is using on a Form 2 printer and it actually works well. Let me know if you have such a file. I
I’ve searched FL Support and the 1.19.5 is the oldest they have to download. I did find a site that has older but not sure which printer they are for, either the Form 2 or Form 1 or 1+.

@MattiaMercante is keeping the old versions, you can download them from here:

Did you try a factory reset as well after downgrading?

Thanks but those are newer than the 1.19.5 I’ve been using. Seems when I upgraded from that I always had issues with the prints. Thus the reason I rolled the software back. But this time it’s not working and I"m printing nothing but trash on both machines.
Thought if I could find a little bit older Preform version it might work with the current problems. Then again probably not. Formlabs tech keeps saying dirt in the optics but that’s not the case. I’m wondering about a bad galvo motor or something along those lines. Here’s a photo of some of the issues I’m running into.

I’m using far larger support points than I’ve had to in the past plus some stay together and others fall apart. Not sure it’s supports doing this.

Slanted print.

No, I didn’t try the factory reset. Sorry missed that. I’ll give it a try. Not finding how to do the factory reset when I search on the internet

Unplug the machine, wait a minute. Then plug power back in and press and hold the button at the front until you get a small notification that a factory reset is being performed.

Thanks, I need to write that down so I remember it. [grin]

Downloaded Formware 3D slicer software for 60 test. It handles multiple printers including all the Formlabs printers.
BUT, not anyway as easy as Preform. Thought it might be good to be able to do two different brand printers from one slicer software.

Formlabs Tech finally admitted that the laser in both printers have run down. They want $1,299 to replace it with a rebuild Form 2 printer. So, I should accept a rebuilt used printer to replace a bad rebuild printer that most likely had a used laser in it? Nope, don’t have the extra money to do that. I’ll see what the S-Box can do first.

Seeing the newer Form 2 was a rebuilt there is a good chance that that was a used laser. The older one was bought new and that laser isn’t quite as bad.

Well, running the Optic Test file right now on the older printer to see if it works or not. I did do the factory reset.

Formware 3D isn’t going to work for me. Compared to Preform its a bit rough and not very good instructions.
It does allow for multiple printers of different manufactures which I felt was going to be great, if I could get at least one of the Form 2’s working again.
I’ll go with ChituBox and see how that goes with the S-Box.

Sorry to hear that. I’m not sure there are many options if the laser truly is gone. One thing I’ve done in the past that might allow you to limp by for a while is to double up (or even triple) the models - i.e. place a model in Preform, then duplicate it, put it in the same spot, then zoom in REALLY, REALLY close (like as far as you can) on a distinct corner and tweak the position so the second model perfectly overlaps the first one. Now the laser will complete two passes for each layer instead of one. Obviously you won’t be able to achieve as crisp negative features and even positive ones will have some bleed, but depending what kind of items you’re printing it might squeeze out a bit more life.

I saw your other thread - let us know if you find any substitute laser options. I asked Formlabs once about buying a spare Form 2 laser and they said they don’t sell them. I put a Peopoly laser into my Form 1+ to resuscitate it after the original stopped being effective. It works well now but I’ve got to use OpenFL with a custom resin profile to get best results (since the Peopoly one seems to be more powerful and overcures somewhat using stock settings).

Finally, I do have some very old versions of Preform if you still need them (e.g. 1.8.2, 1.1, 1.0.0, and some pre-1.0 previews). Not sure if they work with recent firmwares.

The lasers are probably all calibrated in the machine so they have exactly the same power output. In order for formlabs to see if the laser is degrading the machine needs to measure this. I believe there is a photodiode in the corner on the bottom of the platform.

It’s unfortunate that you’re in the states, otherwise I would be happy to investigate on changing the laser(and if needed make a calibration setup). My Form 2’s don’t have this issue yet.

I think more people in the coming years will suffer from this issue and will likely toss out the machine or go for a Form 3. It would be nice if we could replace this and other parts for cheaper than the ridiculous $1299.

For what it’s worth there are some details known about the laser calibration values in the Form 1+ and default values for the “virtual” printer come with OpenFL.

The Form1 doesn’t have a sensor for laser power, I don’t think. The Form2 definitely does, though. I assume the Form3 does as well.

Hi rkagerer, I printer from 50 to 150 of most products at the same time on the build plate. My items are very small. Scale from 1:48 down to 1/160. O, S, HO and N scales in model railroading terms. Each support base can generally carry 4 to 6 pieces each. Larger items may have a single support base.

FL kept telling me the lasers were OK and now just sent me a chart showing the derogation of the laser power. I’d love to replace the lasers if I could find replacements. I’m not afraid to do that. Then I could sell these off. I’m moving on as the DIGI Tech S-BOX printer will be here Wednesday and the resin just came this evening. I’ll use CHITUBOX to do the setup for printing.

I’ve spent a LOT of $$$ trying to get these Form2 printers running even bought FL resin which is twice the price of the ALW. All of it was used on junk prints trying to get things working right. Sort of like shoveling against the tide so to speak. New printer cost $700 and the resin $30 a liter. The build plate is 50% larger than the Form 2 plus the Form 2 will be orphaned in 2 years and you won’t be able to buy trays and such for it. I also bought a Universal tank and now have to try and sell that to get part of my money back.

