[PreForm] Better control of clearance between scaffolding and part

I’m experiencing what I feel is a heavy loss of parts due to the supports being placed too close to the piece being printed. This has been brought up before but nothing seems to have been done about it in Preform.

a 20% loss, 8 out of 40 piece on one build plate all duplicates of the same item is not good. The parts are useless and have to be discarded. It’s not only a loss of time but also of resin.

Preform should space the supports away from the parts being printed or allow for a variable to do this minimum spacing.

No, I don’t feel I should have to go in and manually create supports to offset a software issue with Preform. This is a basic need of the software to ensure that the supports don’t interfere with any piece being printed.

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5mm offset seems plenty for all the parts we print, is it possible for you to upload a photo of the parts and the failures ?

EDIT : I think I misunderstood. You mean the strut themselves being too close to the part, thus both of them are merging together during the print ?

Yes, the supports (struts) are far too close. Again, 8 out of 40 pieces had to be discarded because of this.

Here’s a photo of some of the damaged pieces.

I see. I took it upon myself to rename and move the topic to Feature Requests, I hope you dont mind.

Thinking about it, I have also encountered this issue (although I preemptively anticipated the issue and move the touchpoints accordingly) and while it was easy to correct in Preform I agree that this should be taken into account when generating the scaffolding path. There are also situations where it may not be possible to move the touchpoints.

I’m sure @Frew will forward this issue after the holidays :stuck_out_tongue:

No problem on the move.

Actually the loss has increased to 25% as we found even more damaged pieces. No, I had no issues with this on earlier runs. Not sure if it’s the new Preform or not. This particular piece, and a number of others, run best in a vertical position. I had one part that ran great orientated one way but when switched to another had stratification marks all over it and the parts were a total loss. I do production runs, not experimentation, and losses like this hurt the costs.

Ah I think I understand the issue now, it’s not that the parts failed to print, it’s that the struts for the supports are so close to the part that.ypu can separate them without damaging the surface of the part?

Generally speaking I’ve tried to place any detail I wanted to preserve away from the build plate as the supports can damage the detail. One thin would be to try rotating the pieces so the corner is closest to the build plate. That should force the struts away from the surface.

Rotating so the corner was closer to the build plate would add support points that then need to be cleaned off. Not a good choice. I need to make the parts as clean as I can. With this type of production I don’t have the time to sit and clean parts. I feel the software should operated properly and I shouldn’t have to compensate for that lack of it doing so.

Then perhaps split the parts in half and print them with the “inside” of each half facing the build plate. With key/slots on each half you should be able to reassemble and glue (cyanoacrylate). Done this way, the supports would only ever touch surfaces that will ultimately be hidden.

In any case, if you have supports touching a surface that must be completely unblemished, I think that’s going to be difficult. If there are some places supports can be safely added, you’ll have to manually add the supports, since the software won’t be able to make that distinction.

Are these pieces hollow? It looks like the attachment point is on an internal surface. I see this sometimes with complex shapes. If you move the attachment point to the edge of the bottom face of the lower extended row of bricks then Preform is likely put the support tower at the correct distance from the piece. It is always a good idea to make sure that you a full half sphere when you are editing the point. If you only see a small blue patch then it indicates that the attachment point is buried on an internal face.

I’m sorry but splitting the parts is not a logical approach. The Form 2 is sold as a manufacturing tool not a hobby machine. It’s marketed that way and so should be reliable as such.
The “Microsoft approach” is not the answer. That is, send out software with bugs in it and let the customer try and figure out how to use it. Preform is a great software package but is being sent out before being totally tested thus the reason we have so many issues with each release.
Currently I’m having yet other issues with Preform and the FIrmware on the Form 2. I use two computers, one a desktop, one a laptop. They use to work with the Form 2 and Preform with no issues, not now. On the laptop, even though the software is up to date I get notices that it needs to be updated. I also get notices that the Form 2 firmware is out of date when it’s not, it’s the latest.
This print file worked perfectly well with older versions of Preform it’s only with the latest that I’m having issues. The supports should be calculated properly by the software as that’s it’s purpose.

Every manufacturing process has advantages and limitations. Artifacts from supports is one of the things you have to live with for most 3d print processes (except, e.g. SLS).

Based on your description, there is no face of your part that can be supported by the build platform. If that’s the case, your only solution is change your part so it can works with the process you’ve chosen.

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No, you’re wrong. The support point locations are OK but the supports themselves need to be position further from the part. This has nothing to do with surfaces of the design. The location of the vertical supports is calculated by Preform and so should NOT place them so the attach to any surface they are not supposed to. That’s just plain logic.

It’s OK if you are doing hobby printing to spend hours either making your own supports or other adjustments but it’s not acceptable in a manufacturing environment.

To settle for this is not logical. You wouldn’t settle for having to push your car to start every so often because the manufacture did take things into consideration, Maybe you would.

If there are only 25% of peices that show this problem then the question becomes ‘what is different in the form file or the placement to cause the scaffolding to change?’

Probably the fact that in certain areas the resin doesn’t flow off the parts as well between layers. Parts that fail may have a different Z angle than the ones who succeed.

@Walter_Gillespie I agree with you, although I think you are a bit straight in the way you express your dissatisfaction and that may be why Steven doesn’t seem to quite get what your problem is. Placing the supports on the part and then having Preform generating supports that are so close to the part that they merge with it, without the issue being flagged or shown by the software, is something that should be solved.

This issue is showing up on other print jobs that are totally different designs. The vertical support pipes are just too close to the parts. To repeat, these are duplicates of one original with 25% or so having the pipes adhering to the print surface. This DIDN’T happen with older versions of PreForm as I have done this ever since I’ve had the Form 2 and also with my Form 1+.

Agreed that having to manually define support points to compensate for an inadequate offset with automatic support generation shouldn’t be necessary. Given that these are duplicated, I’m surprised that only a portion of these are having an issue with support clearance. There is a difference in spot size between the center and edges of the platform, but it’s relatively small and shouldn’t cause this. Can you open a ticket with our support team? That will help us to look into the root cause of this and escalate any issues regarding inadequate clearance between the support struts and part.

I’ll do that a bit later.

I already have a ticket in and no one has contacted me. My NEW Form Wash LCD panel doesn’t work. Haven’t had the machine a month. Sort of hard to do setting when you’re shooting in the dark.

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