Support

Generate Support

Some models have overhanging parts, which means that parts of the model float mid-air when you would print the model. In this case, you must print a support structure under the model to prevent the plastic from falling down. This can be achieved by enabling generate support.

Support extruder

Dual extrusion machines provide the possibility to create water soluble supports. To make use of that feature, you can specify which parts of the support are printed with wich extruder. The setting is split up in:

  • Support infill extruder
  • First layer support extruder
  • Support interface extruder
  • Support roof extruder
  • Support floor extruder

Placement

This setting defines where the support structure is printed. It has the following options:

  • Touching build plate: Support material is only printed from the build plate up.
  • Everywhere: Support material is printed below every part that needs support, which means that it can also be placed on or inside a model.

support, placement, chair
This model of a chair has support touching build plate on the left and support everywhere on the right.

Overhang angle

The overhang angle is the maximum angle of overhangs for which support material is added. A smaller angle leads to more support. This means that at a value of 0° all overhangs are supported, while at 90° no support material is added.

Support_angle
The model on the left has a support angle of 50°, the model on the right 70°.

Support pattern

There are different patterns available for printing support structures, resulting in sturdy or easy to remove support. You can choose from the following patterns:

Support-patterns
The connected zig zags are displayed as a gray dotted line.

Connect zig zags

When choosing for a zig zag support pattern, this setting becomes visible. It will connect the end of zig zags, through which the strength of the zig zag support structure increases and adhesion to the build plate at the ends of the support is better. The connection is displayed as a grey dotted line in the picture above.

Support density

This setting defines the density of support structures. A higher value will lead to stronger support structures and better support for overhangs, but the support structures are harder to remove.

Z distance

The distance from the bottom and top of the support structure to the model. This setting is divided in the top distance and bottom distance. Top distance defines the distance between the top of the support and bottom parts of the model and bottom distance the distance between the bottom of the support and top parts of the model.

Support_topbottom_distance

A small distance between the support structure and bottom/top parts of the model is necessary to easily remove the supports after the model is printed. A low value usually creates a smoother model surface, because the support structure is placed close to the model, but can also make it harder to remove the support properly.

X/Y distance

With this setting you can adjust the distance between the support structure and the model in the X and Y direction. A higher value reduces the chance of the support structure hitting the model. On the other hand, this also creates a bigger distance between the support structure and model, which means that very small overhangs might not be supported.

Support-xy-distance

Support distance priority

With the introduction of PVA, the support Z-distance is set to 0. This added a scenario, where the X/Y-distance would offset the PVA from the model, decreasing the support quality. The support distance priority ensure the PVA supports the model perfectly. The image shows the priority for the X/Y override Z, and Z override X/Y.

Support-Distance-priority

Minimum support X-Y distance

When the Z overrides the X/Y-distance priority like mentioned above, the X/Y-distance might force the support to hit the model. To keep a safe distance, the minimum support X/Y-distance is kept at all times.

Stair step height

When support placement type everywhere is selected support structures will also be printed on the model. This support structure doesn’t follow the contours of the model smoothly, but instead the bottom of the support structure consists of small stair-like steps. By changing the stair step height value you can define how big these steps should be. A low value will result in a smoother bottom of the support and more connections between the model and support structure. A higher value makes it easier to remove the support afterwards.

support-stair-step-height
The object on the left has a low value stair step height, the model on the right has a higher value.

Support stair step maximum width

The maximum width in the X/Y direction where a stair step appears. When a plane does not change height within these 5 millimeters, the support is handled as regular support.

Join distance

Join distance is the maximum distance between support structures in the X/Y directions. When separate structures are closer together than this value, they will merge into one. This means that using a high value for this settings, support structures will merge quicker. Especially when support structures are very thin, this can help increasing the stability and strength of the support. But keep in mind that a too high value can make the support structures so dense that they can hardly be removed.

Support-join-distance

Horizontal expansion

By using horizontal expansion an offset can be applied to the support structures in the X and Y direction. High values will expand the support areas, resulting in sturdier support. By using a negative value very thin support areas can even be removed completely. The right side support of the model below can easily be printed, while the supported area is very thin.

support-horizontal-expansion

Enable support interface

A support interface generates a dense skin at the roof and floor of the support structure on which the model is printed. This way the bottom layer of the print is better supported, leading to a smoother result. A support roof is harder to remove than regular support though, so post-processing might require more work when using non-soluble supports.

The support roofs and floors can be set separately and these parts have their own individual settings:

  • Support interface thickness: The thickness of the support interface(s).
  • Support interface resolution: The resolution checked in the Z-direction determines where support interface is printed.
  • Support interface density / Line distance: The density of interface of the support structure.
  • Support roof pattern: The pattern with which the roof of the support structure is printed.

Use towers

By using this setting, support structures are printed as towers, to support tiny overhang areas. Support towers are only printed for support areas that are smaller than the set minimum diameter. All support areas larger than this value will use regular support.

support-towers

For stability, support towers have a larger diameter than the region they support. If necessary, the tower diameter can be changed to create either a bigger or smaller support tower. The tower’s diameter decreases near the overhang, forming a roof. By adjusting the tower roof angle you can define how pointy or flat the tower roof should be.

Index
Support