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Palm tree printing fail

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I've been using the Ultimaker for a few days now and have had great fun. However I tried printing a palm tree yesterday and it didn't turn out very well at all.

Whilst watching the printer I noticed that it tries to print the leaves from the tip of the leaf to trunk, which on this model isn't possible.

Is there a setting I can use in order for the tree to print successfully. I have attached a screenshot of the model in Cura and a photograph of the outcome.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks,


palm tree screenshot cura

palm tree fail


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I'm sorry, Lizzie, but I really don't think there's any way that you're going to be able to print that on an Ultimaker.

As you've seen, the printer works by slicing and printing everything from the bottom up. So it struggles when you have parts hanging out it space with nothing under them - like the tips of the leaf fronds, as there is nothing for the plastic to sit on, to hold it place until it gets attached to the rest of the print.

In theory, that's what the 'Support' options are for. Cura can built support columns under parts that need supporting, and then you can break them away when you're done printing. However, I don't think that even that is going to work very well in this case, because looking at the model, those leaves have a really narrow central rib to them holding them all together. I just don't think the UM will be able to reproduce it with enough strength to hold the shape together especially while trying to remove support (unless you scale it up hugely, break the model into parts, and then print them out separately and assemble it afterwards).

You might be able to get it printed using a service like shapeways that melts shapes into a bed of powdered plastic or metal, and so it doesn't need support. But I suspect that even for them it may be really hard - from your screen shot, the individual parts of the leaves look to be barely attached to one another.


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Illuminarti is correct.

However, if I was determined to print this and I had created the CAD model, then I would print out each leaf seperately and flat and then peel them off the bed and attach each one to the trunk separately. With glue.

This is a difficult print.

Shapeways could print it if the leaves are thick enough. They have a FAQ that states the minimum thickness. I think it is somewhere around 1mm so as long as the leaves are 1mm thick shapeways should be able to print this just fine. Probably cost you about $50. If you upload the CAD file they tell you right away the cost.


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