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Bionic support structures

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Hello there,

in my project for the German youth science competition "Jugend Forscht" i created bionic support structures to save waste material. As a site note: i got the first place on the regional level and third on the state level.

The idea ist to replace the lower part of the normal support structure with a tree-like structure to save material. In the center of region that needs to be supported is a hollow cylinder (comparable to bamboo). Above it is the "hopper". This is where the structure expands to the whole size of the region using the max overhang angle. The last distance is filled with the standard fill pattern for support structures.



The good thing is that, depending on the object itself, a lot of waste material is saved without any other disadvantages (atleast i do not know any). In my example (see picture) the material reduction (in regard of only the support structure) is 64% (1319mm vs. 482mm).

It would be really nice if this idea get's implemented into the CuraEngine. I also open-sourced my implementation.

I really want to hear your ideas and feedback.

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@Bagel-Orb beat you to it. There's an experimental feature named "Enable Conical Support".

Perhaps your implementation is better, or you could help getting the feature out of "experimental" state?


Its a great concept.  I've had good experiences with the conical support feature.  It sometimes gives erratic results depending how the model geometry is interpreted.  I'd like to see a similar approach to structuring infill when a hollow part is permissible, but infill is only used to support the top surfaces.

Edited by Guest

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The difference between conical support and my structure is about 400mm of material for my example. The advantage of my structure is that it is almost completely hollow. Only the hopper is sparely filled to support the support structure.

The good think is: both techniques could be used together to reduce the material even more. In my implementation i slice the model with and without support, generate my own support structure and then splice them together (matching E-Axis and custom dual printing support). This limits my implementation and a native implementation could solve this problem.

Another good feature that i implemented (and that should be adopted by the CuraEngine) is to only print the connecting layers in another material. Those could be printed in PVA to easily remove the support structure. This not only reduce the overall material consumption but also the PVA consumption (as PVA is twice as expensive as PLA).

If you want i can attach some G-Code files to compare them.

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