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  • Printing without support philosophy or religion

    Printing without support seems to be the latest philosophy or religion. But does it really save plastic?

    Sure, when you design a part you can create screw holes that have a triangle at the top, so the slicer does not create supports, but does it really save plastic?

    Just an example:

    As you may know I made this little 3D Printer XYZ E-Step calibration tool

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    This just need a little support on the inside, where the calipers housing gets slotted in. This support can even be reduced to two or three vertical walls (which the printer can easily bridge) or, if your printer is calibrated and dialed in well, printed without supports at all using bridging all the way across. The inside may look a bit ugly, but it is a tool and not a thing you put onto a shelf in your living room.

    Now may part got remixed by a believer of the supports religion:

    https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4619634

    He made the upper section a separate part, so he can print both without support.

    The question is: Does it save plastic at all?

    I would say no. I would even say he needs more plastic than I did when printing with supports.

    Just to clarify my stand point: The cover part sits on vertical walls. When printing both parts individually the upper part of these walls on the lower section need a top face. The newly created cover needs the same amount of an additional bottom face. Depending on your overall slicer settings these areas itself have 2 or more 100% plastic top and bottom layers. This itself is a lot of plastic, but it gets worse. He needed to add screw holes to fixate both parts when used. These holes also have inner walls or 2 or more layers intersecting the entire top cover.

    So in my opinion this does not save plastic. It needs more energy as the print takes significantly longer and more plastic. The time spend to create this is also a factor on the downside.

    I know this is just one example and nothing compared to print a full size helmet. With a helmet there is clearly an advantage of splitting the part or adding curves to the model to make it print without supports.

    I think it would have made more sense to add support right to the model itself. Three vertical walls within the box that do not touch the object due to a 0.1mm clearance. This would have saved plastic compared to some to dense support settings in the first place.

    So what do you think?

  • #2
    I guess the only way to tell would be to weigh an example of each approach. That said, I do often modify my designs so they can be printed without supports, not so much to save plastic as to avoid the hassle & mess of removing the supports after printing. I suspect removing the supports takes as long as the time he spent remixing the design. It took a while for me to supports from my print of your design, which I may have to remix anyway because the part the caliper slides into gives a sloppy fit on my caliper.

    I am not religious about supports though. If there is no way to print a model without supports, such as your calibration tool, then I use supports, simple as that.

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    • #3
      I have no clue how people can say that. Removing the support of an object usually takes seconds. If not, the printer setup is wrong and you need more tolerance.

      For this part I simply stick a screw driver between wall and support compress it to the moddle. Then I stick the screw driver into the other end between support and squish it to the middle. Afterwards I ran remove the entire support object as a zick sag block. This takes 10 seconds max.

      I even print ABS parts ON 3mm support (part sliced in the air) like a raft, because it prints fast, is easy to remove and the curling up corners are 100% inside the support and the parts are dead flat.

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      • #4
        I usually use a small pen knife to slice through the edge parts of the support and take it out piece by piece. I don't think I've ever been able to remove an entire support in one piece. There's an idea for a video: How to quickly & efficiently remove supports from 3D prints. 'Course, I don't have much experience removing supports as I hardly every need them. I did have 1 guy tell me he finds Simply3D supports the easiest to remove, although I have no idea why.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Ender5r View Post
          How to quickly & efficiently remove supports from 3D prints.
          Shouldn´t that be How to print quickly & efficiently removable supports

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          • #6
            I think a video incorporating both topics would be even better.

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            • #7
              I avoid supports because mine can often be hard to remove but I realize I have a lot to learn about setting them up. If I go with automatic supports sometimes I trash the project removing them.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by roon4660 View Post
                I avoid supports because mine can often be hard to remove but I realize I have a lot to learn about setting them up. If I go with automatic supports sometimes I trash the project removing them.
                Funny! I never changed the Cura defaults. It just works when the printer is calibrated.

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                • #9
                  Remember Geit, our friend roon4660 is a PrusaSlicer user.

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                  • #10
                    I thought I would check in and found this subject. When I fist started printing, I did anything I could to avoid supports. At some point you understand that supports are a needed evil. Unless you know how to print in thin air, supports make a print successful. I tried CURA and Prusa Slicer with good results, but this is the reason I purchased SImplify3D. I know it is becoming outdated and no updates have been done forever, but it does supports so well. The automatic generation is almost flawless, and I can usually remove with my fingers. I have printed some parts that I still can't believe they worked with multiple layer height and extrusion changes mid print. My bottom line a failed print does not save any plastic, but a good print because of supports is a success.

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                    • #11
                      You're the 2nd person I've had tell me they use Simplify3D because it does supports so well. I once saw a print he was doing of Lady Justice. It was about 2 ft. tall and had incredibly tall supports. I asked him about it, and he just said the supports weren't an issue at all because he's using Simplfy3D.

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                      • #12
                        Click image for larger version

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ID:	4547 I have purchased a number of OmniaDrop direct drive systems. The main drive is all metal, but the body and other parts are 3D printed. This distresses a lot of people since they think they will fail. Sometimes they do because of user error. The have information on how to print them, but S3D is almost a requirement due to the complex slicing required. I have been very successful in printing my own parts. - see pictures - all from PETG

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                        • #13
                          Simplify3D *HAD* the best support back then, when they did updates. In the meantime Cura did catch up and even got better in several departments and Prusa managed to get a completely new slicer during that time period. Simplify3D is currently nothing more than abandoned software that lives from its prior success, but with the unwelcoming payed update, they will loose many people. Well, when there ever will be an update. The last one was announced to happen last year, if I remember correctly.

                          Also this software only works when internet and servers are available, which is never a good sign. Could be that they simply wait a few years to come and then kill the servers and leave the market.

                          I did not have a failed slice with Cura for a very long time and my parts are far more complex than the one shown in the image above. There is currently no reason to use a 150Euro product, when there are two absolutely free competitors which lead the market.

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                          • #14
                            I don't disagree. I have used both CURA and PrusaSlicer, but for me the cost was worth it.

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                            • #15
                              Interesting dilema. I think a lot of the questions will be resolved when (some will say if) Simplify3D gets its next major update. If it pushes the state of the art in serious ways, it may well actually increase the user base. If not, well.....

                              No doubt the fact that it's supposed to be a paid update will piss off many long time users, but whether it will make them abandon the program is a very different question. I suspect many will fork over the money, looking at it as a small price to pay for all the years they've been using it. As I said, it will depend a lot on the improvements, or lack thereof.

                              For example, I will certainly look at the new version when, and if, it's released. If it really sets a new high bar for slicers, I may well buy it and keep it for the trial period.

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