How to Generate Supports for 3D Printing

how to generate supports for 3d printing

If you want to get into 3D printing or just need help started out, you’ll want to check out this tutorial on how to create supports for 3D printing using Meshmixer! We’ll go over how to download the program and how to get started so you can start making your 3D prints in no time.

Download Meshmixer. To download Meshmixer, go to Click on the “download” button in the upper right corner and then select which installer you want to use. Once you’ve got that installed, open Meshmixer.

download Meshmixer to create supports for 3D printing

Import STL. Click on the “import” button to import your STL file. If you are working in Sketchup, there is a plugin you can use to export STL files.

import file to generate supports for 3D printing

Change Print Bed. You don’t have to do this step, but you can change the print bed if you want to better visualize what your printed object will look like. To do this, click on the dropdown menu in the upper right corner and select the manufacturer and model of the 3D printer you are using.

Generate Supports for 3D Printing

Analysis > Overhangs. First, select “analysis” from the right menu and then click on “overhangs.” Meshmix will analyze your model and identify areas that may need extra support and highlight them in red.

Presets. In the left menu, there is a dropdown menu for “presets.” Select the preset for whatever model printer you are using. There are plenty of customizable options, but we’re just going to focus on using a preset for now.

overhang options for creating supports for 3D printing

Underneath the custom options there is a button that says “generate support.” Click the button and Meshmixer will generate supports for 3D printing the model.

supports for 3D printing

File > Export > STL. Now all you have to do is export your file! Go to “file” > “export” and save your model as an STL file.

Tips and Tricks in Meshmixer

Creating supports is pretty simple, but using these simple tricks in Meshmixer will give you even more flexibility!

If you hold “shift” and click on a support, you can delete it. Or, you can click on your model and drag to create your own support. You can also hold “shift” and click on an area of your model to automatically connect a support to that point.

To sculpt into your model, use the “select” tool and draw a path around the object. Then hit “delete.” You will notice the edges are probably pretty jagged. To fix this, click on the “sculpt” tool and select the “bubble smooth” brush. Adjust the size and strength to the appropriate level and simply click and drag over the edges to smooth them out.

sculpt into model before creating supports for 3D printing
bubble smooth tool for supports for 3D printing

Hit “ctrl” + “A” to select everything. Click on “edit” > “extrude.” In the “direction” dropdown menu, select “normal.” Use the “offset” slider to adjust the thickness. You may have to go back and use the “bubble smooth” tool to smooth out any areas that need it.

extrude face before creating supports for 3D printing

Once you are done, repeat the steps we mentioned in the beginning to generate your supports for 3D printing.

If you found these tips helpful, be sure to check out check out our full list of tutorials for more great tips and tricks!


  1. hamzakhan17826 May 19, 2019 at 7:16 am #

    Ok sure, I will follow your steps before going to do exams. I hope your article will help me more.

  2. karlmistos May 14, 2019 at 10:41 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this. I’ll definitely share this with my classmates at de la salle zobel.

  3. classboat01 October 17, 2018 at 7:37 am #

    Hello there and thanks for your information, I have certainly picked up allot new info from right your post. You are also provided information about best tips for exam,Which is very helpful to me and other people also.

  4. mikemoreno September 5, 2018 at 3:48 am #

    thank you very much, verry helpfull…

  5. jogesh12345 August 14, 2018 at 1:55 am #

    Very effective and informative article.Thanks for sharing such an important tutorial.

  6. FLMIMA August 11, 2018 at 9:20 pm #

    Really helpful website

  7. Rumi July 15, 2018 at 7:16 am #

    I feel very grateful that I read this. It is very helpful and very informative and I really learned a lot from it.

  8. RJennings April 28, 2018 at 6:12 pm #

    Thank you for this website. The practice questions are helpful.

  9. Scott March 22, 2018 at 1:50 pm #

    Taking this test on Saturday. Last 4.0 exam to complete for the trio, then on to 5.0. This site is my go-to place when organizing what materials I’ll be studying

  10. shozab January 30, 2018 at 2:22 pm #

    Hi , very good article.

    thanks for sharing, keep up the good work

  11. dyba January 27, 2018 at 1:08 am #

    Good advice. Best of luck to all!

  12. KendraShirley January 16, 2018 at 4:04 pm #

    This is my favorite site for practicing for my tests! Great advise and super helpful.

  13. reximagetrim January 16, 2018 at 10:37 am #

    Nice post to read. A complete guide that can help all of us.

  14. tylerstockholm December 17, 2017 at 9:37 pm #

    Nice one… very helpful! Thanks!!!

  15. Aartiwalvekar November 21, 2017 at 8:56 am #

    Nice post

  16. Aartiwalvekar October 9, 2017 at 9:45 pm #

    Great post!

  17. Tony August 30, 2017 at 7:07 am #

    In the NCARB ARE 5.0 handbook they reference Fundamentals of Building Construction: Materials and Methods in both of their example questions for cost estimating. Unfortunately there isn’t a specific chapter on cost estimating, it’s woven throughout the content.

  18. Spencer August 30, 2017 at 1:15 am #

    What is the best reference for cost estimating for PDD.

  19. Amy July 26, 2017 at 3:24 pm #

    Thanks! Great advice

  20. Tony June 29, 2017 at 7:23 am #

    Deciduous trees should only be used for shade (especially in temperate climates). Deciduous trees lose their leaves in the fall and will have little protection against wind in the winter when it is most needed. Likewise, the leafless trees allow solar heat gain in the winter when it is desired, and shade in the summer.

    Coniferous trees are only to be used to block wind and views. Since they don’t lose their needles, they work great for these two items year-round.

  21. Shahid Logan June 28, 2017 at 4:50 pm #

    Hello. My name is Shahid. This comment is for anyone who would like to reply. On the Siteplanning test. To block the wind, can you use a Deciduous tree or must you use a Coniferous tree?

  22. Mike January 4, 2017 at 11:04 am #

    Hi Tony,

    I need to take 5.0 PPD & PDD. Do you plan on posting notes such as “Caroline’s Notes” that you had posted for the various 4.0 exams for either of those sections? I found those notes to be some of the best resources in studying for the 4.0 sections. If so any idea when? Thanks

  23. Stephen October 17, 2016 at 9:30 pm #

    Hi Tony,
    Any updates on the SS exam ? If there’s an expected release date ? Thanks

  24. DesignerHacks October 4, 2016 at 12:11 pm #


    We are releasing practice exams for the SS exam later this fall.


  25. Paige October 4, 2016 at 11:34 am #

    Will you have SS questions on here at some point?

  26. Daniel September 9, 2016 at 8:47 am #

    Great post, very helpful with the lists of suggested materials, I just passed CDs in July and am taking PPP in November so I definitely needed the list.

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