Part - Check for Updates - Replace Part

As product developer often I have to redesign a part over and over. The changes on a part are small but the effort to align the part and to redefine the supports over and over again - is big.

Would be great if PreForm would allow to load a new STL-File in an existing Preform-File keeping the support and alignment of a part to reduce the effort before printing.

In addition this function would be also very useful for parts which should fit to each other. When dealing with this I measure for instance the diameter of a pocket. If the diameter of the printed pocket is 19,8mm instead of 20,00mm I change the diameter of the pocket in my CAD Software to 20.2mm and print with the same alignment and supports and the pocket is 20.0mm as needed.

Currently I document all the alignment angles for each part, to be able to reproduce the same alignment when printing a new version of a part. How cool would be it be if… :wink:


Also in product & machine design, also met similar hurdles, would also greatly benefit from any kind of solution to ease this iterative design issue.

When replacing a part, all the supports who are not touching the part anymore could be highlighted in red and a button would allow to dismiss all or one could go into manual supports mode and manually delete/replace the supports.

I agree completely! I had to add a small 8mm x 4mm x 2mm tab to a part that is about 40mm in diameter x 25mm tall and had to go through the orientation, support, and layout process all over again just for a small tab.

Yes and as mentioned even if just changing the diameter of an opening by 0.05mm because of the tollerances of the machine, the whole process has to be repeated.

Integrating the ability of dynamic or linked file import would make PreForm really unique compared to other slicers.

And … automatic arranging and support generation is a cool feature, however it doesn’t really help here since changing the orientation of the part will cause tolerances in other areas of the part.

The Supports are technically on a 2D plane on the model, so I don’t see why this wouldn’t be too difficult, maybe an import/export greyscale image. Greyscale, or color scale would determine point size, then location.

I’d love to see something like this implemented. :slight_smile:

I’m not sure that the supports are stored on 2d planes, since the Software generates the 2d layers first when the user sends the part to the printer.

From my point of view it should be enough to store the 3d-positions of the support points on the model and the location/rotation of a model.

When updating the geometry:

  • the model with the generated supports could be simply deleted
  • the new model is rotated and positioned using the previously stored parameters
  • the software regenerates the supports using the stored support point positions

or simething like that Formlabs :wink:

Oh, I don’t mean programmatically, but from a system design, they could probably sit on a 2D plane. But I don’t think any of this matters, an XYZ export should work too, so long as the model itself doesn’t change shape significantly, the points would be set by the bounding box of the model, you probably wouldn’t be able to rotate it though.

Chiming in here to say that I too would find this extremely useful.

I also have to iterate several times and would like to keep the part orientation and other parameters unchanged - just update the geometry and keep orientation.

At the very least the orientation angles should have an option to be absolute so as to avoid having to write this down somewhere else.


  • Robert

This is something we’re actively looking into but there are a few edge cases to work out. The support scaffolding algorithms have evolved considerably over the years and slight changes to geometry could require significant changes in support placement. The tricky question becomes determining what magnitude of geometry change is acceptable for the same orientation and support placement. One potential solution to this is to allow users to use the same orientation and support placement, removing supports on areas that have additional geometry or areas that no longer exist. From there, the printability checker could determine if the support scaffolding is sufficient for the current part, highlighting any problem areas in red.

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Sounds reasonable to me. For the beginning it would be sufficient to delete points which are not touching the geometry and show red areas.

Other features could be added over time…

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I second this, it’s reasonable to expect the user to review the support points placement if the source geometry has been altered. At least the part would be placed again in the same orientation & position.

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I would like to support this feature request. I routinely get parts that fail or don’t look very good because of the orientation. I would like to avoid leaving preform open on my desktop for days at a time just to update the angel and generate new supports in the hopes of better results.

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