Lots of differences in support structures across different slicers

I have a small model I have been playing with that has word engraving on the outside. When certain letters, such as ‘e’, there are some small horizontal overhangs in the resulting model.

Because the model is pretty small, it seems Cura 5.3 doesn’t create any support at all, and in fact the slicing ends up inexplicably strange on some letters. I tried playing around with some of the advanced slicing parameters, but nothing seemed to improve it.

Then I decided to try out SuperSlicer just on a lark, and it performs much better. Not only is it wicked fast on slicing, the slices are far more accurate on the letters. And if I turn on supports, I get a nice set of supports for those little overhangs.

Recently, CNC kitchen put out a video on SuperPleccer, which is a PrusaSlicer fork, which is in turn a SuperSlicer fork. I decided to try it out, because it is supposed to have automatic arc overhang support, but it seems that on the very tiny detailed overhangs, it makes no difference in the slicing. However, what I also found is that the support structures generated by both SuperPleccer and PrusaSlicer are pretty bad. The supports are so close to the object that they bonded to it, and became almost impossible to remove without damaging the object itself. I tried using the “organic support” types, but that resulted in only one support for one overhang, leaving the others untouched.

SuperSlicer has just a single support type, on the other hand, but it works quite well on my model. The support structure gets created slightly farther away from the object, and so there is no adherance problem.

In summary, I’m finding SuperSlicer quite easy to use, fast, and produces nicer prints with easy to remove supports on my model, compared with the other slicers mentioned (Cura, PrusaSlicer, and SuperPleccer).

Note: I tried only the latest versions of these slicers.

Any other slicers to recommend trying?

You might try the Cura 5.3 xmas alpha version. I like the ‘improved’ organic supports very much. The supports use less material than before and come off easily. Unfortunately, the 5.3 xmas alpha stores its information in the same place as the 5.3 release version, so I have not installed the latter despite the alpha having some bugs.

Is there any chance you can link to the STL? I’d like to see if the xmas alpha does any better as I might have a similar use case in the near future.


Hi Alan, thanks for your reply!

Actually I am using that xmas alpha version of cura. A bit later I will attach the OpenSCAD file for you to try out, but be warned that it needs one of the nightly builds of OpenSCAD to work, due to its reliance on a new feature.

Rather than complicate your life with the openscad file, I just made the STL file I’ve been experimenting with available on google drive:

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I have a Prusa i3 msk+. I use PrusaSlicer or the Cura xmas version on most of my miniature files to see which works best. This started as I had files for my Prusa which didn’t print at all. The way their raft and brims are constructed, meaning not covering the entire base of the print, often causes issues for small items. A raft is a raft, period, it’s supposed to cover the entire base, not partially, it is very annoying that they decided to do this at some point. Saving waste plastic is useless if a print fails over and over.

I have had hilarious time differences in both slicers, both negative as positive, the worst was a file which printed for 9 hours in Cura and 23 in PrusaSlicer. It’s unpredictable which one prints faster unless I slice a model.

Miniatures often require tree supports, to be able to remove the supports on small details.

That said, I tried the latest alpha Prusaslicer to check out their tree supports and it’s the last time I ever try a version which isn’t a real release, sigh, it was that bad. Almost all files threw errors and the ones that worked had a forest of trees all over the bed, I could not even see my small model in it anymore. All trees were not connected, without a raft, unable to add a raft unless it went outside the limitations of the bed size, so I was not impressed at all. Why on Earth did they decide they could do trees better than Cura, what a mess.

Wow, that sounds crazy, and hilariously bad :laughing:

You might try out SuperSlicer just for grins. It seems to produce the best supports for my little ring model.

I am a bit puzzled as to why Cura refuses to produce any kind of supports for my model at all. It does seem to identify the overhangs, but then just says, “ehh, I’m not wasting my precious time on making some tiny little supports for you, bud. Maybe you can find some other sucker to do it.” That could just be in my disturbed head, though.

I will try it, one more doesn’t matter, hahahah.

Sorry for taking so long to get back to you. I loaded your small model into Cura 5.3 xmas-alpha and sliced with tree supports turned on. Result: no supports at all. After a bit of research, the model is simply too small for a 0.4 nozzle. I set the line width to 0.2 and supports for the heart appeared. Other settings that increased supports are: Minimum Support Area and Support X/Y Distance. However, I was unable to get supports on all overhang areas (like the bottom of the “V” in the letter “Y”).

