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

Jidong Wang, Jiajia Dai, Kin Sum Li, Jun Wang, Mingqiang Wei, Mingyong Pang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)639-651
Number of pages13
JournalThe Visual Computer
Issue number5
Early online date8 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Software
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design

User-Defined Keywords

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


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