“My First Prints” is a series of step-by-step guides to get you comfortable with your MOD-t. In this third print, you’ll learn about supports and how they help your MOD-t conquer tricky angles, overhangs, and bridges. If you want to start from the beginning, try the first of the My First Prints series here.

We’ve chosen the Army Girlz Machina Figurine from the New Matter Store. This is a paid design, but if you’d prefer to use a free design, you may try the Hatched Egg Organizer. The Hatched Egg Organizer benefits from the use of supports, but they are not needed. Army Girlz Machina cannot print without supports, making it a great model for this exercise.

Supports do exactly what you’d guess: support the print. They’re useful when you have a tricky overhang or angle because they’ll create a post for your print to rest on. Think of supports like the foundation and towers of a bridge. Without them, the bridge would collapse. Without supports, some prints will collapse.

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The Army Girlz Machina Figurine needs supports underneath the gun, under her propped-up leg, and under her arms. These are all areas where the printer would be placing a layer on top of nothing without supports.

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The Hatched Egg Organizer could use some supports under the curved bottom of the egg.

Instructions For Printing: 

1. Start the Army Girlz Machina (or Hatched Egg Organizer) print the same way you started the dominoes set or the King Tiki design. Visit the Army Girlz Machina design page or the Hatched Egg Organizer design page. Buy the Army Girlz or add the Hatched Egg to your library.

2. For this exercise, you’ll want to pay close attention to the design’s print settings. You can access the print settings by selecting “Print Now.” A pop-up will appear. Notice there’s an option for “Support” that simply toggles “On” and “Off.” We’ve tested all of the designs on our store and know which ones need supports, so the supports will already say “On.”

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3. Once you’ve checked that your supports are on, you’re good to go. Your design will automatically print with “Lines” supports. These supports are very easy to remove, but not as supportive as “Grids” supports. If you’d like to experiment with “Grids” supports, you can click on the “Custom Settings…” arrow and change the “Lines” support type to “Grids.”

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4. Watch your design print. You’ll notice that your MOD-t will lay down extra filament on the first layer. This extra filament will become the thin, breakable supports for your design.

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5. After your print is complete, use your fingers, tweezers, or cuticle clippers to remove the supports. You can also use the clippers provided with your MOD-t, but they might not be narrow enough to get into tight spaces.

6. For extra smooth prints, use sandpaper to buff out any excess filament left behind by supports.

Now that you’re done with your figurine or egg organizer, what parts do you think benefited from supports? If you need even more information on supports, be sure to check  out our blog post all about supports here.