We are sure that we can all agree that there is a bit of a love-hate relationship between support structures and 3D printing enthusiasts, as they are a pain to deal with in most cases, but on the other hand, printing structures that are overhang and bridge-heavy wouldn’t be possible without them.
While removing support structures, even when they are optimally printed, is not a fun activity by any means, the situation can become even worse when the support settings are not configured correctly, creating a scenario where the joy of 3D printing suddenly goes away.
In today’s article, we will be talking about the Cura support structures that become way too strong as a result of misconfiguration and, as a result, hard to remove, which can be a massive inconvenience, especially if you have printed a 3D model that requires a lot of supports for a successful final product.
So, what can cause the supports you print with Cura to become too strong, making them nearly impossible to remove?
Below, we have listed the Cura support settings that can cause the supports to become way too strong when they are misconfigured:
- High Support Density
- Low Support X/Y Distance
- Low Support Z Distance
- High Support Wall Line Count
- High Support Interface Thickness
- High Support Interface Density
- Wrong Support Pattern
In the upcoming sections of the article, we will be diving deeper into the factors that can cause the supports you have printed with Cura to be too strong, find out how to weaken the supports that are too strong for efficient removal, and finally, go through the process of finding and modifying all of the support settings Cura offers.
Table of Contents
What Can Cause Cura Supports to Be Too Strong?
While supports should be strong enough to support the bridges and overhangs above them to prevent the 3D printed model from collapsing, support structures that are way too strong are not desirable either due to them becoming pretty challenging to remove.
Here are the most common causes that can be behind the issue of your Cura supports being way too strong:
- The support density is too high. As the support density value directly determines the amount of plastic that goes into the supports, a high support density value will make the supports much more challenging to remove.
- The support X/Y distance is too low. The support X/Y distance value determines the amount of horizontal space between the model and the support structure, and using a value that is too low will make them harder to remove due to them being too close to the model.
- The support Z distance is too low. The support Z distance is responsible for determining the vertical clearance between the model and the support structure. When this value is too low, the support will stick very firmly to the model and become harder to remove.
- The support wall line count is too high. The support wall line count determines the number of extra walls that will be added to the support structure, making them stronger, and as a result, harder to remove.
- The support interface density is too high. The support interface determines the amount of plastic that goes into the support interface structure between the supports and the model itself. Using a high value will cause this layer to become too strong and hard to remove.
- The support interface thickness is too high. The support interface thickness parameter determines how thick the support interface that connects to the model will become. Larger values will increase the size of the support interface, which will make the removal process more challenging.
- The support pattern is sturdy. Some support patterns (such as gyroid) are sturdier (similar to infill) and, as a result, more challenging to remove than others. As such sturdy support patterns aren’t always necessary; using them needlessly can cause your supports to become too hard to remove for no benefit.
Please note that the support interface parameters only apply if the support interface feature is enabled.
How to Weaken the Supports That Are Too Strong in Cura?
Weakening the support structures that are way too strong is a delicate process, as it’s vital to strike a balance between too weak and too strong to avoid problems and obtain a successful final product with supports that are straightforward to remove.
Below is the Cura support configuration we recommend using to print supports that are strong enough to support your model and weak enough to remove easily:
- Support Density – 30%
- Support X/Y Distance – 0.8 mm
- Support Z Distance – Layer Height * 2
- Support Wall Line Count – 0 or 1
- Support Interface Thickness – Layer Height * (4 to 8)
- Support Interface Density – 33%
- Support Pattern – Zig Zag or Lines
As the required strength for the supports primarily depends on the model you’re printing and how much support the bridges and overhangs need, the values we have provided above should act as a starting point for testing rather than a conclusive configuration.
How to Find and Modify All of the Support Settings in Cura?
While Cura has one of the cleanest user interfaces that makes using it a very smooth and enjoyable experience, you will need an extra step to make all of the support-related settings visible as you won’t be able to see them in Cura’s default state.
You can use the step-by-step guide below to find out how to make all the support settings that Cura offers visible and modify them:
- Click the Prepare tab on the top of the Cura window.
- Click the right pane that contains information about the print settings.
- Click the Custom button in the Print Settings dialog that comes up. Skip this step if you don’t see the button.
- Click the icon next to the search box, and choose All from the dropdown menu. This process will make all of Cura’s advanced settings visible to you.
- Click the icon next to the search box again and choose Collapse All Categories.
- Expand the Support category by clicking it in the Print Settings list.
While dealing with support structures is something that most 3D printing enthusiasts would rather avoid whenever possible due to the tedious removal process, having to deal with supports that are much stronger than they should be, which makes the removal process even worse, adds insult to injury.
To quickly recap, you can find all of the parameters that can cause your supports to become way too strong and hard to remove under the Support section of Cura’s print settings, with parameters that modify the density, thickness, distance, or the pattern of the supports being the primary culprits.
As it can take some trial and error to configure the support parameters in a balanced way that won’t cause them to collapse while trying to make them easily removable, running some test prints with different values based on the model you’re printing is highly recommended.
Mike started his 3D printing journey with the Anet A8 when it first came out back in 2017, and has been obsessed with 3D printers ever since. Nowadays, he primarily uses his Ender 3 to print functional parts that make his life more convenient whenever possible.