Articles, Blog

CURA – Tree Supports vs Standard Supports

February 16, 2020

On today’s episode let’s talk about
supports in Cura. Supports are the plastic that go underneath overhangs so
it doesn’t droop or fall. And there’s two types of supports I want to show you. The
standard support and the experimental tree support. I’ll talk about both of
them and today’s Filament Friday. This
week’s Filament Friday is brought to you by these patreon supporters. Here is the
test print I’m going to use. I found it on Thingiverse by user Zapta.
It’s got 90 degree overhangs and it’s got a base that I want to avoid. So let
me show you how I’ll set up supports on this guy. Here’s the model brought in to
cura 3.6. Gonna slice it at a 0.2 layer height. Let’s look at the
layer view and you can see, this is the model, it’s got the base, the tower going
up, and then the overhangs. And this is where we need the supports. Once we get
to this 90 degree overhang. So let’s enable supports and then we’ll see how
that looks. I’ll just scroll down on the settings here to the support menu. I’ll
check the box “generate support” and you see a whole bunch of menu selections
show up. The first one is support placement. Right now I got it set to
everywhere and you see it goes over the top of the base. So it’s gonna put some
plastic down here that may leave little nerds. If I choose touching base only
it’ll print here but never touch the base. But then I have a big gap. So I’m
gonna use everywhere because I want that supported. Overhang angle, 50 degrees.
Anything greater than 50 degrees it’s gonna automatically get supports. Zigzag
is the type of support. I like zigzag amongst all these because it uses less
plastic. It’s essentially building walls here that you’re gonna bridge across on
your print. But I’ll show you how I can put a top layer on this in a minute. 15
percent is the support density but if I change the 25 you can see those bridges
get shorter. I like 15 percent. Works fine for me. It’s
less plastic to remove, less nerds. Now we go down to support brim. This has been mentioned by people in previous videos. It puts a brim or a nice base
underneath so it sticks to the bed. You can do a brim around the whole thing
like I’ve showed or you can just do a brim under the support. At the top you
can see there’s a gap. One layer gap. See it moving here? Where the support isn’t
printed. And that’s this support Z distance. Now I set it to 0.12 but it
defaults to one layer. Basically it jumps up to a layer or down a layer so 0.12 is like the minimum I tend to print at so I just leave it there and then it
automatically adjusts. The XY distance here is the distance from the part to
the supports. Now it seems like you might want this bigger but let me show you why
I like the 0.5. See these overhangs here? Those overhangs are very very minor but
if I go up to a bigger gap say 2 millimeters, it even warns me orange. Look at the overhangs. These aren’t going to stay. They’re gonna just sag and become
plastic that could stick to my model. So I like just using, close but no cigar
type of setting, 0.5 millimeters. Infill layer thickness, I’m just gonna use the
stock setting. But the next thing is to enable support interface. There’s a top and
bottom roof or floor and the floor is one I don’t use because see those a
little bit of plastic here that would possibly create nerds. If I go floor it
puts a whole bunch of plastic down which creates a whole bunch of nerds. So I
don’t know exactly why you would need this. Maybe in certain designs it works. I
tend to just leave it off but I do like the one on top. And what it does is it makes this concentric top on the supports themselves. So up to where it stops printing you get that gap. But now I have a support all the way across. If I didn’t
do that I end up with this zigzag like I showed, you but I found you can still
get some sagging in there. So the biggest concern is will this to remove easy with
this top piece. I’ll show you it’s not too bad. So I like putting on a roof.
These are my final settings so now let’s look at an actual print. Here’s a print
using these settings and let’s see how easy this thing breaks away.
I like using some needle nose pliers. Just grab it and pull, that way I don’t cut
my fingers or anything like that. Depending on where you pull it can make
or break your supports and you want them to break away. But you want them to come all together so in this case I did at the middle and it ended up breaking into
like three pieces here. And here’s the top support or how I said you might be
worried about it coming off? It came off quite easy. Here’s another
one where I went to the middle so I pulled the bottom. That came off and then when I pulled the next section it came all as one piece, so that was good. But
then I finally figured out if I pulled on this model from the bottom I can get
the whole thing off in one movement. So there you have it. Those are the supports.
You can see it’s a little bit saggy underneath. That’s probably the
best I’m gonna get, but there’s nerds. See the nerds? This is what I don’t like
about this method. That’s where tree supports comes in.
Here’s what we just printed. It’s got the supports going over the base. So now I
want to enable tree support. So let’s go over to the menu. The first thing I do is
uncheck general support or generate support. The whole menu disappears. Then there’s tree support which if you don’t have it click on the gear. Type in tree.
There’s all kinds of settings. Select tree support. But the rest of these
settings I don’t even use. So I don’t even enable them.
So just tree support I click. Hit close and then when I click on trees support.
Look it. All the menu, even though generate support isn’t checked, all the
menus shows up. So all these same settings that we use before are going to
be used with tree support. It’s just it’s a different method. So if you want to
change any of these settings you can you can go change zig zag or whatever you
want. Now Zig zag realy doesn’t matter for this
but the distances and that, they’re all available to change. So now let’s prepare
this using tree supports and let’s take a look at what this produces. Look at
this monster. It looks like a mess. But it makes a lot of sense once you see it
grow. So let’s slide down the slider here and you’ll see it starts to grow from
the bottom but never touches the base. It bends over grows like branches of a tree
over the top of the base so I don’t have to worry about any of those nerds. And
then it builds this thing almost like a vase mode until it gets to the top. And
then the top, it puts you know the roof on it. And I’ve got my supports that I
wanted plus the same gap and everything else so this should be interesting to
see if this is easy to remove or how much better or worse this turns out. So
let’s print this guy and if you notice it was 39 minutes to print this. It was
46 minutes the old way so it’s actually slightly faster even though it looks
more complicated. And here’s a tree support version. Look at how this thing
turned out. Not much different than what the simulator showed there. And as far as
removing? Well I just pinched from the top on this guy. And as I wiggled each one I found that the whole thing came off other than this
little piece. And I bent that down and then pulled it. It was easier to remove.
The bottom looked very similar but the base. Clean, no nerds. no nothing! Underneath they look very similar. Just a slight amount
of sag which is what you would expect. But on top look at this guy. Now this is
one I actually used the bottom roof so if you’re wondering if that was any
better, it left even more nerds like I said. Aand here’s the tree support nice
and clean. So between the two I like the tree support. And it’s easier to clean up.
Look at all these pieces for the standard versus a couple pieces for tree
support. This was a really simple print to try it on but I printed a bunch of
them so I could try and experiment with different things. And tree supports seem
to work really well with this print. So hopefully this helps you set up your
supports in Cura. If you like what I’m doing here maybe check out some of the
videos that are popping up. If you want to help support the channel Patreon is
one way or just buy thru the affiliate links in the description below, it all
helps a lot. And if nothing else, click on that CHEP logo and subscribe. I’ll see
you next time right here at Filament Friday.


