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Designing Custom Break-Away Supports

Hello All,

I am currently working on a project that I believe will require more functionality out of printed supports than what Preform currently offers. First, The supports are intended to improve printability at production scale by adding rigidity to tall, thin parts. While the parts have no considerable overhang, they show a lot of shifting toward the end of the print. Also, because there is no overhang, Preform will not allow me to place supports only to address the shifting issue.

So far, I have had success with designing a support structure in CAD similar to Preform auto-generated supports that I use to connect 4 of my parts together (like a truss running up the middle of the parts and connecting them). Connecting several parts makes the overall construction much more stable, and it has significantly reduced the layer shifting. However, I have had a hard time making my custom supports leave minimal material behind when removed, which brings me to my issue.

For this application, I would like a way to send the product still attached to the support structure and have it removed on site (there are a few reasons for this relevant to the product). The break away doesn’t need to be perfect, but I would like it to leave minimal support material on the actual part. Right now, I am trying to replicate Preform support tapers, but I am running into a few issues. I’m not sure how “touchpoint size” is really measured; I believe the website says it is diameter, but wouldn’t constant diameter cover more or less surface area depending on the curvature of the model it is connecting to? What I do know is that my tapers leave more material and sharper points than preform right now.

Any ideas for support design or parameters to test (surface area, angle of connection, etc.) would be greatly appreciated. Also, I would love to hear any other ideas for a print-in-place support/packaging design that would meet the inputs I have laid out.

Sorry, this question got kind of long, but I look forward to hearing your responses! I am printing in durable v2 on the Form3.