Sunday, July 19, 2015

Rinsing Infinity Supports is Not the Only Removal Strategy

Any reader of this blog should know by now that there was no love lost between me and the old style supports.  I hated them with a passion because (1) removing them was likely to draw blood and (2) it was nearly impossible to use supports with marring the printed object.

So, why do I now LOVE supports?

Well, it's not just because the Water Soluble Supports dissolve in water.  In fact, I only use water when the part makes it absolutely necessary.  Take this part, for example.

Dial Indicator Holder

This part was designed to hold a dial indicator for checking the level of the print jets.  It was printed in a signle piece oriented as exactly as it is being used, upright.  It required a fair anount of support material.

Infinity Supports - Front View

Infinity Support - Bottom View
The supports literally surrounded the part and were even iside the clips that hold the part to the print table.

Yet, I didn't have to use a bit of water to easily and quickly clean the supports from the part.  I simply broke them away in the traditional fashion.  Because of the unique characteristics of the new supports the materials separated quite easily using a pick, a spade, the palette knife and pliers.  It's amazing.

If the part is designed so that supports are easy to access, then there may be no reason to use water to remove them.  But, it's great to know that there is more than one strategy for removing these supports and that both methods work very, very well.

As a side note... this was printed on my early vintage Cube3.  It's my understanding that the waste trays and rubber wipers have been redesigned since my printer was released.  So, that may be why there are bits and pieces that end up on the part and print table.  Fortunately, they do not seem to negatively affest the print.

But, there was a marked increase in the material getting down into the vents on each side behind the print trays.  It's an old issue (I wrote about this issue very soon after my Cube 3 arrived.); but, it seemed to me that the support material increased the incidents.  So, taking a hint from Eric Albert, I created a cutting jig that allowed me to create some plastic 'fences' to keep the material from getting into the vents.  The fences, may, however, be dlipping material onto thr print table.

I will post about it after I have tested alternate plastic sheet sources.


  1. Hi Tom.
    I can think of a third, not tested yet, strategy.

    When you know that the support parts will be massive, you can explcitly include a separate part in your object that will act as an on-purpose designed scaffold, leaving the smallest-possible gap between the main objet and the scaffold.
    Then let the cubify software automatically add smaller support volume to fill the gap.

    For instance if you want a horizontal surface at some height, you can design a tree-shaped scaffold with enough self-standing branches below it and let the software add infinity support to fill the gap between the scaffold and the lower part of the horizontal surface.

    This could be a good trade-off with traditional support only if we can design a simpler scaffold than the automatically-generated support, using less matter and lowering the print time.

    Using infinty support as a glue between the main objet and the scaffold will also ease the finishing of the object;

    1. That is an EXCELLENT suggestion. But, I think it will also come in handy, in a slightly different format, when Infinity supports cannot be used. You've given me an idea for a strategy for printing a Nexus 6 case on the CubePro using ABS! I'll let you know if it worked.