Custom Profiles - Getting started - Decreasing support density and attachment

Before we continue this article is not for beginners! 

It is a more advanced concept 

If you are new to Makerbot and 3D Printing we ask that you start by using default settings within the Makerbot Desktop software first. Gain experience in 3D Printing and then re-visit this article later.

We also run courses in more advanced techniques such as this at our Sydney showroom if you are interested please contact us.

What are we aiming for?

This article will help you decrease the density of your support material. Ie increase the space between the support walls. WE will also briefly introduce you to the "space between the model and support" which makes it easier to remove.

Custom Profiles 

A custom profile is a setting you create that will then show up in the drop downs in makerbot desktop when you go to slice your model. Just like the LOW vs HIGH settings you can select

How to make a custom Profile

To create a custom MakerBot Slicer profile, start by opening the SETTINGS dialog in your Makerbot Desktop Software. 

Click the Advanced Options button at the bottom of the window to open the expanded Make options. 

Then click Create Profile... at the lower right.

When the Create Profile window opens, select one of the available templates from the Template drop-down menu and enter a name for your new profile.

As in this example we are only changing the support, please select a standard profile for your machine.

Eg if you are on a Makerbot MIni select "Makerbot PLA standard for Replicator Mini"

Now name your profile. Be clear. EG Makerbot PLA Standard Mini LOW SPT (Where SPT stands for Support)

Click Create and you will be taken back to the Make dialog with Advanced Options open and your new profile selected. 

Now click Edit Profile. The MakerBot Slicer config file will open in a text editor.

How to Edit Your Support Density in your Profile

The config file includes all the editable settings for the MakerBot Slicer. In this tutorial we are only going to change the Support material settings

Find the line :"supportDensity": 0.2,

Changing this to : "supportDensity": 0.1,

will make the support walls twice as far apart as they are by default - ie 1/2 what they are by default

Changing this to : "supportDensity": 0.05,

will make the support walls 4 times as far apart as they are by default- ie 1/4 of what they are by default

How to Edit the Space Between the model and the support

The "supportModelSpacing". is the distance, in millimeters, between the outer shell of the object and the support structures. Support structures closer to the object might be harder to remove when the build is complete. Support structures farther away from the object might provide less support.

By default they are 0.4 mm  

Changing this to : "supportModelSpacing": 0.8,

You will be surprised what a difference this can make :)

One more tip : Retraction distance

If you are getting lots of spider webbing (thin strings of filament between print walls), you may also want to play with "Retraction". This is where the machine pulls the filament back up before it moves to prevent ooze (liquid dripping from the nozzle) during movements where it is not printing.

It is measured in millimeters and you MUST not go overboard !
By default on a 5th gen machine it is set to 1mm
Try changing it to :
"retractDistance": 1.5,

Time to save
Save the profile (on a windows machine it will have opened in Notepad - Got to File-Save
Close the profile edit screen
Click "SAVE SETTINGS" button in the bottom right of your Makerbot desktop Print Settings window, and slice something

Happy Printing