Hello Machine Bros!
Today we bring you the continuation of a series of articles about Simplify3D. In the previous article Beginner’s Guide of Simplify3D, we explained the different steps and settings in Simplify3D to make your first 3D print. In this article, we bring you the advanced guide to 3D printing and placement of supports in Simplify3D.
You will learn various advanced supports placement, as well as, other techniques and options that will help you obtain higher quality 3D prints.
Option: 3D Transform Gizmo
3D Transform Gizmo is the option that you must activate first when using Simplify3D.
This option allows you to obtain greater freedom when it comes to moving, rotating, and scaling the 3D model.
To activate this option, you must access the following path: Tools -> Options.
Once it’s activated, you can see that you will be allowed to translate, rotate and scale the model 3D in any direction.
Later we will show you the advantages you get by activating this option.
But before we start, we are going to use an example model. We decided to use Goku kid which you can download from MyMiniFactory.
It is a very nice model and brings us a lot of nostalgia, but it is also a reality that it is not optimized to be 3D printed, since, it has many overhangs and angles greater than 45°.
In the article What is 3D printing? We explain what are Overhangs.
Due to the difficulty of 3D printing this model, a lot of support material is required, which ends up making the post-processing a bit difficult.
Continuing with the explanation of the activation of the 3D Transform Gizmo option, we are going to show you how it influences the use of the following tools.
|Translate: Used to move the 3D model.|
|Scale: Used to scale the 3D model (from 0.1% to 999999%)|
|Rotate: Used to rotate the 3D model|
To return the 3D model to its original position, we just must double click on the model and a box will appear with different options:
- Reset position: Resets the position of the model to its origin.
- Reset Scale: Resets the model scale to 100%.
- Reset rotation: Reset the rotation to 0° in all its axes.
- Center and Arrange: This option is used to automatically center the model.
In the following video you will probably better understand how to perform these steps:
If you want to reset a single variable, position, scale, or rotation, select only the button you want to reset.
For example, if you want to reset only the scale, click on the Reset Scale button, but remember that to access these buttons you must first double click on the 3D model.
Every time you want to center the model on the printing bed, you just have to press the button Center and Arrange.
There is another way to move, scale and rotate the model in a more parameterized way. You must double-click on the 3D model and then enter the value you want, or you can click the arrows that allow you to increase or decrease the value.
Change Position Using Parameters
Change Scaling Using Parameters
There are two ways to scale, uniformly or unevenly.
To choose one way or another, we must select or deselect the option called Uniform Scaling.
Change Rotation Using Parameters
Know the Limits of Your 3D Printer and Configuration
“THY” is a general rule that we usually apply to place supports in 3D printing, but the reality is that depending on our 3D printer and its configuration, we could move a little further from the rules.
For example, the letter H could be printed without any support if the distance of the bridge is short enough to be 3D printed in this way, depending on the limitations of our 3D printer and configuration.
We can find another example with the letter Y. It could be 3D printed without using supports if the angle is less than 45°, or if we decreased the layer height.
The letter T can also be 3D printed without supports, orienting it in a better way.
It is extremely necessary that you know the limits of your 3D printer and your configuration.
For this, the best option is to print a test model.
In our article Beginner’s Guide of Simplify3D we talk about it.
There are 3D models such as All In One 3D Printer test in its original version, also a mini version *MINI* All In One 3D printer test.
As well as these models, there are other similar ones from other designers.
With these test models, you will be able to calibrate, configure and know the limits of your 3D printer by making overhangs, bridges, etc.
Positioning the 3D Model and Supports in Simplify 3D
Depending on how we place the model on the print bed, we may require more or fewer supports.
We must bear in mind that in 3D printing by FDM the pieces are more resistant in the X and Y direction, and they are weaker in the Z direction, due to the resistance along the Z-axis depending on the ability of the material layers to adhere to each other.
In 3D printing by SLA, models printed by this technology are just as strong in all directions.
If the model we want to 3D print will not be subjected to mechanical stress, this will no longer be a factor that influences the way in which we will place the model in the Slicer.
In this way, we can orient the 3D model by focusing only on reducing the number of supports needed.
Ideally, try to orient the model so that we have the least number of overhangs, bridges, and angles greater than 45°.
How to 3D Print a Model With Overhangs
It is important to position the 3D model so that the supports to be used do not compromise the integrity of the model when removing them.
Let’s start with a simple example, the letter T.
There are 3 ways to 3D print this letter:
- In an inefficient way, using extra material for the supports and longer printing time.
- In a moderately efficient way and with average printing time.
- In a highly efficient way and with the shortest printing time.
Next, we will show the 3 cases:
This is a very inefficient way to print the letter T. It will require support material, a long time to 3D print, and the piece will not be mechanically resistant.
This is a fairly efficient way to 3D print the letter T. We no longer need support material and it takes a little less time to 3D print it, since we saved the printing of supports, but the piece would still be weak.
This is a highly efficient way to print the letter T.
