How To Remove Supports From 3D Prints

We are currently living in a technological world, where everything from phones to computers continue to evolve with each passing day. Because of this, we now live in a society where you can contact your friends and family from anywhere on the planet and where even televisions have internet access.

But, by far the most amazing thing to come from this new age is the 3D printer, which allows you to print 3D models and designs.

However, this does not mean that 3D printers do not come with their setbacks, as some 3D models are printed with overhanging parts that need to be supported by delicate support structures. And while this can prove beneficial for the finished product, it can be difficult to remove these supports if you do not have the skill or knowledge. So if you want to know how you can remove these supports, then you have come to the right place.

In the following article, we are going to teach you how to remove the supports from your 3D models, while also outlining the tools and supplies you will need to get the job done.

We have also gathered some important information concerning 3D prints and the materials that will need support during the printing process. So if you have a 3D model and want to remove the supports, this article has everything you need to get started…

When Do 3D Prints Need Support?

If you order your 3D models through online services, then you will never need to design a support structure for your print. This is because many 3D printer companies use materials that work completely free of supports, especially those that use power-based technologies such as laser sintering.

On the other hand, technologies such as resin-based stereolithography or filament-based FDM printers will need supports to ensure the structural integrity of your work. However, many online services will also design their own support structures during the printing process, which are then removed by trained personnel before the print is packaged and shipped.

Unfortunately, there is one exception to this rule. In order to make 3D printing cheaper, some online services will offer the option of standard resin prints, which are then printed and shipped with the supports still intact. Not only does this allow the company to spend less money on high-budget materials, but it also requires less manual labor.

Of course, this also means that your print will come with the supports still attached, which can be hard to remove if you do not have the proper experience. So if you want to know how you can remove the supports from your 3D print, we have outlined everything you will need in the following sections:

What You Will Need

Before we can teach you how to remove the supports from your 3D prints, you must first understand the various tools available to get the job done. Fortunately, there are countless professional tools that can be purchased for your 3D printer, with Filament Friday even producing their own toolbox.

To help you understand the kind of tools you will need, we have compiled the following list, which covers all the essential supplies that every 3D professional should own:

  • Flush Cutters: these flush cutters can be used to cut away the supports and thin material attached to your 3D prints.
  • Needle Nose Pliers: these needle nose pliers can be used to remove the excess filament from the extruder nozzle.
  • Spatula Tool: this spatula features a very thin blade, which allows it to slide underneath your 3D prints with ease.
  • Glue Stick: this glue can be used to apply some better adhesion to the heated bed of your 3D printer, which can make your prints more stable.
  • Clean-Up Knives: when using a 3D printer, your models are always going to have some excess material, which is why you need a knife cut to remove the remaining debris.
  • Wire Brush: use your wire brush to wipe away any excess filament on the extruder nozzle or print bed.

How To Remove Supports From 3D Prints

Now that you understand what you will need, let’s take a look at how you can remove the supports from your 3D prints in a safe and controlled manner.

Removing the supports from 3D prints can be a long and tedious process, which can even prove dangerous in certain contexts. This is because the supports on 3D prints are commonly made from plastic, which can be sharp and cause injury if handled improperly. That is why it is important to assess how the professionals remove supports, as they have the training to do so without causing harm or damaging the structure of the print.

To remove the supports, you must first displace the model from the bed surface and then analyze where the supports are attached. It can be very easy to damage your model while removing the supports, so you need to make sure where the supports are coming from and how you can remove them without fuss.

Once you have identified the smaller and larger sections of the supports, grab your cutters and remove the smaller sections, as these will be weak and easier to remove. If you start the removal process by tackling the large supports, then you could risk damaging your print while trying to remove it.

After you have cleared the smaller sections, you should be able to remove the larger sections more freely. This will usually involve twisting and turning the model to get at all the areas you need to remove. If you do everything correctly, then you should find yourself with a finished print completely free of any supports or structures.

What Happens Next?

When you have removed the supports from your 3D print, you will probably notice small marks and bits of plastic still attached to the model. So to combat this problem, you will need to sand your model with some high grit sandpaper.

For the best results, we recommend using sandpaper between 220 and 12000, as this can work wonders when used correctly. While sanding your print, you will notice that the color of your model will begin to change, which is why you will need to color the print once you have finished.

Conclusion

And there we have it, that is how you remove the supports from a 3D print. We hope that you found this article helpful and that you will refer to it the next time you print or receive a model with the supports still attached.

Michael Moore
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