How to Fix 3d Printing Supports Breaking or Falling Apart 

You’re having problems with your 3d printing supports and you want to know how to fix them. Start with this 3d printing supports guide to identify your issues and learn how to fix them. You’ll get better quality prints, less failures, and less headaches.

What are supports?

Supports are structures created by your slicing software that allow you to 3d print overhanging structures in your print. They normally look like things that are just hanging in mid air with nothing “stair stepping” to the part of the structure think of a teardrop or something hanging over from the structure.

What’s the problem?

As your print is extruded, parts of the support structure are uneven, stringy, or cracked.

Why is it happening?

Support structures are complex, and most slicer applications will provide several options for printing them. Lines and zig-zags are generally easy to remove but are less rigid during the print process. Triangles and grids offer more support but can be difficult to remove.

Some slicing software enables you to print supports without platform adhesion. If this is the case, the small footprint of the support will not bond well with the print platform.

With tall models, the supports can be too long and thin, causing it to collapse under its own weight. Overly low density may also lead to failing supports.

Old or low-quality filament can cause cracking owing to filament brittleness.


Select the Correct Supports

If your print has large overhangs connecting sections of the model and they have sufficient contact with the platform, use line or zig-zag supports. If the model has less bed contact or requires more robust support, use grid or triangle supports.

Add Platform Adhesion

Check your model’s platform adhesion. Add a base for the supports if needed. A base for the supports, otherwise known as a ‘raft’ is a thick structure created at the very beginning of a print. It lays down a sort of ‘foundation’ for your prints to stick to for a stronger structure. It helps the supports be more rigid and anchored down to ensure they don’t break off as easily when the nozzle hits them on accident.

To add a raft to your prints, just select ‘add raft’ or something similar at the supports section of your slicer.

skull trooper helmet 3d printing stl file

If your platform still doesn’t allow for your prints to stick to the bed, use regular brown masking tape to get the prints to stick to your bed. To do this just simply lay down masking tape, sticky side down to the bed, on to the 3d print bed and line the whole thing with them. CAUTION: doing this will REALLY make the prints stick to the bed, which makes it a bit difficult to remove. So take a heed of warning before doing this. It’s really not that bad, but just a small warning.

Increase the Support Density

If the problem persists, increase the support density. This will greatly improve stability but can drastically impact the ease of removing the supports. The denser the supports, the thicker they are. They’ll be much stronger and better for larger over hang prints, but also much harder to remove.

Create In-Model Supports

Tall, thin supports on large models are prone to bending or breaking. Adding a tall block or other structure to your print that ends just below where the supports begin can improve support stability. You don’t need to do anything crazy here. Just create a simple structure via Thingiverse or any design software, and just add it in.

Change the Filament

Use different filament and try again. If the problem is fixed, your old filament is likely old, low-quality, or damaged. Sometimes, the diameter of the filament is just to thin. It’s supposed to be 1.75mm filament, but sometimes the diameter consistency is off. Sometimes it’s 1.70, 1.60, etc. and if that’s the case, the extruder gears just cant pinch and push the filament through enough because it’s too thin.

Sometimes, the filament has too much moisture and just needs to be dehydrated.

Check printer stability

There is a necessary level of movement during the printing process. Check all moving components of the printer to ensure that everything is tight and calibrated to reduce the level of movement during printing. Putting your machine on a stable surface that doesn’t move is a must. A sturdy table or a well built rack can make a massive difference when 3d printing.

the mandalorian helmet 3d printing stl file

Final Thoughts

All in all, supports can be a tricky thing to do especially if they’re not printing properly. I hope this 3d printing support guide was able to help you for when your supports keep breaking or falling apart.