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I have an Ender 5 that I meticulously calibrated with good success and was regularly getting great print quality with PLA. I stopped using it for a couple of months and when I resumed (without having changed anything), anything I print with support material is a real problem. The supports are really fused to where they touch the part and even tend to melt into the part. It ruins the print and isn't remotely removable without damage.

I've tried the other advice I've found here and from other sources: printing at cooler temps, increasing print cooling, checking bed leveling, etc. I was setting support in Cura, but switched to MeshMixer, which didn't improve the problem. Also, I had been using zig-zag pattern support, and lowered the density in settings, switched to tree supports...but nothing helps.

Before I resort to getting into granular settings to tweak how the supports are generated, am I missing something bigger, more general or more obvious? I find it strange that an idle printer started having such a specific problem.

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    $\begingroup$ New version of Cura? For settings see this answer, it might help you to create more distance between support and print object. $\endgroup$ – 0scar Apr 22 '20 at 6:01
  • $\begingroup$ I honestly don't remember...but that's highly possible. I just tried these settings on a very small print and it's looking much better. If you want to post this as an answer, I'll accept. $\endgroup$ – Gregir Apr 22 '20 at 6:37
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As the commenter suggested (thanks, 0scar!), the culprit appears to have been a Cura update and a change to the support material settings.

In my case, the defaults for Z distance and even the X/Y distance for support material, in addition to the density, was creating very effective supports, but very tricky to remove. I should add that the model was a character sculpture, which I've since learned creates much more complex support scenarios versus the more uniform models I've been accustomed to printing.

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