Supports are an essential part of successfully printing 3D models. Cura supports not touching the model or print is an issue that many people experience when it comes to 3D printing. I decided to write an article to show users how they can fix this problem, so keep reading to learn more.
How to Fix Cura Supports Not Touching Model – Floating Supports
Here’s how to fix Cura supports not touching the model or print:
- Decrease Support Z & XY Distance
- Enable Support Interface
- Change Support Distance Priority
- Adjust Support Interface Thickness
- Print at Different Angles
- Use Support Towers
- Use Horizontal Expansion
- Use Different Support Structures
Before we get into the fixes, it’s a good idea to check out this video for a better understanding of supports.
Decrease Support Z & XY Distance
One method that works for fixing Cura supports not touching the model or print is to reduce Support Z Distance and Support XY Distance. The default value is 0.2mm and 0.8mm for Z and XY distance respectively but you can change it under the “Supports” settings in Cura.
The support distance is a one-layer gap between supports and the model, so they don’t fuse and become like a regular part of the print.
This distance enables the 3D printer to print models with sags, creating a very weak connection. This makes supports easier to come off without requiring the same force as breaking the model.
Setting it to 0 will make it harder to remove since the support will be more connected, so I’d recommend testing out some values like 0.1mm.
Under the “Support Z Distance”, you can also tweak “Support Top Distance” and “Support Bottom Distance” separately which are equal to one layer height by default. These settings are hidden in Cura and to make them visible:
- Search the “Support Top Distance” in the Cura settings search bar.
- Right-click on the settings and click “Keep this setting visible”.
One user said that supports are not supposed to completely touch the 3D print, especially if you are printing a complex model because it can become a part of the model. Settings Z and XY distance to 0 will ensure proper connection.
Another user said that along with changing Z distance, print a Temperature Tower from Thingiverse to find the best suitable temperature for better overhangs with your specific filament.
You can also 3D print a temperature tower directly from Cura by following the video below.
Enable Support Interface
Another method for fixing Cura supports not touching models or print is to enable the “Support Interface” setting and set the value at 0.8mm or whatever works better for you. You can also try different interface patterns if there is still a gap between the model and the support itself.
This setting is disabled by default and enabling it will produce a dense mesh or lettuce-type interface between the 3D print and the supports.
It will make the 3D printer print an extra skin at the top (Support Roof) and bottom (Support Floor) of the support and ensure proper connection.
Change Support Distance Priority
Another strong recommendation from Cura users is to switch “Support Distance Priority” to “Z overrides X/Y”.
When the setting is that X/Y overrides Z, the XY distance pushes the support away from the model, affecting the set Z distance to the overhang.
Switching this setting will print according to the actual Z distance, tending to have less gap between the 3D print and the support.
Adjust Support Interface Thickness
One useful method recommended by users is to tweak the “Support Interface Thickness” from 0.8mm to 0.2mm or even 0mm if it suits your 3D print. You can experiment with increasing the thickness as some users get away with higher settings as well.
This setting determines the thickness of the support material at the point where it touches the model on top and bottom.
Setting it correctly ensures a better connection between support and model though, the supports can be harder to remove.
One user said that he struggled with this issue for a week and finally resolved it by using the settings:
- Support Interface Thickness – 0.2mm
- Support Z Distance – 0mm
- Support X/Y Distance – 0mm
- Support Overhang Angle – 45°
Print at Different Angles
Another way to fix Cura supports not touching the model is changing the “Support Overhang Angle” under the “Support” settings. The default angle is 45° and it works most of the time.
One user said that rotating the model to different angles works for him. On some angles, the spacing on the support doesn’t align accurately with the model. This leaves a minor gap between support and model as they cannot mate up precisely.
Another user said that printing at a support overhang angle of 45° works for him, but you can tweak these settings depending on your 3D print’s geometry. Doing so can resolve the supports not-touching issues.
Use Supports Towers
Another method to fix non-touching Cura supports is using the “Support Towers” by enabling it under the “Support” settings. Support towers have a larger diameter and suit the tiny model points with small overhangs.
You can manually put a value in “Maximum Tower-Supported Diameter” and Cura will add support towers for every overhang having a diameter less than the entered value.
Sometimes, the model parts to support are so tiny that traditional support cannot make enough connection with it. Using towers is a suitable solution for such areas.
The tower’s diameter keeps on decreasing with its height and is the minimum near the print overhang, forming a roof.
Use Horizontal Expansion
Another method for fixing Cura supports not touching the model or print is to use “Horizontal Expansion” by setting a value above 0 (0.2mm mostly works). This setting is for tiny, thin, and long overhangs or areas where support cannot make a proper connection.
Enabling this setting and entering a positive/higher value should ensure a smooth and sturdy support structure that connects well with the 3D print.
Use Different Support Structures
Another potential fix for Cura supports not touching the model is trying different support structures for the model. Depending on the geometry of the model, tree supports may work for some, while normal/custom support can be better for others.
One user recommended using the normal/custom support structure and advised against using a tree support structure. With an interface distance at 0, tree supports never worked for him.
Using this structure left a big gap and didn’t reach where they should connect to the model.
So, it mainly depends on your specific model, its design, and its geometry. Try both structures and see which one works better for you and has less or no distance between the support and the model.