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“Bridging the Gap: Automated Steady Scaffoldings for 3D Printing”
Jérémie Dumas, Jean Hergel and Sylvain Lefebvre
ACM Transactions on Graphics (SIGGRAPH conference proceedings), 2014

Abstract: Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) is the process of 3D printing ob- jects from melted plastic filament. The hot plastic exits a nozzle and fuses with the part just below, adding a layer of material to the ob- ject being formed. However, filament can only be deposited on top of an existing surface. Therefore, overhangs require a disposable support structure to be printed, temporarily supporting the threads of plastic that would otherwise hang in empty space. Existing techniques for support generation fall into two categories: The first allow for very reliable prints by enclosing the bottom of the object in a dense structure, at the expense of increased material usage and build times. The second generate thin hierarchical struc- tures connecting to the surface in a sparse number of points. This uses less material, at the expense of reliability: the part might be- come unstable, the structure itself may become difficult to print, the bottom surface quality degrades. The user therefore has to correct the structure and its parameters for each new object. We propose to exploit the ability of FFF printers to print bridges across gaps. Since bridges are always supported by pillars at their extremities, they are both stronger and more stable than hierarchical tree structures. Our technique first selects the points to support based on overhang and part stability during the entire print process. It then optimizes for a printable scaffolding composed of bridges and vertical pillars, supporting all points. The result is an automated support generation technique using little material while ensuring fine surface quality and stability during the printing process.

BibTex reference

@ARTICLE{DHL:BtG:2014,
   TITLE      = "Bridging the Gap: Automated Steady Scaffoldings for 3D Printing",
   AUTHOR     = "Jérémie Dumas and Jean Hergel and Sylvain Lefebvre",
   JOURNAL    = "ACM Transactions on Graphics (SIGGRAPH conference proceedings)",
   YEAR       = "2014",
}