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making my own supports

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hello. so how does one go about creating your own supports within a 3d modeling software?  there's lots of different ways you could do it i suppose... little boxes, concave platform that would support a sphere...  when you model, are you supposed to have a gap between the top/bottom of the box or concave platform in the case of a sphere?  if so how much of a gap? a gap larger than 1 layer height? or somewhere in between?  do you round off or bevel the top of a box to a point, single vertex then place that x distance from the surface it is supporting?


any tips?



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For single-nozzle printers like the UM2, the gap depends on the size of your model, and on the quality you want at the underside of the model. And on printing temperature and material. So it is to a large degree a question of trial and error. Smaller models can have a smaller gap. But for large models, the supports may become difficult to remove if the gap is too small. (I have no experience with UM3 dual nozzle printers, so I can't comment on that.)


I usually take 0.2 to 0.3mm gaps for my models. On top of the support, I design ribs of 0.5mm wide, with gaps inbetween of 1mm. This reduces the contact area, makes removal easier, but still gives a good surface quality. Sideways I leave gaps of ca. 1mm, to prevent the supports getting glued to the walls of the model. Also make sure the support sticks well to the glass, thus give it a wide and solid base plate of for example 0.5mm thick. Single lines don't stick well.


And, very important: make sure you build in ways to remove the support: provide holes to insert hooks and pliers to grab them, provide areas where you can push or pull manually, make slits so you can wiggle all parts loose, and so on. Sometimes custom support design takes as much time as designing the model itself.


For small models, you could also optimise supports to provide additional cooling time for the real layer, to reduce heat deformation.


Make a small test model where you incorporate all sorts of methods, and try what works best for your models, temperatures, and materials.


Sometimes I prefer tree-shaped supports, sometimes I prefer separate layers that can be peeled off easily layer by layer. It depends on the model and on how accessible the area is.


Practically, sometimes the easiest way to start is to copy the overhanging surface of the model, offset it 0.3mm (or whatever distance you like), and start modeling the support from there. This works well for irregular overhanging parts. Or start from a sideways view, draw the supports, and extrude this into 3D. This works well for tree-shaped supports.


See these pics for ideas. I use these methods in real models:








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