Figure 4™ TOUGH-GRY 10 is capable of print speeds up to 100 mm/hour in a strong production plastic. With 25% elongation at break, it has the durability required for a broad range of applications. This dark gray plastic material is extremely stable, including under high humidity conditions. If you are reading this online, you can use the quick links below to skip to a section.
- General best practices apply, as seen in the Figure 4 Print Material Quick Reference.
- For best results use the Resin Mixer to gently stir between prints and after the resin has been sitting overnight.
CAUTION: Do NOT press down on the film when stirring.
Part orientation is the first critical setup function before slicing a part in 3D Sprint™. The part orientation must consider several features before adding supports to the part. The optimal orientation may not be intuitive at first, but the orientation is based on the premise of printing on a 3D printer one layer at a time. The goal of this document is to allow the customer to build that orientation skill and intuition.
Tip 1 - Identify No Support Surfaces-
The first thing to consider for a part is to determine what surfaces or features should NOT have a support. Note in 3D Sprint™for Figure 4™, this will be surfaces facing AWAY from the print platform or ‘floor’ (checker board plane in the illustration below) of 3D Sprint™. Thus, surfaces such as datums, textured surfaces, and outer cover surfaces should be oriented for no supports.
|Figure 1. Initial part orientation in 3D Sprint™|
Tip 2 - Large Cross Sectional Area
To get the best surface quality and accurate part, minimizing the cross sectional area is very important. Use the Transform function in 3D Sprint™ to rotate the part such that it satisfies Tip 1 and Tip 2.
NOTE: It is also useful to use the View window to click on the Top Left triangle of Z in the Clipping section. This will create a plan that can be moved up and down in Z to view the slice image of the layer being printed. In other words, what is seen in Red is what is being printed in that layer.
|Figure 2. Initial part orientation and View window in 3D Sprint™|
|Figure 3. Cross section area view in XY plane using Z-axis clipping in View. Red denotes the layer information.|
To see the large cross sectional area for this part, move the blue plane down. This is a large cross section that would be better printed in an angular rotated orientation. Note a Large Cross Section can be considered to be a cross section that is greater than a 20x10mm or 8x30mm area. This should be defined as being in a local area and not the full area of the layer. The figure shows an area that has four large cross sectional local areas.
Figure 4. Large cross sectional area. Shows four sides with approximate 10x30mm cross sectional areas.
Continue to move the blue plane up and down along the Z-axis to identify the large cross section areas in the part. The area below shows a part that is approximately 8x35mm in two local areas.
Figure 5. Large cross sectional area. Shows two areas with approximate 8x35mm cross sectional areas.
Tip 3 – Critical Feature Orientation
A critical feature is a feature for which you would prefer minimal or no supports, such as a screw boss, snap, or other critical geometry. On the part in this example, there is a screw boss on one side of the part. For these features, it is optimal to rotate the part so they are facing away from the print platform. Note these surfaces may have minimal supports (minimal meaning <5), but not in such a way the support interferes with the critical function of the feature. Note manual editing may also be required on these features.
Enable Tip 1, Tip 2, and Tip 3 – Once considering the items described in Tips 1-3, the part can be oriented. The Transform window in 3D Sprint™ can be used to orient the part back 45-degrees toward the Y-axis. Note the change in cross section being printed on this layer compared to the orientation in Figure 5. The following images show the considerations from Tip 1-3.
Figure 6. Re-oriented part after following Tip 1 for no support surface.
Figure 7. Re-oriented part after following Tip 2 for small cross sectional area.
Figure 8. Re-oriented part after following Tip 3 for feature location.
Tip 4 – Minimizing Supports Using Self Supporting Orientation
Orienting to allow sections of the part to be self supporting should be the next consideration before adding supports. This will include orienting the part to allow the larger sections of the part to be at approximately 45-degrees relative to the print platform. An example of this is to move edges of the geometry that are parallel to the print platform, to be at an angle.
Figure 9. Top of center hole is parallel to the print platform.
Figure 10. Top of center hole is now at a self supporting angle to the print platform.
The part in the image below is now ready to add supports. It has used the following information to optimally orient the part:
Tip 1 – Identify No Support Surfaces – Cover area has been considered and no supports are on top surfaces of the part. There is minimal supports on the side of the outer surface wall.
