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Setting up Support Material in FDM Slicers

Does my Model Need Support Material? When thinking if your design needs support material the YHT rule can be a great way to understand what will work well, and what will need supports. – The letter Y can be printed …

Neil Sewell

September 21, 2020

Does my Model Need Support Material?

When thinking if your design needs support material the YHT rule can be a great way to understand what will work well, and what will need supports.

– The letter Y can be printed easy, as the model itself is self supporting, extending at 45 degrees from the horizontal at least.

– The centre of the H could have supports but they aren’t necessary. There will be options to assist within the slicer, however this would need optimising to obtain good results (get to know your printer)

– The arms on the letter T need supports as the geometry is not supported therefore it will fall down.

One useful tip is that 45 degrees is the perfect max overhang angle for setting up the support material. This is because as each layer is fused to the last, there will be a small offset that allows for curvature and geometry changes. This allows for layers to expand beyond its previous layer’s width; however, this will only go so far. When a feature is printed with an overhang that is less than 45 degrees from the horizontal it can sag, therefore needing support to hold it up.

3DWOX Desktop – Sindoh3D Printers

3DWOX desktop is the proprietary slicing software for Sindoh 3D printers. Sindoh printers include lower priced desktop examples, such as the DP200 and 3DWOX1, along with larger build volumes such as the 7X.

You can download the slicing software from here.

After importing your STL file the initial step to do in 3DWOX is to change the mode in the top left corner to advanced and orientate your model to the correct position if you haven’t done so already.

1. Go to settings, and on the Support placement drop down list select Everywhere.

2. The amount of support required will be calculated for the slicer, so no need to change this, apart from if you want to save time cleaning the print up.

3. Set the Overhang Angle to 45 degrees.

4. Click Apply then OK.  Then select Support Edit Viewer in the top right to preview.

The support material should have then been applied correctly and should be ready for printing.

Ultimaker Cura – Ultimaker Printers

Ultimaker Cura is the most popular 3D printing software on the market and is used for the entire range of Ultimaker products. These include the S5, S3 and the 2+, which are all easy to use desktop printers.

Download the slicer from here.

The initial step in Ultimaker Cura after importing your STL is to position your model so that it has the correct orientation. This can be done using the movement tools on the left-hand side. Ultimaker cura will show where the support material is needed, this will be displayed in red.

1. Firstly you select custom from the drop down menu in the top right.

2. Locate Support on the drop down list and click on the settings icon, then from the drop down list on the top right select Advanced.

3. Select the Generate Support box from the list below.

4. For support placement select Everywhere and set the support overhang angle to 45 Degrees. The slicer software will determine how much support material is needed, so unless you need to save time clearing the print up this can be left as is.

5. After this select Slice and then Preview.

After this you should have a finished preview of the final model with the support material present.

ideaMaker – Raise3D Printers

The idealMaker software is the primary software for all of the Raise3D line of printers. These include desktops printers such as the E2, as well as their range of industrial printers, the Pro 2 and the Pro 2 Plus.

Download the slicer from here.

After you import your STL file the ideaMaker software has two different ways of creating support for your model, both of which will be shown below.

Method 1

1. After orientating the model to the correct position, select Support from the toolbar at the top of the screen.

After doing this bring up the Support Structure window by clicking on the spanner icon on the left-hand side of the screen.

2. Click on the model so it changes colour. Then change the Pillar Size to 2mm, and then change the Overhang Angle to 45 degrees. The Touch Platform Only checkbox ensures that the support material will only begin at the build platform and raise up to the model when you click Create auto Supports. (as shown below)

Supports when Touch Platform Only box has been checked

However this is not correct for the model being used here, so we will uncheck the box and click Create Auto Supports again. (image shown below)

Supports when Touch Platform Only is unchecked

3. These supports can be removed individually by clicking on the Remove button below the Create Auto Supports button, the blue highlighting helps you see which part of the support material you are removing.

Method 2

1. The second way to add support material is to select Start Slicing, select the main template you want to use, and then click Edit to get to Advanced Settings. Go to the Support section and set your parameters to the same as the image shown below.

2. Then click Save -> Slice -> Preview. After doing this your model should be complete.

The support material that is done using the second method is usually superior to the first method. This is because the supports that are produced using the first method are too solid and interfere with the part.

Eiger – Markforged Printers

Eiger is Markforged 3D’s own cloud based slicer software for all of their line up of printers. That includes their desktop range; The Onyx One, Onyx Pro and Mark Two. Their Industrial range, the X3, X5 and X7 which feature larger build volumes and exclusive materials, and finally their metal printer the Metal X.

Eiger is a simple, automated software that does the majority of the work for you, so you don’t have to waste time setting up parameters when using their printers.

1. Firstly import your STL. file into Eiger.

2. Open your file, select your material and click calculate. After this has finished check settings before clicking Internal View. Eiger will have done most of the work for you, and all you will need to do is hit print.

Final thoughts

Solid Print3D is here to help you make the right decision with your next 3D Printer purchase. For more information, please call Solid Print3D at 01926 333 777 or email at

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