Aug 21, 2017 | By Tess

Prusa Research has released the latest version (1.36.2) of its Slic3r Prusa Edition 3D printing software. Its main new feature? Improved settings for 3D printing with water-soluble supports on the Prusa i3 MK2 MultiMaterial 3D printer.

In a recent blog post, Prusa3D founder and CEO Joseph Průša details how the new software feature can help users to print with supports effortlessly, without having to worry about extensive post-processing.

Using the Prusa i3 MK2 MultiMaterial 3D printer, there are now three ways to print supports: the basic method, which uses standard filament to print supports; using water-soluble supports on the whole print; or using water-soluble supports on just the print’s interface layers. All three are demonstrated by Prusa3D in the post.

The basic method, which most users will be familiar with, uses standard non-soluble filament as a support material. This method, while not giving the best results in terms of finish quality for the supported surface, is the least expensive. It also requires manual post-processing (i.e. cutting off and sanding down the supports by hand).

The second method uses a water-soluble filament to print the full supports for the object. After testing a number of different water-soluble support materials, Prusa3D found that BVOH by Verbatim and PVA by Primaselect were the best suited for its multi-material 3D printer.

In the demonstration pictured, BVOH was used to print out the support structure for the entire print. To achieve the best results, Prusa3D suggests putting the support material in extruder 4 and applying “normal soluble full” print settings.

The results of this method were a very good surface finish quality on the supported side—as the supports simply disintegrate in water, leaving the actual print unaffected. The only downside is that using BVOH or another soluble support material can be much more expensive than a standard PLA.

Finally, the third method offers the “best of both worlds,” as it combines basic support printing with water-soluble materials. This method consists of using water-soluble supports for only the interface layers of the print and regular filament for the rest of the supports.

In other words, it lets users benefit from the easy removal and good surface quality afforded by water-soluble supports, but cuts back on costs by using cheap filament for the bulk of the project.

“This cannot be used on objects with supported inaccessible internal geometries as insoluble parts of support would remain trapped,” warns Průša. For this method, the water-soluble material should still be placed in extruder 4 and be used with “normal soluble interface” print settings.

Both water-soluble supports recommended by Prusa3D for its multi-material 3D printer are available on its web shop. If bought, they should be stored in a sealed plastic bag with desiccant to keep moisture out.

 

 

Posted in 3D Software

 

 

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