Tip 2 – Large Cross Sectional Area – The large cross sectional areas were identified and have been optimized.
Tip 3 – Critical Feature Orientation – The critical features of the large holes and screw boss have been oriented for minimal supports.
Tip 4 – Minimizing Supports Using Self Supporting Orientation – The final orientation moves the part such that it minimized edges parallel to the print platform.
Figure 11. Final orientation after following Tips 1-4.
The General Flat Tip supports are a support option for TOUGH-GRY 10 and TOUGH-GRY 15 materials. These supports are generated by selecting General Flat Tip in the drop down menu of the Smart Support Window. The General Flat Tip supports are used as Default supports for the aforementioned materials.
Figure 12. Drop down menu for General Flat Tip supports.
The General Flat Tip supports have a plus sign cross section leading from the print plate to the support tip. Then the support tip is rectangular or in appearance ‘Flat’. This allows for a small scar on the part and easy cleanup for post process.
Figure 13. Image General Flat Tip supports
Some tips for using these are as follows:
- Use for general purpose printing, and good for parts with fine detail or small features.
- To make the supports thicker go to Pillar and make the Chunk Pillar Width larger by 0.05mm.
- To make the supports thinner and easier to remove, go to Pillar and make the Chunk Pillar Width smaller by 0.05mm.
Figure 14. Chunk Pillar Width parameter under Pillar selection.
Note that smaller supports may break during printing for large thick parts or higher warp geometries.
Figure 15. Fully supported part using General Flat Tip supports.
- To thin the support tip only, go to the Pillar Top Height under Tip, and increase the value to 2mm or make larger by 0.5mm increments.
Figure 16. Pillar Top Height parameter under Tip selection.
|Figure 17. Image on left shows standard General Flat Tip support tip. The image on the right shows adjusted tip to 2mm height.|
- It may be optimal to make the supports very thin for very fine detail and/or small parts. In this case, to make the supports thinner and easier to remove, go to Tip and make the Pillar Top Height larger by 0.1mm AND make the Chunk Pillar Width smaller. In the figure below, the Chunk Pillar Width is also set to 0.3mm.
Figure 18. The General Flat Tip support tip AND pillar are very thin.
The Fine Flat Tip supports are a support option for TOUGH-GRY 10 and TOUGH-GRY 15 materials. These supports are generated by selecting Fine Flat Tip in the drop down menu of the Smart Support Window. The Fine Flat Tip supports are used as special case parts that require many supports on the print plate facing surfaces, many small features, or thin cover parts.
Figure 19. Drop down menu for Fine Flat Tip supports.
The Fine Flat Tip supports have a plus sign cross section leading from the print plate to the support tip. Then the support tip is rectangular or in appearance ‘Flat’. This allows for a small scar on the part and easy cleanup for post process. The density of supports on a part will be much larger than that for General Flat Tip supports. The part shown in Figure 20 is a great candidate for Fine Flat Tip supports as it is going to need the extra support at the base due to the nature of the following:
- Radius attach point at bottom of part
- Keep mating part features on upward facing surfaces to minimize supports
- Maintain geometry on the flat section on the support side of the part. Too few supports require more sanding.
|Figure 20. Part geometry that requires Fine Flat Tip supports|
Figure 21. Fully supported part using Fine Flat Tip supports.
The Fine Flat Tip supports will have a much higher density than normally seen in other support types. This is because the intent is to cover a large surface that cannot be reoriented to optimize. The larger amount of supports allow for much smaller supports tips while still maintaining build reliability. Take caution to zoom in on the part to get a real look at how big the support is going to be. The anchor points scale in 3D Sprint™ for the user to see the location but size can be deceiving.
|Figure 22. Fine Flat Tip anchor points with window zoomed in and out for comparison.|
Some larger parts get over supported due to the conservative nature of the support style used to handle a larger collection of geometries. Some of these supports can be deleted using the Modify/Erase Function on the Smart Support tabs.
Figure 23. Erase location in Modify tab.
