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The ONLY reliable solution (that I've found) for "fine" PLA with dissolvable supports (BASF BVOH)

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Posted (edited) · The ONLY reliable solution (that I've found) for "fine" PLA with dissolvable supports (BASF BVOH)

I got an UltiMaker S3 specifically for printing with dissolvable supports.  However, I could not get even simple test prints to print reliably and repeatably with UltiMaker PVA.  Prints would start out fine, but have adhesion issues midway, and then go haywire.  And yes, I tried every suggested fix, but none of them worked.


AquaSys 120 seemed to be 100% reliable, by comparison.  However, using it to support PLA is technically "off-label," and it is also very slow to dissolve (especially in 95F water that won't soften PLA too much).  And there's no "fine" profile for it, and Cura says it's not compatible if you're using the AA 0.25mm nozzle for your PLA.


AquaSys GP is meant for use with PLA, and it dissolves very fast in 95F water.  However, the profile situation is even more dismal (no Marketplace profile, because UltiMaker won't allow a direct competitor to their PVA).  It took a ton of monkeying to get their beta profile loaded correctly on the S3.  It seemed pretty reliable (once a print got going, it would always finish).  However, there are apparently some issues with the filament cooking off in the nozzle.  Whenever re-loading GP, a bunch of black bits would get pushed out.  The nozzle eventually clogged, and I had to go through the whole cold/hot-pull cleaning process a few times.  And the beta profile provided (which seems to have some temp problems?) also has no "fine" profile, and again Cura says it's not compatible if you're using the AA 0.25mm nozzle for your PLA.


BASF BVOH is the most reliable of the bunch.  I've never had a print failure or a clog with it, ever.  Again, the profile situation is dismal (no official UltiMaker Marketplace support, and the "beta" profile provided requires a bunch of manual tweaking and fiddling before it will load on the S3).  And if you use the BASF-provided beta profile, there's no "fine" setting, and no support for AA 0.25mm PLA.


HOWEVER, I'm having excellent results just using the Generic PVA profile when printing with BASF BVOH (as suggested by another user of this forum).  That lets me use a "fine" profile and print my PLA with the AA 0.25mm nozzle.


So, print after print, BVOH is just working.  No black bits when re-loading.  No clogs.  And it dissolves quickly.


Two down-sides to BVOH:


1.  It REALLY sticks to the bed, more than the other supports do.  I'm using Layerneer Bed Weld on the glass bed, which usually makes removal easy, but I still have to pry really hard to get BVOH to pop off the bed.  (Though I suppose you could always soak the bed in water, if it was ever really stuck.)


2.  It makes the water instantly cloudy/opaque when dissolving.  This makes it very hard to visually monitor dissolve progress (you have to fish the part out, blindly, with tongs, to check it).





Needless to say, this has been a VERY frustrating experience for a $4000+ printer that has dissolvable supports as one of its main selling points.


UltiMaker: it seems like you should seriously consider adopting a 3rd-party solution as the "official" dissolvable support for PLA, instead of continuing to push UltiMaker PVA, which just isn't reliable enough.


Anyone who tries any one of the three alternatives (AquaSys 120, AquaSys GP, or BASF BVOH) would see a night-and-day improvement over UltiMaker PVA.



Edited by jasonrohrer
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    Posted · The ONLY reliable solution (that I've found) for "fine" PLA with dissolvable supports (BASF BVOH)

    Well, even the PolyDissolve is way better than Stock PVA. UM PVA is among the worst material to print with, I've use about 5 spools of it and it lead to so many troubles. It might bring so many bad reviews and bad feedback while it would be so convenient to move from that UM PVA to another solution...

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