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Went ahead and bought the UM3X

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Hello all,

 

 Based on all the great feedback I received from everyone here, is decided to purchase the UM3X. It arrives on Wednesday.

 

So I figured this would be a great time to ask, what tips and tricks do you all recommend that I do, once I receive this machine? I am still really new to 3D printing so I want to make sure I start out on the right foot.

 

Thank you all for your time.

 

 

 

 

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Welcome and congratulations on your new pretty toy! ;)

 

As for tips and tricks, well, this forum is full of them, and full of helpful people, so, first tip would be: never hesitate to look through the forum or ask your question if something is puzzling or troubling you regarding the printer.

 

As for some stuff that, in my opinion, should be standard and included in the instructions given with the printer and the filament spool:

 

- Put the printer somewhere safe! Make sure it can't be damaged by water or such, that no one can trip on the wire, that the surface it stands upon is not slippery (someone on the forums apparently had their printer commit suicide recently) and that the room is ventilated. Not really due to bad fumes or such, PLA and most materials are quite harmless, but because it can smell, especially if a print fails and it burns.

 

- Humidity is your worst enemy! It's especially true for PLA and PVA. Keep your spools stored in a dry place, and I strongly advise using dryboxes for your prints. Our very own @ultiarjan did some nice ones: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1837907  I'm using them for my prints, and they solved so many problems I had with my spools going bad because they soaked the ambient moisture. I would also advise to do something similar for your storage when you're not printing. I've bought some big plastic boxes, an hygrometer, stuck a moisture absorbent thing in it and there we go.

 

- Check everything when it comes out of the box. Not every transporter people are careful, boxes can get thrown, fall and so on. You need to pay special attention to the looks of the box, the printer, and check the metallic axis rods to make sure they did not come loose. It happened to me, and I was not happy when I saw it. Good thing nothing else was damaged in transport. Also check the glass plate to make sure it is flat. There was a streak of bent plate some months ago, UM worked with the provider to correct that, but it never hurts to check. If the glass plate is too far bent, printing will become much more difficult. Fortunately, if that happens, your reseller should exchange the glass bed for free, if they don't, mention it here, and someone from UM will take care of the problem. The people at UM are very reactive on the forums, and usually do their utmost to ensure we have the best customer experience possible, and they hold their resellers to similar standards.

 

About CURA, the software made to be used with the printers:

 

- Go dark! The dark theme is so much easier on the eyes. In CURA: Preferences -> Configure CURA -> General -> Theme -> Ultimaker Dark

 

- Show every setting. By default, CURA is in what I call 'simplified mode', ie it does not show every single setting. You can show them all by going to Preferences -> Configure CURA -> Settings then check the 'Check All' boxes to reveal all the hidden settings. You will probably never use them all, but I find it nice to see them all, and be able to make little tweaks and such as I test things and see what happen.

 

- Move the prime tower away from the corners! So, bit of technical explanation: the prime tower is used when dual printing to help prepare the printcore by starting extrusion, and also clean the unused printcore by wiping off any excess material on it. Standard location is on the back right corner of the glass bed. Except it's not the best location because the corners always bend a little, and thus the tower has not the best surface adhesion, and can fall down, potentially ruining your print. The settings in CURA allow you to determine the position of the tower, and it's best to put it somewhere in the center of the sides. I put it on the center right, others put it on the center back, whatever you prefer, as long as it's away from the corners.

 

Finally, last but not least: Never be afraid to experiment!

 

The printer is sturdy, it has an amazing range of possibilities, and you have almost complete freedom to tweak and try, so do it. You'll learn of your mistakes, discover amazing things to share with us, print awesome stuff and have fun. You'll also have hair-pulling moments and moments of sheer confusion, as with every kind of technology. ;)

 

I've had my UM3X for about 8 months now, still getting baffled by the possibilities and by the things I'm able to get printed.

 

Hope that will help you, and, as I said, if you've got a question, never be afraid to ask here on the forums, everybody will be happy to help.

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I would start small and work my way up. By small, I am not referring to size specifically. I am talking about simplicity and testing to see various things that you will need to find out about your new printer. There are links to a group of overhang and other types of tests that I found invaluable during my initial phase of printing. I learned about bridging, when an overhang would look good on top while starting to really crap out on bottom, how thin things can be and be printed well or just not print at all or close up during the printing.

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1363023

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:25518

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:40382

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2442722

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:704409

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1019228

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2656594

Some may seem redundant, but many test the same things under different conditions. Such as bridging lengths, overhangs in a straight line or coming off an arc or inset type vs. raised type. And, they are fun, in my opinion. Also a few test cubes and such just to make sure you understand infills and see how different materials operate in the easiest way possible.