The 3D model doesn’t need support material, it takes much less time to 3D print it and this is the orientation that allows obtaining a mechanically strong piece compared to the other two configurations.
Regarding the 3D printing times, for the same configuration in the 3 cases, the first way to position the model (the very inefficient) would take approximately 1 hour of printing.
The second way to position the model (the moderately efficient) would take approximately 50 minutes of 3D printing, and the third way to position the 3D model (the highly efficient) would take approximately 30 minutes of printing.
Examples of 3D Prints With Overhangs
The Black Panther model from malix3design that we show in the image above was 3D printed by us and one of the challenges was to be able to properly position the model so that the supports did not compromise the integrity of the model.
Next, we will show you how one of the originally oriented arms comes. In that image, you can see how the fingertips will be difficult to print if the model is oriented that way.
Now we are going to show you how we re-position it so as not to compromise the integrity of the arm.
You can see that 3D printing the arm in this way does not compromise the integrity of the fingers with supports, in addition, the supports are placed in easy places to carry out any post-processing such as sanding or polishing. This is in order to remove the mark from the supports.
In the following video, you can see how we 3D printed this Black Panther model.
If you want to see how we configure this Black Panther model, you just have to access the following link 3D Print – Black Panther.
Now we are going to show you another example, in which by correctly positioning a model we can preserve its integrity.
In this next case, the model is Predator by malix3design.
The Predator model shown in the image above was 3D printed by us and we looked for a way to properly position the model so that the supports do not compromise its integrity.
Next, we will show you how comes the original position of the face. In this image, you will be able to notice how the mouth and teeth will be difficult to 3D print if the model is positioned in that way.
Now we are going to show you how we position the face so as not to compromise the integrity of the model.
You will notice that 3D printing the face in this way does not compromise the integrity of the mouth or teeth with supports, in addition, the supports are placed in places that are easy to remove and carry out any post-processing such as sanding or polishing, this in order to eliminate the mark of the supports.
Also, note that the locations of the supports are positioned so that it doesn’t matter if they leave any marks because they are behind the face.
The obvious disadvantage of orienting the 3D model in this position is that more supports are required, so we sacrifice printing time and quantity of material for print quality.
In the following video, you can see how we printed this Predator model.
If you want to see how we configure this Predator model, you just have to access the following link 3D Print – Predator.
How to 3D Print a Model With Bridges
Depending on our configuration and 3D printer, the bridges may be longer or shorter.
We can determine this by 3D printing a test model, in this same article in the section Know the limits of your 3D printer and configuration we talk about it.
We managed to print 25mm long bridges, but to be safe is better not to exceed 20mm in length.
Knowing this, let’s start with a very basic model, the letter H.
It is obvious that the best way to 3D print this letter will be by laying it on the bed, as shown in the following image.
Although this is the best way to 3D print this letter, let’s assume that for some reason we cannot or do not want to 3D print it in that position.
If we were to print this letter oriented vertically, we could print it without supports, because the bridge is less than 20mm, and we have already verified that our printer can 3D print bridges of that length.
This can be seen in the following image.
If the length of the bridge was approximately 30mm, it would be enough to put some supports in the middle of the bridge. As shown in the following image.
In the hypothetical case presented in the image above, the bridge is approximately 30mm long.
Placing these supports in the middle, we have two bridges, each approximately 10mm long, that is, we can 3D print them without problem using that amount of supports.
Next, we will show you a real example. The model below is called Catbus and you can download it from Thingiverse.
We 3D printed this model without the need to use supports on the windows, since the windows represented bridges that were short enough not to have to use supports.
In the following image, you will see how we configured this model.
You will be able to notice in the image above that we use some supports on the lips and the tail of this model, for safety, as it seemed that those parts might require it, but not on the windows.
We did not use supports on the windows because they were very short bridges.
Now we will show you how this model was 3D printed by us.
If you want to see how we configure this Catbus model, you just have to access the following link 3D Printing – Catbus.
How to 3D Print Models With Angles Greater Than 45 Degrees
Depending on the layer height that we select, we can 3D print parts of the model with angles greater than 45 degrees without the need to use supports.
Using layer heights of 0.1mm or 0.12mm, we could get to 3D print parts of the model that have angles of 60 degrees without using supports.
That is, the higher layer height we use, the faster the printing will be, but we will need supports for the inclined parts, on the other hand, if we use a lower layer height, the printing will be slower, but we can print parts with a greater inclination angle without the need for supports.
To have a better idea of what the limits of our 3D printer are for printing inclined parts, it is advisable to 3D print a test model, in this article in the section Know the limits of your 3D printer and configuration we talk about it.
Even though we managed to 3D print this model up to the 80-degree part, the reality is that the best results were obtained up to 60 degrees.
This is something that we must consider when configuring our models and supports.
Knowing this, let’s start with a very basic model, the letter Y.
It is obvious that the best way to 3D print this letter is by laying it on the bed, as shown in the following image.
