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Avoiding Marks on 3D Printed Parts: Adjusting Support Z Distance and Support Top Distance

Before you use Supports on Your 3D Print

Using supports can be costly and a waste of material, so let's determine if you need to use supports at all.

The best way to determine if you need to use supports for your 3D print is to use a slicing software like Cura. Slicing software will analyze your 3D model and advise you on where supports are necessary, taking into account the geometry of the model, the materials you are using, the settings of your 3D printer, and your printer's overhang tolerance.

You can download this simple overhang STL test file here for free

overhang v1
Download RAR • 92KB

or online here from Engineering Addiction

When slicing your 3D model, you are looking for areas of your model where the material will be unsupported, or where your 3D printer may be unable to create a smooth surface.

Floating Island | Model by Hex3D
An example of an island that will fail 100% of the time without support.

These overhangs, bridges, and thin walls can be difficult for your 3D printer to print, so supports are often needed in these areas. You may also want to consider other factors such as print speed, layer height, and infill pattern.

You can download a free support STL test from here free

Download RAR • 2KB

or you can download it for free online from FaultyData

Adjusting the Support Z Distance and Support Top Distance

3D printing is a great way to create complex parts and objects, but it can be difficult to get a perfect print every time. One of the most common issues with 3D printing is that the support material can leave marks on the part. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how to adjust the support Z distance and support top distance to avoid leaving marks on your 3D print.

The support Z distance is the distance between the bottom of the part and the top of the support. This distance should be adjusted to match your layer height. If your layer height is .2mm then your support Z distance should also be .2mm.

support Z distance

The support top distance should also be adjusted to reduce the amount of support material that will stick to the part. This can be done by slightly adjusting the layer height of the top layer distance, greater than that of your layer height.

A Layer height of .2mm should be .225mm - .25mm and so on depending on your machine. This will reduce the amount of support material that will stick to the part and leave marks.

This will take a few tests to get just right. If you are too far, your material will sag or fail. If you are too close, the supports and your part will weld together leaving marks on your part, or worse! It becomes your part.

Support X/Y Distance (Default .8mm)

Finally, the support X/Y distance setting provides users with the ability to customize the distance between the support structure and the object being printed. With a higher value, the support structure will be placed further away from the object, which can help to improve the quality and accuracy of the print. This setting is especially useful for complex geometries that require more precise support placement.

support x/y distance

Another note-worthy setting is your support infill. Choosing the right infill will drastically change the way your supports separate from your part.

By adjusting the support Z distance and support top distance, as well as the x/y distance, you can ensure that your 3D print will be smooth and flawless.

Hope this helps

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