Suggestions for removing supports without destroying the model

One of the things I’d hoped to use my Snapmaker2 for was printing 3D miniatures for my D&D games. I’m not having problems with the prints per-se, but I have yet to be able to remove the supports from a mini without breaking it in some way. I’ve tried various options on the support panel like changing the pattern from zig-zag to lines and I’ve tried reducing the density from 15 to 5% figuring the less material I’m removing the less likely I’d be to break things (though that doesn’t seem to be holding up).

I’m printing with the material black PLA material that came with the unit.

This what the typical final print looks like:

And what I end up with if I’m lucky… (not the same mini as above)

I’m using needle-nose tweezers to try and gently pull off the support material but sometimes pulling the support takes away the base model as well.

Any suggestion or pointers would be greatly appreciated!

I was going to suggest needle noise pliers. I’ve had good luck grabbing a single strip of support the long way, then rolling the pliers against the model. It’s slow, and gives me time to observe the model as I pull.

Most of my models were less delicate than your figures though, and the overhang being supported was broad enough to roll the pliers against. In your case, you could try a mix of that when possible, and an Xacto knife for areas without something to leverage against. I found the pliers leave a better finish that requires less sanding though.

I am a little surprised to see that you broke that figure off at the ankles though. Which quality print setting are you using, and how much force are you applying to remove the support?

If that still isn’t enough, Cura has some advanced options for generating support structures.

Normal quality. I think the reason they tend to break at the ankles is because it’s a relatively thin portion of the model and if in pulling the strip free I get any kind of bending with respect to the base the ankles break because the bend is parallel to the print layers and that’s where the model is weakest.

Is Cura a different slicer?

Wire cutters are another option—they’re my typical go-to for stringing or serious elephant’s foot. As a last resort, you could try melting things free with a very careful application of a soldering iron (warning: you won’t be able to use that tip for soldering again).

Cura is a different slicer, yes—Luban’s slicer was forked from an old version of it, but Cura proper has more options. It’s free and open-source.

I use simplify 3d, with this slicer is it possible to set a free space between the support and the object.- The same option would be available with CURA, i guess.- This would be some trail and error to figure out the correct settings for your filament.

Generally i would suggest to print such little parts a bit cooler or with a tower to expand the print time/ let the part cool down.- This wobble things seem to be printed to hot.

Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll give both a try. I’m utterly new to this stuff.

If you are looking to improve the “removability” of support structures I would suggest you use a more powerful slicer such as Cura or Slic3r.

In Cura you can change the vertical distance between the support material and the model, this is a fine balance between giving adequate support and being stuck together loosely enough that you can pull the support free without leaving any marks or damage to the print.

An alternative would be to try Cura’s tree support feature which, instead of generating a large block of support material that contacts the entire surface of the piece within a certain area, instead creates branches of support that contact the model in smaller but deliberately placed locations.

As an example, here is an image of a piece I printed using tree supports before and after I removed the support material. The entire support structure was removed as a single piece and snapped off easily leaving little to no marking on the part.

1 Like

I’m assuming that this the Cura software that you download from the Ultimaker site? I’ve been playing around with it but I’m not seeing much in the way options when it comes to supports. This is what I’m seeing, am I missing something obvious?

Click on the pencil in the corner to access your print setting such as speed, temps, etc.

Once you have that you can click on the gear icon next to certain categories to select additional settings to display and modify.

Tree supports are under the experimental category:

Please note, you should not tick generate support as well as tree support else you will get both overlapping. Choose one or the other depending on what youre comfortable using/you have deemed best for your specific print.

1 Like

Okay, so I’m trying to get a successful print with Cura. I used the SM2 Ultra Fine profile provided by @Atom and while I had some initial issues with the bed temperature not getting set I eventually got that fixed (I think). I started a print this afternoon of a couple of mini’s. Everything looked fine for a while, the raft built cleanly and the mini bases seemed to be okay but then everything just sort of fell apart and the filament just starting winding into a cloud around the nozzle.

I could post the Cura settings but I have no idea which ones would be useful to see.

Sounds like a hot end clog or filament feed issue. Make sure you can pull your fillwment from the spool smoothly and consistently. And try heating your hot end up and manuly pushing filament through it. If it does not extrude straight down then you have a partial clog.

1 Like

I checked the nozzle and it seemed like filament was extruding straight without any hiccups though there was a some filament resident on the outside of the nozzle. So I cleaned that off and tried this again and got a very similar result.

Here’s what I’m trying to print:

Here’s what Cura says it’s going to do:

Here’s what my Snapmaker produces:

The only thing I can think that’s odd in watching the print is that the bed temperature stays at 70C the whole time. I seem to remember that the Luban prints usually start at 70C and then drop to 50C at some point.

@StumbleRunner I won’t lie to you, I’m at loss of what could be happening here. Could you try printing a calibration cube with the cura settings? Also would you mind giving me the stl of one of your miniatures? I would like to run it through my workflow and see if I get the same results. I will do my best to help you figure this out. And if there is a problem with the cura profile I posted i would like to fix it.

I’ve attached a link to my “Double Thud” stl file because it’s larger than the 4MB max. I’ve got the calibration cube printing. Is there somewhere in Cura where you set the bed temperature? I’ve noticed that I have either manually edit the g-code file or adjust the Snapmaker settings when I start the print otherwise the bed doesn’t heat up.

Here’s my calibration cube. It probably looked a tiny bit better before I tried to remove it. I forgot to change the infill density (default 15%) and it crushed a bit like an eggshell when I tried to loosen it.

That is horribly under extruded, have you calibrated your e steps yet?

Showing my newbie-hood, I have never heard of e-steps.
I reprinted the Cura calibration cube with 100% infill. I also reprinted the g-code from my original calibration cube (just to see if I’d mucked up the printer somehow). Here’s how they compare to my very first calibration cube print (original cube on left, cura cube in middle, reprinted original on right):

And your using my cura settings or the ones that SM provides?

Clearly there is something going on with the cura settings,
Maybe try this profile?

As far as e step calibration (something you should do to get better prints in general) here is a thread about that:
Extruder Calibration a must

These were your cura settings, because those were the first ones I found :slight_smile: