I have made some prints with the Ultimaker 2+ and Ultimaker 2 Extended+. The prints are in PLA. For slicing, I use Cura and I check the support checkbox (haven't gone to advanced settings to adjust support yet). I can clearly see that there is a little space between the support and the print. The supports often look like long pillars and such.

My question then is: "What is the best technique for removing the support?". Is it to use a knife, pliers or perhaps PLA-water? Is it possible to use PLA-water to remove support when printed with Ulitmaker 2+ or is that just the Ultimaker 3? What type of technique would give a good looking print?

Ultimaker 3 has support filament that's water-soluble. Is there something similar for Ultimaker 2+?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ just... break it off? I use tweezers and post-process with a knife.. PLA is not water-soluble. $\endgroup$
    – Trish
    Oct 19, 2019 at 10:55

2 Answers 2


The Ultimaker 2+ is a single extruder 3D printer. Without changing the PLA spool and PVA spool continuously during the print you practically cannot make water soluble supports on the Ultimaker 2+ which can be done on the Ultimaker 3. Note that PVA (from experience) is strange material to print, the filament is very hygroscopic and will form bubbles during printing when moist. Also, PVA is prone to clog the nozzle (it cooks easily) it therefore has its own printer core (nozzle assembly) on the Ultimaker 3 (still it clogs easily). Furthermore, it takes a while to dissolve in water.

If you have a single extruder and nozzle, your best option is to use the same material for support, but modify the support settings as such that it can be easily removed. E.g. on thin layer heights (0.1 mm) I usually increase the gap between support and product over the default value, see this answer.

On dual extruder printers, e.g. on the Ultimaker 3 and S5, my colleagues have better experience using Ultimaker Breakaway filament rather than using PVA. As with the PLA supports, you need to "break them away" from the actual product; I use a Leatherman Charge or FREE P4 as these tools have fine pointed pliers. Note that there are removal tools available that are best described as soldering irons that can aid in the removal of support structures:

Modifi3d support removal tool

Note that I have mixed feelings about this product; it is hard to neatly remove supports using these small soldering irons, but it sometimes works.


PLA and ABS are hard plastics. They are not water-soluble. If you print with these materials, just snap printed support materials off and clean the interface layer with a knife and sanding.

To remove the support, it is best to use strong tweezers or a pair of pliers to grip and then apply some force. Generally, I use needle pliers, but occasionally I also use snippets to cut up the support towers into more manageable chunks and keep the printed part safer. It can help to remove it in pieces and score the breaking lines.

As PLA is brittle, I prefer to break away from the object and not pull.

  • $\begingroup$ Yes, but I'm asking for a technique for "snapping it off". What tool do you use, and how to you do it? $\endgroup$
    – Vebjorn
    Oct 23, 2019 at 11:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Vebjorn- I'm guessing that you could score the line that you wish to break at, with a craft/Stanley knife first, in order to "encourage" a clean break at the correct point $\endgroup$
    – Greenonline
    Oct 23, 2019 at 12:54

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