If you use supports for FDM 3D printing, you might find that some designs are more amenable than others to automatically-generated supports. Slant 3D, for example, shows a cool-looking eagle with a downward-curved beak that comes to a point. Using traditional supports would allow the print to succeed, but didn’t allow the beak to form correctly. To combat this, he uses something called a “thumbtack” in the design. There are several flavors, as you can see in the video below, and it widens out the small part yet has a tiny contact with the actual part so you can easily remove it.
One of the thumbtacks looks more like a Hersey’s kiss to us. It makes sense. The point can touch the part to support and the fat base gives a nice target for the automatic support feature in your slicer to grab. There’s also a spherical base so you can rotate to odd angles. The final thumbtack looks like an alien spacecraft and provides multiple contact points.
This is one of those things that seems obvious once you see it. You’ve always been able to design your own supports into a model, of course. This is a bit different because it simply produces custom support to a target that also requires support, but allows the slicer to easily finish the job.
It looks like the STLs are only available if you join the channel through Patreon, but — honestly — once you get the idea, you can probably whip similar ones up in a few minutes. After all, none of it is going into the final object. You just need a small contact area attached to something that the slicer can grab. We’d be tempted to make it part of the model to start with.
Read more: 3D Printing Support Gets Down to Tacks