Hello everybody, I'm new in the bioprinting world and actually I recently started using 3D CAD softwares too.
I have to print a small collagen "bridge" over-hanging between two pillars (2 mm high and 3 mm distant from each other), in order to do this I will probably need to print first support material under the bridge between the pillars and then print the bridge on the supporting material. After the printing I will wash the support away. My question is this: How can I make this? Do I need to create a 3D .STL file with the supporting material part and the actual bridge, then trasform it into gcode and send it to the printer? Or does the printer automatically recognize the over-hanging part and creates the support under the bridge before printing it? Or do I have to create a special gcode for it?
Before sending the STL file to a printer, you need to slice it. This gives the printers the coordinates and commands according to the parameters you choose for your bioinks. Very few printers can take STL files directly (i.e. CELLINK Bio-X).
Slicing software can detect when support is needed in order to successfully print a structure. For CELLINK bioprinters, we normally use Slic3r. There is a setting that allows you to set threshold values. It's under print settings -> support material. If you set overhang to 90 degrees and make sure to check the box for support generation, you should get a nice support structure for your collagen bridge.
In other words, just design your bridge (with no support) using CAD. The slic3r or in some cases, the printer, will allow you to turn on support material settings.
Unfortunately, I do not have the option to upload pictures or files here. But, feel free to provide me with your email address and I can attach STL files and g-code files and more detailed instructions on an email.
Hope you find this info helpful!
Application Engineer at CELLINK