3D Printing Supports: What They Are and When You Need Them
3D printing has revolutionized the way we design and create various objects. It has a wide range of applications, from rapid prototyping to various manufacturing processes. One of the most critical aspects of 3D printing is the use of supports. These supports help in creating complex shapes and designs that cannot be printed on their own without additional support. In this article, we will take a closer look at what 3D printing supports are and the different scenarios in which you need them.
What Are 3D Printing Supports?
3D printing supports are structures that are temporarily printed alongside the primary model to provide additional support during the printing process. They are designed to hold the overhanging or complex shapes that would otherwise collapse or be distorted during printing. 3D printing supports can also help in reducing the risk of structural failures by reinforcing weak points on the model.
When Do You Need 3D Printing Supports?
1. Overhangs and Bridges
One significant reason why 3D printing supports are necessary is for printing intricate overhangs and bridges. These are parts of the model that extend horizontally without a solid base. Printing them without support would result in deformation and collapse. 3D printing supports ensure that these delicate parts remain in place, allowing the printer to create complex shapes accurately.
2. Printing in ABS Materials
ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) is a popular thermoplastic used in 3D printing. It is strong, durable, and resistant to high temperatures. However, printing in ABS can be challenging since it tends to warp and shrink as it cools down. Using 3D printing supports helps in reducing the impact of warping and shrinkage, ensuring that the model remains stable during printing.
3. Intricate Geometries
Intricate geometries are models with complex shapes, curves, and angles that cannot be printed without supports. The use of 3D printing supports in these cases helps in holding the geometry in place, preventing warping, and ensuring that the final product is accurate.
In summary, 3D printing supports are essential for creating complex and intricate designs that cannot be printed on their own. They help to hold up overhangs and bridges, reduce warping in ABS materials, and create accurate and intricate geometries. With the right use of supports, you can achieve high-quality printing results consistently. So next time you’re preparing a 3D model for printing, don’t forget to add supports where necessary.