Can I suggest the following improvements to the Preform interface?
1/ In the View menu ‘Top’ and ‘Bottom’ should have keyboard shortcuts. They are the two menu items that I use most often.
2/ The support algorithms are not consistent. It is possible to produce an item that is printable, save it and close the window, then reopen the file only to find that there are new unsupported areas and minima.
3/ In Layout the spacing control doesn’t seem to honour spacings of less than 5mm.
Also in Layout, an ability to nudge items would be really, really useful as would alignment and spacing controls.
Are you sure this is not because it takes quite a lot of time for Preform to calculate the minima ? I also am under the impression that unsupported areas are inconsistent but I’m pretty sure Minima aren’t, they just take a bloody long time to compute.
For #2) The Printability checks depend on some of the current values in the Supports panel such as Density, and loading an existing .form file will not restore the settings in the Supports panel that you had when you originally generated those supports. What this means is that say I import a part, change the Density slider to 0.50, then generate supports, it should show it as Printable. If I then save that .form file, Quit PreForm, and then re-open PreForm and load that .form file, it will now re-calculate Printability using the default Density of 1.0, which Printability may flag as being problematic.
We are aware of this issue and have it on our list to fix, but thank you for reporting as it helps us know this is something that is causing confusion!
#3) Can you describe this issue more fully? PreForm spaces parts down as close as 0.1mm for me. Note that you may have to check the “Overlap Rafts” checkbox in order to get the closest possible spacing between your parts, since the rafts/bases are often larger than your part, so if this isn’t checked the parts won’t get super close.
And the numerous other similar one which have been made since the beginning of PreForm.
Thanks for pointing out this issue, it’s crazy to me that the printability check is being done based on setting that are not dependent on the model. Even more crazy, it’s the first time we hear of this despite the fact that the unreliability of the printability assessment has been reported several time over the last year at least. I’m usually very supporting of Formlabs and the products in general but it would have saved lots of users a lot of time just to be aware of this, I hope it will be fixed soon… how hard is it to store a few numbers in the .form package ?
@JohnHue Glad I could help shed some light! I myself have been working here for just under a year and only found out about this issue recently, so continuing to point out the things that frustrate you about PreForm can help! My apologies that this hasn’t been explained in the past - this specific algorithm is one of the oldest algorithms within PreForm and plays a role in both support generation and Printability calculations, so unpacking the root cause of why this was displaying weirdly like this was rather tricky. As you can imagine, as with any piece of software that’s been around for years we have plenty of old bug reports that we are always working our way through and fixing…
Anyways, I’m glad to say that this issue is high on our list and we are actively working towards a better solution. Stay tuned!