Tips on support

Anyone have any advice for printing without too many supports. So much cleaning and cutting once it is printed. Please help thanks.

It really depends on what you are trying to print, the resin you are using and with printer you have.

Let’s just say that most of Formlabs samples are printed without supports.

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I routinely lower support density to 70%, and I reduce the touchpoint size to 0.4mm. Sometimes i have to add a few supports when I do this. Other times, I can even remove a few (I try to position my models so the front faces won’t be marred by support puckers). The only time I go with full supports is when the model has a large cross-section in any layer, since more supports withstand peeling better.

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My best advice is try and design your part not to need them. e.g. Chamfer inside corners of overhangs so instead of instead of a T shape you get something like a Y.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the amount of times I’ve been able to substantially reduce or even eliminate supports by staying mindful of the constraints of the print process during the design stage.

Of course that isn’t always possible. In that case, as the others said, part orientation and touchpoint size are the knobs you can play with. Discovering how small/sparse you can get away with while maintaining desired tolerances will help.

For a small, very delicate print recently I actually got down to 0.1mm auto-generated touchpoints and then manually placed several ~0.3mm ones where needed (particularly on slicer “islands” where a section of the model begins). I also used third-party software to create a highly-customized structure for tricky areas where Preform would have placed internal supports. You certainly won’t be able to be that aggressive for all types of shapes.

You can also consider breaking apart your model into more than one piece to allow more favorable orientation for problematic sections and gluing them together afterward.


Billb. Yes I see that FORMLAB prints without any support. I was trying to print a eternity band with support but that didn’t work out. Maybe not enough support on the prongs?

Thank you I will try using smaller supports. But my goal is to print without no supports because their is so much clean up after especially after casting. Let me know if you have any other ideas thanks a bunch.

Thank you

The one caution I’d offer when reducing support density is that the less supports you have, the greater the size of the “pimples” left behind by the support touchpoints. I try and orient my models so supports are exclusively aligned along sharp creases (like corners or edges) or are on the back side of the model I don’t care so much about. For some mechanical models, I print the Z dimension a little thicker and then sand it down to get rid of the touchpoint bumps. I avoid printing directly on the build plate. The models can be hard to remove without damaging them, and the “precompression” that’s done on the first layers is hard to calibrate out so that the print dimensions are correct.