Although this is the best way to 3D print this letter, suppose that for some reason we cannot or do not want to print it in that position.
If we were to print this letter oriented vertically, it can be printed without supports with a layer height of 0.2mm, because the angle of inclination is 45 degrees.
This can be seen in the following image.
Now, if we are going to print a letter Y, which has an inclination greater than 45 degrees, for example, 60 degrees with the same layer height of 0.2mm, we would probably have problems. For this reason, it is best to use supports.
This can be seen in the following image.
In case we wanted to 3D print this same letter, but without supports, we would have to lower the layer height to 0.1mm or 0.12mm.
This can be seen in the following image.
Most likely you are wondering how it affects printing the letter Y that has a 60° inclination.
By 3D printing this letter, the first way, with supports and a layer height of 0.2mm, the 3D printing would be completed in approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes, using approximately 23 grams of material, in this case, PLA.
This can be seen in the following image.
Now if we 3D print this same letter, with the same degrees of inclination, in the second way, that is, without supports and using a layer height of 0.12mm, the printing would be completed in approximately 2 hours and 29 minutes, using approximately 15 grams of material, in this case, PLA.
This can be seen in the following image.
This means that, if we 3D print with a layer height of 0.2mm using supports, it saves printing time, but it uses more material.
The other downside is that it takes extra time to do the post-processing of removing the supports, which often leave marks on the model when removed.
If we 3D print this same piece with a layer height of 0.12mm and without supports, it takes us longer to 3D print, but we save on material, and we won’t need to use supports or the disadvantages that this entails.
Next, we will show you a comparative table of the results.
|3D printing time||1h y 45min||2h y 29min|
Next, we explain why with a lower layer height, parts with a higher degree of inclination can be 3D printed without the need for supports.
By using a lower layer height, a greater number of layers is required to complete a model, for this reason, a smaller distance is needed between the phase shift of the layers to reach certain degrees of inclination.
On the contrary, if we have a higher layer height, fewer layers are required to complete a model. For this reason, we end up needing a greater distance between the phase shift of the layers to reach a certain degree of inclination.
By having to resort to that greater distance, there is a greater amount of material in the air without supports or where to rest, and this material is affected by gravity, so it tends to fall imminently.
For this reason, when we use a higher layer height we must use supports when the inclination exceeds certain limits.
Next, we will show you an example using the same letter “Y” as an example with a 60° inclination.
We will use a layer height of 1mm (which is very high), but it is in order that you can better understand the effect of using a higher layer height.
Then we will compare the result obtained using the same letter, but with a layer height of 0.1mm.
Did you notice how the letter Y set with a layer height of 1mm is left with larger areas of material in the air?
For this reason, the lower the layer height usually requires fewer supports.
Simplify3D has a very useful tool called Variable Settings Wizard. This option allows you to create multiple processes at different heights or layers of the 3D model, it is important that you have this tool present, and we will talk about it next.
Variable Settings Wizard of Simplify3D
The Variable Settings Wizard of Simplify3D allows you to add multiple processes at different heights or layers of the 3D model, which means that you can add different configurations to the same model.
This is very useful because you can use different layer heights in the same model.
For example, for the letter “Y” with 60° inclination, we could 3D print its base with a layer height of 0.3mm, and when we reach the inclined part of the model, we can lower the layer height to 0.12mm, so we won’t need supports, and won’t reduce the printing time compared to printing the whole model at 0.12mm.
Next, we are going to show you a video that explains how to do this.
As you can see, this tool is very useful that allows you to make several configurations to the same 3D model.
You can create more than two processes, meaning, you can make more than 2 layer height variations.
The advantage of using multiple layer heights is obvious, if we were to print this letter “Y” using these two-layer heights (0.3mm and 0.12mm), the 3D printing would be completed in approximately 1 hour and 44 minutes and using approximately 15 grams of material, in this case, PLA.
Let’s compare these results with the other two obtained previously.
|3D printing time||1h y 45min||2h y 29min||1h y 44min|
Bridging Configuration in Simplify 3D
Simplify3D allows you to adjust some values regarding the realization of bridges.
This section is found in the advanced options, in the Other tab, there you will find the Bridging section.
In the next video, you will see how to access this section in Simplify3D.
In this section we will find the following options:
1. Unsupported Area Threshold:
The values used are in square millimeters (mm2).
The unsupported area threshold allows that depending on the value it has, Simplify3D consider which areas will be classified as bridges and which ones will not.
Areas smaller than the value indicated in this section will not be classified as bridges, therefore, the configuration for bridges will not be applied.
For example, suppose we enter the value 20mm2. If an unsupported area is greater than 20mm2, this area will be considered by Simplify3D as a bridge, that is, it will apply the configuration for bridges in this area.
We will show you several examples with the letter “H”.
In the first case we will have this value configured as 500mm2, and in the second case as 25mm2.
Note that Simplify3D is not applying any special settings for the bridge.
Now we will set the Unsupported area threshold value to 25mm2.
