Provide a "print time" estimate in PreForm

I like the info that it gives, especially the volume.  However, I have no idea how long an item will take to print.  Once my printer arrives, I’m sure I’ll develop some historical volume-vs-time numbers.  But considering that the program could do it faster and more reliably, it would sure be nice.

Perhaps I’m naive about SLA printing, but I would think it would be a pretty straightforward calculation (unlike RepRap style FDM printers, where the toolpaths and accelerations make such an estimate difficult/impossible).


I think this would be a nice feature to see in the software. The printer currently displays the time on the display, so I don’t see why it shouldn’t show in the software as well, before you actually start printing. :slight_smile:

Aubrey and TJ,

This is a great suggestion and something we are currently working on.  We have many of the same issues that FDM machines have with making an accurate calculation but multiplied by the very high resolutions we print at.  The time on the machine display is only calculated when the entire toolpath is calculated, so we can’t update it real time while you are editing your job.

Awesome to see you guys replying on a Saturday. Do you ever rest? :smiley:

I’m not quite sure if Aubrey meant if the time should be real time or not, but I was thinking more along the lines of when the “Form” button is pressed, it would display the estimated time on the “Form It!” pop-up.

I just did a quick test to see when the time actually shows up on the printer display. It seems to display after the software finishes the “Calculating…” operation, so I’m guessing that’s when it’s calculated? If this is so, I think it would be good to have a “Calculate Print Time” button in the software so that you don’t actually have to send a job to the machine to see how long it will take. Without in-software calculation, currently I have to send the print on a “dry run” without the resin tank to see the print time.

Wouldn’t it be possible to give a “real-time” rough estimate based of Job Volume (and maybe Z height)? I don’t really care if it’s 90 or 95 minutes.

Just got my Form1 yesterday and waiting for my resin to get here I decided to finally try out the software.

I really would love to have the time estimate. I have had an UP! printer for a few years and the software has a preview mode which then seems to calculate the toolpath and give you print time and volume information. It does take almost as long as sending a print to the printer which makes it seem like the only thing it’s not doing is sending the print to the printer. I don’t think it’s super accurate but it seems to be within a few few minutes or better per hour accurate. I use that feature to adjust size, resolution and other settings to manage how long my prints will take since I don’t like to leave the printer running without being able to check on it regularly. I also use that to time the end of a print with a convenient time for me to remove it from the printer and start a new print.

Thanks, Jimmy. We know how valuable this is, and we’re woking on getting this feature in the pipeline. As it stands, the most-accurate timing estimate you’ll get is once the file is loaded onto the printer itself, but we’re working on an accurate PreForm estimate.

Is it easy to cancel a print once it’s loaded onto the printer if the time it gives is to long? I have not setup or connected my printer yet because I’m still waiting for the resin so I don’t know what happens after you hit print in the software.

It is really easy to cancel a print before it starts the actual print!  Once you send the print to the printer the time it will take comes up on the printer. At that point if you don’t like the number you can hold down the power button and it will cancel the print.  You have a bit of time as the build platform is lowering before the printing actually starts.

But I usually don’t connect my computer to the printer until I am ready to print (my desk is not where my printer is) so it would be nice to have the print all set up, and know it will fit the time restraints before you plug it in.  Often I end up standing awkwardly with my laptop near the printer and have to futz around to get the time in the range I want…  It’s not really a huge deal, but would be a nice feature! Even if it was more of a rough estimate it would be a great starting point!

The new estimate feature is very handy. It would be even handier if the user could change material settings, like layer thickness, and get a new estimate.

In my case, the status bar no longer has the clock button after the estimate. Does anyone else have an easier way to re-estimate other than having to move a part around to reset the status bar?

Not sure if this is new to the latest firmware, but there seems to be a 1 second glitch on every layer as the time is counting down. Shortly after the display flashes of/on after the peel, the countdown studders, or even goes up by a second.

Hi Les Music - we also noticed that slight annoyance in the clock button not reappearing and have fixed it for the next version of PreForm.

@Mark Loit - we are actively working on a fix for the small inconsistencies in the countdown timer and hope to have it available very soon.

Thanks for feedback!

Another Bug is that the supports vanish when you change the materials… is that really necessary? [Sorry for the off-topic question]

As for the print time estimates, I’ve been finding that they are way off on longer prints. The Eiffel tower base estimated at 5.5 hrs for me [in the printer, 6:15 in pre-form] The print was still going strong after 8 hours [about 50% done by layer count], when I had to leave. Another nice feature would be to be able to see on the printer how long the last print actually took. I don’t mind that the estimates are off [they are estimates after all] but if I could get actual times, I could do my own estimating, as well as time accounting for billing purposes.

I’ll have a more accurate time this time around with the Eiffel tower base.  Using the 0.5 clear setting, pre-form estimated 12.5 hrs, the printer showed approx 11 hrs, and here we are nearly 17hrs after starting, and it still has about 25% to go [by layer count]  The object is getting smaller, so the layers are accelerating somewhat, but my guess is there’s still 2-3 hours to go, printer currently says 1h:38m.

Actual time came in just under 19 hours.  For an average of 32 seconds/layer, or 152% longer than what pre-form estimated.

Just a quick note – we’ve released an updated version of the software,, that has improved time estimation and should resolve some of those discrepancies, Mark. Head over to the software page ( to upgrade.

Thanks for the heads up Sam, will give it a go.

If I’m not mistaken, the time estimation is computed for each object separately.

What we need is a time estimation for the entire print job.

Greetings thread folks. This was in my operator notes as well. Good to see there is a thread on it. I see that there is indeed a countdown clock and estimation now, which is fabulous.

Going one step further? … would it be possible to grab the date/time of a machine that PreForm is working on, and then compute the “end date/time” of the print. Example: “ETA: 3/5 Wed 5:32pm”

Scenario: I have a print job, I am queueing up at 6pm for an overnight build … I would love to know that at 8am tomorrow morning, it would be done … or if it was something bigger, it would be done on Thursday. It doesn’t have to be spot on accurate, or display this information constantly on the bot’s firmware display … but it would be nice if perhaps it was displayed once, or “occasionally” during the print process through perhaps a screen refresh?

I hesitate to have it additional information via the form1 button indicator, since it might mess up the print process if someone accidentally turns off the bot because they didn’t do a sequence, or long press, whatever.

Going a step even further, it might be nice to have a future bot send off a .txt notification when the job was complete … this would involve putting in some wireless into the bot though. Also tying it to a mobile app, perhaps … So, I’ll put that idea in a separate post.

-sj (warmkomodo)