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Pre-Form Support Option for "stay away from edges"

Dear Formlabs team, I print a lot of gears. A lot. And every time I load them into pre-form, the auto-generated supports always end up touching the edges of the gear teeth. This is bad because it will affect the finish of the teeth, causing meshing/friction issues.

Therefore, I have to manually move MANY touchpoints which takes a very long time and is very laborious.

It would be great if the auto-generated supports had an option for “avoid edges”, possibly even with a minimum distance option (e.g. outer edge of the touchpoint sphere should be at least 0.2mm away from any edge of the printed part).

In the picture, I have circled a few examples of auto-generated touchpoints that I have to change (bad), and touchpoints that were auto-generated that were acceptable (good).

Best regards,
Arjun

5 Likes

100%. I hate supports that are on edges too!

2 Likes

Great idea, I too have some print cases where I manually move supports away from the edges.
Usually I put my clean edge on top so as to not have any supports, but there are cases where you can’t avoid it…

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Yup that’s what I do too! And for some parts, like you mentioned and like the gears in the picture in the original post, it is just unavoidable.

I hope the formlabs team can add something like this for us, would really help streamline the design-to-finished-part process for us!

Unfortunately the coders have no way of knowing which side of the edge you take to be the ‘good’ side.

Even though it would be nice if the software somehow recognized which faces were more important than others, I don’t think it matters.

As long as the software knows to keep touch points away from the edge of any/all faces, I believe it should solve the problem.

Even if a touchpoint ends up getting generated on a face one doesn’t want any touch points on, that is still way fewer auto-generated touch points that require editing/adjusting compared to how it is now.

Also, since almost all touch points are applied to the face(s) that are facing towards the build platform, the orientation one places their part already dictates which face(s) will receive the touch points. So as long as the auto-generated supports stay away from the edge of the faces that they were anyway going to be applied to, then that should work as a good set of support structures without all the labor of moving them!

I’m sure there may be other considerations, but I do believe it is doable.

You can’t entirely avoid edges. Most parts prints angled and supports are required at the leading edges where a layer starts. (I think your annotated diagrams correctly avoided complaining about those ones)

I feel your pain, but sometimes I prefer the touchpoints on an edge as they’re easier to sand away without marring the surrounding surfaces. I think there’s other slicer software out there that let’s you paint “no-go” zones on your part.