I found a nice model for a ship from the game "Eve". It doesn't have a flat bottom, so it needs support material. But Slic3r generates several dozen tiny support pillars, and one by one they break loose from the build plate. As they get tall, the leverage of course increases, and since they're so tiny they don't have much area in contact with the bed, so they separate. Eventually the whole model broke free, turned a bit, and since I had gone to dinner it kept printing... see below. I think the main problem is the poor support material geometry, but the controls in Slic3r for support material don't seem to give many options.

How can I get better support material layout? Oh, this is PLA, by the way.

Rifter fail

(appending to question to be able to put in the picture)

I tried a bunch of things, and the MeshMixer support, plus fiddling with several settings, got it to come out pretty well. Thanks to all, esp. @Tormod!

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ I noticed that your question has a few answers available and has been open for a while, just curious if any of the available answers was able to help. If not, then what questions do you still have? $\endgroup$ – tbm0115 Jul 3 '16 at 20:23
  • $\begingroup$ @tbm0115 -- I've had slight improvement from playing with the slic3r support settings, but it's still pretty bad on models like this. Have also played with layer height, extrusion rate, and temperature. I still need to try out other slicing software, or designing in the support manually. $\endgroup$ – TextGeek Jul 4 '16 at 15:46
  • $\begingroup$ Have you addressed the issues in your printer settings? It seems premature to blame the slicer for failing when the printer is not able to accurately do what the slicer is trying to make it do. @darth pixel makes very good points below. $\endgroup$ – Jexoteric Oct 27 '16 at 1:37

I know many Slic3r users - myself included - add support material to the model itself before importing it into Slic3r.

I personally favour MeshMixer for support generation, as the supports are much more predictable and easily removable. In complicated cases I also add supports in my CAD software.

Although a not free, the support generation in Simplify3D is supposed to be great, allowing for custom placement.

I also found this review that compares support settings in Meshmixer, Slic3r and Cura fairly well. Here is the summary:


This support was the most efficient in material use however it required the most manual tweaking to print properly. In addition the marks it left once removed were more noticeable than Cura and (sometimes) Slic3r. While the settings could probably be further modified to improve the performance this support type appears the most limited for future improvements.


The support's performance was variable - by far the best in some situations (fox's head and tale) however the worst to remove with the most obvious marks in other areas of the same model. This may be down to my chosen settings and with some more tweaking I may get better results. The most obvious general flaw is that it does not leave a big enough gap between the support and the unsupported areas of the model (like the foxes legs or the lower roots of the planter)


While some of the support left marks, overall it was the easiest to generate support which performed consistently well. Once again though slight tweaks could improve this further for specific models.

Overall Cura wins my "no time to tweak - got to make it work now" award.

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    $\begingroup$ I would add MatterControl which I use with success. It adds very simple but stiff support material. $\endgroup$ – darth pixel May 4 '16 at 8:02
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    $\begingroup$ I just downloaded MeshMixer and tried it, and the support looks way more robust (plus looks easier to attach. Have not printed from that yet, but I'll give that and/or some of the others a try. Very helpful pointers, Thanks, @Tormod! $\endgroup$ – TextGeek May 4 '16 at 15:12
  • $\begingroup$ That is good to hear, @TextGeek! $\endgroup$ – Tormod Haugene May 4 '16 at 17:45

I see more important things on your photo.

  1. Filament layers are not sticked together, even these on the first layer (on the bed).
  2. Next is that lines are not staight but they are wavy.

This suggests that you should try

  • increase HE temperature
  • set speed of the first layer (20% of normal speed)
  • decrease first layer thickness
  • increase extrude rate for the first layer

Of course (answering your question) there are other types of support material. The most stable should be honeycomb but it will not work for you if you will not tune up printing parameters.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, several ideas there that seem worth trying. I've been wondering about under-extrusion too, but hadn't thought of the temperature and first-layer speed. Will post back after trying some of these. $\endgroup$ – TextGeek May 4 '16 at 15:08
  • $\begingroup$ The waviness is better after I adjusted the iGus linear slide for the X-axis -- it took some doing to get rid of excess "play" there. Only a little improvement in stability of the silc3r support columns, though (so far). $\endgroup$ – TextGeek Jul 4 '16 at 15:48
  • $\begingroup$ @TextGeek would you share some photos so we could see how is it going? Maybe some shots from diferent angle to see results from aside? $\endgroup$ – darth pixel Jul 4 '16 at 18:53

I have not used Slic3r very much. But my guess is that the settings should still be same.

Also, are those rafts? They look incomplete: you might want to check your leveling again.

In addition, try to increase your thickness of the support material. Make it squares or something, as that will give much better strength.

Furthermore, if there is a setting for manually placing supports, you might try that. Simplify3D had that option and it worked wonders for few of our projects.

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In my point of view it seems that the bed offset not optimal. I see that you are using the blue tape, which is better than any other tape. As a next step I would recommend to try different types of glue.

I agree with Tormod Haugene and can also recommend Cura. You can also experiment there with a lot of parameters and after a time you will get a feeling how to print your things successfully. Just take a look at the download page at Ultimaker for the application and if there are problems with the software you can feel free to report issues at GitHub.


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