• June 21, 2024
  • Shatou, Changan, Dongguan, CN
3D printing support structures

How to remove supports in 3D printing?

The generation of support structures, usually automatically generated by slicing software, enhances bed adhesion and minimizes warping. However, these structures require additional post-processing steps to ensure perfect product structure and appearance.

Typically, supports are designed to be easy to remove, if you’re having trouble removing supports, it’s likely a problem with your printer setup.

This article takes an in-depth look at support structures and contouring techniques designed to remove them safely without compromising 3D print quality.

The best tools for removing supports

1. Use scissors and pliers

Cut off the supporting part with scissors and pliers, and be careful not to cut the printed parts.

2. Use a scraper and tweezers

Use a scraper to gently scrape off the support part, and use tweezers to remove the remaining support. Note that this method requires great care to avoid damaging the printed part.

3. Using Chemical Agents

Supports can be easily removed using some heavy corrosive chemicals such as hydrofluoric acid or sodium hydroxide. Be aware, however, that this method is very dangerous and requires extreme care with these chemicals.

4. Using pliers or blades

Carefully separate the supports with pliers or blades around the support part, the part with the support can then be pulled out with force. Again, this method requires great care to avoid damaging the printed part.

5. Use hot water

Immerse the 3D-printed part in hot water for a while to soften the supporting part, and then you can easily cut off the supporting part with a blade or scissors. Note that this method is only suitable for certain types of printing materials and may affect the quality of some 3D-printed parts.

Precautions before removing supports in 3D printing

1. The placement direction of the model when slicing

Slicing a model should give priority to placing the model at feasible angles. Models can be cut and printed in sections and reassembled if desired. Different placement angles will affect the consumption of support material and the printing effect. For example, for a printed cylinder, vertical placement requires no support, while horizontal placement requires more support and is more difficult to peel off.

2. Selection of support materials

When choosing support materials, consider using water-soluble materials, which are especially suitable for 3D printers with dual nozzles that are heated independently. One of the nozzles is used to eject the model material and the other is used to eject the support material. Removing the support material is relatively easy due to the different properties of the two materials.

3. The printing speed should be moderate

Moderate printing speed is the key, too fast or too slow will cause problems. Too fast rubber feedback will not be timely, too slow will increase time and material consumption, and accumulation will affect the quality. Please optimize speed, and improve efficiency and quality.

Precautions when removing 3D-printed support structures

1. Wait for cooling

After 3D printing is completed, first wait for the surface temperature of the printed object to drop below room temperature to ensure that the support structure can maintain its shape.

2. Carefully removed

For soft support structures, tweezers or scissors can be used to remove them carefully. For stiffer support structures, tools such as a wrench or pliers can be used.

3. Reduce damage

When removing the support structure, be careful to avoid damaging the printed parts. Imperfections left by the removal of the support structure can be repaired with a fine file or sandpaper. 

4. Safety guarantee

When removing the support structure, gloves and safety glasses should be worn to avoid being injured by small printed debris or tools.

Conclusion

In 3D printing, support structures are indispensable because they allow the creation of objects with complex geometries. If you’re having trouble removing supports, you may need to check your settings or use a better tool. Removing supports can be made easier by making the right setup decisions, and using the proper tools and materials.

If you are still having issues, we can provide you with a 3D printing service to print and deliver your project using high-quality materials. Please contact us for more information.

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