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I have recently bought an Anycubic i3 Mega S 3D printer. I'm using the stock nozzle (.4 mm) and I print with the plastic it came with (ABS). I'm using Ultimaker 4.4.1.

When I print minis, I'm always having issues removing the support the slicer software adds to print the object. Most of the time, I end up breaking parts of my minis. I'm using the tools given with the box.

How do I make this process easier ? I'm mostly interested in the settings linked with the support generation, but if there are other ways, I would like to know.

Note that the minis are for DnD characters, thus printed objects are often not flat and contain multiple curves, which then creates support that are harder to remove, for example, in between the holder of the mini (the cylinder that holds the piece in a stand up position) and the legs.

I usually print models found online for free, but from time to time I buy some models which contain a lot of details than the free counter parts. I don't mind loosing some of those details, as long as the mini is well printed (in short, I don't mind if the sheath of the sword falls off, but I do care if the arm falls off)

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  • $\begingroup$ This is not particularly a good question for SE; i.e.the sharing of settings. A much better question would be why the removal of support structures is difficult. That is your actual question which will be perfectly answerable like has been explained here for instance. Could you please rephrase the question and body? Thanks! $\endgroup$ – 0scar Jan 13 at 6:31
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    $\begingroup$ Note that you don't give us how detailed you want to print and what nozzle you have mounted. That makes suggestions for settings harder too. $\endgroup$ – Trish Jan 13 at 13:22
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    $\begingroup$ I see what you guys mean, I will edit my question ! $\endgroup$ – RegularNormalDayGuy Jan 13 at 15:57
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks, this is now a very good question! $\endgroup$ – 0scar Jan 13 at 16:43
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    $\begingroup$ Rotary grinder with a small tip (think "Dremel tool"). Don't set the speed too high, which will just melt the plastic. $\endgroup$ – CrossRoads Jan 13 at 17:52
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Let's look at the factors that can help us get support parts printed and removed:

  • access
  • dimensions/size
  • bonding
  • debonding

access

Support structure has to be accessed to be removed. Tree support could help in this. An alternative would be soluable support, which is still accessible if buried deep in a part - as the solvent would be all that needs to access the part.

dimensions/size

Support structure needs to have some crossection to be printed at all. if it gets too small, it will fail to print and fail in supporting. You might alter the support angle to support even 40° or 30° surfaces to the vertical to forcefully increase the supported area and thus dimension of the support structure.

bonding (to bed)

To make sure the part and its supports don't shift from one another, it is best to print with a brim that makes sure all support trees and the base of the model all share a combined first layer.

debonding

Debonding means, we need to remove the support structure from the printed part. Ultimaker Cura allows to define a gap from support structure to the part, usually 2 layers. With these settings removing supports can be as easy as removing the brim and careful cleanup.

Other things

No support?!

Some miniatures have lots of unsupported areas. For example this knight needs support at the hilt of the sword, the arm and the helmet overhang. This dwarf might need support at his dagger in the back and on the left arm (and was resin printed).

However, with the proper design, there is sometimes no support needed. For example this pirate has no areas that need support for overhangs or free hanging areas.

Printing speed

Printing miniatures and intricate parts is hard. I have set up an older, small TronXY with a 0.2 mm nozzle just to print small and detailed items, usually engineering models. I print them slower than normal (ca 40 mm/s, 20 mm for the outer shell).

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