How to stop objects with "floating" parts from breaking
So, I'm having this problem where almost anything I print with a section(s) that is not directly connected to something below it breaks when I try to pull the small filaments meant to hold it up during printing off. For example, I 3D-printed a Rayquaza(this one) from Pokemon for my little brother, and as I was carefully pulling the filament from under the mouth, the whole head just snapped off. Does someone have a recommendation as to a way to get the small filament off without breaking the object? Would a solution just be to print it bigger and see if it holds up better, or is there something else I can do? Thanks.
As an answer says: never pull off supports. Always cut or melt to minimize stress on the part.
The small filaments you remove that hold the parts up are called supports. The one model I located on Thingiverse clearly requires a number of supports, as the model is not easily designed for 3d printing with FDM printers. It would be better printed with SLS, but that's not the focus of your question.
You don't specify how large you printed the model, but certainly a scaled-up version will be stronger at the weak points. You will want to use sharp non-shearing cutters to clear away as much of the supports as possible, without torquing on the model.
Another option which also reduces the forces on the model body is to use a soldering iron to smooth and clear/cut the supports. If you are able to use cutters and not damage the model, the soldering iron can remove and flatten the remnants of those supports.
Please note that if your careful work has resulted in a model that snaps to pieces, your little brother will soon destroy the successfully cleaned up model just as easily.
If you have skill with 3d modeling software (Meshmixer and Blender come to mind for such organic models), you can add insignificant items to the model to provide functional support. Would the Rayquaza look fiercer if you 3d printed a cage as an integrated part of the model, using the bars of the cage to provide support?
I successfully printed a model that was created by an artist unfamiliar with 3d printing restrictions. The support material was wash-away PVA. I provided the model to the "owner" who washed away the support material and snapped the legs in two. It's sometimes impossible to solve poor designs. You have a good chance if you build a cage for this one.
I'm actually not very advanced in this, I've been following 3D printing for a while but actually only started doing it myself a couple weeks ago. I don't have the model on-hand, but I know it was only a couple inches in length and width, and about 3-4 inches tall. Does the printer affect it? I used the M3D micro.
Your description here means you probably used the Thingiverse model I saw. Your printer is FDM which means the layers of the small diameter portions of the model are the weak points. I'm not familiar with the slicer software for the M3D micro. You should look to see if there are adjustments for the supports to reduce the density. Even with easily removed supports, the youngster will likely break the model.
I actually used a model from MyMiniFactory, but it's quite similar. I edited my post to include the link. And you are probably right about him probably breaking it. Oh well.
I examined the link you've provided and the designer of that model should have a refresher course in design. Perhaps his model would be useful in Blender animation, but not in 3d printing. Even a model printed with an SLS printer would have easily-snapped arms. The mouth appears weak as well. If you want a project to share with your brother that will keep him busy until adulthood, scale up the model and convert it to papercraft with Pepakura. I say this partly in jest, as some people have created amazing paper models with great effort.
The thingiverse version appears to be even more fragile. It does appear better suited to a designed-in cage type support, however, as it has a more vertical orientation. One could also add a tree or landscaping blocks/rocks under the fragile portions. It would not make them less fragile, but would improve the support problem inherent in this particular creature.
I see. I suppose I could also free 6 hours of my time to scale it up to the maximum my printer will hold and just do that lol.
Some slicer software will allow you to automatically "scale to maximum for the printer". I have seen this in Repetier-Host with both Cura and Slic3r slicing engines. It will cut your 6 hours down to about 15 seconds. As said elsewhere, printing solid, that is 100% infill, may help.