Clever Support: Efficient Support Structure Generation for Digital Fabrication (Unknown language)

Computer Graphics Forum

We introduce an optimization framework for the reduction of support structures required by 3D printers based on Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) technology. The printers need to connect overhangs with the lower parts of the object or the ground in order to print them. Since the support material needs to be printed first and discarded later, optimizing its volume can lead to material and printing time savings.We present a novel, geometry-based approach that minimizes the support material while providing sufficient support. Using our approach, the input 3D model is first oriented into a position with minimal area that requires support. Then the points in this area that require support are detected. For these points the supporting structure is progressively built while attempting to minimize the overall length of the support structure. The resulting structure has a tree-like shape that effectively supports the overhangs. We have tested our algorithm on the MakerBot R ReplicatorTM 2 printer and we compared our solution to the embedded software solution in this printer and to Autodesk R MeshmixerTMsoftware. Our solution reduced printing time by an average of 29.4% (ranging from 13.9% to 49.5%) and the amount of material by 40.5% (ranging from 24.5% to 68.1%).

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