Sunday, 2 March 2014

Best supporting act

Now that I have a delta printer that can make taller prints, I decided to go back and revisit one of my earlier designs, Pensive.

This is a model of a nude woman standing upright in a thoughtful pose. The problem I had originally was that when I printed it small enough to fit in the printer, some of the small features like the fingers just wouldn't print. 

My previous solution was to print the model in two halves and weld her back together afterwards. One beneficial side effect of doing this was that I could make the cut at exactly the point where the tips of the elbows start in the upper half. Now that I was able print the full height of the model in one go I realised I was going to need a different strategy for supporting the arms. I also took the opportunity to change the hairstyle for something a little more voluminous and impressive.

 Without a support structure below the elbows, the extruded filament would simply fall to the bed when the nozzle reached that point.

One method would be to turn on the support feature in the slicing software but this rather crude method would result in a large amount of additional material being placed in many unnecessary areas.

Instead I decided to try the latest version of Meshmixer which allows individual pillars to be placed, manually or automatically, underneath the areas that need supporting.

I didn't like the positions of the automatically placed supports and so I opted to add my own scaffolding exactly where it was needed.

Here is a picture of an early test piece, 175 mm tall with a rather excessive amount of support material still in place.

Having proved that the method worked, I decided to go for a larger version 250 mm tall. This one worked even better. Printed in white PLA at 0.2 mm layer height taking 19 hours.

 I think that this method of support placement could be extremely useful in future and should make it  possible to print many other difficult poses.


  1. Excellent job. I like the idea of adding your own supports. I think it helps save time and makes removal easier.
    The video you posted is private so I can't see it. Might want to check that.