Information on Printing Support Material?

I’m interested in learning how to print objects that need support material using a TAZ. I have read that one uses a dual-extruder to do this. Is this the only way? If a dual-extruder is the way to go, what kind of filament should be used for the support structures? How does one remove it when they are dont the print? Any links to a “How To” or video tutorial would be appreciated.

Related to this, if printing objects that need support material requires a dual extruder, then is it a fact that the Lulzbot Mini can’t print such objects because the dual extruder sold for the Lulzbot doesn’t work on the mini? Or is there another dual extruder one can buy?

You DO NOT need a dual extruder to print support material.

Learning to use the support material option is sort of an art, and it simply takes practice and time to get it right.

Design a simple part with a big enough overhang, and use the support material configuration (if using ABS). Or manually click the support material option if using some other material.

(I use Slic3r, and the support material option is right there. I also print in ABS only and there are support material configurations already created by Lulzbot which provide a great place to start.)

Something like this simple part: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:272880

Print it.

See what happens. Then adjust some things in Slic3r and print again. See what happens.

Nice! I tried it out and yes, it worked. Although I can imagine printing a more complex object and having a real difficult time removing the support material from the final print once it is done. I suppose this is the advantage of a dual-extruder? I heard you can print using support material that can melt away when dipped in a solution. That would make things considerably easier. But this is great to know that 2 extruders are not required.

Thanks a lot for that link to test this out.

That’s where experimenting with settings and stuff comes in. You have to find the balance between ease of removal and support for structure.

You just have to try something and see what works. Then try again.

Happy printing.

If you use a dual extruder you can print the support material with a soluble filiment, then when the print is done soak the part in the fluid that dissolves the support leaving the rest of the part alone. This is routine on commercial 3D printers. For example PVA filament is soluble in water, and HIPS filiment is soluble in limonene (limonene imparts an strong smell of oranges). I haven’t tried either of these but there are many others who have for example see: http://www.3ders.org/articles/20130228-3d-printing-parts-with-overhangs-using-new-dissolvable-support-material.html

John