Any good soluable support material filament/settings?

Had our TAZ Pro for a couple years now, never had much success using the second extruder for soluable support material. We have tried a number of different filaments and hundreds of different setting changes.

Issues tend to be plugging nozzle, not sticking to bed, making large messes and jams.

I’ve tried temps up and down, speeds, purges, you name it. Maybe someone has this figured out or there’s a thread?

I guess that sort of answers my question. None. LOL. Noone else can get it to work either.

The default settings in Cura are a good starting point, but note that the filament itself is very temperamental.

Wet filament is a big issue with PVA based materials as even leaving the filament out overnight can cause it to absorb too much moisture from the air and cause it to have printing issues.

It should be stored in an airtight container (zip lock bags are generally not airtight), it should be printed from a drybox to ensure that it does not absorb moisture while printing, and it should be dried before use.

With bed adhesion, you want to apply glue stick to your bed. PVA is basically glue stick filament and adding a layer will allow it to stick to the bed easier.

So how do you typically store yours? We do have a drybox to print from. We also always use glue sticks.

I’ve had mixed results.

I have PVA (Polymaker PolyDissolve S1). It’s is difficult to use but I have had some success.

  1. Make sure it works with the filament used for your part. E.g. PVA works with things like PLA, TPU, & Nylon … but semi-usable with PETG. But it doesn’t work well with ABS or PC.

  2. Make sure it is dry. I have a toaster oven with a dehydrate mode (I’ve had no luck with filament dryers made for 3d printing filaments). Check the recommended settings… PVA is usually dried at temps around 45-50°C. It’s MUCH better than any filament dryer I’ve tested.

  3. Make sure you are printing at the recommended temperature (e.g. PolyDissolve is 220°C) but important not to let it cook in the print-head if not actively printing (make sure the head drops down to a standby temp well-below 200°C). PVA can react in such a way that it wont soften and will jam the head (requiring removal and clean-out the hard way).

  4. Reduce maximum retraction count … I set mine to 4. I set the Minimum extrusion distance window to 3mm. This is because PVA is very soft and EASY to chew up if the slicer does excessive retractions.

  5. I use a prime-tower and set a fairly generous prime amount. The first bits that come out after the head heats up from standby will be pretty rough.

  6. The TAZ Pro may throw a filament jam error even if the filament isn’t actually jammed due to the nature of PVA. I usually disable the jam sensor (you can turn it off via the LCD panel.)

  7. Supports usually print with a fairly loose “support interface” with a bit of a gap so that the part material will “gently rest” on the interface layer and be easy to break away. Since PVA will dissolve away … you don’t need to worry about ease of removal (warm water will take care of that). So I set my “Support Z distance” to 0.

  8. It strings heavily and is a bit messy to use PVA. I am very strategic about how I orient my part relative to my priming tower and use of other settings regarding head-travel to try to keep it from stringing PVA through printed areas of the part.

Thank you Tim. Will give much of this a try.