Printing w/ Supports

I am printing models of fossils and I need to use supports (touching only). WHAT is the best and cleanest way to remove the supports ?

I can remove most of the material, but it is difficult where the model made contact on the plate to get it clean; looks very rough and ugly. Any assistance is greatly appreciated.

The best and cleanest way to remove supports is use a dual extruder and print the supports with a soluble filament. PVA (water soluble) if you print with PLA and HIPS (Limonene soluble) if you print with ABS.

If you don’t have a dual extruder, then you have to fine-tune the parameters associated with the supports. Which slicer you use can have the biggest effect because supports are often implemented differently in each slicer. Some slicers will allow manual placement or removal of the supports, and the easiest to remove are the ones that didn’t get printed!

IMO, CuraLE support implementation isn’t as good as Ultimaker Cura. Other popular slicers with different implementations are PrusaSlicer and Simplify3D ($149).

Here is a simple object I use for experimenting with supports, SupportTest.stl (12.9 KB)

Removal of supports printed with the same material as the object is mostly a matter of patience and perseverance. Tools to use include needle nose pliers, side cutters, sand paper, files, etc.

Do you have pictures of the actual print or the layer view of the model in Cura? We might be able to help with parameters and advice with that. Options could be increase support density, increase/decrease overhang angle, and changing some of the x,y,z settings for how supports interact with the model. If its PLA you can use a heat source to get rid of any white strain marks where support was removed.

Using a dual extruder is technically the best option for FDM printers, however the extruder is expensive and so is the soluble filaments. Hopefully with pictures we can figure out a more available solution.

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Hope these helps ! THANKS :slight_smile:

Thank you … thinking maybe a dremel to sand down the rough parts

Be careful with the Dremel… Generates heat pretty fast and heat is the enemy of the plastic you just “melted” and so carefully placed!

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Pictures provided of before and after.

Thanks !

Try changing your “Support Z Distance” in Cura. .4 seems to work good for me but you may need to experiment.

Wow, I was expecting something more geometric.
I don’t think you’ll have amazing results any way you do it on an FDM without soluble supports. You could print the model in two parts and glue the halves together, that way you wouldn’t have a need for many supports. This would be a great model for a resin based machine.
As far as settings to tweak, its hard to say because this really is a strange model. I would try a zigzag support, increase the density to ~45, increase the overhang angle to ~50deg and maybe turn on support interface to get a roof on the supports.
Wish I could be of more help.

Thanks … you offered lots of ideas to explore.