Note that Simplify3D is now applying a special configuration for the bridge.
2. Extra Inflation Distance:
The option of Extra Inflation Distance of Simplify3D allows you to adjust if you want the bridge configuration to be applied to a greater length, in order for the bridge to adhere better to the base of the piece.
If you want to turn off this option, you must enter zero as a value.
In case you do want to apply this option, you must enter the value in millimeters that refers to the extra length you want to apply.
We are going to show you three examples, one where we will enter a value of 0 (the option is disabled), 5mm, and 10mm.
Surely after having seen these 3 examples you now understand clearly the function of the Extra Inflation Distance option.
3. Bridging Extrusion Multiplier:
The option Bridging Extrusion Multiplier of Simplify3D allows you to set an extrusion multiplier for creating bridges, different from the rest of 3D printing.
The value is entered in percentage, so if your extrusion multiplier is set to 1 for general printing, and you set the Bridging Extrusion Multiplier value at 120% when Simplify3D is going to print a bridge, it will set to an extrusion multiplier of 1.2.
Another example would be the following.
Suppose you have the Extrusion Multiplier set to 0.95 for general printing, and you set the Bridging Extrusion Multiplier value to 90%, when Simplify3D is going to print a bridge, it will configure it with an Extrusion multiplier of 0.86.
4. Bridging Speed Multiplier:
The option Bridging Speed Multiplier of Simplify3D is very similar to the one mentioned above Bridging Extrusion Multiplier.
The difference is that, instead of setting a different Extrusion Multiplier for the bridges, this option allows you to set a different Printing Speed for bridges.
This value is also entered as a percentage.
Suppose you have general printing set to a speed of 3000mm/min, and you set this Bridging Speed Multiplier value to 50%, then when Simplify3D goes to print a bridge, it will set it to a Printing Speed of 1500mm/min.
In the following images, you will see examples of how the printing speed would change depending on the value that we assign to this parameter.
When setting the Bridging Speed multiplier to 100%, the printing speed is the same for the general 3D print as for the bridge.
Here we set the Bridging Speed Multiplier to 50%, therefore the bridge printing speed is slower than the general printing speed.
Here we set the Bridging Speed Multiplier to 150%, which means that the bridge printing speed is faster than the general printing speed.
5. Use Fixed Bridging Infill Angle:
Generally, Simplify3D manages to automatically calculate the best direction of the fill for the bridge, but in case you notice that you have problems making a certain bridge, you can click on this option to activate it, and thus manually enter the value of the fill angle that you consider appropriate.
Next, we will show you 3 examples:
- With the option disabled.
- With a value of 45 degrees
- With a value of 90 degrees.
6. Apply Bridging Settings to Perimeters:
The option Apply Bridging Settings to Perimeters of Simplify3D allows perimeters that are bridges to apply the Configuration for bridges.
This option can be activated or deactivated, there is no need to enter any value.
In the two examples that we will show you below, you will be able to see how this option influences the generation of the G-code.
In the first example, the option will be deactivated, in the second one, it will be activated.
The option Apply Bridging Settings to Perimeters is disabled, for this reason, although there are perimeters that are bridges, the Configuration for Bridges is not applied to them. Rather, these perimeters are configured by Simplify3D in the same way as the rest of the perimeters for general 3D printing.
The option Apply Bridging Settings to Perimeters is activated, for this reason, to the perimeters that are bridges, now the Configuration for Bridges is applied.
If you have any problem printing bridges, we advise you to take a look at the Simplify 3D Troubleshooting, specifically in the Poor Bridging section.
Automatic Supports in Simplify3D
As its name implies, the Automatic Supports function allows Simplify3D to decide where to place the supports based on certain parameters that we have adjusted.
Next, we are going to show you the options that we have when generating supports automatically and what function each one fulfills.
1. Support Type:
The option Support Type allows you to choose between two alternatives, you can choose Normal or From Build Platform Only.
Normal allows the bases of the supports to be supported both by the printing bed and by the 3D model itself.
And From Build Platform Only allows that the bases of the supports can only be supported by the printing bed.
In the next video, you will understand better how this works.
2. Support Pillar Resolution:
In the option Support Pillar Resolution we must enter a value that determines the resolution of the support we want.
This option helps to place a greater or lesser amount of supports, and on certain occasions it also allows us to determine how much contact there will be between the supports and the part.
First, we are going to show you a video where we move this parameter a bit, then we will explain in greater depth the effects of adjusting this option.
Did you notice how the size of the pillar increased as we increased the Support Pillar Resolution value?
When we started with a 2mm value, there were many pillars supporting the 3D model, as we increased the value, there were fewer pillars supporting the 3D model.
Did you also appreciate that when we exceeded the 10mm value, pillars were no longer created?
This is because the resolution was so great that Simplify3D could not place pillars of such magnitude in the model, this means that when we need to support small areas, the ideal is to use a small value of Support Pillar Resolution, and when we want to support large areas, the ideal is to use a higher value of Support Pillar Resolution.
