Many prints need support structures to be able to print correctly. Supports are a critical addition that helps keep overhangs and bridges from collapsing and sagging. Unfortunately, if you’ve got support structures, you’ll need to remove them during post-processing. You don’t want your support structures being a permanent part of your model. In many cases, support removal is relatively simple, unfortunately his isn’t always the case. If there are serious issues removing supports, then it’s even possible to irreparably damage the print.
How to remove support structures
Thee first method you should use to remove support structures is to simply use your hands. The breakaway style of support structure that is the default in almost all slicing software. This means that you should be able to easily remove most exposed supports with just your fingers. This shouldn’t even need much effort, try being gentle at first and if there are any more stubborn supports try a little more force.
If you can’t remove a support with your fingers, the next thing you should try is some tools. A pair of needle nose pliers, a putty knife, or an Exacto knife/scalpel are all good tools for this. The pliers can help to get to hard-to-reach locations. The knives are better at removing suborn supports or cleaning up supports that didn’t break cleanly. Heating the blade of the knife can also help it cut through the supports.
Tip: When using sharp tools such ass an Exacto knife, be very careful not to cut yourself. These knives can be incredibly sharp and if they slip it can be easy to catch a finger and do some serious damage.
Sandpaper is an important tool for support removal as it lets you smooth down the artifacts left behind. Start with a rough 400 grit sandpaper and work your way up to a fine 4000 grit sandpaper to smooth the surface. It’s best to use wet/dry sandpaper with a black grit as the water will help cool the plastic, remove dust and keep that dust from becoming airborne.
Have you got any other tips for removing support structures? Let us know down below.