Design Models for Printability

As you design your model in your favorite 3D CAD package, you will want to make sure it can successfully be printed. Some 3D CAD models are more difficult to print (and some are impossible on any printer). Read our design guide and then follow these basic guidelines when designing models for the Form 1+ or Form 2.

Use Supports

Supports are an important feature to give each part a foundation and structure for accurate printing. While printing without supports can be tempting, especially for models with a flat surface, these are prone to shrinkage and compression at the layers closest to the build platform.

Allow Resin to Escape

A fully enclosed cavity (like a hollow sphere) will inevitably trap some resin inside while printing. Design such cavities with a drain hole. We suggest the minimum diameter of drain holes to be 3.5 mm.

Sphere with drain hole marked


To conserve resin and decrease print time, print your model as a hollow object.

Consider Minimum Feature Constraints

The Form 1+ and Form 2 outperform other desktop machines with features as small as 300 microns. Remember that pushing the limits of small details can result in failed prints. Very thin, wiry parts are prone to failure, for example. Of course, PreForm Software will not recognize features smaller than 300 microns, meaning they won't show up in your print.

Use Internal Supports When Printing Internal Overhangs

Overhangs are features that require support during a print. PreForm Software generates supports so that an overhang doesn’t fail to print. With the “internal supports” feature, PreForm can also create supports for internal overhangs (i.e., features that hang over other parts of the model). In order to have PreForm generate internal supports:

  • Open the Support Generation dialogue. 
  • Click the “Internal Supports” checkbox.

Model with overhang generated with internal supports

Consider the Print Volume

Prints have a maximum dimensions of 4.9 × 4.9 × 6.5 in (125 × 125 × 165 mm) and 5.7 × 5.7 × 6.9 in (145 × 145 × 175 mm) for the Form 1+ and Form 2, respectively. PreForm Software will help you resize your model to fit the build volume. For larger parts, consider designing them in multiple sections that can be assembled after printing.

Eiffel tower model split into two part print in PreForm window

Use Single Body (or Mesh) Settings

If your final model is the combination of multiple sub-models, make sure to save it as a single body (or mesh) in your CAD package. Otherwise there may be some irregularities in your print if the intersecting layers of the sub-models are not correctly recognized by PreForm Software.

Contact Support

Questions? Get in touch.