It is important to keep in mind that when you put together several of these pillars, each pillar is not 3D printed individually, on the contrary, they all end up forming a single large pillar.
In the following video, you will see how the Gcode is generated when we set this value to 2mm and 10mm.
As you may have noticed, the pillars end up becoming a single large pillar. In addition, in this case, the higher the Support Pillar Resolution value, the lower the contact of the supports with the piece.
Otherwise, the lower the Support Pillar Resolution value, the more contact there was between the part and the supports.
But the latter is not always the case, to prove it we are going to show you the following example in a video, in which the letter “Y” is totally suspended in the air.
The video above shows how it was tested with various combinations of the Support Pillar Resolution value.
Using 4mm the model will look bad because implementing this value, Simplify3D was not able to calculate a way in which the supports covered the entire lower part of the 3D model.
Using 10mm, Simplify3D manages to calculate a way to cover the entire lower part of the model, but it doesn’t really do it very efficiently, since it exceeds the number of supports.
In this case, the best result was obtained with a value of 2mm.
For this reason, many times we will not be able to use the automatic media generator reliably.
There are times when we must vary the Support Pillar Resolution value until we determine which one gives us the best result, there are even cases where it will be more efficient to place the supports manually, although this would end up taking more time to configure.
We will explain how to place supports manually later.
3. Max Overhang Angle:
Max Overhang Angle tells Simplify3D how inclined a section of the 3D model must be to place supports.
We will make an example with the two letters “Y”, the one with a 45-degree tilt angle and the one with 60 degrees.
In the following video, you can see this example.
In the previous example, regardless of the Support Pillar Resolution value, when we set a Max Overhang Angle value that exceeded the angle of the letter “Y”, supports were no longer generated in each respective letter.
When setting the value 50°, no supports were generated in the 45° model, and when we set the value 60°, no supports were generated in either of the two models.
4. Clear All Supports:
The option Clear All Supports is used to remove all the supports placed on the 3D model.
Manual Supports in Simplify3D
To understand how the option of placing manual supports works, it is a good idea that you already understand how to generate supports automatically, as this section is a complement to the previous section.
The following image shows what are the options for placing supports manually.
We already explained the option Support Pillar Resolution in the previous section, in the creation of manual supports it fulfills the same function, so we will explain the following two remaining options that have not been explained.
1. Add New Support Structures:
Add New Support Structures fulfills the function of allowing you to add a support pillar, to place said pillar you just must click on the place where you want to put it.
It is important that you know that it does not matter if you used the Generate Automatic Supports function, in the same way then you can add supports manually in the sites where Simplify3D did not place supports and you consider that there should be.
Now, if you have already placed supports manually and then press the button to generate supports automatically, the supports that you have placed manually will be deleted.
2. Remove Existing Supports:
Remove Existing Supports allows you to delete support pillars, it will delete both the pillars that have been placed manually and automatically.
To delete a pillar, just click on the pillar you want to delete.
Next, we will show you a video that explains how to add and delete support pillars.
Remember that when you place several pillars together, they end up becoming a single large pillar, but when you put a single isolated pillar, effectively this will be a single support.
In the following image, you will see several examples.
Did you notice how in the last two examples you get a Gcode of very similar supports?
This is because by joining several pillars, regardless of the resolution of the Support Pillar Resolution, we end up obtaining a kind of a great unified pillar.
Inclined Supports in Simplify3D
Inclined Supports in Simplify3D gives us the opportunity to place supports in an inclined way to the 3D model.
This is very useful when we want to support a certain area of a model and there is nowhere to properly support the base of the support.
Next, we are going to show you an example of Hulk and Wonder Woman, where we used Inclined Supports.
1. Using normal supports: The disadvantage of this way was that later we will have to remove the marks from the supports.
2. Using inclined supports: The advantage of this mode is that there will be fewer marks from the supports, but we will have to spend more support material.
In the following video, we will explain how to place inclined supports.
This trick is to tilt the model, position the support, and then return the model to its original position.
When using the inclined supports, it is best to set the Support Infill Angle parameter to 45° and -45°, because otherwise, the supports are more prone to falling.
If you do not know how to configure this, in the next section Support Settings we explain where this option can be found.
This time we decided to 3D print this model using straight supports because we were going to sand and paint the model. Also, the supports had a good printing base.
But when you do not have a place to support the base of the supports correctly, this technique will be useful, also for when you want to leave the least amount of support marks on the 3D model, since you can rest the lower part of the support on the printing bed, so as not to support it in the model.
To see how we print and configure this Hulk model, access the following article 3D Print – The Hulk.
In the case of the 3D print of Wonder Woman, we used inclined supports.
Support Settings in Simplify3D
Next, we will explain each parameter of the Support Settings of Simplify3D:
Support Material Generation:
Generate Support Material:
The option Support Material Generation of Simplify3D is very simple to understand, if you activate it, support material will be generated, if you deactivate it, no support material will be generated.
