3D Printer Supports, Anyone?

I’ve been having a great time with the 3D printer. It’s a bit tedious to constantly adjust every setting to tweak things into a better print, but it really is a fun hobby! Lately, I’ve been working on the supports. For those who are new (like me) to 3D printing, supports are used to, well, support the 3D object while it is being printed. Below you can see the chess knights that I just printed. The broken pieces in between them are the supports I took off, that were used to hold the snout while it was being printed.

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Here is a picture with them in place:

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What can be interesting, is when your supports really are not needed, but get built anyways. Take for example, this king and queen chess set, where originally it wanted to build supports, but I opted not to, and it fared well without them.

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The slicer program (slic3r) wanted to put supports in between the “arms” of the pieces to hold them up during printing. But it seems to have printed fine without them. Another interesting problem was this spiral pawn chess piece (incomplete). I stopped it while printing because I realized that I couldn’t take the supports out of the spiral.

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So I’m still tinkering with supports, when to use them, when not to use them, how to use them better, etc. It’s pretty interesting to mull over, and hopefully I can come up with some sort of “truth table” on when and how to use them. The general rule is that a “Y” shape is okay, and a “T” shape is not. This spiral set is more or less “T” shaped, but having the supports inside that are impossible to remove sort of defeats the purpose of the spiral set….. I guess I will have to think on it some more.

Linux – keep it simple.

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