The Visual Computer

, Volume 35, Issue 5, pp 639–651 | Cite as

Cost-effective printing of 3D objects with self-supporting property

  • Jidong Wang
  • Jiajia Dai
  • Kin-Sum Li
  • Jun Wang
  • Mingqiang Wei
  • Mingyong PangEmail author
Original Article


The fused deposition modeling (FDM) printer is a simple, affordable and widely used device in the 3D printing society. However, the high price of printing materials is one of major restrictive factors for its further application. Based on the self-supporting property of printing materials, we present an optimization method to reduce the total material consumption of 3D printed objects themselves and their support structures for FDM printers in this paper. We first develop an orientation optimization scheme to reduce the outer support volume of a printed model. The volume is evaluated according to the depths of 3D model fragments obtained by the depth peeling technique in an optimization process. We then build a self-supporting frame with a set of scale-adaptive parallelepiped grids to replace the solid interior of the printed model for further reducing the material consumption. In our orientation optimization scheme, the overhanging area detecting function can detect the self-supporting regions of a 3D model in terms of the depths stored in the graphical processing unit memory. The self-supporting frame with grid structures inside printed models does not need to add additional support structures during the printing process. Experimental results indicate that our method is faster and consumes less printing materials than the state-of-the-art algorithms.


3D printing Orientation optimization Self-supporting property Support structure Material consumption 



This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China [Grant No. 61502137], China Postdoctoral Science Foundation [Grant No. 2016M592047], the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China [Project No. HKBU 12625716 and 12604017], the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange [No. RG025-P-15], the Faculty Research Grant Category II [HKBU No. FRG2/15-16/045] and Science Foundation of Chuzhou University [Grant No. 2014GH03].


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Educational TechnologyNanjing Normal UniversityGulou DistrictChina
  2. 2.Department of HistoryHong Kong Baptist UniversityHong KongChina
  3. 3.College of Mechanical and Electrical EngineeringNanjing University of Aeronautics and AstronauticsNanjingChina
  4. 4.College of Computer Science and TechnologyNanjing University of Aeronautics and AstronauticsNanjingChina

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