Modeling Supports Before Print Studio

Posted by Sam Hobish on Jan 22, 2016 3:26:14 PM

With the Super Bowl coming to the Bay Area in a few weeks, I decided to model a coin to print on Ember. (For you non-sports fans, commemorative coins are flipped at the beginning of games to determine who starts with the ball).  Eventually, I’ll have it investment casted, but for now, I want to demonstrate the technique I used for supporting my model.


Normally, when I’m done with a CAD design, I send my geometry directly to Print Studio to prepare it for printing.  Print Studio is great at generating automatic supports that peel away nicely from printed parts, but after positioning the coin at a few different angles, I wasn't happy with the quality of my prints.  


 My coin was slightly deformed depending on the position it was printed.  Because a coin is a cylinder, I realized that generating individual supports was not the best method for achieving a perfect geometry. I went back into Fusion 360 and began designing my own supports that would provide the consistency I needed for this part.


First, I traced the parameter of the coin and flattened the bottom.


Next, I extruded this surface to the width of the coin and chamfered the edges leaving just .5 mm of surface contact area.


I cut some groves in the bottom of my support system to reduce surface area and added some additional stilts for balance.


I sent my model to Print Studio, disabled the ‘automatic support’ function and set my layer thickness to 50 microns.


The print came out beautifully- the shape was perfect, the surfaces were smooth and the details were true to what I modeled.


After soaking the model in isopropyl alcohol, I peeled away the supports I designed and was delighted to see that there was no loss of resolution.


Moving forward, I am excited about experimenting with my own support structures and may even see if we can add some of this functionality into Print Studio.

Topics: 3D Printer, Experiments, DLP SLA, CAD, Pro Tips, Support Generation