Form 3 Supports

I just got a Form 3. I came from an FDM printer and print mostly figures. The first thing I noticed is ALL the marks left on the beautiful prints from the supports. Default supports from PreForm give a LOT of supports. I’m used to FDM printers where you only get supports for overhangs. PreForm give supports for EVERYTHING, even verticle surfaces. Am I missing something for SLA printers? Is overhang relevant? I get the impression that supports are more to hold the print as opposed to supporting overhangs and such. What is really needed? How can I minimize all those bumps and pits on my models?

There are some articles on the formlabs site that explain supports.Supports are essential because of the way these machines work .Most of what you learned form FDM pritners doesnt apply to SLA printers.For example you want to avoid having parts with flat surface parallel to the build surface with SLA printers. If you are using the preform one click print option just be aware it often doesnt give you an optimal result. What I do for figures is play around the the orientation to ensure the supports are on the part of the figure that is easiest to sand.So in most cases you want the face pointing upwards so there wont be any supports on the may take so trial and error to get a good result.If you could post a form file with you current orientation I can try to give you some pointers.
You will always need to sand off the supports.You can reduce the size of the touchpoints and edit where they are placed to make your sanding job easier. The other thing you can do if you get chips in the resin is get a UV laser pen and drop some uncured resin on the chip and use the laser to cure it.You can also use this technique to glue parts together and when you sand you will have a perfectly filled seam

Yes. I’ve already figured out a lot of that. Especially about getting supports away from details. I got a mini dremel and am using it with micro diamond rasps. Also found an exacto works better for cutting supports lose than the flush cutters. Any thoughts on best options for point size and density? I did a very detailed figure and had supports EVERYWHERE. Made it hard to wash and hard to remove. On the plus side this was the first time I’ve gotten that particular figure to full print. Usually I lose arms and legs.

I found that .40 supports are the largest I need at the base area. From there the size of the supports can get smaller down to .10 as you move away from the base area.

Is that tip size or density. Currently I am using .50 tip size and .80 density

0.8 is way too much. I usually do 0.3 to 0.6, most supports are 0.4

Okay … that gives me something to play with. Tip size 0.1 to 0.4, Support density 0.3 to 0.6. The sound about right?

If you use a small point size the support will twist off without cutting.

Also try and orientate you model so that the supports do not span between different parts of the model.

While I can’t speak to the Form3 user experience, I also mostly print figures. I can’t say enough how the purchase of a Wondercutter (ultrasonic knife) has made a huge difference in support removal on these pricey resin prints. Far fewer divots to have to fill in later. :slight_smile:

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