PreForm's resolutions for 2020


#1

PreForm’s resolutions for 2020 are:

  1. Populate the ‘Save As’ filename box with the STL, OBJ, etc file name that is imported into the software. This request is as old as the hills and twice as dusty.

  2. Open multiple .FORM files at once instead of using this kluge method I described 2-years ago in this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQxPC0dufjs

  3. Although the model display is easier to read when selected; it still sucks when when you are editing individual support points. Allow a setting to display line edges like all modern 3D content creation software does. Another request that seems to be around since Christ was a Corporal.

  4. A ‘Preferences’ command to remember how a user likes to use PreForm (e.g. Minima On/Off, etc).

  5. A display XYZ axes setting.

  6. The ability to do simple queries of the model (e.g. distance, rotation, scale) to confirm that all is well before committing to a print.

  7. Load faster! Even with a SSD drive, 64GB of memory and a Xeon processor; PreForm is slow to load. Another old request from all over the net.

  8. Quit leaving previous copies of PreForm on users’ PC’s. Another ancient by Internet standards request.

  9. Bigger controls (e.g. sliders, etc) that don’t require mouse tweezers to use.

  10. Stop using the low contrast GUI that is in vogue for some crazy reason with all software. I’d rather look at a NT 4.0 - Windows 7 GUI than current GUI’s.

OK, Gentle Readers (quoting Miss Manners), it’s your turn to add more resolutions for PreForm in 2020.


#2

Probably a big ask but maybe some infill settings?


#3

Would this need a “preferences” control, or would it suffice if PreForm just remembered more of these sorts of settings?

Can you say more about this item? I’m not sure I understand.

Thanks.


#4
  1. My preference would be for a ‘Preferences’ control; but remembering the settings would be a good start.

  2. I’ve attached three screenshots of a project that I’m working on using Autodesk Inventor; but the concepts should be similar in Solidworks, which is what I believe Formlabs uses to design its printers.

As a bonus, screenshots for 3 & 5 are included!


#5

I’m sure I’ve got more, but these are the things annoying me at present. In no particular order:

  • Perspective view. The orthographic view with no “depth” hurts my brain.
  • Linux version! It seems from the collection of DLLs in the Windows build that it’s written using Qt, which is 100% cross-platform, should just be a matter of compiling it appropriately.
  • If I am forced to use Windows, better support for high DPI displays. With a 4K monitor and 150% scaling, the size of UI elements seems to be extremely irregular.
  • Allow multiple instances of the app to be open. I don’t always want to save and close the project I have open when loading another (and don’t want to merge them either), all of my PCs have more than enough RAM to support more than one copy of Preform running.
  • “Snap” when editing support points; allow precisely aligning to centre or edges of surfaces, rather than purely freehand. Maybe even options to symmetrically generate supports on symmetrical models where possible.
  • A button to re-generate supports and rafts after changing non-position settings like raft thickness / height above / etc. Currently have to hit edit, make a minute change to one support and save to re-generate, as there doesn’t seem to be any way to apply those changes independently.
  • Option to hide all the virtual printers in the list, and only show real ones. Failing that, at least putting the real printers at the top of the list so I don’t have to scroll down.

#6

Those are good ideas. I’d love to switch to Linux; but all of my programs won’t run on it.

I’ll add some more to the list.

Have Preform report the amount of resin used for the model, the supports, and the total. This could be beneficial in determining what is the optimal ratio of model to support resin use for a user’s workflow.

I just tried the mini-rafts on a few prints, and a they need a bit of a lip like the full-rafts do to make prying them off the build platform easier. Those little disks remind me of the sugar candy decorations found on cookies and cupcakes.

I’ll probably go back to full-rafts; but it would be nice to be able to manually punch holes in the raft to save resin.


#7

It’s mostly that my most powerful PC (also the only one I own with a dedicated GPU) is running Linux, since Preform’s pretty heavy on the CPU/GPU use so it’d be nice to be able to use that.

Definitely a few apps that I’d miss if I didn’t have a Windows machine around, holding out hope Autodesk gets off their chuff and build’s Fusion 360 for Linux (for the same reason). But I use OpenSCAD for geometric parts, Blender and others which run anywhere.

Getting off-topic for your thread here and I don’t want to derail it, but for detaching mini rafts I’ve found a razor blade scraper (the kind you’d use to get paint off glass) works a treat. Something like this https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07H32N1PV/ that takes cheap, standard size blades.


#8

Thanks for jogging my memory about razor scrapers as I know I have a couple lying around the shop somewhere.

I have two PC’s; one for daily use and the other devoted solely for graphics applications (e.g. CAD, photo & video editing, Preform, etc).

For MCAD, I use Inventor, AutoCAD for schematics and quick studies, and I have Revit and 3DS MAX available to me when needed, which isn’t often. I’ve switched to Affinity Photo for photo related editing, and I’m trying out Da Vinci Resolve for video.


#9

That is my workaround. Its an odd thing not to have.


#10

For the Form 3:

print time estimates
tank usage and hot-spot map in the dashboard
Translate error codes into… anything.


#11

The last update to preform actually gave us estimates finally.


#12

So it does. In my defense, when I wrote that, it was two days old. :smiley:

Nice splash screen too.


#13

Are the estimates still really off though?


#14

One thing I’d like to see in preform is an option to avoid putting supports on edges. Sometimes this makes cleanup more difficult


#15

Only in grey resin though.


#16

Just give me a dark theme (light gray or white on black) and i’ll be happy.
I mostly work in IDEs, terminals and text editors that are white-on-black (or whatever-color-on-black), late at night or throughout the night. I often print during breaks.

Each time i task-switch to preform, i feel like this:


#17

I always liked orange text on a black screen.


#18

I’ll add another resolution to the Preform 2020 resolutions list.

The ability to manage files from Preform and/or the dashboard so one doesn’t have to do it at the printer.


#19

Infill settings with ability to place a drain hole would be amazing.


#20

It’s probably been asked before in another thread; but the ability to turn on/off the heat map for the inserted tank would be great to allow easy arrangement of models on the print bed to equalize wear of the tank.