Perhaps learning that that fills you with as much dread as being responsible for those children’s holiday gifts that come with 387 pieces and announce ‘simple assembly required’ on the box. If you’ve bravely gone on to make an intricate design with supports only to experience the complete destruction of your 3D printed part at the end of the line when support material can’t be pried off without damaging your design, you may likely be hesitant to go to that dark place again–and rightly so.
Even the most experienced of 3D printing users will commiserate. We can’t–and thankfully don’t have to–help you with putting together that set of torturous plastic parts straight from China, but we are excited to announce that help seems to be on the way for 3D printing with supports via Polymaker with the product launch of PolySupport.
Polymaker is one of those companies that walks the walk. Comprised of makers who are enthusiastic about digital design and 3D printing themselves, they too were sick of having to take to their tool sets to whittle away supports from their 3D models, only to be left with problems.
“People, especially newcomers to 3D printing tend to think that they can click a button and print anything from any 3D model,” said Dr. Xiaofan Luo, the CEO of Polymaker. “But they will soon find out, and be frustrated by, how limited desktop 3D printing can be in handling complex parts due to the lack of a good solution for support.”
So, if you are tired of holding your breath while removing supports and hoping not to damage your project, or if you are losing out on trying to create new things while you tiptoe around the support issue, it’s going to be a relief to hear that Polymaker announces they’ve found that sweet spot for using supports and then removing them with such ease that it’s gone from being a horrible process to one that’s actually fun.
With supports for most items taking under five minutes to remove, PolySupport is a new support material for FDM 3D printing. It doesn’t leave any residue; in fact, its ‘pearl-like appearance’ will give your model a wonderful shine, according to the Polymaker team, who have tested the product on multiple 3D printers with varying levels of support complexity.
“PolySupport is really easy to use. In most cases you can simply peel off the support with your hand,” said Dr. Luo. “We have engineered PolySupport so it has just enough adhesion to ensure the support function, while the adhesion is also weak enough so one can easily initiate an interfacial fracture between the model and the support.”
With the issue sometimes simply being that certain 3D printing filaments and materials are challenging to work with in general, not to mention adding the complication of supports, users may either avoid some otherwise promising projects altogether, or find more time-consuming workarounds to avoid the potential hassles of using rafting and supports–perhaps printing models in several pieces and then assembling them.
What PolyMaker saw was that users were not only experiencing hassle, they were experiencing limitation within this new technology that should offer every maker the chance to fly with a new idea, or just the chance to experience success with a design they downloaded and want to produce themselves.
“PolySupport is the result of over a year’s R&D work, and we are really excited to finally bring it to market,” added Aaron Jennings, Design & Communications Manager for Polymaker. “We are not just stopping at R&D, we are actively working with a number of printer manufacturers and software companies to better integrate PolySupport with both hardware and software to ensure the user an easy, streamlined process when printing with support.”
Often, the challenges that make us uncomfortable or feel intimidated can hold us back from achieving our goals, large or small. It can be as serious as shooting for the moon with a new business or launching a new product line, or as simple as one of those weekend creative projects you just can’t get off the ground. Perhaps you want to do all of those things. 3D printing could fit into any of those scenarios. It’s a technology that is new to most of us, presenting uncharted territory that allows for great exploration–but that doesn’t mean it’s without numerous challenges along the way.
While already challenged by and consumed with the process of conceptualizing, producing intricate digital designs, and then allowing for all the proper 3D printing conditions, it’s encouraging to hear that perhaps we no longer need to run for the hills when we realize supports are necessary.
For using PolySupport, you do not have to be 3D printing with a heated build plate. It stores well and, like PLA, has no issues in being exposed to moisture. PolySupport, available for use with either dual or single extruders, can be used with preassembled parts and removed easily, having no effect on desired functionality.
- Filament Melting Point: 200-210°C (392-410 °F)
- Density: 1.20-1.25 g/cm3
- Diameters: 1.75 mm or 3 mm
- ± 0.05 mm
- 50 Microns
- (Typical~ 0.02 mm )
General Printing Settings
- Temperature Range: 220-230 °C
- Recommended 3D printing temperature: 220-230 °C
- Recommended 3D print speed: 30-60 mm/s
Is this a product you’ve been waiting for to enhance your 3D printing experience? Have you experienced the failure of a print while attempting to remove support materials? Discuss in the 3D Printing Support Materials forum thread over at 3DPB.com. Take a look at PolySupport in the video below.