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How to Remove Supports from 3D Prints

  • 6 min read

How to Remove Supports from 3D Prints: A Detailed Guide

Supports are temporary structures used to hold up overhanging parts of a 3D print. Once the print is complete, the supports must be removed. However, if the supports adhere too strongly to the primary structure, their removal can be challenging and may lead to potential damage or unwanted scarring on the print's surface.

In this guide, we will show you how to remove supports from 3D prints safely and efficiently. We will also provide some tips and tricks to help you make the process easier and get the best results. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned pro, this guide will show you the best way to remove support from 3D print with ease.

When Should You Remove 3D Printing Supports?

The best time to remove 3D printing supports depends on a variety of factors, but generally, the two conditions are required:

  1. Upon print completion.

There are different opinions on whether removal should begin before or after post-curing. Nevertheless, it is generally recommended to remove supports from 3D prints before post-curing, as the curing process can make the supports harder and more challenging to detach without causing damage.

  1. When supports are no longer necessary.

Before and after removing the supports, you should pay attention to the small details on the print and inspect the condition regularly. If you're unsure about when to remove the supports after 3D printing and how to remove 3D printing supports, please be cautious and wait until the print has cooled down completely. You can also refer to the user manual of your 3D printer or software for specific recommendations.

Types of Support Structures

There are several common types of support structures used for 3D printing, suitable for different printing needs and materials. Here are some common types of support structures:

  • Grid Support:This is the most common type of support and is usually easy to remove, but may require some post-processing.
  • Honeycomb Support:This type of support provides better support but may be slightly more difficult to remove.
  • Cross Support:It is usually used to support beams and hanging parts, which can provide stable support and is also relatively easy to remove.
  • Auto-generated support:Many 3D printers have the function of automatically generating supports, which can automatically generate support structures based on the geometry of the printed object.

Meanwhile, different 3D printing technologies will also produce different support structures. For FDM printing, it is usually necessary to use supports made of the same material as the printed object, so FDM supports are relatively easy to remove. For SLA printing, however, the support is usually composed of a different light-curing resin than the printed object, which is difficult to remove and requires cutting tools and chemical solvents for delicate removal.

Tools Required for Removing Supports from 3D Print

When it comes to how to remove 3D printed supports, a few tools are required. This usually depends on the type of support structure you use and the printing material. Here are some common ones we recommend using:

  • Flush cutters:These wire cutters are designed to cut flush with the surface of the material being cut. They are perfect for removing supports without harming the print itself.
  • Needle-nose pliers:These pliers can be used to carefully remove supports from delicate prints, as well as hard-to-reach areas.
  • X-acto knife:This versatile tool can cut away supports of all shapes and sizes, but it's important to be careful when using it to avoid damaging the print.
  • Sandpaper:Sandpaper can be used to smooth out any rough edges left after the supports have been removed.

In addition to these basic tools, you may also need some professional tools to remove supports from 3D prints, such as dental tools, ultrasonic cleaner, etc. Next, let's move on to learn how to take off supports from 3D prints.

How to Remove Supports from 3D Prints?

How to get supports off of a 3D print? When removing supports from a 3D print, it's important to be careful and avoid damaging the print. Here is a step-by-step guide:

Step 1. Prepare appropriate tools to remove supports.

Step 2. Carefully check the printed model to determine the position of the supports.

Step 3. Use scissors or pliers carefully and gradually cut off the support from the bottom until you can easily remove it from the print.

Step 4. Use a scraper and sandpaper to remove any hard-to-cut support residue or support marks left on the model.

Step 5.Once the support is removed, you can gently clean the model with warm water to remove any remaining support fragments. Then, dry the model and lubricate the necessary parts to ensure a smooth surface.

Step 6. Check the model to ensure that there are no damaged or missing parts.

By following these steps, you can effectively solve how to remove supports from 3D prints so as to obtain a clear and smooth final model. Please remember to handle it carefully to avoid damaging the model.

Tips for Removing Supports from 3D Print

  • Be patient and take your time.It is important to be patient and take your time when cutting off supports from 3D prints. Rushing can lead to mistakes and damage to the print.
  • Support removal order.It is often helpful to remove supports from 3D prints in a specific order. For example, remove supports starting from the edge of the model, which can prevent marks left by the supports from staining the surface of the model. Also, removing supports from the bottom of the model can prevent supports from damaging the model during removal.
  • Determine the type of support.For example, breakaway supports can be removed by hand or with tools, while dissolvable supports must be dissolved in water or a solvent.

Best 3D Printers to Print Objects with Supports

Using a professional 3D printer to print objects with supports can help you get the job done with higher quality and more ease. Here are the two 3D printer on our recommendation list:

  • AnkerMake M5 3D Printer.It is an excellent 3D printer for printing objects with supports. It is fast, accurate, and user-friendly. With printing speeds of up to 500mm/s, it can reduce the time needed for supports, which can improve print quality by minimizing warping. Additionally, its precise positioning system ensures that the supports are printed in the right place, preventing them from interfering with the model or breaking off during printing.

  • AnkerMake M5C 3D Printer.Printing objects with supports can be a challenging task, but this 3D printer makes it easy. It boasts a range of features that are specifically designed for this purpose, including fast print speeds, precision printing, and several additional features such as automatic 7x7 leveling, a dual Z-axis system, and more. additionally, it also enables you to preset parameters of 3D supports in the slicer settings like support density (5-10%), support pattern, support placement, etc. All of these features make it an excellent choice for anyone who needs to print objects with support.


Removing supports from 3D prints can be difficult, but it is necessary in the printing process. This guide sheds light on the detailed steps to ensure clean and efficient support removal. With the right techniques and tools in hand, anyone can master the art of post-processing, elevating the quality and finish of the 3D prints.


Should you remove supports before curing 3D printing?

It is generally recommended to remove supports before curing your 3D prints, especially when using 3D printing processes based on light-curing resins such as SLA or DLP. Doing so helps to effectively clean and treat the surface of the printed object. You can polish, smooth, or polish the area where the support is attached for a smoother and more refined final look.

What is the easiest support pattern to remove?

Grid or Cross patterns are usually the easiest to remove. This is because they have larger support gaps, making it easier to separate the supports without leaving any residue or marks. As a result, the printed object is easier to clean and handle once the support is removed.

Do I need to remove every bit of support material?

It is not necessary to completely remove all support material. Typically, there is no need to worry about leaving minimal residue or traces of support, especially near support connection points. These small residues usually do not have a significant impact on the function or appearance of the print.

However, for certain applications that require a high degree of precision and a smooth surface, it may be necessary to remove the support more carefully and perform surface treatment to ensure the final printing quality.