3D printing enables additive manufacturing by adding materials layer by layer. To prevent the material from collapsing during the printing process, support structures need to be used to support surfaces that may collapse. Obviously, there are many benefits to adding support structures, however, the presence of support structure itself leads to material waste, longer printing time, and complex post-processing of the printed parts.

Support Structures of Metal 3D Printing: Reduce Risk or Increase Cost

Material Cost

Support structures add to the cost of the model significantly. Support structures require additional materials, which are then removed and discarded after printing.

Longer Printing Time

Support structures will also increase the printing time due to the need for printing.

Increased Post-processing Efforts

Support structures increase post-processing work. Support structures are not part of the model. They are used to support various parts of the model during the printing process. This means that once printing is complete, support structures should be removed before the model is ready. The increase in work represents an increase in the cost of the model in production.

On the one hand, for suspended and spanned structures, support structures are absolutely necessary. On the other hand, support structures increase material costs, increase post-processing work, and even damage the surface of the model. Therefore, the proper setting of support structures is a very important aspect of printing complex 3D models.

In conclusion, there is still room for creativity and innovative solutions to metal additive manufacturing support, to find the optimal solution to achieve cost reduction while effectively meeting parts accuracy requirements.  Eplus3D is willing to explore more about support structures, and is welcome to contact Eplus3D to discuss more details about support structures.