Which Peopoly laser did you use? Plus I have run Open Mode for 5 years using ALW resins.

I don’t’ have Form 1 printers, only Form 2. That’s unless you are responding to some else posting.

I was. To the post immediately preceding my post. :slight_smile:


Any reason why you chose the S-Box? That printer may well have a large print area, but the 10" screen is only 2K resolution so your prints will not have very good details.

I strongly encourage you to look at the Anycubic Photon Mono X or the Elgoo Saturn. Both of those printers have large 9" screens with 4K resolution, which means they X/Y resolution is basically 50um, whereas the S-Box is 84um. Additionally, these new printers use newly developed monochrome screens specially made for 3D printing, which last longer and can print at least twice as fast as the color LCD types, as the exposure times are a lot shorter.

I recently bought a Mono X and It’s a great printer. Additionally, the latest version of ChituBox now supports it.

The Qidi S-Box is older technology and the large screen with only 2K resolution is not very enticing.

I bought my Mono X from 3DPrintersOnlinestore.com, and it was only $699. Other retailers including Amazon have it for $899 with $100 discount, so 3DPrinterOnline is cheaper by $100.

So you can buy 2 of these printers for basically what Formlabs wants to charge you to replace the laser on one Form 2.

To be truthful I didn’t notice the screen resolution. I’ll have to just send it back. Only issue is $$$ is tight so I’ll have to wait for the refund before ordering another printer. All reviews were 5 start with not one bad review on the S-Box. On the Mono X there were complaints of poor manufacture support by a number of people.

I’ve seen photos of sample prints off the S-BOX and they looked fantastic with very fine detailing. I can always use this until I get a bet of $$ to buy a second printer and I’ll look close at the Mono X again. It was my second choice.
I have a Photon S still sitting in the shipping box I may get that out and give it a try.

My BIG issue is I’m totally stopped in production. I have a number of orders here waiting to print but I can’t get anything off the Form 2’s that are usable. I’ve even had to shut down my website ability to take orders until this is solved.

I’ve been using Preform for so long, about 8 years, that it’s hard starting on a new software. My big need here is the ability to have multiple parts on a single raft. I do that as the parts are very small. Photo below. These are plumbing elbows for 1/8" dia. styrene rod. The largest I print. Smallest is for 3/64" rod.

ChituBox is pretty good, and has a lot of flexibility. So I wanted to show you what you can do with with a monochrome mSLA printer, like the Mono X.

To that end, I tried to replicate your print here. I made a 3mm elbow (about 1/8" diameter), and then duplicated it 4 times, then exported it to STL. I then imported the STL file into ChituBox, and had it generate medium supports. it only placed 3 supports, centered on the bottom, Usually I would do a quick test like that to see if there’s enough support, but for this test I added a couple of extra supports on the ends, near the lip of the elbow, and another couple supports that support the bottom, between the auto generated ones, but slightly off to the side for better lateral support.

FWIW, I also did this in Preform, and it too only generated 3 support in exactly the same place as ChituBox did, so maybe all the extra supports are overkill, but that’s not really the point of this. The point is to show you haw many of these elbows can be printed and how fast.

So here are some snapshots of from ChituBox.

Model imported and support generated

Supported model duplicated 30 times, so 120 elbows in total.

Completed Slice. The important thing to note is the actual print time, and the cost of the print based on $40/bottle resin cost.

So, what do you think? What is the estimated time to print that plate on the Form 2?

When I packed 30 models on the build area, same number as I did in ChituBox, adn did the virtual run in Preform using a Form 2 @ 0.05mm with Gray v3, it estimated the print at 2:57hours, 6 times longer than the Mono X.

You a competitor? That looks exactly like what I’ve been printing on the Form 2 printers. Just one of my products.

Big thing I need to find is a good clear Step by Step instructions on using Chitubox. I opened an STL in Chitubox and nothing appeared on the screen but the supports dialog came visible. I saw no button to apply that to the STL.
Just too use to Preform which is real easy on this part of the setup.

NO the extra supports are needed. I usually use .35mm main supports and then drop down to .20mm or .15mm. On larger parts I do the same but about 1/3 the way up the part I’m down to .10mm supports. Can’t take the time to clean up 500 support marks. This has worked for years on the Form 2 printers.

LOL, no I’m not. I just wanted to show you what can be done with the MOno X, so It took me 5 minutes to create the model in Solidworks, and import the STL in ChituBox.

The stuff I usually print are gaming miniatures, or little busts, like these:

And for something totally different, here is something that Preform can’t do, give you control of how the supports are generated and how they look and connect to the platform

Here I removed the bottom “skate” as they call it, and inverted told it to generate the support directly on the build surface. That should reduce the amount of resin used by quite a bit.

And here is the amount of resin used and cost

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I always run at .100 mm layers to get speed. Parts look great even at that level. .50mm would be OK on the S-Box.
I’ll stay with the S-Box for now as I need to get moving and doing production. I’m selling a Silver Bullet Pro die cutter that handles up to 24"x24" material. I’ve only used it a few times and need the space. So once that sells I’ll use the money to buy a Mono-X most likely. Good to have two different units on hand. The S-B0X only cost $700 with free delivery. Mono-X about the same but plus deliver from China.

The biggest this I face right now is GETTING PRODUCTION going again. So I need to learn CHITUBOX fast.