A Comprehensive Look At FDM Supports

When we first started 3D printing, we used ABS and early slicers. Using supports was undesirable because the support structures were not good, and ABS sticks to itself like crazy. Thankfully today’s slicers are much better, and often we can use supports that easily detach. [Teaching Tech] shows how modern slicers create supports and how to make it even better than using the default settings.

The video covers many popular slicers and their derivatives. If you’ve done a lot with supports, you might not find too much of this information surprising, but if you haven’t printed with supports lately or tried things like tree supports, you might find a few things that will up your 3D printing game.

One thing we really like is that the video does show different slicers, so regardless of what slicer you like to use, you’ll probably find exactly what different settings are called. Of course, because slicers let you examine what they produce layer-by-layer, you can do like the video and examine the results without printing. [Michael] does do some prints with various parameters, though, and you can see how hard or easy the support removal is depending on some settings. The other option is to add support to your designs, as needed manually, or — even better — don’t design things that need support.

This video reminded us of a recent technique we covered that added a custom support tack to help the slicer’s automatic support work better. If you want a longer read on supports that also covers dissolvable support, we’ve seen that, too.

13 thoughts on “A Comprehensive Look At FDM Supports

      1. That’s handy! You may know that if you click on the three dots to the lower right of the video window you can see YouTube’s auto-voice-to-text transcript by clicking on “show transcript.” It has no punctuation whatsoever and, as a result, is one HUGE run-on sentence, but that site you linked to at least strips out the time hacks/links shown in the YouTube version make editing after copy/paste much less time consuming.

    1. Sometimes people mention this and I usually think that different people absorb information differently. In particular, I do prefer prose over video for most topics. But in some cases where you want to see him pull the support material off, video is actually very useful. Sure, you could argue that you could mix the information with text and video snips, but that’s harder for people to produce and I still argue that some people like different styles and that’s OK. Just like you can have TV channels that have sports on it even if not everyone likes sports. If you look at the output of [Jesse’s] clever script (comment below), you can see that you can’t really understand how good or bad the separation is from the screen shots.

  1. Video is fine, but it ignores one of the best ways to optimized supports. Design them into your model! I almost always use designed in supports these days and get excellent results. You can do clever things that slicers don’t do, like bridge over the model to create a “table” then build a support structure on that.

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