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As you might have read, we bought a 3D Printer a few months ago and have been having a blast with it! Take a look at what we’re making before you learn about using 3D printing supports to stabilize your creations:
There are many different aspects of 3D printing that are slowly becoming more mainstream. The problem for most people is understanding the terms–the lingo if you will–and knowing how to use these tools. Some of the most popular 3D printing supports are referred to as a raft, skirt, and brim. We had a huge learning curve with these–here’s what I want you to know so you’re not as confused as we were!
A raft is meant to help the object you’re printing in many different ways. The raft is made up of a few layers of filament that create a printing surface, or buffer. The print itself is then created on the raft and will set easier, be easier to remove and will not stick to the printing surface. Ultimately, the goal of a raft is to allow the bottom layers of the print to have no contact with the printing bed. If a raft is being used, the printer will understand to leave an air gap between the actual print and the raft. This gap allows you to remove the object quickly from the raft when ready.
A skirt also serves multiple functions and is often part of a raft. However, if you just want a skirt, you can use this tool by itself. A skirt is a horizontal outline of the object you want to print. Using a skirt, you can ensure that the filament is ready to print the actual object that you want to print. The skirt will not come in contact with the final object, but have a primed filament is always a good idea.
Another reason to use a skirt is that the material will surround the bottom of the print, keeping it warm and allowing it to dry slowly–this helps to avoid warping of the print by being cooled too fast.
The raft keeps the object off the printing surface; the skirt wraps around the bottom of the final object without touching. The brim is essentially a skirt that DOES come in contact with the final object. The difference between a skirt and a brim is the contact with the final object. Since the brim comes in contact with the final print, you will want to use it in specific situations. Say the base of the object your printing is very thin or small. Having a small base could make the object fall over in the middle of the print. Using a brim, even with a small base, the object will not fall over.
All we have to do on our 3D Printer is click a button for supports–the printer software does all of the work. So don’t stress about designing the supports, you don’t have to worry about that. Removing the supports was super easy for us, too–I was prepared to use a sander and some heavy duty clippers, but our object popped right off of the supports with no need to do anything else.