So, I would either: use a smaller nozzle or try Cura’s experimental setting, Make Overhangs Printable, and adjust the Maximum Model Angle to the largest value of cooling that will give good results.

Thanks for raising this issue!


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Would you mind sharing the support settings you use in SuperSlicer for the little ring? I’d like to know what it does differently from PrusaSlicer.

Thank you!

I used the default settings for everything except 0.4mm nozzle and 0.12mm layer height. My printer is an Ender 3 S1 (not pro).

SuperSlicer has only one mode for supports… they are either on or off. You should get supports rather easily from this slicer… no fiddling.

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I print miniatures all the time. I had the most tiny cute tree supports ever seen, heheheh. So, that’s strange that it doesn’t set supports. What is the angle overhang set for? Mine is at 40-45 degrees, depending on the model I see in front of me.

What’s the latest stable release of SuperSlicer? I’ve downloaded several but they crash. :frowning:

Thank you!

Hmm, that’s odd. I’m using SuperSlicer on Linux. I haven’t tried it on other OS’s.

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I noticed something very peculiar. My Prusa has issues with the numerous miniatures I print, which is very terribly disappointing, as that’s what I do mostly.

Lately, out of desperation, I used Cura to slice instead of PrusaSlicer on some prints that failed. I have far less issues when I do. This resulted me in switching to Cura for most models the past week. How on Earth can their own slicer be worse than another? Lol!!

One thing I noticed is the way the rafts and brims are constructed, which are way, way better than Prusa. Bed adhesion is much better this way. And, Cura sliced models with exactly the same settings print a lot faster in general, with a few exceptions.

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I’ve become mildly convinced (if that’s a thing) that having a variety of slicers available is a good thing, especially when strugglng with supports.

Each slicer’s support algorithms seem to have areas where they tend to fall down, sometimes in amusing ways. So having some backups up one’s sleave seems like a workable strategy.

Worse comes to worst, you can build supports into your model, or use numerous methods that obviate the need for support to begin with. There’s a pretty good Youtube video on this subject by Maker’s Muse, but there are others as well. Try searching for “3d printing without support” on YouTube.com

My final thought is that while I kind of poo-pooed the idea of buying a printer with two extruders in the beginning, because I thought dual-color was not useful enough to justify the initial cost and maintenance, I’m now re-evaluating that idea because using a water-soluable filament for support structures seems like a really good idea, especially for these small models where detaching the support causes annoying little surface defects to appear.

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Modbot had an interesting video this past week for supports on an IDEX printer. If model is PLA then use PETG for supports (and visa versa). The gap between the support and model was set to 0. The results were impressive when see on the TV screen. I don’t have an IDEX so can’t confirm, but it is an interesting idea.

Yes, I happened to catch that video as well. I don’t quite get why it should work though. The thinking is that the different polymer types would not easily bond together?

Using a water soluble filament seems more straight forward.

Well, after a few weeks of using Cura again, it has solved most of my problems with my Prusa indeed. There is a distinct difference on how the first layer is constructed, especially on a raft. I am convinced that my bed is warped on the front left side, as it always detaches there. Adding a piece of tape over the brim solves that. Due to that warping, PrusaSlicer’s first layer tends to grab the first layer off the bed when printing layer nr 2 and Cura never does that. Go figure! I wished I discovered that sooner, it would have saved plenty of grey hairs.

Would it be expensive to replace the print bed? And I wonder if it’s a manufacturing defect that they would replace it under warranty.

Maybe you can use a spring steel ruler on its edge to eyeball the warps directly.

Since I live in the EU, I abide by their warranty laws regarding a pre-assembled printer. I bought it, despite that it was not a problem to assemble one, as done twice before this one. This ensured the best warranty and that was already proven when it had to be sent back the first time. Doing stuff to it which they didn’t tell me to do voids the warranty.

I am currently gathering pictures of all colors/brands of filament I print larger objects with, to show that it’s not related to the PLA I use. I will present a fully documented file to them in a few weeks. I don’t usually print larger items, so it’s a work in progress. Weird thing is that this issue did not occur before it came back … makes me wonder if my printer wasn’t swapped?

I also still have the occasional blob which ruins prints, as they cause crashes which knock the print off the bed. I upped the temp a bit to make the nozzle ride straight through blobs, that seems to help most of the time. It’s much better than it was before it was sent back.

The replaced and therefor new SuperPinda sometimes is completely off, so adjusting Z is necessary every now and then. It’s also as if the bed slowly drops, 1 mm over 2 months. I had that too before it was sent back, but as the SuperPinda failed, I could not prove that anymore then.