Support generation for additive manufacturing based on sliced data

  • Yu-an Jin
  • Yong HeEmail author
  • Jian-zhong Fu


Support generation is a critical technology in additive manufacturing (AM) process in terms of enhancing fabricating efficiency and accuracy. Apart from external support structures for overhanging features, internal support structures also play significant roles in building parts by means of filling internal space with support structures, thus reducing the material and build time remarkably. In order to avoid difficulties in handling three-dimensional processing of STL model, a support generation approach based on sliced layers is proposed to generate both internal and external supports for AM. In the external support structures generation, the general methodology is improved by identifying external support areas correctly and reasonably. The Boolean operation between adjacent layers obtains possible external support areas quickly for each layer. With a give threshold value of the inclination angle, all the possible external support areas are judged by computing the distance between points on adjacent layers. With regard to internal support generation, Boolean operation between influencing layers is performed to obtain the interior contours of the current layer based on required wall thickness along both horizontal and perpendicular directions. The proposed approach for both internal and external support generation has been put into practice to generate support structures, and the practical experiment results testified the rationality and benefits of the proposed algorithm.


Additive manufacturing Support generation Sliced data Boolean operation 


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© Springer-Verlag London 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The State Key Lab of Fluid Power Transmission and Control, College of Mechanical EngineeringZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of 3D Printing Process and Equipment of Zhejiang Province, School of Mechanical EngineeringZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina

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