Support Structures can be considered an integral part of 3D Prints. Removing support structures can be tricky and it has to be done carefully. It becomes extremely hard to print without the help of the support structure, one can not print hanging, bridges, steep angles, and various other places. There are techniques to remove the support structure without damaging the actual print. Let us discuss it.
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Ways of removing support structure easily
Removing supports is always an option but we can be smart enough that at the time of the creation of the supports we choose certain settings so that support can easily be removed. Supports can be printed in various types. But some supports can easily be removed one can select the type of support in slicer settings and select zig-zag supports. Zig-zag supports can be easily removed and under the experimental tab select the break supports in chunks option by selecting this option the supports tend to come off in a single piece else some part of the support remains at the surface of the print and removing the supports from that joint gets difficult. Hence it is advised to check the support settings before one starts printing.
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Pull it by hand
When one is done with the printing process. There are some support structures that are big and can easily be pulled this is the first step in removing the supports. But this way is not enough to get rid of all the supports as some supports are so small and some are present at the places where our hands can not reach them so that we can not pull them. So some more techniques are followed
After pulling it from the hands one can use various tools to start with,
Needle nose plier, one can pull the support structures easily with the help of a needle-nose player it can easily grip the support structure on which we can not form a grip with our hands.
Needle nose plucker is the next tool that can be used it can reach those places where plier find it difficult, one can hold the support structure with the help of a plucker and can twist it gently by fallowing this the support comes off easily
Using a blade If still some support is remaining it can be managed with the help of a blade, it simply cuts the small pieces which can not be gripped with the help of a plucker
Filer this tool erases the rough edges of the detached support and is also used to push out the support particles.
Sandpaper does the work of giving a finishing touch to the support and print junction. The rough surface is simply rubbed with the help of the sandpaper and it levels it. Due to rubbing the place where the sandpaper is used, it loses its color. So, painting the 3D prints after sanding them will make them look attractive as the color will be uniform.
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No Support Structure
Usually, all the 3D prints require support structure but sometimes one can print the model in a certain direction to avoid support structure. The designs of the modes can also be modified to avoid or at least minimize the use of support structures. No support structure also means the reduced cost as less filament will be required to print.
Using soluble filament for printing supports
Printing the support structure with soluble filament is also a good option one can easily print the main model with one filament and for the support structure using soluble filament. These special types of filament are put in a bath for some time after which it dissolves and gets separated easily from the main model. To use such filament dual extruder printer is required in which one extruder uses a filament for the main print and the other extruder uses soluble filament for the support structure.
Avoid using support structure on the visible area
Printing should be done in such a manner that the support structure should come in contact with the places which are not directly visible such as under the surface. Since this can not be completely avoided hence the idea is to have the minimum visible area which is directly in contact with the support structure. Doing this can save a lot of time and post-processing and finishing. There are certain tools that help to achieve this one can select the area where support structures should be prevented from printing and these tools align and print the model according to it
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Using a heat gun or hairdryer can also ease the process. Hot air emitted from the heating gun is exposed at the junction of the Print surface and the support, the hot air melts the filament and softens the bond between the two after which support can easily be removed.
A heating gun should be used with care as overusing it can melt or deform the 3D prints. It should be used only for short durations.
Things to remember while removing support
3D prints are delicate and putting pressure on prints while removing support can damage them. Always remember to be gentle while using tools and don’t use enough force, as much force can damage the prints and break them.
Keep the Glue Handy
Removing support can be a tricky process, no matter how careful we are it can lead to breakage and spoiling of the print. So it is always advised to keep glue handy so that the broken pieces can be repaired immediately. The glue should be selected according to the filament material because they are also material-specific and do not work on some filament.
Wearing gloves is important as it prevents one from sharp edges of the support, and it is recommended to wear gloves while using sharp tools.
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