In this blog post, we’re going to explore best practices for designing supports for jewelry pieces, but first I’d like to briefly explain what supports are and why they’re so important.
In Ember, the part is built upside-down, with layers of the model successively cured onto the layer above. If there is no previous layer to cure onto then the current layer won’t build, we call these areas of the part “overhangs”.This is where supports come into play, the support structure provides a contact point for overhangs that allows them to be built.
If you import a model into Print Studio you can visualise the overhangs by clicking on ”Supports” in the top subway nav and then “Manual Supports” in the left hand toolbar. In the below example of an eternity ring, overhangs are highlighted with a yellow hatching.
Print Studio has powerful automatic support generation algorithms, however to get the best results for jewelry models where surface finish and minimising hand finishing are critical, I recommend using Print Studio’s manual support generation tool and designing the supports yourself.
The best thing you can do to maximize the surface quality is to design your part to print without supports, or at least minimize the number of supports required. Here are some design for manufacture tips for jewelry:
Design for Manufacture Tips:
Make your model self-supporting by avoiding horizontal overhangs (those that are 90° to the vertical) that are longer than 1mm. Other overhangs will print unsupported if they are angled less than or equal to 80° to the vertical.
Vertical struts between 0-5mm tall should have a minimum diameter of 0.5mm, taller than 5mm the minimum diameter should be 1mm
Holes should have a minimum diameter of 0.5mm
Stay tuned for part 2 on how to use Print Studio to design supports and to learn more about Ember for Jewelry get in touch.