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Formlabs preform-like support structure

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Posted · Formlabs preform-like support structure

Hi All, I was wondering if there's a plugin or way to request a support structure like the scaffoldy supports in formlabs' software (which btw is a really good 3D model prep, orients and positions models for most efficient print with one click). I love cura, but with small figurine game models the supports cocoon the model and its virtually impossibly to remove them without breaking the model. Different orientations, manual support blocking in places ... still hard. 


The supports in preform are super easy to remove and more like the tree structure (though in cura this still cocoons my model).


I just wanted to ask if theres a way to get that in Cura or just peoples thoughts generally? Let me know if you'd like pics to demonstrate. 

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    Posted · Formlabs preform-like support structure

    Please keep in mind that support structures in FFF and inverse SLA serve different purposes.

    In FFF it prevents the slack of overhangs while in inverse SLA it prevents the printed object or parts of it to detach from the build platform. For the latter, well distributed touch points are enough while for FFF a surface (interface) is needed.

    I recommend you look into getting a dual extrusion printer (that allows for the usage of a water-soluble support material) as the Ultimaker S-Line for your application.

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    Posted · Formlabs preform-like support structure

    If you have a single-nozzle printer,  and you can do CAD, then consider designing your own supports in CAD. Test various concepts and dimensions on a small testmodel, before doing large models.


    Standard supports are good for standard situations. But special cases might be better off with custom designs.


    A few examples:


    Pink and orange supports with custom brim to prevent them from getting knocked over. These are stable and solid supports, so I can grab them with a plier and wiggle them out. This model is way too small to get in there with a knife.



    Concepts of supports, to minimise damage to the model. These require good testing: if the gap is too big, the model will fall off. If too small, the model will glue to the support, and separation will be difficult.



    Free hanging supports, not going down all the way to the bottom, and thus not damaging the lower parts.



    Front view of these free hanging supports: they stay in place by the stringing of the material. This makes them very easy to remove (way easier than standard supports). The ribs on top are 0.5mm wide and high; the inverted stairs at the bottom are 1mm wide and high. This model could be printed without supports, but I want more accuracy, since another part has to slide accurately through the opening. The tabs on the side of the supports do almost no damage to the side walls of the model.




    Printing tiny vertical models often causes this effect: the filament can not solidify due to the hot nozzle continuously sitting on top of it. So it deforms. Layer-adhesion and stress-concentrations could also be a factor. So you might want to design supports in such a way that they move the nozzle away for some time, and allow the model to cool (or print multiple models at once).



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