If we had a 3D printer with multiple extruders, with the option Support Extruder we could select with which extruder we want to deposit the support material.
This option is usually used when we use soluble material for the supports.
Support Infill Percentage:
With the option Support Infill Percentage, we determine the infill (%) of the supports.
Extra Inflation Distance:
The option Extra Inflation Distance allows extending the support beyond what is planned to support, by placing 0.00mm we deactivate this option.
Support Base Layers:
With the option Support Base Layers, we can create a base that helps to improve the addition of the supports to the printing bed, here we must enter the number of layers of this base that we want, if we put 0 we deactivate this option.
Combine Support Every # Layers:
The option Combine Support Every # Layers is used to combine supports according to the layer height, this in order to speed up the printing time.
For example, if your Layer Height is 0.1mm, and you decide to combine the supports every 3 layers, you will end up printing 0.3mm supports every three layers.
Obviously, as with the layer height, the limitation is based on the diameter of the nozzle, the ideal is not to exceed a layer height greater than 80% of the diameter of the nozzle. Suppose you have a nozzle of 0.4mm, for this reason, you should not exceed a layer height of 0.32mm.
For this reason, if you have a 0.4mm nozzle, and you are going to print at a layer height of 0.1mm, you should not combine more than 3 layers of supports, because with 3 layers you would already be printing the supports at a height of 0.3mm layer.
If you exceed the value, you run the risk that the layers of the supports do not adhere well to each other, and for this reason, the supports could fall off during the 3D printing. Even if you exceed the recommended value, Simplify3D will give you a warning message.
For example, suppose we have a layer height of 0.2mm configured with a 0.4mm nozzle, and we try to put the value Combine Support Every # Layer in 3, that is, to combine the supports every three layers, we would end up having a layer height of 0.6mm for the supports, which exceeds the recommended value (0.32mm) for a 0.4mm diameter nozzle.
In this case, Simplify3D would throw us the next message of warning.
Generally, we will use 1 as the value of this parameter, unless we use a layer height low enough, or a nozzle with a diameter large enough to use another value.
The option Dense support is optional, it is our decision if we want to use it or not.
Dense Support allows creating dense layers of support that allow the main material to have a place to properly rest on the supports.
It is useful because we can use a low value of Support Infill Percentage, and then use the Dense support and thus save on support material.
Dense Support Extruder:
In the case that we have a 3D printer with multiple extruders, in this option, we could select with which extruder we want to deposit the dense support material.
This option is usually used when we use some soluble material for the supports.
Dense Support Layers:
By adjusting this parameter we will decide how many layers of dense support we want to use, if we set the value 0, we would be disabling the use of Dense Support.
Dense Infill Percentage:
With this option, we determine how much filling we want to use for the dense layers of the supports.
Separation From Part:
In the section Separation From Part, we find the parameters that allow us to adjust how far apart the supports of the model will be.
Horizontal Offset From Part:
With the option Horizontal Offset From Part, we tell the Slicer what horizontal separation there should be between the supports and the part.
At a higher value, it is easier to detach the supports from the part, but a very high value could cause us to have unsupported areas correctly, a very small value could cause the support to adhere horizontally to the part.
Upper Vertical Separation Layers:
The option Upper Vertical Separation Layers allows us to configure how many layers of separation there will be between the upper part of the supports and the lower part of the piece to be supported.
If we use very few layers, it is possible that the supports are fused to the piece, if we use a very high value, it is possible that the piece is not properly supported.
Ideally, use a value that allows the supports to adhere well enough to the part but, in turn, can be removed without much effort.
You could start trying with 1 or 2 layers and go increasing this value until you find the setting that gets the best results.
If you have set a layer height of 0.2mm, and you set this value Upper Vertical Separation Layers to 2 layers, then you will have a distance of 0.4mm.
Now, if you have set a layer height of 0.1mm, and you set this value Upper Vertical Separation Layers to 2 layers, then you will have a distance of 0.2mm.
Lower Vertical Separation Layers:
The option Lower Vertical Separation Layers allows us to configure how many layers of separation there are between the lower part of the supports and the upper part of the piece to support.
If we use very few layers, it is possible that the supports are fused to the piece, if we use a very high value, it is possible that the piece is not properly supported.
Ideally, use a value that allows the supports to adhere well enough to the part but, in turn, can be removed without much effort.
You can start trying with 1 or 2 layers and go up this value until you find the setting that gets the best results.
If you have set a layer height of 0.2mm, and you set this value Lower Vertical Separation Layers to 2 layers, then you will have a distance of 0.4mm.
Now, if you have set a layer height of 0.1mm, and you set this value Lower Vertical Separation Layers to 2 layers, then you will have a distance of 0.2mm.
Support Infill Angles:
The option Support Infill Angles indicates to Simplify3D which angle we want to use for the filling of the support.
By default, this is set to 0 degrees, which works fine in most cases, but in case the supports are very high, or we use the technique shown here to place Inclined supports, it is better to use fill angles 45° and -45°, thus reducing the chances that the support will fall during printing.
