Set Up Your Print
You’ve set up your Form 1+, filled the resin tank, and installed PreForm Software. You're ready to start printing! Make sure your printer is plugged into a power outlet and connected to your computer with a USB cable.
Open PreForm Software
When you start PreForm, you will see the material selection within the Print Setup window. Use the drop-down menu to select the material you have in your printer. Then, make sure to select the correct version of your material. Use the slider to select the layer thickness for your print, likely 0.05 mm or 0.1 mm. Reserve 0.025 mm for rare occasions of incredibly high resolution. You can change this setting later by clicking “Print Settings” on the bottom bar.
Type '?' at any time in PreForm to view a list of keyboard shortcuts. Learning these keys will make part set-up fast and easy.
Load a Model
PreForm Software supports .STL and .OBJ files, which you can export from most 3D CAD or animation packages. To load a model, drag and drop it into Preform or select “Open” from the File menu.
Select PreForm's One-Click Print option to automatically orient, support, and layout each part. After sequentially completing all three print set-up steps, PreForm will open the Print dialog window to confirm and send the job to a printer, so ensure that you've connected and selected the appropriate printer type, material type, and layer height before beginning One-Click Print. The specific printer can be selected by serial name from the Print dialog.
Change the View
Viewing your model from the correct angle can help you position things in just the right way. PreForm offers a couple of ways to control your view.
The View Menu
Hovering over the View Icon will reveal the view controls. The center icon will always take you to the initial view. The other icons rotate your view 90º to the top, sides, or bottom. You can use the plus and minus buttons to zoom in and out.
Right click and drag will rotate the view about the model. Right mouse and shift will pan. Use the scroll wheel to zoom in and out.
Select a model by clicking on it. The model will turn blue to indicate that it is selected. Once selected, use PreForm Software features to manipulate the model.
Click the “Size” icon or press the “S” key to access tools that can resize your model:
- Scale factor: change the size of your model by entering a specific factor.
- Units: toggle between millimeters and inches from the PreForm Edit menu.
- Direct resizing: click anywhere on the screen and drag to resize the model.
Click the “Orientation” icon or press the “O” key to access model rotation tools:
- Orient Selected: PreForm will compute an optimal orientation for printing.
- Plane-orientation: flip your model along each axis with the shaded cube icons.
- Axis orientation: rotate your model more precisely by typing in specific angles for each axis.
- Drag rotation: click anywhere on your screen and drag to rotate the model.
- Select Base: select a face to point toward the build platform.
Model orientation can greatly affect the success of your print. Prepare your model in the orientation that is best suited for the print quality. We recommend trying auto-orient for optimal results.
Click the “Layout” icon or press the “L” key so that you can move your model to different locations on the build platform. Clicking “Layout” will reorient your view so that you look down on the build platform from above. Move the model around by clicking and dragging.
While in Layout mode you can make one or more copies of the selected model by using the duplicate button. You can print as many as will fit on the build platform. You can also use the features above to make each copy a different size or alignment in the build area.
Import Other Models
Your Form 1+ can print multiple models at once, whether duplicates or different models. Import additional models the same way you imported the first model. Remove a model from the build area by simply selecting it and pressing delete or backspace on your keyboard.
Almost all models need support structures for a successful print, especially those with overhangs. Learn more about what supports do for your model. Click the “Supports” icon or press the “C” key to access support structure features:
- Generate Selected: generate supports using the current settings for a selected model.
- Generate All: generate supports for all models in your scene.
- Advanced: configure custom settings for flat spacing, base thickness, slope factor, and height above base
For trickier parts, it can take time to find the perfect orientation with optimal support settings. Use manual supports to selectively add and remove supports after auto-generating.
Print the Scene
Send to Printer
With your printer connected to your computer, click the orange printer button in the left toolbar when you're ready to start your print. Select the appropriate printer by serial name, choose a name for the print job, and double-check the pre-print reminders.
Confirm Your Print
PreForm Software requires one final confirmation step. Make sure that your printer is ready to print and then press the button on your printer to begin the print.
For the fastest upload time, wait until PreForm completely uploads the file before confirming the print and pressing the button.
Complete the File Transfer
Once you click “Send to Printer”, you will notice several status indicators as PreForm sends each layer of your model to the printer. The printer's screen will indicate the file transfer's progress.
Do not disconnect your printer from your computer or network connection until this process is complete. The file transfer can take several minutes. It is safe to disconnect the computer once PreForm confirms the upload of your print.