# Support materials and structures

There was a previous question suggesting that the and tags should be merged, and at the time the only response was to keep them distinct. 2 years later, I think it is time to disagree.

I've already found questions which talk about support material in the abstract sense, of how to slice, rather than the intended use of the tag to identify the specific material used for support. This automatically makes the tags too imprecise to retain.

We should retain the tag, and merge the other two into it, since that covers the whole group of questions cleanly. I don't think we need synonyms, unless the other tags get re-added by users in the future.

I don't think the aim of tags is to generate a complete literal taxonomy of the subject, rather we are trying to define:

• What subjects are on topic (support certainty is)
• How to most usefully group questions.

Now, support (the structure) and the types of material are literally different things,but together they encompasses the topic of support. There is nothing wrong about referring to the specialist filaments as support. It is also misleading to assume that the structure can be discussed in isolation from the potential materials which can be used.

Along the lines of avoiding the highly complex suggested heirarchical filament taxonomy, I think we can best help people to find questions about support by consolidating the questions under a single tag.

• it was between support-materials and support-structures. The tag support appeared to be superfluous (or an umbrella) and I've "synonymised" it to support-structures... although now I am wondering if that was correct, as some of the support questions may have been about material and not structures. Health and Medical is another confusing pair that I came across a month ago. – Greenonline Sep 3 '18 at 23:19
• @Greenonline, made my proposal more specific, to keep just the root category. – Sean Houlihane Sep 4 '18 at 6:54

I object to merging the two, my reasoning having been explained in chat several times, and brought to point by tbm115:

Tbm0115 - "support-material" should define the material-type (ie. PLA, ABS, PVA, etc.) which in FDM is usually the same as the print-material. However, in the case of machines like dual-extruders can be completely different. The print-material for the body of the part can be PLA while the support-material can be PVA.

Support-structure defines the "style" of structure that is generated by the slicer. For instance, I can have a scaffolding-like structure to support bridges and spire-like structure for small overhangs. Personally, I view infill as a subset of support-structure because it is material that is meant to support the overall body including ceilings. With infill I can have square, hexagonal, even cat-like styles of support structure.

Trish - I agree on the structure being more about style (Trees, pylons, towers, included in the design or not, everywhere or not) while support material is more a subset of filament - PVA is one of those, but also one could use (in a dual extruder) ABS on a PLA print, and then remove the supports with acetone or some other stuff. One might use a super low melting filament and remove with heat.

Both tbm0115 and Sean make very good arguments and I am really on the fence on this one... So, I am withdrawing my solution for the moment, as I am not sure that I agree with the amalgamation of the two tags. However, if they are to be amalgamated then I would propose that this would be the way to do it...

You might not like this temporary solution, as you state that synonyms aren't needed...

I can make and synonyms of , for the moment (so swapping the and its synonym that I did yesterday and add as a synonym of ).

Then later they can be merged into , once any issues (or non-issues) have been raised or pointed out - or if there are any serious objections later on down the line, the synonyms can be easily removed and reverted (whereas a merge can't be).

Does that sound like a acceptable plan?

• Yes, I think that makes some sense. I think according to the burnination FAQ then re-tagging of these questions is the right thing to do, and like this we can see if there are any valid cases for the specific tags. – Sean Houlihane Sep 4 '18 at 7:45
• That link shows an empty list - is that right? – Greenonline Sep 4 '18 at 7:50
• I only wanted a [ tag ] label, not a link... Too early... – Sean Houlihane Sep 4 '18 at 7:51
• With the synonyms, it's impossible right now to re tag as 'support'. I did find several tagged incorrectly as support-material which are actually talking about the physical support (material), rather than the material of the support. – Sean Houlihane Sep 4 '18 at 7:54
• Ah, does the fact that there is a synonym thereby prevent the retagging? That's annoying, if that is the case. Maybe I should remove the synonym until all retagging has been done. – Greenonline Sep 4 '18 at 8:01
• The the synonym is used, the master tag gets applied. – Sean Houlihane Sep 4 '18 at 8:02
• Ok, i've removed the synonym – Greenonline Sep 4 '18 at 8:04