Modelling of Solid, Hollow and Honeycomb Supports

Support Generation module is used to generate support structures needed to build the part for a user-input build orientation. Different types of support structures can be generated using this module, details of which will be explained in the instruction manual.

Installation Manual

  1. Download and extract the contents of the .zip file named Support Generation Tool.zip.
  2. Open the extracted folder named Support Generation Tool.
  3. Open the folder named ug_customization. Right click on the Windows Batch File named nx and open with Notepad/Notepad++.
  4. Find the current file path of the nx file in your computer (Right click >> Properties). Copy the file path and paste it in the first line (the highlighted portion in the notepad as shown below).
  5. Change the version of Siemens NX to the one you are using (module works for Siemens NX 10.0, 11.0, and 12.0) in the third line of the notepad file (as in Figure 1).
  6. Once these steps are carried out, you have completed the installation procedures before launching the application.
  7. Now, double-click nx to launch the Windows Batch File. This will launch the Siemens NX window and a terminal window (you can minimize it or close it – it contains the information you input in steps 4 and 5). You may notice the UC AM Modules tab in the top toolbar. Click on it. The Support Generation module will be visible.
  8. Before using the module, user is supposed to import/create a Parasolid File of a part within Siemens NX. For illustration purposes, the Part File (. prt) and Parasolid File (.x_t) is given in the folder named Example Parts. Import the Parasolid file into Siemens NX. Follow the step mentioned below to import a Parasolid file of the part.
    Open >> (Choose the file location of Support Generation Tool Folder) >> Example Parts >> SiemensPart2.x_t >> Ok
  9. Once the file is opened in Siemens NX, you can click on Support Generation button on the Command Ribbon. The button will look like Figure 2.
  10. The Support Generation GUI is shown in Figure 3. The detailed explanation of each option in the GUI is given below.
    1. Select Body
      This option is used to select the body for which support structures need to be generated.
    2. Rotation along X axis
      Rotation along X axis (value to be entered in degrees) will rotate the selected part along the X axis.
    3. Rotation along Y axis
      Rotation along Y axis (value to be entered in degrees) will rotate the selected part along the Y axis.
    4. Threshold
      It is the angle between the part surface normal and the build direction (Z axis). The default value is set to 135 degrees.
    5. Support Type
      1. Solid Support: Each support column generated will be solid.
      2. Hollow Support: Each support column is hollow (thickness can be entered in option h)
      3. Surface Support: Support columns are surfaces with no thickness. The minimum thickness for support structures will be the laser diameter used to sinter the material powder using DMLS.
      4. Honeycomb Support: This type of support structures columns is connected with each other. During post-processing operations for support structure removal interconnected support structures are less prone to chip off and damage critical features of the part.
    6. Support Column Length
      Support Column length is the center-to-center distance between two adjacent support columns (square cross-section). It is also the side length of the cross section of the support column (square cross-section). Values ranging from 1.00 to 4.00 are optimal. A lower value will take longer computational time due to more number of support structures. A higher value of overhang length will generate fewer support structures making the solution sub-optimal.
    7. Gap Between Supports
      This is the side-to-side gap between two adjacent support columns. The Gap Between Supports should always be less than the Support Column Length
    8. Hollow Thickness
      This value provides thickness to hollow support structures.
    9. Add Teeth
      Check this box if you want to create support structures with a tooth at the support to part contact region. Removal of support structures with teeth is easy and will not damage the parts during post-processing. The contact area of support structures will be less if this option is selected.
    10. Teeth Length
      Teeth length is the side dimension of the top side of the teeth (as shaded by red in the figure). A value of zero teeth length means the support contact region is a point. Thus, the support contact area calculated will be 0 mm^2.

Please watch the video tutorial of the module conducted on an example part given with the module.

Notepad view showing path and version

Figure 1

Support Generation GUI

Figure 3

Example Problem

Use the Parasolid File named SiemensPart1.x_t in the Example Parts folder attached in the Support Parameter module folder that you have extracted from the website.

  1. Rotate the part along X axis by 45 degrees and rotate the part along Y axis by 45 degrees Set Threshold to default value (135 degrees).  Input Overhang Length as 2.00 mm.
    1. Select Solid Support and set Gap Between Support as 1.00 mm
    2. Select Hollow Support and set Hollow Thickness to 1.00 mm
    3. Select Surface Support
    4. Select Solid Support and check the Add Teeth Option. Set the Teeth Length as 0.5 mm
    5. Select Honeycomb Supports
  2. Rotate the part along X axis by 45 degrees and rotate the part along Y axis by 30 degrees Set Threshold to default value (135 degrees).  Input Overhang Length as 3.5 mm.
    1. Select Solid Support and set Gap Between Support as 2.00 mm
    2. Select Hollow Support and set Hollow Thickness to 2.00 mm
    3. Select Surface Support
    4. Select Solid Support and check the Add Teeth Option. Set the Teeth Length as 1.5 mm
    5. Select Honeycomb Supports

Download link:

  • Support Generation Files
Parasolid File

Figure 4