Printing multiple parts what is the best method

I have a project that will require multiple parts, the rest of the project has yet to be printed, these parts will go with that bigger part. These are parts for a scale model train engine, the question I have is I uploaded all the parts as one, one scaling, one supporting structure, should I have done it differently? I have another project that requires even smaller parts that prints, but has some issues.


I’d load each part as an individual file. Certain geometries will require certain orientations, and you can’t independently orient them when they are loaded as a single file. Additionally, look at all the support structure material you’re using on the small parts near the back—you could be saving a lot of resin here.

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Thanks, so each individual object should be loaded separately, meaning a separate base, with individual scaling (I need to figure that one out) or if someone has a understanding how to do that.

This is a similar problem, where I have mixed results, a lot of similar or duplicate parts in the same file, on the same base, with the same support structure. Would you suggest I do this lets say 1 row at a time? or ?

Typically, individual parts are saved as their own separate STLs and imported individually. Then when you load it into PreForm, you can manipulate each part individually and put supports and a base on just the single part. If you share which programs you are using to create your parts and then convert/save them to STL, I am sure someone on the forum can help you out. Usually, you just open up the individual part (or temporarily delete everything else if they are all on file) and save as STL.

It will definitely be a higher quality print with less waste if you import individual files in the case you show here. With your most recent pictures, you can duplicate parts in Preform after supports are applied and spread them out in the x-y plane (Layout button).

I import multiple parts as a combined STL only if:

  1. I want the support structure to fixture the parts relative to each other for display or ease of assembly.
  2. I want duplicates in the Z axis, which Preform can’t do.

I don’t think either of those cases apply to your parts here.

Thanks for the inputs and comments. Yeah I know how to break up a file and submit each piece, I often print mixed projects from parts to scale scanned people. What I am hoping to gather is some insight on multiple small parts, that have or need the same scaling. When I break up the parts file into multiple files or multiple STL files, then each one has to be scaled to the correct size, sometimes that’s a bit of a pain to know what the printable size is supposed to be, hence the parts layed out together, I can determine the X and Y scale in the CAD file and rescale in preform. I will try this method of doing them individually.

Additionally the first comment said I would save material/resin, would there be more resin used with individual files and individual bases(where I see the most resin used in support)? I get the “less” amount used in the support structure. Is there a way to see or compare the amount of resin to be used in a particular setup, parts grouped, vs individual parts?

I appreciate all the comments and suggestions,

At the bottom of Preform it shows the volume of material for the print. You can use that to compare different scenarios.

Here is the way I do it. Each part is an individual part that I can move around so I can pack them tighter if needed.

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Thanks, have you ever done a comparison is materials used? I agree that sometimes it just depends, I am going to make a test of the first picture file and see how it sets up. I have done it on

and indeed it works, sometimes strangely as I get a orientation, and I duplicated it and sometimes it changes the orientation of the parts.

I will get back to you all on the results of the first file.

Not the orientation of the figure…it had a great setup, then I duplicated it multiple times, and it re-oriented the figure.

Duplication has never changed orientation. Do you duplicate after supports are in place? It looks like maybe you are duplicating and then doing auto-orient and auto-support assuming all those “men” in your print are the same part.

Well I have done it both ways, I got one figure in, did a auto orient/stupport, then duplicated, at about the 5 one it re-orients, so then I re did it got one figure in, then duplicated then did the auto-orient and they were at different orientations too. This was also the case where I added a new part after the 5+ figures are in and did the auto orient on the new part. If I am doing something crazy I am open to suggestions, or ideas or comments.


I have never seen it re-orient a part when duplicating. I can’t really help further with that but it seems strange to me.

Your parts looks fairly complicated and detailed, so I would suggest manually adding more support points after the auto-generation to make sure things are well supported and print properly.

I have never had it re-orient parts when I made duplicates. I have had it move parts once I added supports.

I always orient one, then duplicate, then add supports. Never seen them re-orient.

Here are some screenshots showing that the parts keep orientation when multiples are made. Not sure what’s causing your problem.

Thanks for the reply, so I am to assume you create on part, import it into preform, then duplicated it X number times? then do the support manually or with the one step tool? I did change how I did my multi-part setup, I broke out the large layout in CAD, then imported a single row of each and set those up in preform…they printed great, with more than 99% success. The first time was a 100 the second print I had one part fail.

Do you or did you orient and do the support manually?


The key is to take one part, orient it, add supports (manually or automatically, your choice) and then duplicate. There should be no change in orientation or support when duplicating.

I did the orient manually of the first one, but you don’t have to. You can do the auto orient and it will not change when you make duplicates. I did the auto generation of the supports on all of them at the same time. You do not have to do them manually or individually. Just select all of the parts. Generate the supports. Parts still have individual supports.

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