Print no longer fits in build volume after generating supports

I’m having trouble wrangling my large prints into Preform 2.11.3. I import my STL file and it fits. I hit auto-orient and it still fits. But then I hit Generate Supports and the result no longer fits in the Form 1+ print bed. Trying One-Click Print similarly complains “The layout tool was unable to fit all models into the work area”.

Making my part slightly smaller doesn’t help - the auto-orient feature just rotates it more aggressively so that generating supports again spills outside of the build volume. I refuse to get sucked into a Tug of War with Preform.

If I adjust my part to a slightly more conservative orientation (in terms of its footprint) before generating supports, or relocate some of the supports from the edges, I can sometimes get it to work. But I feel like there’s room for improvement so users don’t have to do this - it would be nice if the software were smart enough to leave sufficient margin for the raft when orienting.

I found a user with a similar problem here:

Did the bug creep back in?

Here are some screenshots and an STL file to reproduce the issue.

After import:

After auto-orient:

After supports generated:

Proof it’s possible (after manually tweaking orientation):

Look to me like if you rotated the orientation 90º so the left or right sides are now either the top or bottom, that the part will fit. All the supports will be along the rim of the part, too, so there’ll be less post-print cleanup to do.

Auto orient doesn’t always choose the best orientation, it’s OK to deviate. I hardly ever use auto orientation.

Hi Randy,

Thanks for your response! I take it you mean something like this:

As you pointed out I can manually orient the model as a workaround; I just want to suggest this as an area of the software the Formlabs engineers could refine (and confirm whether the bug determined to be responsible for similar symptoms in the past hasn’t reappeared).

BTW one thing I have to be mindful of about this print is there are some threads inside the circular surface, and very fine snap fit hooks along the edges where it mates to its other half. I don’t mind sanding the outer surfaces, but want to avoid supports on those features (which your suggestion doesn’t do a bad job of).

It makes sense that auto-orient should take into account the current support settings as to not have support bases outside the build volume. If you use the manipulator to manually shift the object a bit, it will sometimes ‘snap’ into the build volume. Is this the case for you or is the part too large after auto-orient regardless of orientation?

We’re always working to improve our automatic generation algorithms and I’ll forward this to our software team so that we can look into it.

Hi Frew,

I know what you’re talking about with the snap-to-fit thing, but I don’t think that’s the case here. I’m pretty sure the resultant geometry simply doesn’t fit, regardless how much you angle it around. I could be wrong, but I wasn’t able to get the auto-orient + supports result to fit. The STL file is attached to my original post if you want to give it a try (I find it’s pretty hard to do very small rotations in Preform due to the minimum step required to start a rotation).



it’s pretty hard to do very small rotations in Preform due to the minimum step required to start a rotation

You know that the little arrows in the “orient” boxes can be used to change angles incrementally in 1º steps, right? And also, when you click an arrow, the center of the box (the text “Orient X”) turns in to an input field that lets you enter any fractional angle you want.

@Randy_Cohen Yep, I use those textboxes. Thanks for reminding me about the arrows. I wish they had hotkeys for more than just the Z-arrows. Also really wish there were a better way to bring in minor revisions of models without having to redo all the careful orientation fine-tuning and supports tweaking from scratch (any tips there?)

No, no tips for that. It’s a great idea, but I don’t see it ever happening. PreForm would have to be able to judge the degree and nature of change to decide if the existing supports are good or need to be modified… That’s a pretty tall order, software-wise.

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