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3D Printing Overhang

  • 6 min read

Mastering the Challenge of 3D Printing Overhangs

Are you looking to take your 3D printing projects to the next level? You can now achieve impressive overhangs and curved surfaces with no external support structures. With the help of better 3D printing technology, it is now possible for anyone with access to a 3D printer to create complex shapes with little effort and at an affordable price.
In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the concept of 3D printing overhangs, uncover the top challenges encountered when designing them, and provide essential insights on how to effectively design overhangs to ensure successful and flawless prints. Let's embark on a journey to master the art of designing 3D printing overhangs with precision and finesse.

What Are 3D Printing Overhangs?

3D printing overhangs are sections of a three-dimensional model that extend outward at an angle from the vertical axis of the object being printed. The 45° rule serves as a practical guideline when dealing with overhangs in 3D printing, suggesting that angles 45° or less tend to maintain better print quality. When the angle is over 45°, these sections present a challenge during the printing process because they lack adequate support as the printer builds upward. If so, overhangs can lead to issues like drooping, warping, or collapsing during printing, affecting the quality and integrity of the final printed object.

Top Challenges When Designing the Overhangs

When it comes to designing overhangs for 3D printing, several challenges must be addressed to ensure successful print outcomes. Understanding these challenges is crucial for optimizing designs and achieving superior print quality.

Gravity and the Lack of Supports

One of the primary challenges faced when designing overhangs is the absence of adequate support during the printing process. As the printer builds upward, sections that extend beyond a certain angle lack support structures, leading to drooping, warping, or even collapsing of the print.

Angle Dependency

Another significant challenge involves the dependency on angles. The orientation of overhangs significantly impacts their ability to maintain structural integrity during printing. Overhangs that surpass a specific angle threshold are prone to printing defects due to the lack of support, adversely affecting print quality.

Print Speed and Material Properties

The speed of printing and material properties also play pivotal roles in overcoming overhang challenges. Faster print speeds may exacerbate the issues related to overhangs, impacting the final print's accuracy and surface quality. Moreover, the properties of the printing material, including its viscosity, adhesion, and cooling behavior, must be considered to ensure 3D printer overhangs are printed effectively without compromising structural integrity.

How to Design the Overhangs Properly?

Designing overhangs for 3D printing requires thoughtful consideration and strategic planning to ensure successful prints. Implementing specific design strategies can significantly enhance the printability of overhangs and improve overall print quality.

Determine the Optimal Overhang Angles

Identifying the optimal overhang angles is crucial for successful printing. Utilizing angles below the critical threshold—typically 45 degrees or less—reduces the need for support structures and helps maintain the structural integrity of the overhang during printing.

Use Fillets and Chamfers

Incorporating fillets and chamfers into the design is an effective way to reduce sharp edges and abrupt transitions in overhangs. These features can enhance the print's structural stability and minimize the risk of print failures, such as warping or drooping.

Design Self-Supporting Structures and Bridging

Creating self-supporting structures or implementing bridging techniques within the design can aid in printing overhangs without the need for additional support structures. These elements can help distribute the load evenly and improve overhang 3D printing's stability and accuracy.
Looking to bring your overhang designs to life? Consider these recommended 3D printers that excel in producing incredible 3D printing overhangs without compromising on printing speed.
  • AnkerMake M5 3D Printer
As a groundbreaking 3D printer, the AnkerMake M5 3D Printer sets new industry standards with its innovative features and cutting-edge technology. The PowerBoost™ 2.0 technology enhances power release, enabling double the printing speed and acceleration without compromising the print quality of overhangs. With an upgraded speed of 500 mm/s, the M5 redefines rapid printing, slashing printing time . Precise detailing down to 0.1 mm is achieved even at 5X speed, courtesy of the ultra-direct extruder and die-cast aluminum alloy structure.

This printer employs AI-enabled built-in camera monitoring to create automatic timelapses and maintain precision with 7×7 auto-leveling. The AnkerMake M5 allows printing to commence from anywhere through the AnkerMake App and Slicer. With the AnkerMake M5, unleash your imagination and achieve exceptional prints effortlessly.


