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When printing a model, supports are important, well, because you need something to provide stability to your 3D prints as it is getting printed out — especially if your models have overhanging and bridges. As your 3D model is hanging in the air as the 3D printer operates, you need supports to anchor your model to the build plate. If the model doesn't have any supports, it may also fall off due to gravity.
Setting supports is extremely important as this ensures that your models adhere to the build plate and does not fall into the resin vat easily. Only the tip of these support structures typically touches the model.
You can adjust the thickness or thinness of the supports by using slicing software or just add a few more supports for extra grip and stability to ensure that you have a higher chance of printing out your model successfully.
Thick supports VS Thin supports
If your model has overhanging and bridges, you’ll need to use thicker supports as a way to provide sturdy support to your 3D models. Thin supports are generally used as a way to support denser supports during the printing process. Depending on the complexity of your model, you could get away with only using thinner supports.
Though, keep in mind that the thicker your supports are, the harder it will be to remove them during the post-processing process. Conversely, the thinner your supports are, the easier it will be to remove it after printing.
Adjusting support tips
You can also adjust the tips of your supports to have a smaller or wider diameter using slicing software.
If you set your support tips to have a smaller diameter, it may not provide you with enough support during the printing process.
In comparison, setting support tips to have a wider diameter leads to models having sturdy support during the printing process.
We recommend setting the upper diameter to roughly 0.6 and lower diameter to 0.8 mm.
Smaller support tips typically leave less visible marks after the supports are removed, while bigger support tips may leave marks that are much more noticeable after the supports are taken out.
Why some models may need to be angled
Not all models need to be tilted before printing. If your model has a larger surface area, it is recommended to add in supports to ensure a successful print.
This is because, the larger the surface area is on the FEP film, the higher the peeling force will be. While printing, if the peeling force from the FEP film is stronger than the force holding the model on its supports, it’s highly likely that your prints may fail.
You can tilt your model by roughly 45 degrees. While tilting the model, feel free change to the settings and see what works best for you.
If you tilt your model, you can add in fewer supports, which cuts down on costs and saves time during post-processing. This also gives you a smaller surface area to work with.
Use supports sparingly
The more supports you add to your 3D model, the longer the printing duration will be for your model. This also means that more resin will be used in the process, adding to your cost of materials needed to create a finished print.
While using slicing software, you are typically able to select a function to adjust support settings manually. You want to go in to double-check if you need to adjust anything or add or remove a few supports.
The quality of your prints isn’t impacted by the use of supports, though it will need to be removed in the post-processing process. So it’s better to minimize the use of supports and add them only in places where it’s absolutely necessary.
Weak supports may cause layer lines
Even if your supports aren’t strong enough, you might be able to print out your resin prints but if you look closely, you’ll find layer lines. This means that your model was vibrating against the build plate and resin vat while printing.
Areas that aren’t sufficiently supported can shift easily, causing layers to misalign, leading to the formation of layer lines.
When layer lines are formed, there is a possibility that it may cause at least some damage to your 3D prints...or, at the very least, your models may not be perfect.
3D printed parts separating from supports
After printing, if you’ve noticed that parts of your model aren’t touching the supports, it means that the supports or the support tips may not be strong enough. To fix this issue, you’ll have to increase the density of the supports or increase the width of the support tips.
As the supports aren’t strong enough to provide stability to your model as it is being printed out, there is a possibility that some parts of your model may be separated from the support tips after the printing process is complete.
These are just a few reasons why it’s important to add supports to your prints!