While FDM 3D printers seem to be commonplace, at least in 3D printing circles, it’s only recently that we have seen stereolithography(SLA) based printers really begin to take off. SLA machines are capable of reaching a higher degree of accuracy and resolution than that of a typical FDM printer. They operate by curing a resin, layer by layer with a UV light source, making fine details possible. As prices have dropped, they have slowly seen their popularity rise among small business owners in particular, and to a lesser extent hobbyists.
Formlabs could be considered the ‘MakerBot’ of the SLA space. They were the first to come onto the scene with a high quality, relatively affordable SLA 3D printer with their Form1. It would certainly be fair to say that they are the leader within this consumer and small business segment of the market. Just like with FDM printers, the software which communicates the 3D model to the printer is extremely important. This is why Formlabs spends so much time improving their PreForm Software, with new updates quite often.
Today, the company announced the release of the latest version of their ‘Click and Print’ software, PreForm version 1.6. Packed with improvements, many taken straight from ideas presented on their forum community, the new software is certainly something you will want to upgrade to right away if you own a FormLabs 3D printer. The user interface has been streamlined, making it cleaner and easier to navigate, while improvements have been made to print tiny intricate parts faster, while allowing for larger objects to be printed with even more detail than before. Below are some of the key changes you will find in the new update to version 1.6.
- Show option to merge form files when dropped on icon in OS X
- Improved surface finish of objects
- Properly render quick release tabs after support edits
- Arrow keys rotate camera, and move/scale/translate models when appropriate tool is active
- Faster print times for delicate models
- Fixed issue where PreForm would crash on some Windows computers
- Default to the Form 1+ time estimate if no printer has been plugged in
- Move pre-print workflow to status area and add links to print preparation support articles
- Fix issue where model could disappear after editing supports
- Speed improvement when opening files
- Up to 50% faster auto orientation
- In Support Edit Mode, models are now colored blue
For those wishing to download PreForm 1.6, the software is free and available here for those who are running either OS X 10.6.8 or higher, or Windows XP (SP3) or higher. Please leave your feedback once you have downloaded the software, in the FormLabs PreForm forum thread on 3DPB.com.
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