Experimenting with different support structures for 3D printing.

Tree Structure Supports in Cura

3d printing Dec 15, 2021

I am in the process of upgrading my old Alunar M508 2016-ish era 3d printer to an AM8 configuration. Although the upgrade is meant for the Anet8, it should, for the most part be compatible with my Alunar.

Although she is old and not much to look at, she has been a work horse over the last years. Before getting started with the overhaul, I am printing all new parts. One of them is a pimped out fan duct.


This object is rather complex, so I decided to give tree support structures a try. I know I am late in the tree structures game. However, to my credit, I have known about them for a while but I never tried them until now. In order to activate them I open up Cura:

  1. Clicked on "Preferences" in the top menu.
  2. Clicked "Configure Cura"
  3. Clicked on the "Settings" menu option
  4. Scrolled down to "Support"
  5. Enabled the following setting: "Support Structure"


On the right hand side, you can change the support structure in the advanced menu. I also enabled "Support Placement" = "Touching Buildplate". This option makes it so that the tree structure starts from the buildpalte only and grows inside of the object that is being printed. Very clever.

For me, watching a machine work is a form of meditation. I can stare at a 3d printer build from start to finish and not get bored. It is truly amazing how these little structures crystalize out of thin air. The tree structures snake alongside the object and weave in and out of it. Even after all these years, I am still amazed at how these machines work.

With tree support structures, filament waste is minimized and the support pieces separate easily and leave minimal traces of having been there. If you haven't already, give tree structures a whirl. I will be using them much more in the future.