Saturday, April 21, 2012

Gantry Support Howto

How to add highly effective yet easily removed support structures to your objects.

The Object

The Object

The Problem

Definitely needs support!

The Solution

  1. Add some bridges. Bridges print beautifully, and when they're only 1-2 layers thick/wide are very easy to cut through.
    Added Bridges
  2. Build a gantry up to the bridges. Add some superstructure, thin walls will likely deform when we bridge if built this high by themselves!
    Gantry w/ superstructure
  3. Add a foot to the gantry so it doesn't fall over while being printed
    Added Foot. Note cut-out around object itself.
  4. Gantry Support ready to go!
    Gantry Support
  5. Print!

Post-Print Removal

Success! Cutting Bridge Gantry Separated Cleaning Bridge Remnants


Cleaned Supported Section Gantry Now Do The Other Side Even Cleaner No evidence of support on resulting surface

Closing Thoughts

Gantry support is a highly effective method of adding support.
  • It can effectively support sections where llamella support might blemish a surface.
  • It can support larger sections high up an object using little material where llamella support would use a large volume of material
  • It can be stacked to get support into particular sections - simply make an intermediate bridge, and build another gantry on your bridge!
  • For irregular shapes (eg belly of venetian lion), one could try using openscad's projection(), minkowski() and extrude() to create a profile-fitting bridge

This method is not suitable for:

  • Irregular or organic supported surfaces where a bridge won't support everything, eg underneath mushrooms.
  • Areas that have no space around them for gantries and bridges, or which would be inaccessible with a blade post-print
  • Probably several other circumstances that I haven't thought of yet!

    I look forward to seeing your gantry supports on thingiverse!

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