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cwsutherland

Monitoring Available Material During Printing

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My office has just purchased an Ultimaker 3 Extended. I'm wondering about the management of available material during printing. Does the machine do any type of tracking for how much material is needed during a print? Or is it up to you to check before you start? I'm aware the CURA program estimates how much you will need, but I'm wondering if the printer itself does anything with this information.

Related, if you were to run out of material during a print, what would happen? Would the machine continue the printer head movements, just with no material coming out, or would the print stop/pause in the middle? Since you are able to pause the print manually, if you notice you're running low on material can you pause and add a new spool mid-print?

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If you run out the machine will not notice and just continue printing air.

If you notice yourself you can indeed pause and change the material.

In theory the machine should be able to track the amount left on a spool when you use the tagged Ultimaker spools in combination with the material use data from CURA, but this would only work if you only use the material on an UM3, and stuff like failed prints might make it less reliable. I really don't know if this functionality is currently somewhere on Ultimakers to-do list, but it should be possible. Like @daid mentioned, see the UM3 like a Tesla, gradually more functionality will become available with software upgrades....

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gradually more functionality will become available with software upgrades....

You are so right: there is simply no way you can get a bell to whistle reliably by "guesstimating" it from usage data collected by software.

Imho some small and cheap pieces of hardware (IR sender + receiver or something similar) plus a little programming is all that you need to have a reliable "out-of-filament" notification system. Goes without saying that the software piece also has to put things on hold when the alarm is raised, and needs to go through the normal hoops of loading it up, purging, etc.

Edited by Guest

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It has been done for the UM2, but I don't know how complex it would be to get it on UM3 as the "Brain" moved from the "main board" to the "linux board". But basically in the simplest form a filament Y/N would be enough to detect material from running out, and triggering a pause function.

A material movement sensor would be nice to pause when filament stops due to grinding, but to be honest I can't recall the last time that happened to me., I find the new feeders very reliable...

https://ultimaker.com/en/community/7436-more-information-during-print?page=10&sort=#reply-120082

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"If you notice yourself you can indeed pause and change the material. "

Really? How do you do that exactly?

I'm sitting in front of a brand new UM3 extended, latest version of Cura, latest firmware. Dual material print (one color and PVA support) 90 percent finished and the primary material is about to run out. Plenty of time to pause and change material. So I hit Pause. Once you pause and hit Tune, there is NO option to change materials. You can do a lot of other things, and I'm happy to list them in detail, but I've gone through the list three times including the sublist for the extruders - no option to change material.

I fault myself for overestimating how much PLA I had left on the spool. That's not a big deal. But I've seen multiple posts indicating that changing materials is an option when you pause - so clearly everyone else knows something I don't. How do you do it?

JDS

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So the "change material" feature is something I never use. Just pull out the old pla and push in the new.

There's a lever on the feeder. Lift that and you can pull out the old material. Then insert the new. I 3d printed a little wedge to help hold the feeder open while I do this.

Not only do I recommend this when paused - I recommend to ALWAYS change material manually. Always. It's easier. It's faster. You may notice things (resistance in the bowden) that you wouldn't normally notice which can help you big time. Once I had filament that looked fine - it was a little chewed up. What I didn't realize was how crazy tight that filament was in the bowden.

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