New Making

Scaffolding Glitches: Support Structure


In the first six weeks of study, New Making course focus on the production of a series of ‘try-out’ digital fabrication that support skills in using laser cutting, CNC and 3D printing, it aims to develop/experiment material understanding, making processes and digital cultures. In this post, I would like to focus on the explorations of 3D Printing support structure and how it related to the final outcome.

3D Print parts are built layer by layer, each new layer must be supported by the previous layers. It is important to consider support structures and how it may affect to the final result. When working on my week 3 Scaffolding Glitches assignment, I used a half squat female as my model to understand the digital fabrication techniques in a better way. Set up different quality data, nozzle, shell infill, speed, and support structure and to play with the 3D print technology. Also, the squat posture aims to use 3D printing support structure to create a “chair-like” base, which preferably fit her needing, as well as infill pattern and density presenting as the pattern of the “chair”.

The study of the custom print setup introduces me more 3D print technical details of fabrication processes, and how the machine works differently based on the setting.

During the post-processing stage, the support structure usually removed or sanded, but in this further study, I realized support structure could be used as a part of design outcome, even it might add greater material costs and more processing time.

Exploration Process

1. Remodel the original female figure model in MODO Foundr, by adjusting the curvature of her legs (knee: from 90 degrees to 110 degrees)

2. Put into Cura

3. Rotate the figure into three different postures

4. Custom the Print setup:

Generate support

Support placement: everywhere

Support Overhang Angle: 50

Build Plate Adhesion Type: Brim

5. Study the Support (nattier blue) and the Shell (Red)


The different postures of the model present the completely distinct support structure position, time cost, and material use. This application could be used in future furniture design, medical study, or ergonomic study, which producing product that fit human physical needs.