In this section we will find only the following two options:
This option is for adding an angle.
This option is used to remove an angle.
In the next video, you will understand how to add the fill angles of 45° and -45°.
Insert Shapes or Figures (Custom Columns) in Simplify3D
As mentioned in the title, there is a way to insert custom columns but to do this, we must first create some figures or custom shapes, which will serve as support.
In the next image, you will see what we mean by custom columns.
Actually with this method what we do is insert cylinders in Simplify3D, then we edit them within the Slicer itself to make them of the height, diameter, and inclination that best suits our needs.
The best thing about these brackets is that they are easy to remove, and the marks they leave when they are removed are also easy to get rid of.
Using the tool that we show below, it will be very easy to cut these supports.
Recommendations for Using Custom Supports in Simplify3D
- Remember to activate the option 3D Transform Gizmo.
- Deactivate the option Uniform Scaling to be able to size the supports as you wish.
- If you have a 0.4mm diameter nozzle, which is the most common, you can use 2.5mm diameter pillars up to 20mm high, with this height you will be sure that the supports will hardly fall.
- For taller supports, it is recommended to use 6mm and 8mm diameter pillars.
- Try not to overdo the inclination of the supports, remember that, in order to tilt the supports more, you must have enough layer height. We explain this in this same article in the section Layer Height.
- If the supports are too far apart or are very high, it is best to use an addition such as a Brim to prevent them from falling or detaching during printing, later in this article it is explained how to use the Brim, in the section Adhesion (Brim).
- It is necessary that you carefully review where you will place the supports, the ideal is to place them in the Islands, if you do not know what the islands are, in this article, in the section Identify islands, we clarify this point.
- The more minor diameter supports should ideally be completely solid, for this, the easiest thing is to configure the 3D printing with enough Outline so that the thin supports are solid. In the Outline section, we explain how to configure this.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Custom Supports in Simplify3d
- The supports are easier to remove and have fewer chances to damage the final print finish.
- If you analyze very carefully where to place the supports, you get very good results.
- Sometimes you will save support material.
- It is usually much more time-consuming to analyze and decide where to place these supports, therefore the working hours are increased.
- If you are not careful enough, and patient enough to check the places where you will place the supports, the print can easily be damaged, therefore, this method is quite susceptible to human error.
- Sometimes you can spend more support material with this method.
How to Put Custom Supports in Simplify3D?
Next, we will show you a video where we show you how to insert and position these custom supports.
Download the Figures Used to Generate Custom Supports in Simplify3D
In case you do not have any CAD software to design your own shapes and figures, we will provide you with the two figures that we commonly use to generate our custom supports and Brim.
With the following links, you will access the corresponding STL files
Next, we show you the model of Goku printed and painted by us
How to Identify Islands in Simplify3D
The islands are those areas that, if they did not have supports, would be 3D printed in the air, without a base or anything underneath to support them.
Identifying the islands is easy, but depending on the model it can be time-consuming, and if you cannot locate all of them, you run the risk that the 3D print will go wrong.
To identify the islands, we will have to use the Cross Section tool and also verify in the Gcode preview that there are no islands left.
Next, we will show you an example of how to identify them.
These islands must be supported with normal supports or custom supports for the 3D printing to be completed successfully.
The type of support to choose is the individual’s own decision, it will depend on personal criteria to determine what type of support is appropriate.
You need to know that there are islands that really do not need to be supported, these are usually very small islands, which are very close to the main part of the model and will quickly merge into the following layers of the model.
In the following video, you will see an example of this type of islands.
To see how we print and configure this Gollum model, access the following article 3D Printing – Gollum.
Outline/Perimeter Shells in Simplify3D
Regarding the perimeters in Simplify3D, we recommend using 3 to 4 perimeters, with that number we will have the following advantages:
- It is easier to perform overhangs and angles greater than 45°.
- We will have a more solid outline, which gives us greater resistance to the piece.
- By having a greater number of perimeters, we will have more work time to carry out post-processing such as sanding or polishing.
It is well known that post-processing mainly seeks to polish the model surface and having a contour with enough thickness, it is less likely that we will remove, or polish enough material from the surface to reach the infill or internal parts of the model.
- Thin custom supports will be totally solid, due to the number of perimeters used, so they will be stronger and less likely to fall off or break during the printing.
The main disadvantages of using so many perimeters are:
- Material consumption is increased.
- Printing time is increased.
|Important: Regarding the parameter Outline Direction, it is best to use Inside-Out, in this way we will obtain better results by performing overhangs, and in turn, the model will have a better surface finish.|
Next, we will show you the difference between using the values 2 and 4 in Outline/Perimeter Shells.
Printing Speed & Layer Fan in Simplify3D
For best results when performing overhangs and angles greater than 45°, it is necessary that the protruding parts cool down quickly enough to reduce the fall caused by the effects of gravity.