 

I am not saying you have to. I mean, my very first print was a Batman bust at 1" tall in vase mode. ;p

 

But, I did do all of the above and each one illustrated a different thing I had to learn both with the printer and with Cura such as how thin of a wall can be sliced or if sliced, with it still close up because the next wall is too  close. Things like that.

 

And, make sure to follow @Brulti's advice. They are all rock solid. I will second opening all the settings. It is a lot to digest, but when someone tells you about a setting, you will be able to find it, they are all marked with took tips to help you learn and you may start to see the relationships that are built into Cura for different settings.

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Thank you very much for the links. Great information. I saw on one of the links that they are using a Slicer named Simplify 3D. Do you guys recommend that over the software that comes with the Ulitimaker3?

 

Also, I saw the UM3 has a camera inside it. Can I look in on my prints from my phone when I am not home?

 

Thanks

Edited by OOC

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The slicer issue is one of preference. Also, Simplify 3D or S3D is a paid for product. When I was first learning slicers, I got all of them. Even paid for S3D. But pretty much all I have ever used is Cura. I have played with S3D, but Cura is designed for the UM products and therefore, I find, easier to work with. So, slicers are a personal choice, and cost choice.

 

And yes, you can view your camera through your phone.

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7 minutes ago, tinkergnome said:

 

But only in the same network, or one needs some kind of VPN, right?

That is a question I have posted on another thread and have not received a reply yet. What I was able to glean trying to dig through the information is that if you set one up, you can dial in remotely. I am just hoping for something a little more clear cut. Right now I need to know how to drive the car, not how the engine works. That will come later when I start getting instruction on those type of ops in college.

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Yeah, right now you need to forward a port on your home router to allow sharing images from um3x to world. Do so carefully and intentionally!

 

great advice shared with you above, just copied that to my own resources! Only three things to add:

1) save cura project files and date stamp them each time you print. Sure, you just need the gcode to print with, but that project file HAS all the settings in there, and you can even duplicate one, kill the mesh part currently loaded, and apply favorite settings to the new job.

 

2) print a feature test part before you print large parts. You’ll have better luck iterating design and slicing tweaks if you select and chop a tiny but critical part of your design such that you can run that little sample with less than 60-90min print time more than once. You’ll eventually realize it is a waste to print a 24hr model more than once without testing and dialing in your needs. Architects are the worst culprits — printing multiday prints for weeks because they want to see how the crown of the building prints. A nice cheat for selecting part of your model? Shift into move tool and force most of your part under the build platform. It will be ignored at moment of slicing. So printing a 1inch crown on the top of a 12in building model becomes a 90min print that teaches you everything about how your slicing worked out instead if wasting plastic and filling your trash can. ;)

 

3) round-trip-to-real: export something simple from your design tools as an stl or 3mf as soon as you can to check to see what opening it in cura looks like — scale, placement, watertype geometry, etc.. Almost all design packages are getting better at export for 3dp, so you might not see much that is alarming, but if you can resist the temptation to scale with a mouse in cura (25.4x scale to go from inches to mm, if you gotta do that), and can measure your resulting part as a print to compare to your design measurement, you’ll know the baseline for your workflow. In the words of a long time fdm user who switched to ultimaker after 5 years, “wait, you mean ultimakers are accurate and i don’t have to always tweak my designs in cura? That’s crazy!?” Make sure you aren’t making assumptions and know how your designs relate See if you can satisfy all tolerance/allowance needs in your design tool, not cura!

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17 minutes ago, mattgriffin said:

1) save cura project files and date stamp them each time you print. Sure, you just need the gcode to print with, but that project file HAS all the settings in there, and you can even duplicate one, kill the mesh part currently loaded, and apply favorite settings to the new job.

I would like to second that and for a slightly different reason. I have taken to using project files instead of material or print profiles. It never gets messed up during an upgrade, and it never clutters the UI when trying to choose. Easier, for me at least, to index and search for when doing a new print.

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Thank you both very much.

 

Matt... Do you happen to have a link on how to do port forwarding on my router please? I am not familiar with doing this and I would definitely like to check in on my prints while I’m out an about. Thanks

 

 

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I am trying to accomplish the same thing. Check out this thread to see what transpires as it is dedicated to, hopefully, simplifying the process for those of us who are not really sure how that works.

 

@tinkergnome just posed a couple of links I am going to follow up on. I am hoping for a step by step version of information.

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yeah, I'd suggest taking a look at projects in the forums here, as well as checking out the how-tos for Octoprint out there in the world. There are some existing tools for octoprint that make this easier now, but there are also TONS of articles with details about which route to forward a port safely to access the camera. Combining those with some insights into how UM3 functions here from Daid will help: 

 

 

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Or, you can also go another, easier, way if port-forwarding and such ain't your thing or you worry of doing something wrong: buy an IP camera or two (I'm using two cameras from Logitech) and set them up in front and above your printer. There' quite cheap, and picture quality won't be worst than the built-in camera. I'd even say that it is highly possible that it will be better than the built in camera...