The user will have to determine how many supports can be removed from the part. Most parts building at >45-degree angle can print self-supporting with only few supports needed. This will make cleaning the support tips left on the part after printing much easier.
|Figure 24. Over supported part is on the left. The modified part is the image on the right.|
Fine Flat Tip supports are dependent on the angle set in the parameters. This can be changed by the user and will be explained later in this document. However, the default is at 50-degree angle. Thus all flat surfaces <50-degrees will get supports. This can also cause over supporting edges that do not need supports. This is shown in Figure 25.
|Figure 25. Over supported part is on the left. The modified part is the image on the right.|
Some tips for using these are as follows:
- Use for general purpose printing, and good for large cover parts, flat parts, fine detail or small features.
- Supports can be resized using Chunk Pillar Width and Pillar Top Height as described in the General Flat Tip section.
Because the TOUGH-GRY 10 and TOUGH-GRY 15 are general purpose materials, there are infinite organic shapes that can be presented for supports. No support type all portions of every imaginable geometry, which is why the 3D Sprint™ supports types presented here are setup conservatively. Meaning most parts will get more supports than needed to print a great part. This will mean more tips & tricks are needed to catch anomalies and the 3D Sprint™ software also allows for tools to fix these anomalies.
Part Geometry Requiring Extra Support Modification
Part geometries in this instance are defined as areas of the part or features that do NOT get supported correctly. This normally occurs on corners and large radii edges. In addition, some over supported features that need may cause part defects will need supports removed.
The images in Figure 26 show the added supports to make this a more successful print. This part had been setup with auto generated Fine Flat Tip supports.
|Figure 26. Default Fine Flat Tip anchor points are on the left. Note the image on the right side has supports added to the radius edge circled in RED.|
Another place to always check in a part is holes. A hole >3mm should have at least a single support inside the top edge. More supports would be determined by the length of the ‘tube’ the hole is in. The images in Figure 27 show the added support in the top of the hole. Note this is part is only 2.5mm thick and only needs one support to guarantee a circular hole.
|Figure 27. Default Fine Flat Tip anchor points are on the left where the hole has no supports. The image on the right side has one support added to the top inside edge of the hole.|
Some parts have a lip along the bottom edge of the part. To insure the lip is printed flat and not wavy, the Fine Flat Tip supports are used. It is good to verify the supports are even along the edge. This may require deleting some supports as well as adding others.
|Figure 28. Default Fine Flat Tip anchor points are shown in the top image. Both the inner and outer edge show uneven supports. The bottom image shows the modified anchor points to give an even distribution of anchor points along each edge.|
Tools for Modifying Supports
3D Sprint™ has many tools available, so advanced users may modify the supports to better fit the part geometry. These are shown in the Smart Support window under each appropriate Tab and Support Item. The tools described in this section are most commonly used tools when building parts.
The Analyze tab shows Common Acquisition Parameters, which define the support node placement on the part. These also define support density on the given geometry.
|Figure 29. The Analyze parameters available to the user in 3D Sprint™.|
The most commonly used parameters to determine placement on the Analyze tab are the Sharp Edge Point Interval and Thin Wall Point Interval. These control the density of the supports on the sharp edges of the part and large flat surfaces respectively. Note ‘thin wall’ in this definition is part thickness in XYZ direction, it is not just a vertical wall.
The Sharp Edge Point Interval determines the spacing of the anchor points along a sharp edge. Thus, if a part is more vertical it can use spacing at up to 10mm. However, for sharper edges or on curved edges it may need to be as low as 3mm.
|Figure 30. The images show the straight edge and curve edge spacing based on the Sharp Edge Point Interval value. From the top down the Sharp Edge Point Interval values equal 3, 5, and 10.|
The Thin Wall Point Interval determines the spacing between the anchor points on the grid used for thin wall non-flat surfaces. (Note flat surface support node spacing is determined using the Point Influence Radius parameter). Another dependency for the Thin Wall Point Interval is the Thin Wall Thickness. The Thin Wall Thickness is the wall thickness of the surface whether it is angled or curved. The default Thin Wall Thickness = 4.
Figure 31. The images show the grid spacing based on the Thin Wall Point Interval value. From the top down the Thin Wall Point Interval values equal 2.5, 5, and 10.
More detail on the support parameters is available by clicking on the Help icon in the Smart Support window. In addition, Best Practices videos are available by clicking on the Best Practices link in the Smart Support window.
|Figure 32. The Help icon and Best Practices link can be found in the Smart Support window.|