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Adaptive Support: How to Set It Up Correctly in ideaMaker

Note: This blog is originally written in Italian by Raise3D’s client 3dingrolab:

Supporto Adattivo : Come impostarlo correttamente su IdeaMaker.

Adaptive Support Tab in ideaMaker


The parameters of the Adaptive Support Tab on ideaMaker.

First, it’s best to describe what adaptive supports are: This type of support is now present in almost all Slicers. Adaptive support, as the word already implies, is a type of support that varies its density percentage as the size of the model along the Z-axis increases as prints.

The main function is to save time and printing material, especially material that will be thrown away.

In fact, users can start with a low-density support, and as users approach the surface of the model to be supported, the density can be increased until they reach the optimal density only a few layers below the surface that needs to be supported.

Combined with dense printed material, they are the key to achieving good output while cutting costs and printing time, but like all slicing programs, each has its own parameters; therefore, it is essential to know what they do and how they do it.

In this guide, Raise3D will take users through all the parameters of adaptive support on ideaMaker step by step, and explain how they work, so that users will be able to set them correctly.


1 Adaptive Support Reduction Value:

This parameter defines how many changes in the density of the support structure users want to make, from the minimum to the maximum setting (This range is set in the next parameter, which I will explain in a moment).

Below is an explanation of why users need to understand how ideaMaker thinks in this case.

When users set this reduction variable, (e.g. 4, and set the fill range as 5% to 30% as in the image above), users are, in effect, telling the Slicer that they want to switch between four stages of support structure fill density, with each stage having its own density.

ideaMaker, to switch from one density to another, doubles the density of the medium in each respective range. Here is a practical example:

Let us imagine that users have set a reduction value of 4 and a range of 5 to 30 percent, which would mean that during printing, users would have to switch from 5 to 30 percent density in four steps respectively:

[PHASE 1= 5 (Initial density percentage) x 2 (Multiplication factor) = 10%].

[PHASE 2= 10 x 2=20%].

[PHASE 3= 20 x 2 =40%].


Having set a maximum density of 30 percent, the Slicer will stop at 30 percent to comply with the values users set in the range.

As users will have already realized, if the Slicer doubles the density of the media at each stage, setting a higher reduction value will have no effect because, in just three changes, it has already reached the maximum range users have set.

So, this value is always related to the range users want to set.

Normally a range of 10-40 with a reduction value of 4 is sufficient and functional.

To save even more support material, a range of 5-40% with a reduction value of 4 will also be sufficient. In this case, there will be four density transitions of 5% – 10% – 20% – 40%.

Should a range (10 – 30%), with a support reduction value of 1 be employed, users would only have two density changes from 10 to 30% at once. (See image below)

NB: When using adaptive support, all the parameter set in the Support tab will be overwritten except for dense support. So, if a user has set a support density of 20% and in adaptive support a range of, for example, 5-40% is set, the final density will be just 40% without taking into account the previously set parameters.


Users can also set 10 as the reduction value, which means that the slicer will only create a certain number until it has reached the maximum density value, doubling each time starting from the lowest value in the range.

Medium Filling Range Support:

As explained earlier, this parameter allows users to set a minimum and maximum range of support density.

In theory, there is no limit as to how much or how little you can define, but it is important not to make the support too sparse, otherwise they might be unstable, and conversely, not too dense either, otherwise users might have problems removing them in post-production. Normally there are three ranges most commonly used, which are:

5-30%; 5-40%; 10-40%.


Layers Additive Support:


This parameter indicates how many layers of adaptive support users want to print as the print progresses.

It is a good idea to set a sufficient number of layers to ensure a proper transition between one phase of the print and the next, giving the supports time to stabilize properly, before moving on to the next phase, since at lower densities, it is very likely that the first layers of adaptive support tend not to be completely stable and coplanar. This lack of stability is to be avoided, in order for the surface to be properly supported.

In the image above, the number of layers has been exaggerated by setting them to 50, in order to illustrate the effect better, but normally 8-10 transition layers are sufficient, thus ensuring a more homogeneous surface finish.


Internal Horizontal Expansion Adaptive Support:


This parameter is set in millimeters and is very similar to the ‘internal expansion of the dense medium’ explained in the previous article.

It extends the surface of the densest support in the direction of the model’s X and Y axes. It is applied to all those parts of the model to be supported that increase along the Z axis and are protruding but not fully cantilevered, and which go beyond the cantilever angle set in the Supports tab.

Normally good results are obtained by leaving the default setting (0.4 mm), but if users want to increase the aesthetic quality of those areas, this value can increase by up to a few millimeters. Anything beyond this is not recommended as it would make the supports much stiffer and difficult to remove.


Minimum Thickness Adaptive Support:

By setting a minimum value, the various transition phases of denser support will be skipped and reduced to a single phase for surfaces that are smaller than this value.

If, for example, users have an area to support smaller than 2 mm x 2 mm and have set 3 mm as the minimum value, the adaptive media for that area will be printed in only one density step, i.e. starting from the minimum range to the maximum range in one go, to avoid building unnecessary transition steps to support areas smaller than the set value.

This blog is shared by Raise3D’s client – 3dingrolab from Italy.