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5 Easy Support Structure Removal Tips for 3D Prints

3D printing can create a great number of things, but it takes work before you can get your 3D prints to end up looking like your design.

If you’ve been FDM 3D printing for a while, you know that 3D prints do not come out already looking like the finished product. Aside from post-processing, you also need to remove the support structure that acts as beams to keep the overhanging parts of your print from falling or sagging.

Since it is part of a print, removing the support structure is no joke. You can’t just yank it off and expect that it will come out easily. Yes, there are times that you can remove it by hand or needle nose pliers for some support materials. But for other cases, you may need to practice extra care in removing structure support. Here are the 5 3D Support Removal tips that still keep your 3D print intact.

Use a 3D printer equipped with dual extruders

The good thing about dual extruder-equipped 3D printers is that you can use a different and easily dissolvable material for your support structure. This comes in handy when you’re using a primary filament that is especially tough and high-maintenance. With these 3D printers, you can easily remove the support material by dissolving the print in a chemical water bath.

A bit of heat helps with manual removal

If you’re planning to use a knife or scraper to remove the support structure, slightly heat up the blade first with a tiny butane torch so that it’ll be easier to cut into the support. You can also choose to heat the model instead, but you have to be careful not to turn the heat too high as it might melt and deform your model. You also have to keep in mind that one false move with a blade can chop off a part of the model or even your fingers so keep safe.

Sanding away can remove support and remove the marks

Using a wet high-grit sandpaper (between 220 to 1200 grits) on your 3D print can remove the support as well as polish the surface to remove the marks. However, this will take more time and effort than other methods, so you might want to use the next method if you’re in a rush.

Grind your 3D print with handheld grinding tools

Handheld grinders, such as Dremel, have attachments that make 3D printing support removal a breeze. It wears away at the support structure until it leaves a smooth finish. Again, be cautious about your movements as it may destroy your 3D print creation.

Cover up your marks with clear nail polish

Sometimes, you can’t help but leave stress marks, especially if you’re 3D print is made of PLA. When this happens, brush on a clear nail polish to conceal the scratches or marks.

The Only Way to Skip the 3D Print Support Removal Step

The support structure may be a nuisance to remove, but it is necessary for creating your 3D print masterpieces. There is only one way to avoid this step and post-processing altogether though.

It is by outsourcing your 3D print projects to us. We have just recently launched our 3D Printing Services where we can print and deliver your 3D printing projects using our wide array of high-quality 3D printing filaments. Fill up our order form to request for a quote or you can email us at x3d@x3d.com.au for other inquiries.