Support Your Models

Supports are another feature that can help improve the quality of your prints. Their role is to provide a structure to support any overhanging areas of your print. Not providing supports will cause some overhanging areas to droop and the print will be of a poor quality. Don’t be concerned with cleanup because supports are easier to remove than rafts. Supports virtually peel away.

An example of a model that requires supports is this alternative Da Vinici 1.0 extruder fan mount. It has two overhanging areas shown circled.

da vinci model that requires supports

Circled in blue, is a region that can probably support itself as the layers are built up. However, circled in red is a region that definitely requires support. Keep reading to see the results of not including supports.

Selecting to use supports is performed at the print settings dialogue.

Da Vinci Supports

Once sliced, you’ll notice that zig-zag areas in areas that require support have been allowed for.

da vinci model showing supports

Adding supports comes at a cost. You will increase the print time and consume additional filament. However, these increases are a small cost for improved print quality. For example, to print this model with 90% infill and thick shells the additional time and filament are shown.

No Support Support % Increase
Filament 2.53m 3.22m 27%
Time 49mins 56mins 14%

As you can see, the increase in print time is insignificant. You will consume more filament, but as you’ll see, without supports, the print is almost useless.

To demonstrate the advantage of including supports, the model was printed twice, with and without supports. The following photos show the difference. Each photo shows the unsupported model on the right.

da vinci model comparing support

da vinci model without support

da vinci model no support

The improvement in print quality is obvious with the supported model having sharp and straight lines. Whereas the unsupported model is warped and will lack rigidity once the model is cleaned up.Once you start including supports for models with overhangs, the increase in time and filament will be worth the extra expense.

For more ways to improve your Da Vinci prints, check out the Tips and Tricks page.

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