  • AnkerMake M5C 3D Printer
AnkerMake M5C 3D Printer is designed to upgrade your printing experience to unprecedented levels. With an emphasis on speed and precision, this printer boasts a remarkable 500 mm/s high-speed printing capability and a swift 35 mm³/s extrusion flow. It can achieve exceptional precision with 0.1 mm precision printing and ensure print accuracy with the 7×7 auto-leveling feature. Crafted with a sturdy full-aluminum alloy structure and an all-metal hotend, the AnkerMake M5C ensures durability and reliability in every print, even for overhangs.

It seamlessly controls your printing tasks across multiple devices with the Easy Multi-Device Control feature through its app, while the Customizable One-Click Button enhances user convenience. Moreover, the printer supports various slicing software options, including the AnkerMake 3D Printer slicer, Prusa, and Cura, ensuring flexibility and compatibility with your preferred slicing tools. Experience high-speed printing without compromising precision and quality with the AnkerMake M5C 3D Printer.


Understanding and mastering the design of 3D printing overhangs is crucial for achieving successful and high-quality 3D prints. Overhangs, which are horizontal sections of a print unsupported from below, present various challenges during the printing process. However, these challenges can be effectively tackled through strategic design approaches. Implementing these strategies mentioned above enables the optimization of overhangs, ensuring successful 3D printing while maintaining the integrity and quality of the final printed object. With careful consideration and proper design techniques, mastering the design of 3D printing overhangs becomes an attainable goal. Start applying these techniques today to enhance your overall 3D printing experience!


Can I Adjust the Layer Height for Overhang Areas?

Yes, you can adjust the layer height for overhang areas. It can be beneficial when dealing with overhangs in 3D printing. Decreasing the layer height for these specific areas might enhance the surface finish and accuracy of the overhang section. However, it's essential to maintain a balance between the layer height and print speed to ensure optimal printing conditions and avoid potential issues like increased print time or compromised structural integrity. Experimenting with different layer heights for overhangs in your slicing software can help determine the best settings for achieving high-quality results while maintaining printing efficiency.

How Can I Minimize Support Structures for Overhangs?

Here are several points to help minimize support structures for overhangs in 3D printing:
  • Rotate the model: Rotate or redesign the model so that overhangs are reduced or angled closer to the print bed, requiring less support.
  • Use Design Tricks: Utilize design tricks such as adding fillets, chamfers, or gradual curves to the edges. These design features can help create self-supporting angles and reduce the need for extensive supports.
  • Overhang Angle: Keep the overhang angles within manageable limits. Avoid designing extreme overhangs that require extensive support structures.
  • Modify Slicer Settings: Fine-tune slicer settings to generate supports only where absolutely necessary. Adjust support settings to decrease support density or reduce the area where supports attach to the model.
  • Material Choice: Experiment with different materials. Some materials, like certain filaments with superior bridging capabilities, may require fewer supports for overhangs.
  • Print in Sections: Consider breaking down larger models into smaller sections or segments. Printing in smaller parts with minimized overhangs can help reduce the need for extensive support structures.

What Should I Do If My Overhangs Are Failing during Printing?

Here are several points to consider if your overhangs are failing during printing:
  • Decrease printing speed: Slowing down the printing process allows adequate time for each layer to cool and solidify before the next layer is added.
  • Modify cooling configurations: Utilize fan cooling settings to enhance the printing of overhangs by ensuring efficient cooling during the printing process.
  • Change the printing orientation: Adjusting the orientation of the print object can offer improved support for overhangs and aid in their stability.
  • Enhance bottom layers: Increase the number of bottom layers in the print to a minimum of four or five layers, enhancing the foundational support for overhangs.
  • Minimize skin removal: Ensure that the removal of the skin or outer layers doesn't eliminate the necessary skin along overhanging walls, maintaining their structural integrity.
  • Use Support Structures: For printing overhangs, it's essential to use support structures. They provide necessary support, ensuring the structural integrity and accuracy of overhanging sections. This approach avoids compromising the model's design and strength, especially in complex areas. After printing, these supports can be removed, leaving the overhangs well-formed and intact.