Protected Surfaces Feature in Preform Print Supports

A number of our prints require fine finishes on certain surfaces. These finishes are easier to achieve when the supports are not attached. The process today is to apply the support builder in Preform and then manually remove unwanted supports one-by-one before printing. This can be very tedious. An efficiency gain for us would be to allow users to pre-select critical surfaces (for press fits, seal joints, polished finishes, etc) before applying the supports. The algorithm would then try and build the proper print support while protecting some surfaces. If there is such a feature in Preform (I have not found it yet), I’d appreciate any response with a description on how its done.

There’s no function for that, but you also don’t have to remove supports one by one, you can drag and select multiple supports to delete them, you can also start out by placing supports rather than using automatic generation.

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As said above, I have parts that are similar and I have found that by manually rotating the part I can minimize the impact of auto support generation, then I add some manual editing to further enhance the product. Preform will show you weak areas and cups that need support. You do not necessarily have to support all the weak areas, some smaller areas will still print fine.

I orient my parts so the supports on on convex or flat surfaces where they are easiest to clean and keep in mind to get good angles so resin doesn’t pool or cause ripples on support side. More often than not I manually generate the supports because Preform will often put the contact points on edges which will require touch up rather than a simple sanding. Supports are the biggest drawback for SLA printers in general vs a polyjet or wax printer like Solidscapes that encapsulate the models with their supports that are dis-solvable.

Thanks. That’s all well and good but it truly does not address my suggestion. I’m not sure anyone who uses an SLA printer does not have to manually edit the supports as you suggest - sometime a lot, sometimes a little. My suggestion is a protected surface feature to let the automatic system support around surfaces or edges that need to be protected from breakaways. After you remove/add the supports … you have to run the algorithm again (sometimes multiple times) to ensure proper support, no pooling, etc. So why not eliminate the step and show the software what you will not accept before it even tries?

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yeah- except that any method you can implement for designating the “protected” area would essentially be the same amount of user time as just editing out the supports you don’t want.

And once you have edited an object once and generated supports… you just save the file so that it has the same, protected support structure every time you print the part.

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