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Dense Support: How to Set Them Up in ideaMaker

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


Let’s get to know the best way to set up Dense Support on ideaMaker.

In this guide, Raise3D would like to explain step by step all the parameters required to correctly set up Dense Support in ideaMaker.

Meanwhile, let’s briefly explain what Dense Support is and what it is used for.


Dense Support is a type of print media, much denser than normal print media, which allows users to greatly increase the aesthetic finish of the model surfaces to be supported. Furthermore, they save users material and printing time, as users can set the print support to be coarse, and a few layers before the surface to be supported is printed, users can insert as many layers of Dense Support as they want.

1 Generate Support

This parameter is the most important one; it depends on where users want the print supports to be generated. If “All” is selected, print supports will be created from the print plane, and also from areas of the model. Selecting “Flat Contact Only”, on the other hand, it will generate all supports starting only from the print plane.

If, on the other hand, users want to deactivate the supports for all printing, simply select “None“. Obviously, in order to print Dense Support, the support must be active, otherwise it will be impossible to print them.


2 Layer Dense Support

This parameter allows users to set how many layers of dense support users want to create between the normal support and the surface of the model to be supported. Normally three or four layers are sufficient to guarantee good quality, but if users have set a very low density of normal support (e.g. less than 10%), Raise3D recommends increasing this value by a few layers, so that they have a chance to stabilise and even out before they come into contact with the model, thus guaranteeing your model’s surface has a good aesthetic quality. However, be careful not to overdo it by setting too many layers, otherwise the user will have a hard time removing the support from your object in post-production; the more layers users put in, the more cohesive, strong and rigid they will be.


3 Layers Lower Dense Support

Checking this box will generate Dense Support between the surface of the model and the normal supports. This setting is useful for preserving the aesthetic quality of the model surface is supported the generated print supports. Lower Dense Support will only be generated if users have set “Generate supports” to “all”, otherwise all those print supports that are not in contact with the print surface will be excluded.


4 Dense Support Filling Percentage

This parameter sets the support density percentage, i.e. how dense users want the supports to be. Normally set at around 70-80% to ensure a good aesthetic finish, but set at 100% when printing with soluble materials such as PVA; HIPS etc….., on dual extruder printers, as users do not have to worry too much about their removal, as they will be dissolved in the respective solvent.


5 Dense Support Type

In this drop-down menu, users can choose the type of dense support they want to create. In fact, it’s possible to choose two different types for normal support and dense support, there may be cases where it is better to use a dense support e.g. concentric, or rectangular etc., different from the normal support type.


6 External Filling of Dense Substrate

This parameter allows contours to be added to dense print media; it may be useful to enable this feature if users want to make the Dense Support more stable and improve the aesthetic quality of the model at the edges of the model surfaces to be supported.


7-8 Extruder Contours Dense Support Filling

If users have a dual extruder printer, they can decide to print the contours of the Dense Support with another material, as it might be useful to sometimes print the contours with another material and Dense Support with the same as the model and vice versa.

Dense Support Extruder: This parameter is one of the most important regarding the handling of Dense Support, and like the previous one, it can only be used with dual extruder printers. Normally it is set like this: normal support is printed with the same material as the model, and the Dense Support is made out of a soluble material. At this point, when the printing of our object is finished, by dipping the object in the solvent to dissolve the dense support, it will dissolve also the normal supports a well, so users will have a very good aesthetic quality of the supported surface, and users will have saved support material which is normally more expensive than the common filaments ABS; PLA; PETG; etc….

Internal Horizontal Expansion Dense Support:

This parameter is set in millimeters and allows users to expand the dense supports in the X and Y axes of our model, only for protruding walls, i.e., sticking out at a certain angle of overhang but not completely overhanging.

By increasing this value users can increase the amount of dense supports that will support the surface of the model. Usually 0.8 mm is sufficient, depending on the aesthetic quality required in these parts of the model users can also increase this by a few millimeters.

Don’t set a value that’s too high because very Dense Support will be generated, which may then be difficult to remove in post-production.


Using Line Filling in the Filling

By activating this box, whenever users set a high intensity fill, e.g. greater than 90% for Dense Support, regardless of the type of media users have chosen (Rectangular, concentric grid etc…..), the slicer will create a dense line support, in order to have a greater adhesion to the surface of the model to be printed.


Flowrate Support

By varying the percentage of this parameter, users can change the flowrate/extrusion width for Dense Support only. Normally it is set to 100%, but if, for example, users are printing support with nozzles larger than 0.4 mm in diameter, users can decrease the Flowrate to have thinner supports, saving more material, and making it easier to remove them.

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