3D Printing Without Support

3D printing is getting better every year, a tale told by dozens of Makerbot Cupcakes nailed to the wall in hackerspaces the world over. What was once thought impossible – insane bridging, high levels of repeatability, and extremely well-tuned machines – are now the norm. We’re still printing with supports, and until powder printers make it to garages, we’ll be stuck with that. There’s more than one way to skin a cat, though. It is possible to print complex 3D objects without supports. How? With pre-printed supports, of course.

[Markus] wanted to print the latest comet we’ve landed on, 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. This is a difficult model for any 3D printer: there are two oversized lobes connected by a thin strand of comet. There isn’t a flat space, either, and cutting the model in half and gluing the two printed sides together is certainly not cool enough.

To print this plastic comet without supports, [Markus] first created a mold – a cube with the model of the comet subtracted with a boolean operation. If there’s one problem [Markus] ran into its that no host software will allow you to print an object over the previous print. That would be a nice addition to Slic3r or Repetier Host, and shouldn’t be that hard to implement.

12 thoughts on “3D Printing Without Support

  1. “without supports. How? With supports”

    Yeps. Makes total sense. Also the article fails to grasp what is actually done here. The part is printed in 2 halves, where the 2nd half is printed on top of the first half. The supports are used to keep the first half in place.

    So 3 prints:
    1) First half. (removed from printer bed)
    2) Supports (Add print 1 after this is done)
    3) Print 2nd half on top.

    You can still clearly see the “cut” on the print. So I see little improvement over the “two halves glued together”.

  2. I own a reprap and slic3r support is getting better. Second I have access to an Up! 2 plus (hope it will soon be mine) and the support generatring software is amazing. I would prefer to hack the cupcake and run it with modern electronics or leave it hanging on the wall as a bit of history.

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