Removing Support material is impossible

OK. I’m wondering if anyone has any secrets for removing supports. I have played with settings and reduced them as much as possible but some of my prints just cant be done without them and I can not believe how hard it is to get them off. And when I do get them off it always seems to have a messed up surface under the supports.

I am running a Lulzbot mini and absolutely love it. Super easy to run and getting some consistent nice prints with it, but no matter what I change in the supports settings, I cant seem to make any improvement in making the supports even reasonably easy to remove.

I primarily use ABS, but have the same problems with HIPS and PLA.

I am stuck with single material prints so running a dual head with HIPS and ABS mixed isnt possible.

Are there any settings that will help make the supports removable? I am using pliers s and a dremel now and am still having trouble with getting them off. I have them turned back to 10% and tried increasing the gaps in the expert settings but it doesn’t seem to make any difference.

Any tips? Thanks in advance.

BTW I’m not sure if this should go in the Hardware or the software section so I am guessing here and just putting this question in Hardware.

Supports can be tricky to get working because other problems perhaps not noticed till you needed to use support material can cause them to fuse to the print.

For example, when i first started using support i noticed that my printer was over-extruding. This extra filament cause the support material to essentially become one with the part. Trying to break the support off required the use of tools like you have described. (Dremel, pliers, Knife, Hot Knife).

Assuming all else is working as intended I use the following Slic3r settings any time i need to print supports.

  • Contact Z distance = Layer Height (This has always helped prevent sagging underneath my supports
  • Pattern = Any (Try them all, you’ll notice some options look better in the preview window than others depending on your object shape.
  • Pattern Angle = 0
  • Interface Layers = 0 (Any number above 0 seems to cause the supports in slic3r to just fuse to everything.)
  • Interface Pattern spacing = 0
  • Don’t support bridges = 0 or 1. (I tend to support long bridges)

These settings could probably be tweaked to use less filament or even be quicker while printing. However when it comes to the voodoo magic behind support i’ve adopted the well enough mentality.

Of importance to note is the fact that I am currently using the latest version of Slic3r. Somewhere in these forums i do remember users reporting greater ease with an older version of slic3r. I like the current version 1.2.9 since most of the support material seems to just fall off with significant ease.

Thanks for the reply Crono

I am running Cura. (actually still running the version that came with my lulzbot mini on the USB drive from the box. 14.09) I may try installing slic3r and seeing what I can do with it. So far I haven’t really started playing with different software. This is my first printer and I’ve only had it for a few weeks. I’m still learning the ins and outs of the software that came with it and what all of the settings do. I just created a simple fast run part designed to test some different support types and it will print in 15 min so I can quickly see what the changes do.

Cura doesn’t seem to have as many settings as what you mentioned for slic3r.

Because you mentioned the different versions of the software, I just found a newer version of Cura for download from the lulzbot site. (15.02.1) I will start with updating that and see what it looks like. I’ll also check out slic3r.

Than ks for the tips. I’ll let you know what I figure out.

I use Cura mostly for objects that require raised text or the smoothest top surfaces as it seems to handle it better than slic3r. I use Slic3r for everything else. While everybody has their preference Slic3r V1.2.9 has ended up being my default go to for the majority of my prints.

I did notice the newest version of Cura after reading your post and i’ll have to put that through its paces and come up with a new comparison. It seems like its a constant process to use the best slicer.

If what you are printing is not terribly personal feel free to post the .STL and I’d be happy to give it a shot at printing and compare the results.

Go to the Expert Settings in Cura and find the “Distance Z” setting. It’s probably set to 0.05 or something similar. Change it to 0.15 or 0.2.

I was having the same problem. Changing Distance Z made all the difference in the world. My first few prints were fine, but I think a Cura update changed the defaults because I don’t have a better explanation for whatever changed.

Thanks for the replys. I downloaded slic3r and see it has alot more options than cura. Too many for me right now. I am still working on understanding all of the settings on cura. I’ll try slic3r eventually but for now I am going to stick to cura until I get that figured out completely.

I had already tried increasing the z distance in cura. I doubled it from the default of .05 to .1 and that didn’t seem to make a difference. I’ll try doubling it again up to .2 and give that a try.

I, too, have this problem. I have tried tweaks in both Cura and Slic3r. I just don’t know what to try. When I tried expert mode in Cura, my print wouldn’t stick to the plate, so now I’m more confused. Any suggestions would help! My students are all creating Christmas ornaments that require support material, but it takes so much effort to remove it. Attached is one of the files.
Brown 3D Printing.stl (45.4 KB)

Increasing the Z distance in the expert setting screen on Cura seemed to be the best help for me. I have been running it up to .2 and found that helped alot. Also increase the XY gap. Make it at least 1mm. Even 2mm doesn’t seem to have a negative effect on the function of the supports. Also, spending alot of time adjusting the support material percentage. Set it as low as it looks like you can get away with. I use the support preview and look where it is placed on the part and keep reducing the percentage until it looks like it may not be supported properly.

Also, turn up the support overhang angle. The lulzbot does a great job with printing overhang so the default setting of 45 degrees is really conservative. In some cases I turn it down all the way to 80 degrees.

This is just what I have found in my own experimentation. I hope it helps.

If you do a lot of parts that use support, invest in a copy of Simplify 3D. It has the best support system of any of them. You can manually edit the supports. That alone is worth the price of the software.

@Nopick, I have heard about Simplify - our school is considering getting it, but I don’t make that call. Our tech head is testing it with mixed results.

@Jhautz, I will try in Cura. Seems like the files exported in Slic3r work better than Cura, but it’s worth another try! If you have any other details on that specific setting, let me know. Some of it is just confusing to me.