 

Why two? You might ask.

 

Well, that's simple: top view allows you to check if the walls and the infill are printing as they should, as well as any internal geometry your print may have, front view to ensure the print is sticking properly to the glass bed. That's the setup I have, it has been invaluable to save me time and money by realizing when a long print that would have taken a whole night or a weekend was going bad.

 

Also, I have an IP plug (I'm using a WeMo plug), which basically allows me to cut power to the printer while away, so it will stop printing and avoid wasting filament or creating a massive blob around the printcores which takes ages to clean up, and there's always the risk of damaging the cores. Unfortunately, UM hasn't yet developed tools to control the printer from afar. It can be done through other means, via raspberry pi and arduino and whatever as explained in other threads in this forum, but I will readily admit as to having a hard time understanding how to set this up, so I chose the easy way. ;p

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Awesome idea. Ill head down to Best Buy and buy a couple because that sounds a lot easier. Never heard of an IP Plug. Are they expensive? How do they work? Meaning how does it connect to your printer to be able to kill the power?

 

Thanks

John

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33 minutes ago, Brulti said:

Also, I have an IP plug (I'm using a WeMo plug), which basically allows me to cut power to the printer while away, so it will stop printing and avoid wasting filament or creating a massive blob around the printcores which takes ages to clean up, and there's always the risk of damaging the cores. Unfortunately, UM hasn't yet developed tools to control the printer from afar. It can be done through other means, via raspberry pi and arduino and whatever as explained in other threads in this forum, but I will readily admit as to having a hard time understanding how to set this up, so I chose the easy way. ;p

Wow...I would like you to do a tutorial on that :) That sounds important! :+1:

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We call them IP plugs here (I'm French), it would seem that they're called Smart Plugs in the US. This one looks like the same I use: http://www.belkin.com/us/p/P-F7C029/

 

Basically, you plug this in your wall socket, and plug the printer on this. You download an app on your phone, link them via wifi when you stand next to the smart plug, takes a couple minutes and the app guides you through the whole process. And you're set. Once that's done, you can be on a trip to Australia or Japan or South Africa, as long as you have internet access, the app connects to your smart plug via the web, and you can turn it on or off by the press of a button on the app, thus turning power off to whatever is plugged into the smart plug. You can also set rules, program it via the app to turn on and off at specified hours or after a certain time has elapsed and so on.

 

Heard of parents using those to make sure their kids doesn't stay on the computer or console chatting or playing games past the allowed time or past a certain hour. ;)

 

@kmanstudios A tutorial on the smart plug or the remote control? For the plug, see above, for the remote control, I'm afraid you're asking the wrong person.

I did a bit of searching through the forums, and found a handful of threads that explain some of the solutions, and some of the technology behind the UM3. I've no idea what works or what doesn't, what is up to date or out of date, since I choose the easy way! IP cameras + smart plugs works with everything, no matter the version or the device. ;p

 

 

 

 

 

 

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That is awesome information. I’m going shopping tonight lol. This will be so awesome, because i have seen post on here where people have walked away from watching the printing and things go all wrong and a lot of filament is wasted.

 

Speaking of Filament. Is it better to use UM breakaway filament or PVA for supports? The sales rep said UM breakaway is much better than PVA. He stated that UM has really taking the time to perfect this and have made huge improvements form the past. I would not know either way lol

 

Thanks

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Breakaway and PVA are two different kind of supports used for different kind of prints.

 

Breakaway is made for prints that have simple geometries: large flat surfaces, no internal geometry, no tiny holes or small fiddly bits and such. You wouldn't print the fractal-based sculptures by @kmanstudios with Breakaway, because you'd just end up breaking up all the tiny bits as you take the Breakaway off, and I'm not even sure the Breakaway support would print nicely anyway. I haven't tried it yet, I'm simply saying what UM said.

 

PVA, on the other hand, is made for support of tiny fiddly bits and complicated geometries and the like. Because it is soluble, ie it dissolves in water, while Breakaway does not so you have to, literally, break it away from your print. Thus you can print a tree with all the leaves and such with PVA, then put it in water to soak for 24h to 48h, and your print will come out looking all shiny and whole.

 

So, the two supports are actually useful and good. They're just not good for the same things. Plus, PVA works only with PLA, Nylon and CPE, using it in combination with any other material is labeled as experimental, and UM does not guarantee that you'd obtain any good results. Breakaway works with all the other UM materials that PVA was rated for.

 

UM is actually slowly covering all of their bases, so to speak. And that is good. Now that we have support for about everything, I do hope that they come up with cores made for abrasive materials, and their own kind of such materials, like wood, carbon, and so on. One can dream! ;)

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