Additive manufacturing (AM) has developed rapidly since its inception in the 1980s. AM is perceived as an environmentally friendly and sustainable technology and has already gained a lot of attention globally. The potential freedom of design offered by AM is, however, often limited when printing complex geometries due to an inability to support the stresses inherent within the manufacturing process. Additional support structures are often needed, which leads to material, time and energy waste. Research in support structures is, therefore, of great importance for the future and further improvement of additive manufacturing. This paper aims to review the varied research that has been performed in the area of support structures. Fifty-seven publications regarding support structure optimization are selected and categorized into six groups for discussion. A framework is established in which future research into support structures can be pursued and standardized. By providing a comprehensive review and discussion on support structures, AM can be further improved and developed in terms of support waste in the future, thus, making AM a more sustainable technology.
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