  • Reply Jesse Juliano August 19, 2019 at 10:41 am

    You make such great videos and are so clear and concise in how you communicate your knowledge. I really appreciate it, I have learnt so much from you!

  • Reply Kladrin January 14, 2020 at 9:15 am

    I never noticed the "experimental" feature o.o is it still available?

  • Reply Amy Tazenda January 15, 2020 at 1:52 am

    Thank you! I saw another video on the exact same topic but you explained it much more clearly, very newbie-friendly.

  • Reply Robert H January 19, 2020 at 7:40 pm

    Thanks for the info! I would suggest showing how to activate those settings a little earlier though; I was like "where are the checkboxes he's talking about?" Until the end when you showed how to activate those settings lol

  • Reply Bill Crawford January 20, 2020 at 6:11 pm

    This gave me the confidence to alter the 'expert' support settings in Cura. Thanks, I needed that to fix my Enterprise 1701 builds at a 45 degree angle.

  • Reply nizam shaha January 24, 2020 at 3:54 pm

    I am new to 3D PRINTER world but I liked your explanation with proof. Keep up the good work.

  • Reply Erik B January 28, 2020 at 3:40 am

    This is an awesome find! Gearing up to print with the tree setting and the CHEP settings, thanks for the knowledge.

  • Reply Cosmo John January 29, 2020 at 3:39 pm

    Supports have lots of room for improvements.

  • Reply No Akomplice January 30, 2020 at 5:59 am

    You don't use a support floor?

  • Reply Clint Young February 2, 2020 at 4:00 pm

    Thanks, so about to test this with my Geeetech A20M.

  • Reply Leonardo Defaveri February 5, 2020 at 2:30 pm

    Thanks to your video I got the best possible media configuration. My pieces come out perfect, practically without marks and I was having a hard time getting it right before. In fact, the tree support is exceptional! Congratulations and thank you!

  • Reply GIUSEPPE CARBE February 8, 2020 at 3:13 pm

    Hi, great tutorial, but if I switch to touching build place it doesn,t show any support (and I have a lot of over hang parts!)
    then even custom support is very difficoult to control for me.. there is any setting I am missing?

  • Reply 师书文 February 8, 2020 at 11:20 pm

    Great video! just what I need!

  • Reply Maciek M. February 13, 2020 at 12:18 pm

    great video! thx

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