For this, it is very important to have a layer fan, and if you want to get a good overhang remember to activate the layer fan.
Another interesting factor that you should keep in mind is the Printing Speed. It is generally easier to 3D print these overhangs at a relatively low printing speed compared to the speed that the rest of the printing will have, this is because it gives the previous layer more time to cool down before depositing the new layer.
Additions (Skirt/Brim) in Simplify 3D
Brim it’s a border that is added to the bottom of the 3D model to reduce the chances of it coming off the printing bed.
If you want to know a detailed definition of what Brim is, you can find it in our article Tips to Prevent Warping and Cracking.
The Brim is extremely useful when we add supports (normal or custom) that are very high and/or are far from the rest of the supports.
With the Brim, we will reduce the chances that these supports will fail.
In this section we will find the following parameters to adjust:
The option Use Skirt/Brim is very simple. If you activate it, Brim or Skirt will be generated, if you deactivate it, none of these adherence tools will be generated.
In the case that we had a 3D printer with multiple extruders, in the option Skirt Extruder we could select with which extruder we want to deposit the material that we will use to create the Brim or Skirt.
With the parameter Skirt Layers, we indicate to Simplify3D how many layers of Brim or Skirt we want to use.
Usually, a value between 1 and 3 will be fine, obviously, it does not make sense to use zero as a value, and if we use a very high value, it will be extremely difficult to detach the Brim from the part.
Clearly, it makes no sense to create a Brim with 30 layers, as shown in the example above, it was done this way so that you could better notice the effect of altering the Skirt Layers parameter.
Skirt Offset From Part
This value will determine the separation between the Brim or Skirt and the outline of the main piece.
If we add a gap of for example 3mm, we will be creating a Skirt, which is usually used to clean the nozzle and delineate the perimeter of the piece that we are going to create.
Now, if we use 0mm as a value, we will be creating a Brim, which is used to improve the adherence of the piece to the bed.
The parameter Skirt Outlines allows us to adjust how many contour lines the Skirt or Brim will have.
In the case of using Skirt, we will normally put a low value, between 2 and 5 would be more than enough.
Now, in the case of using Brim, normally we will put a high value, between 15 and 25 would be enough values for a suitable Brim.
In the following example, we want to show you the difference between using supports with Brim and without Brim.
The 3D model that does not have Brim, because the supports are very high, it is possible that these fail and fall during printing, therefore, in this example, the ideal would be to print the model using Brim.
The following Beast model was 3D printed by us. It is a real example in which we use different parts supports and Brim combined.
To see how we 3D print and configure this Beast model, access the following article 3D Print – Beast.
Custom Brim in Simplify3D
Using a Custom Brim is based on the same principle as custom supports, that is, we will insert custom shapes or figures in Simplify3D, which we will edit at our convenience to create the Brim we want.
In the Custom Supports section of this same article, there is a part called Figures to download where you can access and download the figures that we generally use to create custom Brim and Supports. Just in case you don’t have any CAD software to design your own shapes and figures.
Next, we are going to show you an example video, where we place Custom Brim for normal supports.
The same can be applied with custom supports, that is, the possibility of using both Custom Brim and Custom Supports in the same 3D model.
In the video that we will show you below, you will see an example of this.
The model used for the previous example is Azog.
To see how we 3D print and configure this model, go to the following article 3D Print – Azog.
Infill in Simplify3D
Regarding the Infill, there are two things that we want you to keep in mind. The first is that remember that there is the Variable Settings Wizard, in this same article in the section Layer Height we talked about it.
This tool is used to use multiple configurations in the same model, so we can add multiple values of Infill in the same model.
This tool is very useful to save filament material and 3D printing time, because we could make the parts that we consider most fragile more solid, and the rest of the parts 3D print them with little Infill.
The second thing we want you to keep in mind is the option Include Solid Diaphragm Every # Layers, if you ever need a model, or a part totally solid, is better to use this option than using 100% Infill.
In the following image, you can see where this option is.
If we want a completely solid part of the piece, what we must do is activate this option, and select the value 1.
Putting 1 as the value of this parameter, what will do is that all the layers are solid, therefore, the model will also be solid.
What this value does is to indicate the Slicer the interval of layers that will make solid. For example, if we put a value of 2, it will have a solid layer and then a non-solid layer, if we place a value of 3, it will have 2 normal layers, and the next one will be solid, and so on.
In the following video we will show you an example of how this works.
In the previous video you can see how we can make certain parts of a 3D model solid, parts that at first, we consider fragile, in order to make them more resistant.
Conclusions About the Advanced Guide of Simplify3D
We hope you liked our Advanced Guide of Simplify3D where we show you most of the techniques used by us to configure our 3D prints, especially how to correctly position supports using the Simplify3D Slicer.
The idea is that we learn and grow together in this wonderful world of 3D printing, so if you have any questions about support placing, Brim, Skirts, or anything! please do not hesitate to leave them in the comment section.
See you soon Machine Bros!