Supportless Overhangs: Just Reorient Gravity By 90 Degrees

The 3D print by [critsrandom] in the image above may not look like much at first glance, until one realizes that the 90 degree overhang has no supports whatsoever. Never mind the messy bottom surface, and never mind that the part shown might avoid the problem entirely with some simple supports or a different print orientation; the fact that it printed at all is incredible.

[critsrandom] shared the method in a post on Reddit, and it consists simply of laying the 3D printer on its side. When the print head reaches the overhang, the fact that it is printing sideways is what allows that spot to make the leap from “impossible” to merely “messy”. Necessary? Probably not, but a neat trick nevertheless.

Tilted 3D printers is something that we’ve seen in the past, but for different reasons. When combined with a belt-driven build platform, a tilted printer has a theoretically infinite build volume (in one axis, anyway.)

13 thoughts on “Supportless Overhangs: Just Reorient Gravity By 90 Degrees

    1. Whoops! That’s left over from a discarded “if it’s dumb and it works, it ain’t dumb” angle and I missed nixing it. I’m going to remove that, because it totally gives the wrong vibe. Thanks for picking it out.

  1. Well giving the entire printer another degree of freedom might be a really cool thing to work out, so that printing is always oriented to gravity; would work with far more than an overhang. Gonna need a much bigger stepper for that 4th degree of freedom though!

    1. How about continuously rotating it and having a command in each line of G code that indicates which orientation each line can be printed in? Add in a rotary encoder to the printer and it can just wait until it is in the vicinity of the correct angle. A sort of tourbillon-printer, if you will.

      1. This is the craziest + best idea yet.

        Build the printer onto a strong enough frame (Mendel 90 style?) and you could mount it to a big ol’ bearing to hold the weight. How beefy a motor you need to turn it would just depend on the moment of inertia…

        The two constraints that really bind on 3D designs are overhangs and the anisotropy/weakness that you get in the Z direction. If you can work around both of these with one hack, it might be worth it.

  2. Something for the CoreXY/Delta/other fast printer crowd: mount your printer on a catapult with an onboard power supply, fire it up in the air and start printing as soon as the initial acceleration stops. It will experience microgravity throughout the flight, removing the restriction of only being able to print in 1 axis that the above mod creates.

    Note: perhaps test out the catching system before the first live print and don’t try it on a windy day.

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